Deadline
Red Herring

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Heathen: D | Grade It Now!
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Sweet Merciful God, It's Over

"How was your day?" Wallace's voice-over sneers at his father as he strolls toward a club. "Do you hurt the one you love, act like a moron at work, watch the clock for Happy Hour and then wonder where it went?" This is malaise. We're supposed to appreciate Wallace as some kind of tortured genius. He may eat housecats or staple students' thumbs to the table, but my God, he can churn out copy.

The Ghost of Cancellation Future gets up and starts tap-dancing on my television with unabashed glee.

Wallace enters the Sunnyside Fight Club and meets up with a friend. He begins to drool when it's revealed that he missed an all-female fight. Then, a tall, leggy brunette in a tight gold dress struts in with an entourage and perches in the front row. Wallace's jaw drops and a gallon of saliva floods out, followed by a Fun-Size Snickers that he'd stuck in a molar in case he got hungry later. The woman, Valerie Dunne, is an indie-movie actress who apparently starred in a film based on three-way sex scenes. She and Wallace exchange glances. Valerie looks like she'd screw anything that moved, including but not limited to animals, insects, motor vehicles or a particularly windswept tree limb. In a remarkably creative bit of writing, Wallace's friend -- unprompted -- calls out the names and bios on three people who enter the room together. Robot Roll Call: Tom Lindeman, the fighter's manager; Pablo Corrales, the trainer/shrink; Yacqui Ramos, the fighter; Croooooow. Friend of Wally announces that Ramos is a vicious and meticulous fighter who "plays with his opponent, then puts him out of his misery." Wallace comments that it sounds like his last marriage. Wallace undresses Valerie with his eyes, which takes all of two seconds because her dress covers very little and would blow off in one piece if Wallace so much as sneezed in her direction. Val's boyfriend, a mobster called Barry Lambino, glares at Benton and walks away. Valerie winks at Ramos, the boxer, as Wallace loudly cheers for the man's opponent. When Ramos lands a few tough punches, Valerie jumps up and shrugs off the trenchcoat around her shoulders, waving her hands for maximum breast wiggle and shaking her hips insanely from side to side. Tampax was there. Wallace introduces himself to her, but she of course knows who he is because, apart from being an avid reader of NYC buses, she's constantly being shagged by inept johns who escort her to a four-star alleyway and onto a bed of crumpled copies of the Ledger. Ramos is beating the tar out of his opponent. Valerie screams, "Hit him in the liver," and although it looks like she's talking to Ramos, she's actually begging the beer vendor to descend on Wallace wielding enough alcohol to knock him out. Ramos and Darrell Dixon pound away at each other. Ramos, considering he's supposed to be a prize fighter, looks pathetic -- his midriff is flopping around as though he never does sit-ups unless there's a Big Mac sitting on his toes. Wallace speculates that Ramos could lose strength, but Valerie disagrees. She says "Mexican fighters" are incredible because "once they get hit, they keep coming and coming and coming." Wallace closes his eyes and prays fervently that he's blessed with that attribute.

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Deadline

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