the boys on their literary venture from day one, when they called me
up in San Francisco one night when I had been fortunate enough to be having
sex with an acquaintance whose name I can no longer recall. Certainly
the whole business had seemed a trifle manic and disorganized, and I
some very real apprehensions about being entangled in the affair, but
on the whole it seemed to be a good thing. They were solid writers.
was proud of them for making good, and intended to help them as best
It was at the opening of the filmits Hollywood premierthat I first
began to notice that things were coming to a head, and, as a consequence,
I was beginning to unravel. You see, I had never had occasion to meet
Marla the publicist.
And I had missed the wedding entirely. So when
I entered the theater, attempting to feel as dignified as the tuxedo I
wore, I saw for the first time Rettbergs wife.
And I felt a piece of myself crumble.
She and Rettberg were standing talking with Spielberg
and hadnt noticed me yet, so I very coolly bought some popcorn and proceeded
into the theater. At the very least, I intended to have myself an entertaining
night at the movies. But, as it turned out, that is not what happened.
I must admit here that the film deal, despite being long-anticipated,
had come as a surprise to me, but I took it in stride. I first found out
about the Unknown film, in fact, the afternoon following the morning
on which I had been interviewed by both Poets
and Writers and Wired magazine. I had
returned home from the two interviews,
exhausted and overwhelmed by the adulation and the insincerity, and was
seriously considering leaving the Unknown. It was then that I found the
exuberant answering machine message from Rettberg, who had phoned from
the new Unknown offices in Chicago, where
the three of them were well into their third bottle of champagne celebrating
the signing of the film deal.
I had been involved early in the process of planning the film. At first,
I had been quite earnest. You see, I had never had the opportunity to
write a screenplay before, and was eager to try my hand at it. However,
the process of developing the screenplay, during the time William was
in the coma, seemed to primarily involve going to parties and meeting
intoxicated celebrities, which I was admittedly not very good at. We drifted
our separate ways. I was never sure whether I had given up on the process,
or whether Rettberg and Stratton had given up on me. At the time, it seemed
insignificant. I have never cared for Los Angeles,
and things were going very well for me then at my position in San
However, when I saw what had happened to what
could have been a great film, I had a great many second thoughts.