By Karl J. Niemiec
Author of “Alien Made” – proceeds from book sales benefit Indiana Youth Group (see below for novel excerpt, Chapter 5)
My dealings in bikini movies didn’t end with “Bikini Car Wash.” So, as the story went, “Bikini Car Wash” (aka “California Hot Wax”), made its money back and a moderate profit, thanks to Gino Baffa and those who helped him.
A couple years went by, and a couple of guys I hung out with came to me and asked if I would be involved in another bikini movie as part of forming a production company. Yeah, I know. I heard it, too.
But these guys included Gino. At the time, I didn’t know about Gino’s film acting background, because he never spoke about it. I did know he pulled “Bikini Car Wash” out of marketing hock. By this time, Gino and I had become good friends and we spent a lot of time together double-dating. He never gave me any reason to doubt his character.
So, I bit, and we all went into a meeting with a money guy. He turned out to be part of a soft-porn company out of Florida somewhere. Borderline mob is what I was told. There were five of us meeting with this guy. All being part of our proposed production company. So I waited as each of the other four guys verbally pitched their ideas to him. When they were done, I handed him a one-sheet of my idea: “Caliphornia Bikini.”
The next day, this guy called me in to meet with him at a shady Westwood apartment building, where I met a young kid who they planned to use in the film. I got the feeling these guys weren’t as soft of porn as they claimed. Kinda creepy was what I was getting from the setup. But he wrote me a check for $1,000 with a contract promising that if the script got approved for production, I’d get another $1,000.
That was fine by me, because I knew the formula for a good bikini script and it would take me about a week to write it with the new reformatting process I had developed writing Bikini Car Wash – found in my book, “Prolific Screenwriter,” a class I held at IUPUI.
Plus, it was just about what I lost from replacing my Blood Red’s (Corvair) engine. So in six days, I handed the 95-page script in. They loved it. From what I was told they were going into production with the script as is.
Is that ringing any bells? Where was this company we were forming? I was getting weird vibes all over again. My other partners on the production end included Gino and Randy Misho, who were both personal friends. The other two guys were friends of either Randy’s or Gino’s. And the money people came through them. I had never met them before this deal. One of them worked at a production studio on Santa Monica in Hollywood and that is where the pitch meetings took place.
A month went by and I got a call from Randy to let me know that a partner of the money guy was in town to talk a script deal with us. He also told me that there was a meeting among the other four producers of our group, me being the fifth. They all decided that because I was paid to write the script, I would be cut out of the production company’s profits and wouldn’t be part of the company. And that the money guy we pitched to had sent someone else to convince me that I didn’t want the second half of my money for writing the script – thinking I suppose, that I had gotten something from my writing already, so why share more?
Of course, I had eaten plenty of bikini script bullshit from Frank Ramono, who brought me “Bikini Car Wash” to write over the years. What could they throw at me that would make me want to give them back my money? I was about to find out.
I went into the group meeting dressed in a suit and tie, with a goatee, only to find out, as I suspected, I was flying solo on this one. But to get to the meeting, I had to walk across this landing in front of a large second floor room with a full glass wall revealing clearly what was waiting for me inside. It was very effective indeed. But not quite what they intended, I’m sure. Because what I noticed at the desk was a man about my height but much heavier, in a yellow golf shirt and deafening plaid green and yellow golf pants. On the desk was the same gray covered script with the title I printed on it; the same script that I had handed in to the guy in the shady Westwood apartment building; and a shiny handgun with a black handle. That was it. Not even a pen.
Seeing this threat on my life set something off inside me. I was no longer just a wannabe Hollywood writer. I was Karl J. Niemiec, the son of Detroit Polish Mobsters, part of The Polish Gang (the book found on Amazon), whose relative was murdered in cold blood by Al Scarface Capone’s Gang in the horrid St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. And I had no intentions of being murdered over a stupid bikini script. So, I strode into the room, having no plans of accepting this new screw-you deal, at gunpoint or otherwise.
This thug didn’t bother to respect me enough to stand up. He didn’t bother to touch the gun either. He just met me with a big creepy smile, with his tan hand out stretched and said: “Don’t let the gun persuade you.” I smiled knowingly like life was short all around me. Drawing from acting classes, the mobster not afraid of dying, as though I was glad to get muscled out of my money by this thug.
But instead of fear, the smile turned to contempt as I reached past his hand to pick up my original “Caliphornia Bikini” script. And without saying a single word, keeping the smile on my face, I turned around and left the room. I’m talking a long frickin’ walk, too. I had to walk back the length of the room to get out, then past the same glass wall with nothing from keeping him from killing me but plate glass. I didn’t dare look at him. I just kept smiling and walking at a calm speed; fighting the survival instinct to run for it; as though I was back in the day collecting for the family, and I was packin’. Like that, I headed out of the Hollywood studio. I think the thug was so stunned that he didn’t know what to do. I expected him to shoot me in the back or have people meet me in the parking lot to kick the crud out of me. But no shots or beating ever came my way.
My guess is that he was so shocked that I took back the original copy of the script, that he did nothing. I left. I never heard from Gino Baffa or the other production company guys again, accept for Randy Misho.
I kept the script and their money for writing it. I explained to Randy what had happened. He just stared at me like I was a ghost. I had just taken on porno mob guys from Florida, who claimed they would straighten me out, and even sent in their guy to take care of matters at gunpoint.
Randy and I remained friends and got ourselves into a bunch of other film nonsense. But that’s a whole other murder mystery in the making.
So my and Gino’s time together had ended. I never heard from him again, that I recall. Maybe he felt bad about the production deal and the money.
But I still own the script. It’s still available. I’ve had one legitimate offer to make it, but it fell through: from Peter Maris, the director of the “Phantasmagoria” video game movie. We did two projects together.
It’s still a good-working, funny bikini script in the perfect bikini script structure. If anyone wants to buy it, reach out through my website.
Below is “Alien Made: Chapter Five.” If you decide to jump ahead and read the whole trilogy and buy copies on Amazon, either in paperback or Kindle Books, at http://amzn.to/karlniemiec, know that portions of the proceeds from those sales will be donated to Indiana Youth Group, which supports LGBTQ in ages 12-20.
Karl J. Niemiec is Executive Producer of Programming at LapTopPublishing.com and KjN On-Camera Studios; contact KjN@LapTopPublishing.com.
Okay, so last night, thanks to lack of barking from that weird dog, I let all my pent up, violently weird thoughts go, and got some satisfying sleep. I don’t know what all that bad energy was all about or where it came from, but it’s gone, and I’m feeling okay. I actually had a wet dream that escapes conscious memory. So, with randy hopes, I point my ‘66 ragtop down Ventura Boulevard to drink coffee and invade the newspaper around ten o’clock, as usual.
Within an hour I finish the comics, which I consider my treat for reading the entire paper, put my coffee cup and plate on the counter, and take my entertainment section home. I don’t feel as wonderful as when I woke up this morning, because now I’m not looking forward to having to drag all the Ikea junk out of apartment 101. And I have no intentions of picking up after that dog. I’ll pay the cleaners extra for that doody.
I’ve got a working actor, probably a few years older than me, living down in a studio garden apartment next to the laundry room in the garage. I let him live there for free in exchange for fixing up the studio and keeping the laundry room clean. I also hire him to do odd jobs for me or watch the building while I’m out longer than a day. So far J.J. has merely managed to fill the studio with movie set debris. Why, I haven’t a clue. But he likes the stuff so I don’t complain.
I’m planning on asking him to help me clean out 101, but when I pull into the drive to let myself in downstairs, I notice two plain dicks slouching around my front stoop. I mean it. They look like a couple of dicks, watching me like underpaid paparazzi through the trees. They also seem to know who I am and are waiting to give me a hard time. Great.
I don’t bother driving down into the dungeon thinking I’ll just quickly get rid of them and continue on with my life. But as I get out of my car the demeanor on their faces isn’t friendly or otherwise, just a bored recognition that they have spotted the person they are waiting for. So, I put my emergency brake on, and close the door, leaving it running at the top of the cobblestones.
“Can I help, you guys?”
“Yeah, you Jozeph Picasso?” the taller of the two asks, his high forehead glistening in the near noon sun peaking through the pines. His brown polyester blend sport coat is one of those that tasteless men never throw out. They wear out.
“Yes.” I’m starting to not like the shape of this. I have the feeling as though they expect me to make a run for it. If only these pines were the beginning of some great big forest. But I haven’t done anything wrong as far as I know, so I move over and up the south side steps that are divided by a ten foot blue spruce. I use it to check the stellar morning sun. These cops must be comfortable standing in this solar glare. They must also know a better deodorant than I, because even though it is only mid June, it is a stinking hot morning. Global Warming or not, the overcast we often get out here in early June had started in mid-May and had already stopped coming around. I look up at the sky. It will be another hot rainless summer.
The shorter, fatter one in black shows me his badge as he looks up to see what I’m looking at. I’m Detective Mike Tucker. This is Sergeant Leonard MacAroy from Homicide.”
“Good morning, officers. Is there a problem?”
“It’s about four of your tenants,” Detective Tucker says.
The small hairs on the back of my neck stand up. “Which four?” Like I didn’t already know. That Essinola crud called the cops on me because I made threats. I can’t believe this.
“The Essinolas,” Sergeant MacAroy says.
“Look, I can explain. Those people ruined one of my apartments.”
“Apartment 101,” Tucker says.
“Yeah, you want to see it?”
“Sure,” MacAroy says.
I guide them through the heavy stained glass front doors, which are to my annoyance once again held open by two chunks of my building’s river rock foundation. I lead them the fifty feet to 101’s door. “I’ll need to….” I stop because the double front doors aren’t closed. “They must’ve come back. Wait until you guys see this place.”
“We saw it,” MacAroy says.
“You….” Damn, they’ve been snooping. “Then you understand.” I escort them into the foyer of the apartment and into the disgusting kitchen, like an underpaid tour guide to the museum of filth. “Is this a pig sty, or what?”
“Filthy, but we got kids. So we’re immune,” MacAroy says.
“Look at this. They left a dog locked up in here. No water or food. It barked for three scary nights. I was so pissed I could’ve eaten it if I weren’t so afraid of it eating me. Well, you know, figuratively.”
“Where’s this weird dog now?” Tucker asks.
“I’m assuming it’s with them. By the way, there’s something odd about that dog. I’m not exaggerating. It’s all they came back for.
“You’ve seen the dog do weird things?”MacAroy asks.
“Yeah, I did. And I’m telling you, there is something not right taking place in this room.”
“Not right, how?”
“That dog disappeared and reappeared in different places, with a Blipping sound. When it looked at me, there was something very evil inside it. And moments later I started feeling, you know, evil myself.”
“Evil? You mean possessed?”
“I don’t know. It ignored me after I gave it water and food. But when they came for it, Essinola put it in a canvas bag and had to sneak up on it from behind. It was all I could do to contain my anger.”
“Why?” Tucker asks.
“Look at this place. This cost money to fix. Anyway, they’re probably all staying back with a sister, I think. If you’re looking for them. I don’t know the address off hand, but not far from here in Van Nuys. I’m sure I have the info upstairs in their app file.”
“We didn’t find the dog. Nor the sister or her kid.”
“Wait a minute. Is this about my yelling at these people?”
“You wanted to take them out to the desert.”
“Okay, I said that. But look at this place. Look at the oven. The daughter claimed it was like this when they moved in. I remodeled two years ago. Wouldn’t you want to take them out to the desert?”
“Did you?” Tucker asked.
“Did you take the Essinolas out to the desert and kill them?”
“Come on. The desert in my air cooled Corvair? Be serious?”
“We’re dead serious,” MacAroy says.
I can’t help it. I smile. “They’re dead? All of them, the little kid with the lighter, too?”
“All four of them,” Tucker says.
I start laughing. I can’t stop myself. This is too much. I suddenly feel that there is some form of cosmic justice in this insane world. Like some sort of big karma scenario that can’t be seen up close, casting a retro verdict upon those who are truly undeserving of this Earth. Someone had actually taken these pigs and…. “Wait. You guys don’t sincerely think I went through with this desert murder thing. It was merely a suggestion out of frustration. Come on.”
“You felt evil,” Tucker says.
“Only while the dog was here. I felt good after it left the building.”
“Where were you last night?” MacAroy asks.
“I proofed and printed out a script until eleven thirty, watched an unsatisfying dirty cable movie until around two, and went to bed.”
“So, no Facebook postings, texting or e-mails that would place you in front of your computer?” MacAroy asks.
“You got a cell phone?” Tucker asks.
“Yes, in my car. But I didn’t use it last night.”
“So you were alone?”
“Just me and my left hand.”
“That’s too bad,” Tucker says.
“Not really, I slept like a rock, had wet dreams and woke up with a smile on my face.”
“Anyone see you writing?” MacAroy asks.
“It’s not an audience participation sport.”
Tucker talks as he writes. “No writing partner. Okay, you make any phone calls on this landline? Anything else that would put you here in the building around, say…10:30 pm?”
“No. I walked Bubba…”
“Bubba…? Who’s he?” MacAroy asks.
“The boyfriend maybe?” Tucker asks giving MacAroy a look.
“My ex-girlfriend’s poodle. I walked him before I went to bed. You know, I made my rounds to make sure all the lights were on and stuff. This place is spooky enough when all the lights work.”
“Yeah. Anybody from the building see you, maybe you didn’t see them that we should ask?” MacAroy asks.
“I doubt it. Come on, you don’t actually think I shot these pigs?”
“Who said anything about shooting?” MacAroy asks.
“Who drives out to the desert to beat people to death these days?”
“People do,” Tucker says.
“Well, I didn’t beat them or shoot them.”
“You’re sure? They were blindfolded and shackled hands to feet.”
“Left in the desert sand to feed the wild life,” Tucker says.
“Then you won’t mind us heading up to your place and checking?”
“Do you have a warrant?”
“We do if we need one,” MacAroy says.
“No. I’ve got nothing to hide.”
“Great. You own a gun?” Tucker asks.
“Yeah. A nine-millimeter.”
“Have you fired it lately?”
“I go to the firing range. I write some action stuff so I like to get the real feel. It actually feels good to have one around this place.”
I lead them from the apartment to the elevator and push the button. It doesn’t light. The elevator moves anyway, pushing a paranoid chill up my spine from within the shaft…I’m leading myself to the slaughter.
“Where do you keep your gun?”MacAroy asks.
“In a holster on the back of my desk chair.”
“Is it loaded?”
“You mind turning around?”
“Precautionary,” Tucker says, taking out his handcuffs.
MacAroy nudges me through the opening doors.