Friday, April 25, 2008


Check out De Zomer Kamp (Team Bait Shop/Burt Wood's 2008 entry in the 48 Hour Film Project) and all the latest news at the Bait Shop mothership!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Test Drive - Episode Nineteen: Big Spring

Previously on Test Drive

Red giggled, seemingly unfazed by the storm of violence they’d only just survived, as if all the recent danger was nothing more than a half-remembered dream. But Frank, bruised and powder-burned, trembling with adrenalin and fear and rage and who knew what else, could only mumble, “Great,” as he stared down at the silver handgun far below, glittering in the desert sun.

Then, gazing up towards the riot of police lights far behind them now on the receding horizon, Frank suddenly noticed the dark red Jaguar XK, still bouncing towards them across the arid dirt in hopeless, wild pursuit.


Hombre stared back at Frank through the cracked windshield of the British roadster, while slouched in the passenger seat beside him, a particularly violent jolt caused Eric’s eyes to flutter open as he roused back to muzzy consciousness, dabbing his sliced, bloody forehead in confusion. “Wha...what’s going on?”

“Don’t worry, pal. We’re on our way to the hospital...everything’s gonna be fine,” Hombre said with a less than reassuring grimace, gamely offering his best salesman’s handshake. “Charlie Blackfloe, Las Vegas Dodge.”

“Eric Gunderson, Van Horn Imports.”

“Nice to meet you.”

Hombre withdrew his grimy paw from Eric’s dazed grip and turned his attention back to the rainbow balloon, easing up on the gas as his fevered brain downshifted to a new plan of action. His airborne quarry was picking up speed on a hot gust of wind and he figured he’d bust an axle if he kept barrel-assing across the high desert terrain, so instead he turned north, towards the distant grey ribbon of interstate leading east to New Orleans.

After all, he thought darkly, it wasn’t like he didn’t know where she was going.


A mile away and a half mile up, Frank had taken several deep breaths and was attempting once again to impose logic on the chaos of the past two hours of his life. “All right, I’m gonna try this damn thing again,” he cautioned, gingerly examining the balloon’s burner unit, “so you might wanna...”

“Are you crazy?” Red giggled, amused and alarmed, gesturing towards the uninhabited wasteland around and below them. “We’re in the middle of nowhere! What, you’re gonna walk outta here?”

“I don’t care if I have to walk a thousand miles,” Frank snarled in response, “as long as it’s away from you!”


Red thrust out her lower lip and scowled the exaggerated, bratty pout of the teenage girl she clearly hadn’t been in decades, folding her arms and huffing in faux indignation. Irritated, Frank opened his mouth to reply...then remembered she was insane and promptly thought better of it.


“Nothing, just....” Frank closed his eyes and took another breath, forcing himself to focus on salvaging whatever he could from the fiasco of their time together. “...tell me where you ditched the Mustang so I can go pick it up, okay?”

“You mean you’re really going back?” Red laughed with a start of unfeigned disbelief at the salesman’s bull-headed tenacity.

“Yes, crazy person! And don’t try to follow me!”

“Gee,” Red said, pouting again, “and here I thought we were kinda hitting it off.”

“Lady, you stuck a FUCKING GUN IN MY EAR!” Frank exploded, knowing it was pointless to continue the conversation, but somehow unable to stop himself.

“Ah, that was just for show!” Red shrugged, dismissive. “You and me, we got bigger fish to fry. I’m sure Charlie told you all about the big score, the moonshine millions...”

Then, pushing closer, Red defaulted to seduction, breasts against his arm, hot breath in his ear: “There’s plenty to go around...and you seem like the kinda guy who knows what to do in a...tight spot...”

But Frank wasn’t having it. “Listen, Stella...or Marion...or whoever you are,” he said, tired of the game, pushing the voluptuous redhead angrily away. “I know your kind o’ trouble, and I just don’t want no part of it, okay?”

“Oh really?” Red purred, arching a mischievous eyebrow.

“I wasted too many years runnin’ around like an idiot, boostin’ cars and shootin’ guns with trailer trash like you...”


“...then I lost another five in Big Spring, hopin’ to Christ my ass didn’t look cute in prison pants...”

Red’s lips curled back in a helpless grin, eyes darting instinctively to the gangly ex-con’s skinny little butt. “Guess you were outta luck there, huh?”

She giggled and Frank rolled his eyes: it was hopeless.

But Red wasn’t through with him yet.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Test Drive - Episode Eighteen: Physics

Previously on Test Drive

Hombre fired another bullet in frustration, hardly expecting to hit the hot air balloon drifting quickly away to the south...
...but, two hundred yards up, the bullet nevertheless managed to catch its target, slicing up through the wicker between Red’s scarlet fuck-me pumps, just missing the tips of her toes and the mouth of the balloon’s multicolored nylon envelope before reaching the top of its trajectory and arcing back earthward.

Hearing the near miss zing of the shot, Red whirled around to return fire...Frank lunged forward, grabbing the silver Beretta, trying to wrestle it from her grip...

...while, far below, Hombre heard the crack and whistle of another bullet and ducked for cover ‘round the corner of the grounded Spitfire, rushing for the crumpled Jaguar.

“STOP!” Ray-Ray hollered from somewhere behind him, squeezing off another shot. “THIS IS YOUR LAST WARNING!”

A trim, thin-haired man was slumped unconscious in the passenger seat of the Jaguar and the keys were, thankfully, dangling in the ignition when Hombre slid behind the wheel and cranked the uncooperative ignition, snarling, “Come on...come on, you limey piece o’ shit...”

Then, with a shudder and a groan like a Welshman having sex, the Jaguar stirred to life, shrieking and scraping as it disentangled itself from the fuselage of the Spitfire. Pulling clear, Hombre jammed the gearbox into drive, ducking low when Ray-Ray blew out the back and side windows before while he stomped the accelerator, thundering across the airfield in pursuit of Red’s balloon.

Ray-Ray emptied the clip of his back-up pistol, hobbling after the car until the pain in his wounded leg forced him to retreat back, defeated, to the front seat of his cruiser. Grabbing the handset of the Crown Vic’s mounted VHF radio, the young patrolman watched the Jaguar and the hot air balloon as they disappeared into the desert, vaguely aware of the growing din of police sirens shrieking towards him along the distant I-10 frontage road. “291 to Dispatch!”
“Go, 291,” the radio gargled.
“Dispatch,” Ray-Ray began, weary and light-headed from the accumulated toll of his injuries, “you ain’t gonna believe this shit...” He paused as a momentary glint of light drew his gaze to the distant balloon...
...where Frank had just that second managed to curl his fingers around the trigger guard of the shiny Beretta, prying it slowly from Red’s grip...
...when the feral redhead suddenly drove the top of her skull against the underside of the ex-con’s jaw, forcing his teeth into his tongue.
Frank howled in shock and pain, spitting blood, but tightened his grip on the gun, eyes so fierce
Red found herself fearfully stammering, “ wouldn’t hit a girl, right?”
His answer came fast in a return head-butt that loosened Red’s grip, knocking her sideways and turning her forehead scarlet. “Okay,” Frank scowled, breathing hard, clutching the weapon, victorious, “okay, now...”
“Frank, listen...”
“Shut up!” Frank snapped, adrenalin turbo-charging his anger. “Now how do we land this fucking thing?”
“How the heck should I know?”
The answer was extremely displeasing to Frank, who in turn could only counter, “I thought you were the balloon expert!”
“Why would you think that?” Red smiled, infuriating.
“Never mind,” Frank snapped, moving to examine the valves on the burner, gun trained on Red.
“This here...this controls the altitude, right?”
Before Red could answer, Frank grabbed the larger of the two valves and cranked it counter-clockwise, reducing the flame to a flicker then, when that seemed to produce no immediate result, he grabbed a lever connected to the vent valve at the top of the nylon envelope, giving it a hard tug that caused the balloon to drop forty feet in the four seconds it took Red to leap forward to crank the burner to full, halting their descent with a bone-rattling lurch. Frank, stomach in throat, instinctively grabbed for the edge of the basket...
...instantly regretting it as the Beretta tumbled from his grip over the side, shrinking to a silver speck as it fell before hitting the distant ground with a discharge that blew a buzzard from its perch on a Saguaro cactus a dozen yards away.
Red took a deep breath, then caught Frank’s wild eye, giggling, “Guess you skipped physics, huh?”

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Screengrab

Hello! Shia LaBeouf and I would like to invite you to check out my new blog-away-from-blog, The Screengrab, where I'll periodically be posting on cinematic subjects along with other snarky folks like our ol' pal, Baron Von Doviak.


Wednesday, April 02, 2008


Previously on Test Drive

Frank had seen plenty of Mexican stand-offs in movies, of course...but the reality of two people aiming actual guns at him was more than his nervous system could handle just then, especially considering that one of the two people was a Texas cop who’d somehow managed to pop up directly behind him despite having been cuffed in the back of the Crown Vic literally moments before.

“No, no, no...wait!” Frank stammered, desperate to explain himself to the angry young Latino, momentarily forgetting the stolen 9mm he was now inadvertently pointing at the man.


Frank dropped the gun...

...while, down on the ground, Hombre watched the weapon hungrily, saw it bounce towards him, the handle inches from his fingers...

“Okay, okay,” Frank said, flashing empty palms at the cop. “Please...”


But, before Frank could even think about complying, Red was swiftly and suddenly behind him, pressing the barrel of her own gun into the hollow of his ear, shielding herself with his body as she snarled a challenge at Ray-Ray: “BACK OFF, COWBOY!”

“...oh God...” Frank groaned, simultaneously terrified and exasperated.

“DROP THE WEAPON!” Ray-Ray cried, aiming over Frank’s shoulder at Red, yet perfectly willing to drill a bullet through either or both of them. “There’s nowhere to go!”

And he was right. They were in the middle of a treeless fairground, at least a mile from Wild Horse and two miles from the interstate. The majority of the air show tourists had run for cover when the first shots were fired, so there was no question of escaping into the crowd. The nearest getaway car was currently crumpled up against the aluminum skin of a vintage British fighter jet and probably wouldn’t start even if Red somehow managed to reach it without getting shot...not to mention the fact that sirens were shrieking all around them now like banshees on the wind. Any minute...any second...the whole place would be a police convention, and that would pretty much be that.

Ray-Ray took a step forward and Red took a step back, keeping Frank pressed to her chest like a bullet-proof vest.

Red took another step backwards, knowing she was only maybe a move or two from checkmate, and yet...
...somewhere behind her, something was hissing, even louder than her own roaring blood. Pivoting slowly, careful to keep the cop in front of her, she angled around towards the sound until she spottede the source: a flaming liquid propane burner, suspended over the basket of an abandoned hot air balloon, not twenty yards from where she was standing.

Red smiled. Ray-Ray saw her eyes dart, realized what she was thinking and surprised himself with a startled laugh, mumbling, “You gotta be kiddin’ me...”

...just as Hombre went for the gun on the ground, hand lashing out like a rattlesnake strike...

Ray-Ray swung around, too late...

...Frank heard a pop and a scream...

...then Red was pushing him towards the balloon, shouting, “MOVE!”

While, behind them, Ray-Ray felt a hot spike of pain in his thigh and squeezed off a reflexive return shot, toppling sideways into the sod. Hombre ignored the near miss whistle of the lawman’s bullet, propelling himself up and forward in a drunken stumble towards Red, firing wildly as his quarry disappeared into the balloon’s basket with Frank and punched the blast valve on the burner, sending a plume of blue fire into the nylon rainbow gas bag billowing over their heads like a giant bloated jellyfish.

“NO!” Frank cried abruptly...

...and then the balloon shot seven stories straight up, before jerking to a lurching, stomach-dropping stop at the end of its tether line.

Clutching desperately for the edge of the wicker basket to regain his balance, Frank whirled and saw Red raising her little silver pistol. “Don’t...” was all he managed before she pulled the trigger...

...severing the tether with a single silver bullet, setting the balloon adrift in the wind...

...while, far below, Hombre fired helplessly into the sky, shrieking at the top of his lungs...