Direction Chapter One
The Title Sequence
A thin shaggy man sat in a small room, hunched over his corner desk. His worn black shirt stuck to his back the way plastic wrap sticks to a glass plate, pressed flat with slight wrinkles. The few small streaks of light that manage to make it past the thick window blinds striped the room in wide arcs, creating little areas of life, and movement, and dust, laced with bars of dull empty black.
As the camera panned across the room it was apparent that the man seldom left it. Small stacks of books lined the wall leading to the door, intermixed with discarded clothing and plastic convenience store bags. Along the same wall was a small twin sized bed with a single blanket, a few dingy pillows, but no sheets. On the back wall was the one source of natural light, an old looking window with the blinds pulled as tightly as the broken pull-string would allow. To the right of the window was the man’s desk, if you could call it that, little and pushed into the corner. A bent, cheap metal lamp was distorted and angled toward his hands like a miniature spotlight, casting large dancing shadows on the opposite wall.
The man was hanging over his desk, with the light of the lamp filling the beads of sweat on his face like little christmas lights. The early days of August made for an uncomfortably warm work space, but it didn’t appear to hinder his concentration. The shine of his pocket knife turned on and off as he worked it into the piece of wood in his opposite hand. With each smooth movement another shaving fell to the desk, his rhythmic breathing then pushed the small piles to the back of the desk’s surface, like a strange Rube Goldberg type machine at work.
Dancing in and out of the lamp's hard light, the faint outline of a cat began to appear in the wood. Each slice got more deliberate now, more focused. An odd grin began to creep onto the sides of his mouth. “This is the one”, he thought. The knife wedged into the bottom portion of the wood, the stride of the cat’s legs began to take shape. The man cradled the knife between his pointer finger and thumb, and slid the side of his hand across the desk’s surface, pushing the wood shavings off the side. The debris fell and landed into a trash bin, covering a small pile of unfinished carvings. He took the finished cat and let it turn over in his hand, feeling the notched texture on his fingertips. “The one” he whispered, out loud this time, as he slowly placed the carving onto the desk.
He slid his small chair back and admired his work for a moment before spinning out of it to collect his things. He was already running late to his lunch date with Chris and Riley. He paused. “Riley” a voice called out in his head, and he let the sound of her name settle in his mind. He turned and swung his bag over his shoulder, grabbed the small carving from the desk, and clicked off the lamp all in one motion before exiting the room.
Knock knock. “Chris, come on we’re going to be late!” he called through the door to the room right down the hall from his own.
“Easy Jeff, I’m coming!” Chris snapped back. “You can come in, the door’s open.”
You saw Jeff enter from the inside of the room, the light from the hallway behind him cascaded in. He shuffled in toward the opposite corner of Chris’ much larger room, where Chris was sitting in his normal spot at his wide glass-top desk. The sounds of a full on war zone filled his room, the flashing colors of the computer screen painted Chris’ face.
The sound of other voices laced in and out of the chaotic noise. “I’m pinned down at the northern entrance!” yelled a voice sounding distinctly British.
“I got you!” said Chris, followed immediately by the sounds of rapid clicking and typing. He was in his element now, as his hands seemed to glide from the mouse back to the keyboard, and back again all in one movement, like watching a masterful conductor at work. Jeff began to hear a light symphony play in the back of his mind.
Despite Jeff’s disdain for Chris and his games, it really was a sight to behold. He wondered if this was what it would be like to watch Da Vinci paint, each click another stroke of the brush, no effort but with complete precision.
Jeff shook himself out of his daydream. “Come on man, we gotta hit the road” he said.
“Alright Goddamnit” replied Chris. “Sorry guys, I’ll be back later.”
“Have fun you piece of shit!”
Chris let out a small chuckle and shook his head at this. Then he jumped up from his chair, grabbed his half-drank convenience store soda, which was comprised mainly of melted ice at this point, and looked Jeff in the face. “Well, what are you waiting for?” he said, “let’s get going!”
The camera held on Jeff for a moment. He flashed a half-hearted smile, moved his gaze to the matted down carpet floor, and turned toward the door. “Let’s.”