Thursday, January 19, 2017

Rev. Ron's Realities: The Purge

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve done one of my Realities but I’m back and ready to make the dive into another film.

In case you’re new and haven’t experience Rev. Ron’s Realities yet, let me drop some knowledge on you.  These are the moments where I take a break from reviewing movies and take a single aspect of a film—like a minor plot point, some extra that caught my eye or even the potential for new characters in the background—and create a short story about them.  In the past I talked about the sale of the intellectual property of Jurassic Park, an architect on a job interview during San Andreas, a little boy who experiences the Christian “found footage” film; The Lock In, from an outsider’s perspective and how eating the last slice of pizza can cause a friendship to deteriorate and one of them being eaten by a ghost shark.  For this installment, I’m rolling into the reality that is The Purge and talking about two dudes who might have the worst jobs in the world and what happens to them when it might end up being the last night ever for the annual event.

Let’s get started…

“What the fuck, Andre?”  the heavy but muscular man yelled in the night air.  “You Purge?!?”

That was two years ago.  That day, after collecting more bodies than he wanted to count, his partner revealed that he engages in the yearly event.  The large man’s name was Marcus Reilly and he and his partner; Andre Stonestreet, have possibly the worst jobs in the world.  They are the guys who go out on March 22 and clean up the bodies from the night before—the night where all crime is legal.  When he applied 5 years ago, he had hoped he would get a job washing graffiti or picking up trash but he took what they gave him because he needs the extra income and the added security benefits that came with the occupation.  He’s seen a lot of horrible stuff and was no stranger to vomiting at the sight of the atrocities he’s seen people commit but finding out that his partner is out there murdering, raping or whatever the hell he’s doing despite being someone who helps with the clean-up was the worst thing he had ever experienced.

Even for the guys who clean up the bodies after The Purge,
staff meetings still suck.
Now, the day of the 18th annual Purge, Marcus finds himself in the break room of their local office, watching as other clean-up employees shuffle in for the yearly meeting on how to handle what’s to come.  Usually, no one looked too thrilled to be filing in to hear about who is assigned to what area of the city or how much overtime is expected or where the employees’ safe location would be in order to survive the night (actually, that was the one thing they did want to hear) but there was always the exception of Andre.  He always waltzed in with a half-drunk bottle of soda in one hand, a cigarette behind one ear and a huge smile plastered on his face.  After the revelation two years ago, Marcus finally understood why he had that demeanor.  Until then, it was just a mystery that he never bothered to get to the bottom of.  However, today Andre slowly strolled in with his head hung long, his bottle of soda untouched, and no cigarette behind his ear.

Without a word, Andre sat down.  Marcus noted that he reeked of smoke more than usual.  It was clear something was bothering him because when something was weighing him down, he smoked almost three times as much as he usually does.  “What’s wrong, brother?” he asked his downtrodden partner.

“This fucking senator bitch wants to shut down The Purge.”

The Senator in question (please note, she's not a bitch).

Marcus internally winced as Andre’s words.  He supported Senator Roan’s bid for the presidency because he hated The Purge and how it affected lower income families like his but he did so only in secret.  He didn’t like hearing her referred to in such a way but, since he wanted to avoid confrontation, he just let it slide.  “I wouldn’t worry about it, man,” he said, coming up with the best noncommittal statement he could think of at the time.  “Maybe she won’t get elected.”

“I hope someone breaks into her cushy little home and slits her throat tonight,” Andre spat.

“Come on, man,” Marcus added, “there’s no need for that—”

“Alright, let’s settle in,” came the voice of their boss, interrupting Marcus.  He was a slightly pudgy, balding middle aged man in glasses.  His name was Roger Coldwell and has been Marcus and Andre’s boss since they both were hired.  He was a quiet kind of guy, a man of few words and would often be described as a fairly forgettable and uninteresting individual but neither of them considered him to be an unfair or bad boss.  “Purge Night is tomorrow and we have a lot to cover.”

The boss started reviewing the usual procedures, duties and all the pep talk mumbo jumbo that he carts out every year to try and motivate the guys but Marcus noticed that Andre clearly wasn’t having it.  When the meeting finally was called and the location for the employee safe house was mentioned, everyone left the building.  Once outside, Andre immediately lit up a cigarette and was consumed in a cloud of smoke.  Marcus didn’t agree with Andre’s attitude about The Purge but he still didn’t like to see him upset.

“Hey man,” he said awkwardly, “why don’t you join my family and I at the safe house tonight?  It’ll be a nice change of pace for you.”

“This could be my last Purge, Marcus” Andre said as he held in a cloud of smoke.  “There ain’t no way I’m missing it.”

“Missing one year won’t kill you,” Marcus said, instantly regretting the unintentional pun.

Andre visually looked unnerved, “If that senator whore wants to take it away from me, I’m going to make this my best Purge year ever!”  Andre took a long drag of his cigarette and slowly released the smoke, his face morphing into one of amazing realization.  “Marcus,” he said with the first smile he’s had all day, “why don’t you come out with me tonight?”

Marcus’ eyes widened, “Hell no.  I have a family, Andre.  And you know I don’t do any of that Purge nonsense.”

Andre tossed his cigarette to the ground, “Fine.  At least go get a drink with me.  I need it.”

“You know there are no bars open tonight.”

“We don’t need a bar,” he said as he pulled a bottle of whiskey out of his pocket.

Marcus thought about it for a long moment.  It was clearly a bad idea but one drink couldn’t hurt, right?  He shook his head in defeat, “Fine.  Let me just text my family the location of the safe house and tell them I’ll meet them there.”

Andre laughed wickedly but playfully as Marcus texted his family and the two walked to their vehicles.  They made the plan to just sit in Andre’s car in the parking lot for a bit while they took hits off the bottle before Marcus would leave and meet up with his family for the night and Andre would go off and do his thing.  

Well, that was the plan anyway.

The night falls...(Did that sound ominous?  I was going for ominous.)

Marcus woke up with a headache and double vision in some random alley in the city underneath several bags of garbage.  Tossing the bags off him, he tried to stand but his legs were severely shaking.  He knows he didn’t drink that much and this feeling wasn’t something one would get when someone was blackout drunk.  He started to go over the recent events in his head to try and figure out what happened to him when he heard someone shouting.  The voice echoed and bounced off everything and it was impossible to make out where the source was coming from but what they were saying wasn’t as difficult to conclude.  They shouted, “Let’s have some fun, Marcus!”

The Purge begins!

“Goddamn it,” Marcus cursed under his breath.  It was Andre.  He did this to him.  He drugged him and it was probably in that stupid bottle of booze he brought with him.  He can’t even remember if he saw him take a sip.

“I’m being a nice guy here, dawg,” Andre yelled from some unknown position.  “I’m giving ya’ll a head start and trying to let you live just once in your life.  After that bitch takes this away from us, you’ll thank me—if you live through the night,” he added before laughing.

Marcus was much larger than Andre but in this inebriated state, he doubted he could fend off any attack.  Additionally, he wasn’t bulletproof so, rather than wait for his partner to come up on him, he started to run.  At first, he looked like a half-decomposed zombie attempting to jog as his limbs were heavy and unreliable but as the adrenaline started to kick in and whatever drug was in his system started to wear off, he was able to start to gallop away.  As he screeched out of the alley, he could hear the night air filled with the roaring fires, terrified screams and bullets of all the people out enjoying (or not enjoying) The Purge.  As he went across the street he found one of the many bodies that was littering the city.  Marcus’ lunch threatened to come up on him when he noticed that it was a middle aged man who seemed to have been chocked to death with his own genitalia that was forced down his throat.  He must’ve really pissed off his wife, he thought.  He didn’t look forward to cleaning that up tomorrow…if he made it that long, he reminded himself.  

And cue Drowning Pool's "Let the Bodies Hit the Floor."

He knew he had to get somewhere safe and wait it out but where to go was a whole other question.  The safe house would be sealed for the night so even if he figured out where he was and got there they would never let him in.  He couldn’t go home because his family would have sealed that up as well.  He supposed that he could break in to a nearby abandoned building and find some corner to hold up in for the night but as this thought crossed his mind, automatic weapons fire snapped him back to reality.  Behind him, in the alley, was Andre.  He was carrying some assault rifle in one hand and was firing it wildly in the air as he ran towards him, laughing manically as he did.  Marcus was about to take off but stopped when he saw Andre trip and fall.

Marcus’ shoulders slumped.  He should have been scared for his life in this moment but what he just saw was too pathetic to be afraid of.  Andre’s whimpering about how his knee hit a rock wasn’t helping things.  

When Marcus saw that Andre was starting to get up, he was about to take off and run again but a bullet bouncing off the asphalt near him spooked him and froze him in place.  Instinctively, Marcus put his hands up and slowly turned around to face Andre as the man limped up to him, wildly gesturing with his rifle.  “I’m doing this for your own good,” he said.  “You can’t go your whole life and not get out there and live, man.”

“This ain’t livin’, Andre,” Marcus replied.  “This whole Purge business was designed to kill folks like you and me.  You’re just falling for their lies.”

“Don’t be a punk, Marcus,” Andre spat.  “For 5 years you and I have worked together and I see how unhappy you are.  You’re tense, all worked up and you need to release, man.  And since you’re married and can’t get some young bitch to fuck, why not live it up during the last Purge?  Unless of course Senator Roan gets it tonight.  Shit, if you live through this we can team up next year!”

Andre started to laugh before he pulled the cigarette from behind his ear and dramatically lit it, “But that shit’s a dream.”  He raised the automatic weapon and pointed it right at Marcus’ face, “You ain’t going to make it to next year.”

Marcus winced as Andre squeezed the trigger and expected a white hot burst of pain to explode over him but, instead, he just heard an odd empty click.  With his eyes still closed and still anticipating the loud bang, he kept hearing a repetitive ticking sound.  Slowly, he opened one eye and saw Andre fumbling with the gun.  Marcus breathed a sigh of relief when he realized the weapon was empty or jammed.

“How the hell have you survived all these times going out in The Purge, man,” the large man asked Andre.

Andre stopped messing with the gun and looked downtrodden for a moment, “Well…I may never have actually done a Purge before.”

“Man, what the fuck?!?” Marcus yelled and made a quick step towards Andre, forcing the man to stumble backwards in fear.  “My family is probably worried sick about me because you wanted to play out your fucked up fantasy of killing someone in the Purge and here I see you never even got your little prick wet in this shit?!?”

“Wait, wait, wait,” Andre pleaded, “I called your wife on your cell and told them you were with me at another of the worker safe houses.  Your family thinks you’re okay.”  

Meekly, Andre handed over Marcus’ cellphone.  The large man snatch it up from him quickly and immediately bit down on his lower lip.  He was furious with his coworker right now.  Every basic instinct in his body told him to take that gun and shove it up his backside or to crush his skull with his bare hands or to do to Andre what happened to that corpse behind him but he swallowed his rage and began to compose himself.

"Hi, establishing shot here to show you it's still night time."

“Man,” he began, “let’s just get the hell out of here and find some place to hold up for the night.”

Andre nodded his head in agreement right before a car suddenly came around the corner and slammed into him.  His body went flying over the hood and across the top of the car before crumpling in a pile behind the truck.  The vehicle immediately went into reverse and rolled over Andre’s body a second time before going forward again and hitting it for a third.  Marcus was stunned and just watch in object disbelief and horror as the man in the car decided to repeat the back and forth over Andre’s body several more times.  After about a dozen instances that ended up leaving Andre an unrecognizable mess, the car came to a stop in front of Marcus.

Marcus gasped when he noticed who was driving.  "Mr. Coldwell?!?" he yelled, seeing his boss behind the wheel of the car.

The middle-aged man slowly turned his head, his face frozen in shock as his jaw hung open and his wide eyes stared in disbelief over his glasses at the man standing outside his car.  “Oh…” he slowly began, “Marcus, how are you?  This is really awkward.”

“’Awkward’ doesn’t even begin with it, Mr. Coldwell.  I just watched you kill my partner.”
Coldwell shrugged, “It’s The Purge.”

Marcus stared at his boss in unblinking disapproval.  Roger Coldwell seemed to shrink in his driver’s seat, “I’m sorry, Marcus.  I’ll assign someone to help you out tomorrow morning.”

Marcus’ stare became more intense.  “Oooor,” Coldwell added, “I can help you out tomorrow.”

Marcus still said nothing and the two stood in an uncomfortable silence for a long time as screams and ripping bullets in the distance echoed in the air.  Finally, Mr. Coldwell jester with a tick of his head, “Get in, Marcus.  We’ll find a place to hide out for the night.”

Marcus slowly walked around the car and got into the passenger seat, his disapproving gaze never once leaving Mr. Coldwell’s direction.  His stare became so intense as he sat down and pulled his seatbelt across his chest that Coldwell started to shiver nervously as he put his vehicle into drive and started to move—running over Andre’s body again didn’t help the moment.

“You know,” Mr. Coldwell finally said after the two were driving in silence for a bit too long, “I never really liked the guy anyway.  He wasn’t a great worker and, since he smoked, he wasn’t going to live that long anyway, am I right?”

Marcus took a deep breath and slowly released it, “Let’s talk about the raise you’re going to give me instead.”

And so begins a really awkward friendship.

And there ya have the adventure of Marcus and Andre; two clean-up crew guys not seen in The Purge: Election Year (but they were totes there, I swear).  Keep coming back for more Rev. Ron’s Realities and more reviews!

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