from sydney and austin, but currently living in singapore.
finished a novel with three amazing human beings this year.
you built me palaces out of paragraphs

if sunny v. is the official older sister, i'm the cool aunt.

black lives matter

Message to Readers

New story idea I had. Hopefully you like. Most of the actors are made up, due to the fact that I want to create a bunch of fake movies and needed actors in them. Enjoy so far - part five coming. This (and part one, two and three) reads like a TV pilot.

she moves in her own way (everybody wants to be famous, part four)

June 17, 2020



december 31st, 1999
new year's eve
9:27 pm
harbour lights restaurant and bar
quay and boardwalk
sydney, australia

a pier-side bar, overlooking the harbour bridge and the opera house, which is on the same side. there’s leo and elenore, sitting opposite each other.

leo: So you wrote Avenue… and The Strangers… in the span of four months?

elenore: Yeah. It was… a lot of work, but so worth it. And… I’m happy with how they both turned out, but… well, I’m always going to be wondering how I can make them better, even now.

leo: Well, I’ve never seen The Strangers, but… I watched Avenue during a long flight, and I have to tell you… the message behind that film… it’s really somethin’, Elenore Grace, and I think you have a talent. Avenue was very Kieslowski-esque. 

elenore: You think so? (she hesitates) Not too derivative?

leo: Not at all. (he pauses) Anythin’ else you’ve been workin’ on lately?

elenore, tentative: Well… there is one thing. (she leans forward slightly) I’ve been writing a slightly more classical piece - in the style of a whodunnit; called Tango in the Night. It’s about two young lovers journeying through Spain. They happen upon a small hotel in Besalú, Catalonia… where they decide to stay the night. The next morning, they wake up to find that another guest in the hotel had been shot dead during the night, and all guests are soon questioned about it. As the film continues and more evidence is uncovered, all pieces of the puzzle point to them. It’s very, very clear that someone’s trying to frame them. But they know they’re innocent, and have to keep that up for weeks as they’re questioned. As time goes on, however… they begin to distrust each other.

leo, now very, very invested: Who’s trying to frame them?

elenore (laughing lightly): I’ll tell you when I figure it out.

(they both laugh, avoiding eye contact with each other, the smiles still etched on their faces. the waitress comes over, breaking the moment.)

waitress: Can I get you two anything else?

leo: No, that’s- I think we’re okay for now, thanks.

waitress (recognizing him almost immediately, smiling): Oh. Oh, okay. I’ll j-just be over here, then. (she moves away, almost colliding with an empty table) C-cool.

elenore (noticing this): What was that?

leo, nervous: What was what?

elenore (smiling): She recognized you. (she pauses) She totally recognized you. Nice job. (slight laugh) I mean, isn’t that like the Holy Grail for actors? To be recognized in public? (pause) Do you know what she might have recognized you from?

leo: (grappling with what to tell her) Uh… I was an extra in Country Man.

(this is technically not a lie. in “country man,” leo played the supporting role of moss, next to stephen mcaster’s lead character toledo adams, for which it won him the oscar. of course, leo was not nominated or recognized heavily for his own role, but he and stephen worked together again in “curaçao” a year later.)

elenore: Country Man? That’s pretty big; nice job. So that’s how you know Stephen McAster?

leo: What?

elenore: You were invited to his party. Unless you have a crazy publicist friend - that’s how I ended up there - you must know him from the industry somehow. (she pauses, smiling) Guess you’re not as down-on-your-luck as you’d have me believe.

leo: Yeah. Guess not. (abruptly changing the subject) So… a crazy publicist friend, huh?

elenore: Clarisse Kramer, the one and only. If there’s anything she excels at, it’s her field. She’s got the know-how and the lowdown of every industry gathering from here to L.A.

leo: Wow.

(he’s choosing not to mention the fact that he’s heard of clarisse kramer, the woman who interviewed mira dahmer - his ex-girlfriend - during the press tour for “curaçao”. afterward, mira had complained extensively about clarisse and her work ethic, calling her ‘easily sidetracked’ and ‘aggravating’. but leo knew that mira despised talking to press of any kind, something that had bothered him a little when they were going out, though he never let on.)

elenore: Yeah.

(there’s another long pause. neither person really knows what to say, considering how little they know about each other. then leo speaks, sticking to a broad topic.)

leo: So… the Y2K, huh? Year 2000. Turn of the Century. New millennium. Any big resolutions?

elenore: (frowning) Um… no. Not really.

leo: You’re not a New Year’s person, are you? (pause) Leavin’ the party early, before the nine pm fireworks, not dressin’ up extensively-

elenore: What, so you’d expect one of those party hats? The ‘happy 2000’ headbands?

leo: (laughing) Oh god, the headbands!

elenore: (shaking her head) No. No, I guess I’m not a New Year’s person. (pause) Not anymore, anyway.

leo, curious: Why; what happened?

elenore: (pausing) If you must know… (she sighs) a dear family member passed away on New Year’s Eve.

leo, horrified that he’d prompted: Oh my god, are you serious? Oh no. No, Elenore; I’m so sorry. I can’t believe I… oh, that’s awful. Really, I’m so-

(he cuts himself off as he realizes she’s laughing.)

leo: Really?

elenore, between laughs: No, I’m just messing with you.

leo (half-insulted, half-amused): Okay, that was mean. Not cool, Elenore Grace.

elenore (questioning, leaning back): What is that?

leo: What is what?

elenore, genuinely curious: You keep calling me by my full name. Why?

leo: Oh. Uh… like I said, it suits you. (suddenly nervous) And I think if you’re gonna write your name in the sky… go big or go home, right? May as well do it right.

elenore, nodding: I like that. (pause) Okay. I need to tell you something, Leo… and I need to tell you now. (another pause) Firstly… my original plans for this evening involved sitting on my couch with a packet of store-bought blueberry muffins and a rerun of ER

leo, laughing: Sounds totally happenin’, but whatever.

elenore, allowing herself a smile: Then my friends dragged me out to the alternative: that McAster New Year’s Eve party. But I’ve got to say… (she pauses) having viewed both… neither of them sound all that appealing. I work all year, practically twenty-four/seven… and my only two choices tonight are to recline in sweatpants or stay at a party where all anyone cares about is social status and their own personal gain. (she pauses again) You know… you’re the only person I’ve interacted with tonight who really gets it. Come on, Leo… we call ourselves artists! How can we be if we don’t even attempt to right the wrongs done to the human condition? Perhaps we have lost true feeling, true experience… the very fire in our souls. Because I can see exactly what’s going to happen next: you’re going to go back to your party, and I’m going to go home. No. I may hate New Year’s Eve, but damn it, watching every clock around the world change from 1999 to 2000 is meant to be a surreal experience; not a shallow, insubstantial one. (she hesitates a while before continuing) If you can’t spend those hours doing something that really matters… with someone who really matters… what’s the point? No, there is no point. Not tonight. (she takes a breath, suddenly eager) But I think that’s what I’m saying. I’m going to give New Year’s Eve a point.

leo, wincing: Would you hate me if I said I was totally confused right now?

elenore (more to herself than him): No. No, this is… if we can… okay. Okay. (she faces leo again, checking her watch quickly) It’s nine fifty-four now. Sydney is a very big city, and I think we have a lot of options. In about five minutes, it’s going to be ten pm, and we have a lot to do. I know this place like the back of my hand… and I know more than a couple back streets to avoid the road closures.

leo, now very confused: What do you mean?

elenore: Leo Blue Velvet… the next couple of hours are going to be unforgettable. So much so that no other duration of time will ever measure up… for as long as you live. (she takes a breath, her eyes sparkling) A string of experiences that transcends all other affairs. (a slow smile spreads across her lips) Essentially, this is going to be the greatest night of our lives.

leo, leaning in: Interested.

elenore (smiling at him): All right, then. Let’s talk terms. (she folds her hands on the table) No clubs, no parties, no bars. Because that’s what we’re trying to avoid: the dreaded cliché. 

leo (eager): So what are we gonna do? Where are we-

elenore: That’s the beauty of tonight. It’s a memory we’ll make that will always be perfect, totally and completely untarnished from all those other New Year’s Eve get-togethers. This is our night, Leo… and it’s only beginning. (she smiles again) And it could go absolutely anywhere.

(she stands, holding out her hand. leo takes it, and viewers can hear the first few bars of passenger’s “diamonds on the soles of her shoes” as they leave the restaurant and climb into the car, driving through the city and avoiding the road closures. they drive for a long while as the music swells, with elenore leaning out of the open window, her long hair blowing in the night air as she steers the car through the streets. leo watches her with a small smile on his face, one that refuses to fade. finally, they reach a stretch of road beside some buildings and an empty tunnel. there are hardly any other cars around, and elenore parks her own car in a side street before the two of them get out and wander down near the tunnel, elenore taking deep breaths as the wind gently brushes strands of her hair away from her face. she turns back to look at leo, smiling as the music gently fades out.)

elenore, eyes sparkling: I’ve always wanted to come down here. And because of the road closures, now I get the chance.

(they go into the tunnel, ambling along the street. elenore twirls and laughs gleefully, and her laugh echoes through the tunnel. leo balances on the curb between the tunnel walls and the road in the middle.)

elenore, calling into the tunnel, listening to the echo: Hello? (we hear it echo back) Oh, wow. (she listens again, laughing) Oh, I feel like singing.

leo, grinning: Well, why don’t you?

elenore, incredulous: Here? (she laughs again) And so he’s learning. Okay, okay. I like your style, Leo. (she pauses, still smiling) Okay. What should I sing?

leo, leaning into it, smiling at her: Anything! First song that pops into your head, go.

(elenore pauses a moment, considering songs. then she smiles, and opens her mouth, letting her singing voice carry into the tunnel and echo back.)

elenore (singing): I know what I know, I’ll sing what I said. We come and we go; that’s a thing that I keep in the back of my head. I know what I know, I’ll sing what I said. We come and we go; that’s a thing that I keep in the back of my head.

leo (smiling and laughing as he recognized the song, before launching into one of the verses): She looked me over and I guess she thought I was all right. All right in a sort of limited way for an off night. She said-

elenore, continuing it: “Don’t I know you from the cinematographer’s party?”

leo, laughing: I said, “who am I to blow against the wind?”

(she laughs too as he takes her hand and twirls her around the tunnel, both of them still softly humming.)

(when they get back to the car, leo faces elenore.)

leo: I’ve got to hand it to you, Elenore Grace. That was pretty fun.

elenore, smiling broadly: Wasn’t it? And the night’s not even halfway over.

leo (eager, still laughing): So where to next, Miss Grace?

elenore (pausing as if considering something): The Four Seasons Hotel, downtown. (she faces him, her smile slightly crooked) We have to pick something up.

(as the car pulls out of the side street, the song [“diamonds on the soles of her shoes”] fades in again, and leo turns up the radio, which gradually increases the volume of the music. the song doesn’t stop when they reach the hotel, and is layered softly over elenore’s and leo’s next lines.)

elenore: Right, so this is how it’s going to go. I’m going to pull in here and we’re going to enter the lobby and get what we came for. (she smiles at him gently) And your only job is not to ask questions.

(they head purposefully through the lobby, and elenore leads him carefully to one of the function rooms, where yet another new year’s eve party is being held.)

leo: Somethin’ gives me the impression you’ve been here before.

elenore (musing, more to herself than him): Well, you’re half-right, at least. (a little louder) Okay, so I know I said no parties… but this is the exception. And besides… if all goes according to plan... (she smiles sideways at him) we’re not going to be here for very long.

leo: Wait… what? 
part one:

part two:

part three:

"diamonds on the soles of her shoes" (the cover is by Passenger, the OG version is by Paul Simon):

"i know what i know" (also by Paul Simon): (original):

(cover - elenore's voice might sound like this):


See History

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  • Halopoet

    Hey when is the next part coming?

    5 months ago
  • erin!

    replying: hi rose! thank you for your warm welcome, i really appreciate it. i admittedly did not know this was a series and will be reads parts 1, 2, and 3 right now, but i really love you wrote this. it felt very delicate and lowlit, if that makes any sense.

    5 months ago
  • Halopoet

    I love this story soooooo much and im dying to read the next part. I hope it comes out soon

    5 months ago