Stop Turge Now!

... or writes, or something

[Ed. Note: the following was found on craigslist but promptly removed. It is presented here as public service]

Greetings, fellow craiglisters. I am typing this from a public library computer somewhere in Southern California. I can not give more information about my whereabouts for fear of being hunted down or worse.

On these very pages you may have come across a offer for a writing opportunity from a gentleman by the name of Turge Babonet. His offer may be very tempting, the rewards he promises beyond your most rabid delusions of Academy Awards and Nobel Prizes for Literature. However, be forewarned! For I took a grab at that brass ring, and my career or sanity may never recover.

At the very least I'll have to take the Greyhound home rather than an airplane.

I first encountered the man at a Nova Scotia film festival. As would be expected, Msr. Babonet reminded one of your typical Bon Vivant from any Jules Verne adventure. He sported a Van Dyke beard that curled at the end, and had a penchant for Regency suits embroidered with metallic thread. Surrounding him was as colorful cast of characters as you could expect to find within the European upper classes, true international movers and shakers, including women so beautiful they seemed to have stepped out of orientalist paintings. He was always wearing a cellphone headset, continually raising his finger to indicate that he was having a conversation with some disembodied entertainment executive. The man reeked with movie industry power.

Apparently he had several "irons on the fire with several major studios", and was looking for outside writing talent to see his vision through. He had mentioned a new DVD format one of his partners was developing, and this was over a year ago.

At the time, I was a fast-tracked staff writer for a Canadian Science Fiction Television Series that had best be left unnamed. To say any more could subject my family to grievous harm. In his charmingly gentle accent, Turge claimed that I had a way with dialog that would fit his franchise perfectly. He dazzled me with his knowledge of obscure Russian sitcoms and pledges to fund my own Methodist-themed apocalypse series, if I would only do him the favor of working on his project. He said we would actually be able to film in OUTER SPACE. He claimed to having the backing of several Nigerian financiers whom he had several email correspondences with, and only required an open account to deposit the funds in. He was working this out with his lawyers.

He said he had just optioned Vaclav Havel's latest play, a surreal farce about the continually stoned leader of an eastern european nation. He showed me the script, but at the time I didn't read Chech, so I was only amazed by how few pages it seemed to be.

His own future project tantalized me, and when he flatly announced I would be allowed to be head writer, I paid attention. They were wild, energetic concepts, "New Wave! Horror! Magical Realism! Thriller! Dutch Farce!" His entourage cheered with each syllable. Gabriel Garcia Marquez meets Checkov. Wes Anderson meets Kubrik. Who wouldn't be fascinated?

As he desired, my work habits were impeccable. I lived on a small Nova Scotian island with my home-office facing the sun, and I would write diligently until the sun went down, pulling stories and fully developed characters from whole cloth. It's what a writer does.

I would be living on Msr. Babonet "estate", where my every whim would be catered to, as long as I would "write, write, write!" (he said with a wink). After we finished with his masterwork, we would be able to move on to my own series. His word was his bond.

As my response was not immediate, he plied me with the finest Finland Vodka and sex industry workers from Rotterdam until I couldn't say no. I packed my bags immediately without saying goodbye to my girlfriend, our two cats, or my occasional male companion.

We left by private jet in the evening. At first the mood was jovial, with drinks, smooth young things and choice marijuana all around, but I should have known something was going sour, as with each passing mile he grew more and more distant, until by the end of the flight, he was muttering curses to his assistants in Dutch and throwing me hard looks.

I can not tell you the location of his stronghold, exactly, as I was directly led blindfolded from the airport to my quarters, which turned out to be a windowless room with only an old IBM Selectric that typed only in italics, and a projection TV missing the green lens, broadcasting nothing but the TBS superstation.

I would learn the man doesn't have merely a mile-long track record; he measures it in kilometers, and he tacked a list of his projects to the walls of my "suite". I would have to spend the first seventy minutes of my day standing at attention and reading them off them so that I wouldn't forget the magnitude of Msr. Babonet's talent. I've already forgotten most of the titles, since they were in a difficult dialect of dutch, but "REDLIGHT DISTRICT PANTIE FANTASIES VOLUMES 2-15" do stick in my mind (Yes, as you fear, I had to shout "REDLIGHT DISTRICT PANTIE FANTASIES VOLUME 2! REDLIGHT DISTRICT PANTIE FANTASIES VOLUME 3!" and on through the entire series. I am convinced I heard *other voices* in chorus with my own, reciting this list of projects)

For my reward, I was assigned a conversation between a "turtle" and a "turd". I was to feed my scenes through a slot in the door so that I "wouldn't be disturbed". I timidly tested the door; it may as well have been another wall

(A digression here: the man had an amazing proclivity for triggering my anxiousness with words I find distasteful. "Turd" must be one of the most distasteful words in the english (or dutch) language. He also intimated that he had my past "looked into", and was using my Platinum Amex to disguise various purchases on Ebay)

The man apparently also doesn't sleep, as every time I tried to get some shut-eye, there was a thunderous bang on the metal door and a heavily accented "I want to hear typing! get back to work, slacker!"

Eventually I would surrender a few pages through the slit. The pages would come back with coffee rings, angry red slashes from a felt tip pen and indecipherable comments that I could only guess were in Dutch. Other times I would be awakened by Turge himself pacing around my room in a very emotional state, wildly acting out disconnected scenes and fully expecting me to dictate his tirades. This would sometimes reduce me to tears, which would only further enrage his wraith, sometimes physically.

The only bizarre respite I had was an occasion where I was set on a vast field and forced to play soccer goalie to a trio of mean-spirited Flemish children who continually pelted me with the ball. At least I got to breathe fresh air. I was returned to my bunk beaten and bruised, left to take the burlap sack off my own head.

My diet had been reduced to buttermilk and gingerbread cookies shaped like windmills. These I found mysteriously wrapped in brown bag paper and deposited at those moments I must have passed out.

I was able to get some sense of date and time from the programming on TBS, but when the reruns started cycling, and then the repeat showings of some Richard Dean Anderson movie started up, I knew escape was my only option. My writing had already been reduced to a Jack Torrance like repetition of "turd turd turd turd..."

After picking the lock to my door with the "~" and "]" keys from the Selectric, I had fully intended to make a mad dash for the exit, strangely enough indicated by a glowing "EXIT" sign. The torchlit corridor was lined with several doors much like my own, "Do not Disturb" signs hanging from their doorknobs. I was terrified from knowing what must have been on the other side of those cells, but I found myself drawn to a sea of tapping and the continual dings of small bells coming from the opposite end of the corridor. In my delirious state, I must have reasoned that I could sneak myself a quick peek and be done with this nightmare.

The tapping and bell ringing grew in its fevered intensity as I walked towards the light. I nearly slipped on a banana peel as I turned the corner.

To my horror, scores of chimpanzees sat behind rows of battered Underwoods, their primate digits striking the keys with wild abandon. Harsh looking Philipina secretaries dashed around the room collecting sheets of paper from them, sorting them out into large boxes that had labels such as "Shakespeare" "Mamet" "Beckett" and "Misc".

And at the head of this classroom of madness, Turge Babonet, dressed to the nines and clapping his hands with glee, danced to some unknown song on his iPod. I am positive he smiled at me before I was engulfed in blackness.

When I came to, I found myself lying on the curb of a Compton discount supermarket with a pre-Bush twenty dollar bill safety-pinned to my windbreaker. This had been only a few days ago. Hot soup from a Hare Krishna Center has helped me get my head back together, and I have been recuperating in this public library, looking for whatever work craiglist has to offer until I can freelance enough money for a ticket home.

Heed my tale. I am convinced that that man's name is some bastardization of Baphomet, and that his birthplace is somewhere similar to that beast. As I dose off, I can still hear the *dings* of a hundred typewriter bells!