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I flip through the stacks of dog-eared scripts, but every penciled scribble is one I’ve already seen.

I poke the trash can with my foot, but nothing clatters in it. There’s crumpled up papers, sure, but I put them there. That familiar sound of pencil nubs rattling around the metal bottom of the can though. I don't hear it.

Hell, I don’t mind.

Or do I?

Maybe I’m too conditioned by decades of horror flicks. That mid-point in the plot, where everything’s calmed out, the heroine is relaxed and grinning cause the boyfriend planted an axe in her stalker’s head. She lets down her guard and wanders happily through the house, turns her back on the doorway and is cheerfully killed by He Who Didn’t Die You Bint Cause They Never Die That Easily.

I nudge the trash can again, almost hoping for that wood-on-metal rattle. There’s been no Tolkie-droppings for almost a week now, but I’m not letting down my guard. And I’m sure not going to turn my theoretical back to the doorway.

I am gonna set out a pristine, unmarked copy of the Return Of The King screenplay, though. With a big happy pencil holder perched right on top. Filled with freshly sharpened Dixon Ticonderoga #2 yellows.

Bait? You betcha. Am I nervous? More than ever.

December 2006

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