The latest song that I’ve worked into my three-part epic is “This River is Wild” by the Killers and its place is the opening title sequence for the third movie. A cartoon version of me does some haphazard stretching and painfully jogs out into the barren new McMansion neighborhood landscape. Brandon Flowers sings appropriately you better run for the hills boy.
Why do I run? Why is that what I expend most of my energy on? I have to look good. I need to have every advantage I can get. I look so much better 15 pounds lighter. I need to be everything. I can’t give them any more fuel for them to argue that I made the wrong choice. I’ve made so many mistakes already- the failed semesters and all the jobs. I need to be healthy and trim for now, because that’s all I have. They scoff and argue that these things don’t matter, but they do, they judge everything.
So I’m running through this desert neighborhood, mostly unlandscaped, into other neighborhoods that are just graded lots, past construction workers who I’m sure loathe my need to purposefully exert energy. I run past homes whose open garage doors show scenes from my life- There’s the first kiss between Amy and I, meeting Tyson outside the SAT classroom, leaving Amy for Seattle- each garage a small movie theatre. There I am carrying Tyler’s casket. Why was I a pallbearer? Pallbearers are younger boys who kind of knew him. Boys who have to ask their parents who he was. I more than kind of new my brother, 15 months older. I wanted to speak. They never let me speak.
This is all very melodramatic and self-aggrandizing. Every thing is sentimental bullshit.
So I’m running and I suppose I start getting artillery launched at me. Monsters throw themselves at me. Everyone and everything is in my way. The kid who asked me why I bothered playing football, as if he were asking why Democratic Presidents do that long walk the day of their inauguration. All these fuckers are there. I like to do this to myself. I’m better running alone, I choke when competing with others. I never did run the five miles around the lake without stopping until the wrestling season was over, and I was by myself.
The fucking uranium. Pop worked in a Uranium mine, that’s why we’re all fucked, that’s what they say. I’m an old man, a 26 year-old hundred year-old man. My joints and ligaments ache. The bottom corners of my heels sting. After five or ten minutes I fear I could still quit, I could give up, before I’ve started to run hard, before I’ve warmed up. This could end up being a worthless run… I reassure myself that I’ve never done that- at least not when I get into one of these stretches where I’m running every other day.
So I’m a cartoon and I’m running and these monsters and cannonballs are coming at me and there are explosions going on around me. The sky is orange and on fire. I’m swatting it all away, hitting all that shit head on. I’m really fighting it. The camera starts up close on the left side of my face and sweeps around to the right, showing my perspiration and determination. It shows my fear and desperation.
Somewhere in there I grab Nick’s hand. I’m running so hard that he’s airborne, level to the ground. Of course there are all kinds of vines and things on the side of the streets grasping out for him. And he’s getting bigger and I can’t hold on. The camera shows a closeup of our hands, our grips loosening.
Up ahead, we see all the heroes. Eggers and Rivers Cuomo. Wes Anderson is there with Luke and Owen. Owen has short hair and he’s dressed up like Dignan, in slim white pants and collared shirt from the 50’s. He’s absently shooting off bottle rockets, wandering around, staring at the ground. They’re just standing there. They can’t really see this barrage. They can’t see the cannonballs I’m punching away. It’s just sort of interesting I suppose.
The music slows down and I become live-action. The film starts and there’s finality I suppose.