Igor, your newest email address doesn’t work now.

Sounds about right.

Par for this course you’ve had me playing on for the last six months.

I’m getting the failure notices again.

Mr. MAILER-DAEMON keeps filling up my inbox, replying to my simple questions and unveiled threats with his instant FUs.

This is the third time your email has gone bad.

All I want is my money.

I don’t care about the movie anymore.

Just give me my money, Igor Anatsko.

Five hundred dollars.

I earned it.

I rewrote your entire script just like you asked.

100_2049

 

100_2051

You said you liked it.

You said you guys were going to use quite a bit of it.

I said I’m happy to be a part of it all.

I said I’m excited about working on your film and that we should do this, really seriously do this and put this goofy Russian film in some American theaters or video stores.

We were both pumped, Igor.

Talking about the future of “Call Me Genie!”.

Talking over a couple of drinks.

Remember how you barely touched your martini because you said it tasted funny?

Oh, Igor.

You could obviously be such a hoot.

And hey, remember how we both signed the contract that night?

I still have it right here:

100_2038

You put your signature right on top of mine:

100_2045

Those were good times.

Trusting times.

Handshakes and smiles.

Compliments all over the place.

You enjoyed my watch.

I said I liked your car.

I clapped you on the back.

Totally good times.

Get this, Igor – I literally just got off the phone with one your buddies.

Not even kidding.

After Googling the phrases “Igor Anatsko,” “Call Me Genie!” and “Nanocult Studios” for the umpteenth time, I found a new phone number attached to your name this afternoon.

I rolled back my chair and called it four times.

A recording finally came on, but it wasn’t you.

Some other Russian dude.

“Somebody called my cell phone,” this guy just said moments ago.

I’m looking for Igor Anatsko.

“I’m taking messages for him. Who is this?”

Well, I’m the guy who contacted him back in September after reading his posting on craigslist.com. He was looking for comedy writers to rewrite a Russian film titled “Call Me Genie!”. You probably know it; it’s that dreadfully sophomoric comedy Igor’s probably always blabbing on and on about where a Genie pops out of a Sprite can and has to grant wishes to three Russian teenage boys who choose to travel to India to follow the main character’s love interest into a series of mishaps with a slapstick group of Russian mobsters. Anyway, Igor and I met up a long time ago at a Starbucks where he gave me a copy of the DVD and explained how he was trying to bring the film to American movie theaters later this year. The movie was completely in Russian with English subtitles, and Igor needed it rewritten with “American humor.” I did that for him. I watched “Call Me Genie!” like eight or twenty times and wrote dialog for any time a character opened their mouth. Took me quite a bit of time. The two back arrows on my rewind button are a little bit see-through.

I’d like to talk to Igor.

“I’m taking messages. What do you want?”

Well, Igor owes me another five hundred dollars. He payed me five hundred up front, in cash, with a deal that he would pay me the rest upon completion. I finished it on October 4 and emailed it right in.

“Send me the invoice and I’ll send you a check,” the man said. His impatient Russian accent didn’t seem very threatening for some reason.

I gotta say that I don’t believe that. You see, I emailed or called Igor every single day for four months. I know; I’m pretty committed. After a while it even became a game for me and my roommate. But one day I just stopped, just like Igor assumed I would, but I decided to pick up the scent again this week. Now, the last time I actually spoke with Igor was back in January after he returned the voicemail of mine where I threatened to contact Coca-Cola (because of their huge product placement in this movie). I said that I thought the boys down at the Coke lab might appreciate my frustrating story with one of their investments. Igor said he didn’t have my money. I asked when would I see it and he said he didn’t know. He asked me email him at a new address from now on and then he hung up.

“Fax me the contract and I’ll send you a check.”

Like I said, I don’t believe that. I want to talk to Igor Anatsko. It’s pretty funny because I’m seriously sitting right here at my computer writing an article about how Igor and his partners shit on me. And how I’d almost rather see your movie fall on hard(er?) times than see my money at this point. I’m going to try to get people to hate your movie before even knowing it exists.

Tnb_igor4

“You can fucking write fucking bullshit! Whatever, man! You send me the fucking contract and I’ll send you the fucking money!”

*Click*

Igor, I called him right back because he never gave me the fax number.

Can you believe that?

I can.

I left two long messages asking for the fax number.

Sigh.

Almost had you guys.

The trail is warm, if not hot.

Closest I’ve been in four months.

Freelancing as a writer sometimes feels like a big joke, Igor.

I’ve done it for three or four print magazines in the last few years, and if you’re not getting told how to write your article by the person you’re interviewing for the feature, you’re getting your work chopped up and edited and given terrible headlines by some humorless old lady I imagine sitting in front of her front door in hopes the mailman will be carrying something heavy so that he knocks and she can offer him some of the sheet cake she spent all morning baking instead of taking the time to re-read and understand some of my analogies or jokes.

Sometimes you get paid in cash, Igor. Like when you paid me the first five hundred dollars in tens and twenties in the dark lobby of my apartment building. That was interesting. Especially when a couple of my neighbors passed through.

And sometimes you get paid with a check that’s been chilling out in the post office for over two weeks when you’ve been counting on it to pay for groceries.

And sometimes you don’t get paid the amount they said you would, or at all.

Freelancing.

It’s for the birds, Igor.

Imagine getting these phone calls from a faceless publisher who doesn’t have an email account:

“I need you to do a write up for the restaurant inside the Holiday Inn by Monday.”

“There’s a silent auction you need to cover on Friday night.”

“You’re going to a dog obedience class tomorrow.”

“Meet Dr. Dalan at his office at eight. He’s going to talk to you about allergies.”

I swear, my Russian enemy who still owes me half a grand, there are times I’d rather sit on the edge of the sink and watch my pee bubbles pop than interview another chef or gala organizer.

So, I’ll give you just a bit more time to make this right before my letter to Coca-Cola actually does go out.

And before I email any more of the actors of “Call Me Genie!” I’ve found on the Internet.

And before my posts start showing up on the independent film forums where you sometimes leave comments.

Before I publish a couple of articles on the dangers and how-tos of freelance writing and use you as the main example.

Before I finally overcome the fact that I believe you’re tied to the Russian mob somehow, and try to sue you in small claims court.

I’m going to stay on it, Igor.

I’m going to continue to act out this real life movie that you and I have going on here.

I just hope Act Two has more action and a tropical location.

(See the trailer to “Call Me Genie!” here. I know, I know. Totally lame concept. But hey, it was a $1,000 gig.)

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GREG BOOSE grew up in northeast Ohio, got his MFA degree in Moorhead, MN, and now lives in Chicago. His writing has appeared on/in The Huffington Post,The Big Jewel, Yankee Pot Roast, Monkeybicycle, Opium Magazine, McSweeneys.net, Hobart, Feathertale, Time Out Chicago, Chicago Public Radio, Chicago Reader, NFL.com and more. Along with his wife, he is the co-editor for BlackBook Magazine's guide to Chicago. He won the 2008 Readers' Choice Award and Editor's Choice Award for satire in Farmhouse Magazine.



You must be this tall to visit his website at gregboose.com.



Follow him on Twitter at Greg_Boose.

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