An Overheard Conversation

Woman: Walking this dog is hard work.

Man: You’ve hardly gone three blocks.

Woman: Oh, I know. I just think everything is hard work.

Man: You think taking a nap is hard work.

Woman: It is! Do you know how hard it is for me to fall asleep?


History as an End in Itself

They arrived at their new home having traversed an arbitrary road, one of many, all an arrow to that domicile.

“All paths lead to here,” he marveled.

She disagreed. “Every one of them leads from here to who knows where.”

The relative nature of time and space: we’re mired in our own perspective and its peculiar gravity.

“Yet here we have come,” he said intent on her eyes.

She turned her gaze to the ground. “Where there are multiple and inviting points of departure . . . ”

We fear loss more than we desire gain — unless we believe our grip unbreakable.

As love is a selfless form of lust, we unmask ourselves in the taking.

Home. “If anything sacred remains.”

Commercial Pitch: Zombie-Off


SCENE – A typical suburban home, specifically the messy bedroom of a teenage boy.
Said adolescent is lying on his bed engaged with his smartphone.
Mom enters.

MOM (wrinkled nose.)
Eww . . . It smells like rotting flesh in here.

TEEN (eye roll.)
Aww, mom.

Mom raises an aerosol can and sprays it about the room.

TEEN (wince.)
What is that?

MOM (chipper.)
It’s brand-new Zombie-Off, the first and only room deodorizer designed to handle the fetid emanations of the hulking undead.

If you have teenagers in your home, you might just have a zombie problem. Yes, kids love those lurching ne’er-do-wells, but parents don’t love those odors.

MONTAGE of various zombies maiming and eating people.

VOICE-OVER [continuing.]
Made with the latest scent technologies, Zombie-Off provides upto 48 hours of undead-odor-eating power. It’ll zap that morbid stink leaving behind only a noseful of cleanliness and a fresh lemon scent.

CLOSE-UP of Mom taking a deep, blissful breath.
She holds the aerosol can up at chest-level in a presentation pose.

MOM (directly to camera.)
I use new Zombie-Off. Because death stinks.


Copyright 2015



One of the more striking definitions of Hell is
the ability to imagine a perfect place but not
being able to access it. We need not wait thus
for our demise, as suffering would be innate.

What do we make then of the hopeful man who
needs not even imagine perfection but knows it
exists, doubtlessly? Who would tell him he is not
contented and is the object of his own violence?


Nothing Happens Twice

I emerged from the blankness of my depression when a nearby man of less than average height began his futile attempts to reach a book upon a high shelf. I suppose my intent and wordless gaze fell on him far too long. As he finally looked in my direction, I lowered my eyeline but didn’t turn away, a misguided motion of guilt.

HIM: “Do you mind lending me a hand? I can’t quite reach it.”

ME: “Sure. I can, sure.”

My words carried me up out of the plush chair I’d slunk into and away from the news magazine that heralded all the ill-fated people and places of recent weeks. I went immediately to this stranger’s aid at only his simple request. He pointed me toward the book that troubled his reach as I came forth, arm raised.

HIM: “Thank you, sir. I don’t know why they make these stacks so tall. Shrink them a couple of inches, and I’d have no problem, you know?”

ME: ” I know. They’re probably much taller than they need to be.”

That library in particular was spare in its selection. Most of its shelves held less than half their capacity. Why use the top shelves at all? A man of less than average height likely needed this variety of assistance often. I could scarcely deign not to oblige.

HIM: “Thank you again, sir. I do appreciate it.”

ME: “Absolutely. You are quite welcome.”

He smiled and I returned as much reciprocal emotion as my mood allowed. Then he strode off to some other part of the library where, hopefully, his intentions lay within easier reach. My eyes returned to the voids in the shelves. It flashed into my mind that in movies, tv shows, and other depictions of libraries, books fill the premises almost to their limitations. Reality, of course, demands excess capacity, a place for everything when it is not wandering the world.

ME: What a strange place to be thinking about nothing.

These last words I murmured to myself, still standing, eyes fixed on the heart of the quiet buzz of activity all around me, desire for re-engaging that aforementioned periodical gone. Yes. Strange indeed.

Copyright 2015

(Note: The title of this piece is a reference to the Samuel Beckett play Waiting for Godot.)

Love Is Blind, Part One

He considered himself clear-sighted, as near to omniscience
as a mortal mind could construe. He perceived, uniquely,
the way the world was, unlike all the others (sheep, he
congratulated himself on calling them) who deluded
themselves with so many false conjectures. So, what
became of this Arrogant Man when he encountered the
Blind Man who knew the color of darkness?

Arrogant Man:
It must be a pity not to know a true image from a
false one, for all descriptions must mean the same to
you. Yet, you must have a sharper grasp of detail where
other senses presume priority.

Blind Man:
I do not claim to see more than I should see. I do,
however, endeavor to make large truths, as anyone
would, out of my small experiences.

Arrogant Man:
And I am sure you must abound with insights a sighted
man would not ever himself obtain. For one, you do
know the color of darkness.

Blind Man:
Is that not within your visual palette? Yes, I am truely
intimate with the dark, but you know it too: in the
deepest night, when your eyes are shut tight and
wheresoever light hasn’t the means to reach.

Arrogant Man:
However, it is not a permanent fixture of my vision–
merely a state rather than a feature, for the rainbow
does not contain an ebony stripe. Yes, my knowledge
of light, its prism, is imperfect, something any man
limited from a valuable experience should lament.

Blind Man:
What would you hope to gain? The only currency of
darkness is humility. And anyone who tries to reach
beyond his means can acquire it.

Arrogant Man:
But this is the greatest truth: your vision has no means
with which to overreach, toward neither sun nor void.
It is mired in its own unary spectrum. Who wouldn’t
weep at that?

This was the Arrogant Man’s gift as he supposed it:
pity against what could not be rectified. What he
did not realize was that he gave himself away, for
even the most Blind among us knew which of these
two men were the most hardened and unyielding.

“…and he who is stranded in his own self-contained
world, denies the brightness of others’ stars.”


“Charlie, please,” he said, “Don’t let
your dreams drift in the winds.”
Yet he found himself face-to-face
with a great wall.

“Charlie, please,” he said, “Don’t let
love draw you head-over-heels
away from contentment.”
Yet he found himself head downcast,
eyes askance of a headstone.

“Charlie, please,” he said, “Don’t let
your passion extinguish in the
tranquil, solitary night.”
Yet he found himself plucking
a tiny pebble from the dirt.

“Charlie, please,” he said, ” . . . ”
Yet let his own words fail him
and found nothing at all
at every distance
in all directions.

Voiceless, he stood, for the longest time,
then cast his fate into the winds,
the swirling lushness.


Copyright 2015 by Michael Marsters.
All rights reserved.

Clutch Cola (TV Commercial Pitch)

SCENE: A hallway lined with vending machines.

A man approaches a soda machine and buys a can of CLUTCH COLA. He cracks it open and takes a drink. He turns to a woman who is passing by.

      Excuse me.


      You don’t know me, but…I’m Brad Pitt.

The woman looks him up and down.

      I think you must be mistaken. Because…I’m Brad Pitt.

      ANOTHER MAN (popping into the scene.)
      I beg both of your pardons. (emphatic.) I am Brad Pitt.

Succession of CUTS TO various locations, with the shot directly on a variety males and females from ages six to sixty, all holding a can of Clutch Cola.

      I am Brad Pitt!

      I’m Brad Pitt!

      We’re Brad Pitt!

      I’m Brad Pitt!

      THREE OLDER MEN (in unison.)
      We are Brad Pitt!

      TWO YOUNG WOMEN (in unison.)
      We’re Brad Pitt!

CUT TO a broad shot of a large crowd all holding up cans of Clutch Cola.

      CROWD (shouting in unison.)
      We! – Are! – Brad! – Pitt!

1) Popping soda can top.
2) Ice clinking into a glass.
3) Soda pouring from a can (no glass visible.)
4) Mouth sipping from a straw (top of glass visible.)
5) Same mouth (nothing else visible) saying “Aaaaaah.”

SPLIT-SCREEN: A can of Clutch Cola and a still shot of Brad Pitt.

      NARRATOR (voice-over; synced with captions.)
      Clutch Cola. (dramatic pause.) You are Brad Pitt.



Copyright 2014 by Michael Marsters
All rights reserved.