mr. paranoid

at my old bux we had several regulars who would work on their laptops for hours on end. we didn't mind that they took up our tables because they were always polite, always quiet and always tipped each time they'd order another drink. one of these regular laptop customers was a screenwriter - at least he aspired to become a screenwriter.

larry was very nice but VERY paranoid. he didn't have just one laptop - he had TWO!
when curiosity got the best of me and i asked him about it he informed me that one was his internet laptop and the other was for his scripts.

"are you afraid of getting a virus?" i asked, curious as to why he was so emphatic about traversing the web with only one of them.
"viruses aren't the problem," he told me in a hushed tone. "thievery is the problem!"
"thievery?" i was confused.
"i never go on the internet with my script laptop. that's just inviting someone to steal my film ideas!"
"um, can't you use a firewall or something?" i asked him.
he responded by laughing in my face.
"firewalls are useless! once you log on you're totally exposed! it doesn't matter if you hide your files or encrypt them - the thieves will find them! no one is safe. that's why i won't even show someone my script unless they sign a two page contract!"

larry didn't talk much with me after that. i think he was afraid i would steal his precious script ideas. apparently i wasn't the only person he was suspicious of because he quit going to my old bux shortly after that episode. last week i ran into him at a bux in my area. i said hello when i saw him but he pretended like he didn't see me. instead he quickly shut his two laptops down and exited the cafe. i have a feeling he won't be returning there any time soon, either.

barista rant: why do you call my bux asking for the phone number of a bux in a totally different district? when i tell you that i have no idea of the phone number since it's in a different city, you get huffy with me and suggest i go on the internet to look up the number for you. hey - i have a number for you: FOUR-ONE-ONE! that's right, dial 411 and they will be happy to give you all the phone numbers you need. so quit being cheap, pay the damn 411 fee and quit bugging me while i'm trying to make drinks!


Beth said...

Are you also saving scribbled-on napkins for story ideas? Poor Larry. Sad thing is, his scripts probably suck.

sha said...


Thought you might to check out this link. It's about the "ghetto latte"


sha said...

It's php on the end of that url jsyk

slskenyon said...

Oh, that's great--they call and tell YOU to go online for them and find the number. Not that they couldn't have done that themselves.

Laptop man sounds like a real character. Now you know his "secret". Who knows what you're going to do?

Film Aficionado said...

I can't really think of a more brutal career than being an artist (I guess writing qualifies as being an artist).

Writeprocrastinator said...

Sure, sure, mock a screewriter's paranoia ; )

Allan said...

I'd guess that no one has seen his scripts- because they don't exist. If they did, he could simply copyright them instead of wearing a tinfoil firewall.

Bux rant: I used to live in a nice neighborhood and now there's a bux where my local market was- I drove by at 2am last night and the bux trux were loading in under cover of darkness. Sinister!

rant rant: I enjoy your rants

Natalie said...

What a weirdo. =)

lighterate said...

I wonder if that is not a process that writers go through before they pull their heads out of their arses and realise the sun isn't shining up there. You know, in their early twenties a writer thinks that his/her ideas are abstract golden fleece, then things get a bit woolly, and finally at the age of 30-something if success hasn't hit them between the eyes they either start a new career or are just write because they love it. Then, and only then, is it time to get lucky.

barista brat said...

beth - i think you're prolly right. he did once tell me his scripts were similar in style to joe eszterhas.

sha - haha, that's a great name for that drink. i know a store that tried to keep people from ordering their drinks that way, but the official word is to allow customers to order "old school" americanos (just ice and espresso).

slskenyon - i have NO idea what makes them think calling one bux for the number of another bux is all right. especially if they've ever actually stepped in a bux they would realize we don't have time to act like their information operator.

bbakon - i think larry will cut off a digit in his 'van gogh' moment.

writeprocrastinator - uh-oh, you're name isn't larry, is it? haha!

allan - haha, don't you know that's how all the big-time corporations work? they infiltrate while you sleep!

natalie - i wish you could take a photo of him with his two laptops!

lighterate - "abstract golden fleece" haha, that's the BEST description ever!

Writeprocrastinator said...

"writeprocrastinator - uh-oh, you're name isn't larry, is it? haha!"

No, but we screenwriters are a notoriously paranoid bunch and look around your video store to see why. There are only about a dozen different themes floating around Hollywood, so screenwriters tend to think that someone is going to crib their "unique" take on the mismatched-buddy cop drama or romantic comedy.

It's not a rational fear, but, hey.

Anonymous said...

Everybody is a screenwriter. Ask him how many screenplays he's actually sold.

Anonymous said...

Ghetto Latte:
I actually don't frequent Starbucks much anymore. 2 or 3 times a month, if that. If they hadn't shut down the Sbux across from campus, things might be different. They make a mean caramel frap, and the local indy shop just can't come close.

I happily support this other shop. The owner's great, you can tell he LOVES his shop and most of his customers, and if he goes down, campus is up the creek without a paddle, as far as decent coffee goes.

Last year, I asked for an italian cremosa - italian soda with milk. Yeah, I pay extra for having them put it in, but like I said, I like this shop. A lot. And it's not that much extra. He rang me up a plain italian soda, made it plain, and pointed me to the half and half. I think if an indy owner can afford it, so can megacorp.

2) When folks call for the numbers, there is probably a reason. If they don't want to call 411 (and I refuse to tell ANYONE to call 411), suggest they text google.
It's better if you use zip code, instead of city, state.


jehara said...

better yet they can get online themselves. or look in the phone book!