Friday Fodder – Original

Once upon a time…

Grandma Wang squints, blinking cigarette smoke out of her eye, as she counts the notes from the cash register. The fat golden cat on the counter waves at Kobe. Creeped out, Kobe distracts himself by staring at the calendar on the wall. Noticing that every date reads March 25th, he starts to have a panic attack. What is the actual date? The date it’s supposed to be? Before he can figure it out, an ethereal rift opens in the wall, splitting the calendar in two.

Kobe jumps back and claws his way out of the building as Grandma Wang is sucked into the rift.

“Gentlemen,” announced the grinning Suit, “we are here today for one reason: to destroy time.”

Three grim men sat around a conference room table.

“Alright, what’s the deal then?” asked Logan, a pale, skinny man in an oversized charcoal jacket that looked like it was borrowed from the newsroom. “What are the fat cats upstairs after this time?”

Scrolling through his phone, the Suit shrugged. “Time-loop stuff. A Groundhog Day sort of thing.”

“Wow,” said Steve, a plump, bearded man in an unseasonal Hawaiian shirt. He looked more like a cake-topper at a cruise wedding than he did a writer. “So, they haven’t filled their contrived science fiction rom-com quota yet? We’re so lucky.”

“What can I say? People eat this shit up,” said the Suit, rubbing his well-manicured fingers together.

Logan looked around the room and settled on the third man at the table, whose deep purple cloak framed a smooth brown face. He seemed to be counting something on his ringed fingers.

“So, who are you?” asked Logan.

The cloaked man spoke in a thunderous voice with an indiscernible accent: “I am Demetrius. Here for making movie film at request of American businessmen.”

“Awesome,” Steve whispered, taken aback by Demetrius’ warlock demeanour.

“Who’s he?” Logan repeated to the Suit.

“You’ll get along fine. They tell me Demetrius is a genius. Now, chop-chop. Better get to work if you’re going to get this thing out by the deadline.”

“Which is…?” asked Steve, sinking into his chair.

The Suit smiled deviously and pressed a button on the wall. The electric shutters on the windows snapped closed, blocking out the sun, and the overhead lights dimmed until the men could only see the shapes of one another. Logan jumped up ready to fight.

The Suit laughed. “I’m just messing with you.” He pressed the button again and the lights warmed back on. Then his face became deadly serious. “You have seven days. Get me something that’s going to sell or we won’t be calling any of you ever again.”

And with that, the Suit left.

Demetrius steepled his hands and sat in silence while the other men worked.

“12:01,” Steve said, searching his mind castle. “Groundhog Day would be the ‘go-to’ of course. Then there’s plenty of other garbage. 50 First Dates basically flips the idea in an interesting way. Oh and remember Source Code, the one where we got to see Tom Cruise die twenty-six times haha.. aaaand I think that’s all I’ve got.”

Logan jotted down notes, “So what’s the formula?”

Steve cracked his knuckles. “Well, it begins with someone who’s frustrated with the hum-drum of everyday life. Think Bill Murray as a disgruntled newsman covering a big old holiday nothing-burger.”

Logan scratched it down. “…nothing-burger… got it… go on.”

“Then the time loop starts, and only the main character can remember what happened on previous days. Sometimes it’s never explained, sometimes it’s an angel, and sometimes it’s radiation. Mostly it’s a wish whispered within earshot of the wise old owner of a Chinese restaurant.”

“Classic. We can use that.”

Logan chuckled. “Perfect. We’ve got good bones, then. How about some skin? What do the kids want to see these days?”

Demetrius snorted, breaking his silence. He removed his purple hood, revealing a bald head and brilliant green eyes. “Good bones, you say. Nothing-burger. You speak all fancy-pants, but you do not understand a thing about art.”

“Well what would you suggest, Count Demetrius” asked Steve, defensively.

Demetrius rose and began pacing the room, his purple robes flowing in such a way that he appeared to float. With each turn, light bounced off the spikes driven through his earlobes.

“Demetrius understands this story must be about time. Demetrius knows time is a circle. Demetrius wonders why Steve and Logan seeking to squeeze circle inside straight line. You lose second dimension if do this. Second dimension important.”

“What would you have us do?” asked Logan, frustrated.

“Tell story how we remember things much better. I see in my mind’s eye a spinning wheel, rickety, splintered, catching on pieces of fabric. Fabric that bunches up in placings where the story grips. The viewer exists at centre of wheel. At eye of storm.”

Steve said “He’s onto something. Or maybe I just want him to be. For us it’s been the same damn thing, over and over. I can’t remember the last time we worked on a film that I could bear to watch. Can you?”

“Nothing that was made,” Logan sighed, rubbing his eyes. Then, he flipped to a new page in his notepad. “Let’s do it. Please, Demetrius, go on and we’ll do our best to give it some structure.”

Demetrius nodded. “It must be called ‘The Wheel,’ and we must begin at the centre. From there, instinct will lead us the right way.”

“Okay,” Logan said hesitantly. “It begins with a Chinese restaurateur….”

The Suit, flanked by a couple of his clones, flipped through the finished screenplay. Logan and Steve watched anxiously while Demetrius placed his ear to the wall and listened for rats, which were apparently a delicacy in his ‘realm’ (Logan and Steve assumed he meant ‘country.’)

The Suit read the last page and threw his hands up in the air. There were tears in his eyes. ”Gentlemen. This is phenomenal. Like… it’s confusing, but it also like, makes me feel smart? You have outdone yourselves.”

“We enjoyed the process,” said Steve. “And we have Demetrius to thank, I think.”

Logan nodded. “So, when are you thinking this will go into production?”

The Suit stood up and wiped his eyes. “I don’t know how to tell you this, boys. The last slot in our production schedule just filled.”

Steve’s eyes turned grey. Not in colour, but in overall impression and feeling. He bit his lip.

The Suits stood and left the room, and that was that.

Demetrius smiled and bowed his head slightly, checking the clock on the wall. “I’m afraid the time has come,” he announced.

“What do you mean?”

“Don’t be alarmed. In one moment expect flash of light, it could feel like burning to death. In a way this is true, but do not fret, my friends. You won’t even remember the pain.”

“It’s only the loop starting over.”

“There is nothing original about advising others to be original, if one hasn’t done anything original oneself.”
― Abhijit Naskar

Moral of the Story:

Let’s face it; following the crowd like a cookie-cutter person is easy. Doing what everyone else is doing doesn’t hardly takes any effort. Blending in prevents you from sticking out. And when you don’t stick out, you don’t get ridiculed or challenged. Here’s the thing: you were not born to take the easy road. You didn’t come all this way to be mediocre. Following the crowd mentality may feel like the right thing to do. That is, until your individual thoughts and ideas do not agree with the entirety of the crowd’s message. And that is precisely when the crowd will turn on you. Standing up for yourself may not be easy, but it is often the only way to walk your true life path. The beaten path only gets you where most people go. Choose to be original and explore new roads.

It is the original thinkers, writers, artists and scientists throughout history that have changed how we perceive, experience, and conduct our lives. And these are the people who receive the most pushback because people are intimidated by those they cannot imitate. Being original doesn’t just mean being able to think outside of the box. To really be original, you need to be prepared to fail. Without failure, you cannot improve and get better. Get off the mouse wheel of consumption, replication, and mediocrity. Put in the work to craft your art of creativity, originality, and success. It is for this very reason the original is always worth more than a copy.

“An overemphasis on teamwork and consensus can cause a kind of mental lethargy. If you subordinate your own expectations to the expectations of the group, you’re absolved of the responsibilities for the choices the group makes.”

― Vincent H. O’Neil

Affirmation: I am one of a kind - unique, talented and gifted.

Limitless creativity is always at my fingertips. I am filled with inspired, original ideas and unlimited creativity. I am contributing something unique and wholesome to society. I express my own special uniqueness in positive and loving ways. I am aware of the vibrant light within me and I allow it to shine through the original uniqueness of me. Every day I create my own original way. I am at peace with walking alone and being judged. The more I leave the security of the herd, the more I am becoming an extraordinary person that everyone watches in amazement. I am a red rose among a thousand white daisies. I am the only one who can walk my life path and fulfill my divine mission. I love and appreciate my special, original qualities. My uniqueness comes from my difference. My originality is the value I add to other people’s lives. My difference is my unlimited wealth supply.

“In a world full of pebbles dare to be a diamond.”

― Matshona Dhliwayo


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