The Yin and the Yang

by J.A. Pak

We'd hit a heat wave and it was really ugly. Ten seconds on concrete without moving and you were liable to get glued on. Even the air was rubbery. The heat wasn't good for Kirsten. She went a little nuts and threw all the Lost Men out of her apartment. Most of the furniture went with them.

"Last night I had a very disturbing dream," she told us. "I was really horny, but in this weird, strange — well, hard — way. And I look down and it turns out I have a hard dick. And I think, why am I hard? And then I think, why do I have a hard dick? And it was huge, balls and all."

"Do I dare say it?" Carter asked. "Is this a classic case of penis envy?"

"Get real," Kirsten retorted. "There is no way I could suffer penis envy. Aesthetically, I find the penis one of the ugliest, most ridiculous looking things in nature. The dream isn't about penis envy. I think the dream is telling me I'm out of balance. Too much yang. Too much frustrated yang. Maybe it's time to quit this fucking loser job."

"And do what?" I asked. Maybe if Kirsten could find a direction, so could I.

"I don't know. I've been thinking about enrolling in film school," she said. "Maybe I'll do that."

"Really? You want to make films?" I said.

"Even the cleaning lady at the office wants to make films," Carter said dismissively. That's the problem with people in the arts — always snorting at anyone else wanting to do what they do. Not the greatest personality trait.

"I just want to make one film," Kirsten said. "There's this idea burning inside my head — it's been there for years and it wants to get out. It's just a short film. About ten minutes should take care of it."

"You want to go to film school for a ten-minute film?" Carter asked.

"I want to do it justice."

"Sell it to me, baby."

"It's hard to sell. It's mostly atmosphere. I'm thinking sepia tones. It'd be color but I want the tones to be a little flat, a little yellow, a little sluggish. I want that reflected in the sound. I can hear it so clearly. Drives me crazy."

"Early David Lynch."


"Is there a story?" Carter continued to ask.

"Yes. But it's not about the story. First shot: you get a cramped, small bedroom in a large city like New York. Woman crumpled up in bed. Alarm clock goes off. She can hardly move. She gets dressed and walks down to street level, all hunched over. She's in pain. She makes her way slowly to the subway. She only walks half a block and she has to stop. She turns around and makes her way back to her apartment. Next shot: she's on the phone. Conversation: she's trying to get a prescription from her gynecologist. Painkillers. Gynecologist won't come to the phone. Receptionist says no appointment, no prescription. The woman explains that she told the gynecologist she needed a standing prescription for painkillers for her period. Receptionist is a pig and won't help her out. Next shot: woman in bed. She tosses and turns in agony. Slowly, she lifts up her shirt, takes her hand, inserts it inside her stomach cavity and emerges with her uterus. She throws the uterus across the room where it hits the wall with a huge splat. Shot of the uterus frozen on the wall. And then slowly, we make the uterus slide down the wall, oh, so very slowly. The shot of the uterus hitting the wall is repeated over and over again. Credits roll."

"What painkiller?"

"No product placement."

"We'll do generic. I like the uterus part," Carter said. "Okay. You write, I'll direct and produce."

"I suppose I can get Jack to find me some pig organ that looks like a uterus. It's always a pig organ. How many people know what a naked uterus looks like anyway."

"Poor piggies. So cute, so smart, so delicious," I said. "Daniella used to collect pig figurines. Little china piggies. She was crazy about pigs. Her childhood nickname was Piglet. She said she had this fantasy of retiring and raising those little miniature pig things."

"You think we can really do this?" Kirsten asked Carter.

"Piece of cake," Carter said.

"It's got to be totally my vision."

"Total creative control. But I get seventy percent of all action-figure rights."

"Fifty. Okay. Let's do this!"

Kirsten ended up acting too. I was the voice of the snotty receptionist. The film got a YouTube premier. Logged over a thousand visitors the last time I checked. Carter did a great job with the uterus. Very satisfying splat. I have to admit he's very good at what he does.