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David Poland

By David Poland

Just To Be Clear…

I will have nothing to say about Real Steel because Don Murphy has been stalking me – never offering a reason why – for the last six months or so.

I don’t know why Don keeps reading me, even though he has been clear that he feels I am meaningless, ignorant, and a liar. But he does. And felt compelled to send a paranoid rant by e-mail in response to a comment I wrote about “kids movies.”

He also wrote to tell me that I “have been the most horrible, lying, backstabbing person I have dealt with in half a decade.” Wow. I can’t speak to horrible, but pretty sure that anyone who has ever dealt with me knows that I don’t lie, unless it is to spare someone’s feelings, and I tend to be a front stabber on the occasions when I feel so compelled. I can’t think of anyone in this town to whom I have actually been mean or nasty who didn’t hear about it, in detail, from my mouth first.

That said, I am fascinated by the lies that are made up about me. Honestly, I don’t know why anyone would bother. (The exceptions being Nikki, Jeff, Roger Friedman, the late, great Andy Jones, maybe Sharon Waxman, and now, Don.) I can be distant and certainly arrogant about opinions. I know that I have hurt many feelings over the years, but it’s always been about my opinions about the work. So why that leads to people making up shit about me… I don’t get it. Seems so cowardly and childish. Call me a name. Punch me in the face. Don’t hide behind made up gossip.

But I digress…

Don really, really, really doesn’t want me to see Real Steel and if anyone at Disney or DreamWorks even speaks to me about the film, you’re in BIG trouble. So do us all a favor and don’t. No loss.

I don’t hold Don’s sociopathic behavior against DreamWorks or Disney. They are businesses and they have money at risk. And who the hell would want Don Murphy in their office, foaming at the mouth over me… a person who has never done anything to harm him, but is still the target of his unrelenting ire? They should be Don’s bestest friends ever… at least until mid-October. Then we can get back to discussing the Oscar push for your good movies.

Or as Don would say…

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59 Responses to “Just To Be Clear…”

  1. movielocke says:

    it’s about control. like Bryce Dallas Howard’s character tries to keep the other white women in line in the Help. You’re not in line. That’s unacceptable.

  2. Gordon says:

    Hang on. You haven’t seen Real Steel but you’ll imply its bad with this comment:

    “Then we can get back to discussing the Oscar push for your good movies.”

    And you say it’s okay to lie to save somebody’s feelings? That’s a really, really broad get out you’ve left open for yourself there. Technically you’re a liar in this case too, so score another one for Don.

  3. Foamy Squirrel says:

    I can’t pretend to read Don’s mind, but if I have to guess the email’s more about casually neglecting Real Steel – the comment in question I’m guessing is “There’s not really another kids movie in the marketplace until the end of October.”

    It is kinda a slap in the face, especially considering the commitment Hugh Jackman’s been putting into promotion over the last few weeks (dude was even up for getting involved in “fracturing someone’s jaw” over on WWE Raw), and everyone else who’s involved in production. It’s not that nice when someone you know personally (Don-Poland, not me) doesn’t even acknowledge you’ve got a movie coming out.

  4. Keil Shults says:

    Is this all because the robot declined to do a DP/30?

  5. Foamy Squirrel says:

    From Don:

    “David’s obsessiveness knows no bounds and his abilities to deflect a severe mental illness is really scary to me.

    I am not posting anything about David on my site yet he decides to not only attack me and accuse me of a crime (stalking) he then bans me from the discussion on his site. This is character assassination of the worst kind as well as an attempt to destroy my professional reputation.

    David’s hissy fit is because I did not wish him to review a film I produced. After all the comments he has made in private emails and in public posts such as this one, why in the world would I want him near anything I do? But David couldn’t take that in stride, manufacturing crimes, violating copyright law, and in general being a dick.

    We can leave it to the lawyers to sort out, but next time he posts a twenty paragraph diatribe telling people in the industry that he understands their business better, refer back to this asinine, illegal, abusive and downright repugnant post.”

  6. David Poland says:


    My diatribe is self-defense against a guy with a big piggy bank who has been threatening me and my business for months, outlining specific efforts and intentions to harm me in the eyes of the industry. The only defense I have is sunlight.

    Don’t response to Foamy explains his delusion better than I can. He thinks I read his site. He leaves out the e-mail exchange he initiated this morning. He thinks I care about seeing his movie. He threatens me again with lawyers.

    Sadly, Don is a weak thug, picking fights in private, and then hiding behind his money, lawyers and claims of being victimized when his game is exposed.

    Real Steel would have come and gone without a peep – though every other critic on this site was and is free to write about it – if Don didn’t start poking at me again. (And did I mention that he asked to know who invited me to see the film so he could cause them more trouble? I refused.)

    I think Don, like many sociopaths, truly believes he is on a righteous mission… that I am somehow dangerous… and that I have been abusive in some unspeakable way that, indeed, he will not speak of to explain me.

    Finally, as Don must know, he is not banned from the site. But his posts are moderated. Why? Because he abused the privilege. He didn’t write in to disagree with ideas, but simply to repeat, endlessly, that I was personally disagreeable to him. I’m pretty comfortable that almost no one comes to this blog to read that. And others, who have not threatened me or my business, have also been put in moderation for the similar reasons, though more about fighting amongst themselves than attacking me.

    I have to say, I had no idea that Don was so weak. I completely get the whole Tarantino thing now. He baits and baits and baits and then, when you react, he cries like a baby. And then he sues… like a coward.

    I can;’t believe I have wasted another afternoon of my life on this sad, sad man.

  7. scooterzz says:

    y’know, dp…you should just consider no screening as time saved… fwiw- i saw ‘real steel’ last night and it’s pretty dismal…having just seen ‘moneyball’, ‘ides of march’, ’50/50′ and ‘the artist’, it seemed like a horrible waste of time…that said, jackman always seems to rise above inferior material when its tossed at him, so there was that little bit of consolation….

  8. David Poland says:

    But we often disagree on films, scoot… maybe I’d love it. But it just doesn’t matter.

    I don’t know what Don’s major malfunction is, but this too shall pass.

  9. anghus says:

    This is one of those weird situations where talking about not talking about it seems like it woukd draw more attention than just not talking about it.

  10. David Poland says:

    Fair enough, Anghus. Except that according to Don, he spends 15 minutes a day talking about it to people who he feels can impact my business. So what do you do with that?

    I have been relatively quiet about all of this for months. But Don keeps finding excuses to keep attacking. At some point, all I have is the truth and the ability to tell it to people… while taking responsibility for everything I write. No secret threats or private claims about this studio or that studio doing my bidding happily.

    And may I add… taking this personal craziness out on a movie is absolutely unacceptable. Don is one person amongst hundreds who has a personal investment in the work, good or bad. In 15 years of this, it had always been one of my fundamental principles to keep the studio and producer stuff separate from the film.

  11. Foamy Squirrel says:

    Hopefully the last one. To be clear, I’ve no particular problems in letting Don respond to a blog post directed at him.

    You have told me directly to my face that you would do everything possible to hurt my business and my films. You do care about seeing the film, you told me so directly. I wanted to be sure you didn’t without paying.

    You ban me from defending myself and I am forced to ask others to post for me. You know nothing about me, Tarantino or anything else for that matter. You are the Emperor with no clothes who finally must be exposed and laughed at. The fact that you stooped to illegal actions to try and get your sad, petty way is your problem, not mine. Lawsuits are not necessary nor possible without cause.

    There is no privilege on your site, anymore than the point was that you read my site. My clear point was that you don’t like me (and a ton of other people) and therefore should not have had anything to do with a film you told me you wanted to hurt. And now this. You’ll never get it.”

  12. David Poland says:

    Well, that (“You have told me directly to my face that you would do everything possible to hurt my business and my films”) is just a 100% fucking lie by Don. Not a part lie, not an extension on some variation on the truth. Not a fib. It is a 100% fiction.

    I NEVER have told ANY filmmaker that I would try to hurt them or their film(s). EVER. Nor have I ever made ANY effort to damage any filmmaker or their film, aside from being critical of the work or the marketing of the work.

    I am amazed at the balls on you, Don. There is not an iota of truth in that massive lie. Not your opinion. Something you are claiming I said. Stunning.

    And really, Don, if this is a real message through Foamy… and I have no reason to think it isn’t… I am now forced to be in touch with DreamWorks and Disney about your lie. Because even though I don’t know that anyone would ever believe it, if you said it to anyone, you are, in the realm of what I do, committing a serious act of slander. This is almost as bad as Finke telling people she felt I was threatening her sexually.

    I have now removed all limitations on your posting on the blog…. and they will stay off until you or your minions abuse the privilege again.

    Please… come tell us all when I allegedly said this to you or allegedly wrote this to you… because if you do, then your lie will be directly attributable to you.

    Please, double down on this lie. Or think hard about it and remember when you had this paranoid dream because it never happened in the real world.

    And in fact, I defy you or anyone reading this, to bring up any instance in my entire history of writing about movies in which I EVER suggested that I would try to harm any film for any reason. I’m not Jeff Wells, arguing that films I don’t like should be disappeared from the planet.

    The only time I can think of in which I even came close to this ridiculous lie is when, knowing it would be utterly ineffective, wrote scornfully of Lionsgate’s choice to release the reprehensible Hostel 2. And I have since admitted that I overstepped my own standards by writing about the film based on a stolen version of the film found in DVD in Seattle. I feel I was right about the film and the wave at the time, but I should have handled it through all the right channels.

    Part of me fears that I am protesting too much, but I don’t think I can protest a lie like that too much. It’s simply outrageous.

    If this is the secret reason that Don has been withholding for wanting to hurt me, and he really believes it to be true, I get it. But there is not a shred of truth to the idea that I ever said this. 0%.

  13. Foamy Squirrel says:

    You COULD always email you know. I’ve run into moderation on the Hot Blog before with posting links, so I’ve let Don know the posts aren’t blocked they just wait for approval (although it looks like that will no longer be necessary).

    It looks like my original judgement was wrong – so I apologize to DP about that. I would question the wisdom of moving an email exchange to a blog, especially since Don was being moderated at the time limiting his ability to respond, but it’s not like it doesn’t happen every day on industry blogs.

    I’m tired and cranky, and need some sleep. If there’s some basis for the accusations, quote em. Otherwise a round of “he said/she said” based on interpretations is just going to get raised eyebrows, and then we’re going to go back to our beers.

  14. anghus says:

    You know, i am far from the world’s most knowledgeable person on the inner workings of Hollywood.

    But when i play this hypothetical situation through the probability machine the numbers don’t add up.

    Let’s just say hypothetically that Dave had some vendetta against Real Steel, that he was some moustache twirling dick with an axe to grind.

    Tell me, just how the hell would you accomplish that?

    What could you do to derail Real Steel? This quote troubles me.

    “You have told me directly to my face that you would do everything possible to hurt my business and my films.”

    I don’t see how there’s any way you could accomplish this goal. Are you Ebert? Could a review calling it the worst of the year destroy the box office potential? Could even Ebert do that? His Straw Dogs review didn’t exactly set the box office skyrocketing.

    I don’t know Don. I only know him from strange interactions he has with online film people. I don’t remember the details of his early 2000 pair up with “The Facer” regarding an anti Drew McWeeny campaign that went to strange places… but it’s strange when you hear a successful Hollywood Producer tied up in these weird vendettas that don’t seem to be rooted in reality.

    And by ‘don’t seem to be rooted in reality’, i mean….

    Somebody explain to me the scenario where Dave is able to destroy Real Steel or “hurt” the movie.

  15. JoJo says:

    Who cares? Seriously, stop being children.

  16. David Poland says:

    Don’t know who you are, JoJo, but to have a film’s producer telling a studio that a journalist has told him that he would try to hurt a film they were investing over $100 million in is no small thing if you are the journalist and it’s an outright lie.

    Don is not important to my future in a direct way and I am not important to his. But if one person believes that lie at either DreamWorks or Disney, it can be – and if it were true, should be – quite destructive.

    And Anghus… there are minor irritations I could create for the film inside the studio… but no, I could not change the financial future of a movie like that without some sort of serious story that was destructive of Hugh Jackman or something like that.

  17. Foamy Squirrel says:

    Bleh, that should have read “DP, you COULD always email Don you know”. Seriously, I have no idea who I’m referring to half the time in that previous post.

    Off to sleep I go. Hopefully I’ll be more coherent in the morning.

  18. Joe Leydon says:

    BTW, David: What did you think of Double Dragon?

  19. David Poland says:

    Don’t think I ever saw it, Joe.

  20. film fanatic says:

    It was once said, about legendary producers (and control freaks) David O. Selznick and Irving Thalberg, that no detail was too small or insignificant to escape their attention. Maybe DM is just trying to follow their example. (insert ironic emoticon here)

    The most enlightening thing about this exchange is that DM has Foamy’s email, which, I suppose, means that Foamy is actually a “playa” in this business of show. Cool beans.

  21. krazyeyes says:

    Can we all just agree that Don is doing DP a favor by not allowing him to see Real Steel?

  22. Joe Leydon says:

    David: It’s actually a hoot. My son and I saw it when he was 8, and thoroughly enjoyed it together. When your lad is a bit older, you might share it as a bonding experience.

  23. Gustavo says:

    Don Murphy’s posts here were an eyesore. It was hard to read one message from him that wasn’t either extremely abusive or downright rude towards not only Poland, but any other person who used these boards and dared question him or disagree with him. His being unable to post here is a very healthy thing to this blog.

  24. mdoc says:

    We should let Don come back if only to tell us whose idea it was to put lips on Optimus Prime.

  25. Keil Shults says:

    “graffiti with punctuation”

  26. bulldog68 says:

    This might be a little late to the discussion but I was going through some of the summer threads and found this statement from DP about Real Steel, posted May 10th:

    “I know NOTHING about this film other than the trailers I have seen. This makes Real Steel look like solid family entertainment with a PG-13 flare thanks to this Family trailer, replacing the gritty Geek/MMA trailers from before.” So much for trying to hurt Don’s film.

    To the comment about the Oscar push for Don’s “good” movies, I don’t see it as RS being a bad movie, just maybe not Oscar material per say. That statement also boldly puts it out there that Don had some Oscar worthy material.

  27. Storymark says:

    Damn, after David threw down the gauntlet, I was hoping for some epic Murphy tirade. The silence is disappointing (speaking purely from a spectator perspective).

  28. Richard Hell says:

    Fuck Don fucking Murphy! Fuck that fucking fuck and fuck the fucking fucks who he fucked to get to the fucking waste of space he now fucking takes up. And fuck his fucking Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots movie!

  29. Don R. Lewis says:

    “Disappointing” is one way to describe it, Storymark….

  30. Nom De Guerre says:

    RichardHell= David Poland= always classy.

  31. David Poland says:

    Hi Don. Funny to have you accuse me of what you do all the time… and just did… posting under fake names.

    Unlike you, I don’t hide. If I wanted to say that, I’d have said that.

    As for you, please confirm or deny what Foamy says you wrote him… just so we can all be clear.

  32. Nom De Guerre says:

    David says he isn’t Richard Hell. Yet less than 8 minutes after being accused of being Richard Hell David is here denying. He doesn’t remove the vitriol Richard Hell wrote or the defamatory comments he made under his own name.

    Sure you aren’t Richard Hell. Sure you aren’t.

  33. Martin S says:

    …his fucking Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots…

    I keep thinking this might be the issue. Even though ‘Steel is based on a Matheson story, it’s been buried with the Rock ’em comparison.

    I know Wolfgang is attached to some Rock ’em Mattel flick, (ala Ridley and Monopoly), but does it have a prayer after ‘Steel? Especially if ‘Steel opens? I have to read Matheson’s short again to see how it stacks to ‘Steel, but I could certainly hear someone arguing for market confusion. I know the original game creator company were/are IP hawks, I’m still not clear what Mattel has on Rock ’em, (if they are just holding the license or did they buy the original company).

    Outside of this, I cannot fathom anyway, anyone, could hurt this film. No offense Dave, but people are going to either be drawn to its premise or not. In this sense, it’s critic-proof.

  34. David Poland says:

    Don/Nom… this is boring already.

    I have directly accused you of lying about me in your alleged e-mail to Foamy that he published here. If you think that using the f-word about you is remotely as serious an attack in my view, you are terribly confused.

    So, again, tell me… do you claim that I threatened you, your film, and your business to your face or in any way?

    PS. Still waiting for those papers from your “litigator.”

    PSS Continuing to comment here under a fake name will force me to put you back on “moderate.”

  35. David Poland says:

    I take no offense at all, Martin. Of course I can’t really hurt his movie.

    But more to the point, if Don actually wrote that, he was making up a lie from whole cloth… a lie that reflects what he has been threatening to do to me for months.

    It seems that Don – especially in this Richard Hell schtick, which I wouldn’t be shocked to find out is Don himself – just wants to distract from his own bad behavior and to try to stick the person accusing him of the behavior with not only doing the same thing, but then pretending he never did what he did in the first place.

    I don’t think any of this has anything to do with Real Steel. it’s been going on for many months. Over a year – in spurts – I think.

  36. bulldog68 says:

    And the funny thing us, the second trailer was a smashing success in countering what in my mind was a bad first trailer, and I want to see it now, along with a few of my friends who had the same reaction. Despite/in spite of Don Murphy.

    As for the October 7th release date, (yes Don, October 7th), if it can survive The umpteenth retelling of the Three Musketeers that may take some of the family audience away on the 14th, it should do okay. I think pre-teen and teen boys would choose robots and virtual boxing over being a musketeer any day.

  37. Foamy Squirrel says:

    Would you like me to forward the emails?

    And it’s PPS (post post script).

  38. David Poland says:

    I would appreciate it, Foamy.

    I have no reason to doubt you, but given that Don has chosen not to own up to sending them and loves to threaten legal action, assuming them to be real – even if they are – plays into his manipulative hands.

  39. Nom De Guerre says:

    Mr Poland says-
    Over a year – in spurts – I think.

    And he thinks that someone writing to his email that is used for comments, on occasion, constitutes the crime of stalking? Genius!

  40. David Poland says:

    Actually, Don… it’s the content of the e-mails… the repeated and specific threats… the assertion that you were spending a period of time every day trying to damage me and my business.

    Does that mean you are outside of my window masturbating? No.

    Does it mean that you are claiming to have an obsessive interest in me that suggests potential danger to me and my family? Yes.

    I know you’d like to argue the semantics of the word, as you think it somehow frees you of responsibility for the behavior. But it doesn’t.

    Once again I ask… will you take responsibility for the lie that you allegedly wrote in an e-mail, that I have threatened you?

    One more fake name post and I put the moderating back on your IP addresses. I’m sure I’ll post your comments, but I’m not going to worry about what games you are trying to run while I’m not paying attention.

  41. Nom De Guerre says:

    Tit for Tat big fella. Tit for Tat!

  42. David Poland says:

    Problem is, Don… you’re the only one threatening or fighting.

    I am hardly everyone’s most beloved character, but you are making me a clear victim here.

    And the fact that you won’t admit that you made that ridiculous claim about me is a pretty good sign that you are, once again, backing away from a lie when legal jeopardy or industry scorn might attach. Classic Murphy-ism.

  43. Richard Hell says:

    For the record, I am not Mr. Poland. Any asshat who knows how to do an IP address search would see I am nowhere near Los Angeles.

    But Donny Boy, I do have a favor to ask… can you please stop making shitty movies for twelve year old voidoids and start making more movies like Permanent Midnight. You know, something that will still be interesting in a few years, instead of in the Wal-Mart overstock bargain bin after a few weeks. Sincerely. Because your fucking robot movies suck more than a Times Square hooker circa 1978.

  44. Richard Hell says:

    I guess I should also add I am not Mr. Murphy. I really don’t have much of a beef with the man. I just enjoy watching him go ape-shit at the slightest provocation. And he does allow himself to get his tiities all a’twixted very easily.

    Warren Oates once gave someone some good advice, which Donny Boy needs to hear, even if we all know he’ll never listen to it…

    Lighten up, Francis.

  45. Don R. Lewis says:

    I always thought REAL STEEL looked kind of cool. I’m sure there’s no surprises in it (unless Evangeline Lilly reveals she can in fact, act) but it looks like a nice popcorn flick.

  46. film fanatic says:

    To whomever this Richard Hell person is:

    A) Enough already.
    B) This is a film geek crowd. The NYC punk rock reference in-jokes are going to fly right over their heads.
    C) So please make like your generation and BLANK off.

  47. palmtree says:

    “I just enjoy watching him go ape-shit at the slightest provocation.”

    That reads like the definition of a troll.

  48. Foamy Squirrel says:

    Okies, looks like I wont be forwarding any emails. If that makes anyone doubt my word, that’s fine. I’ve got my big boy pants on.

    I don’t have a stake in this dispute – if someone asks me for a favour, I’m happy to oblige. I think Don is overly quick to break some fingers, but it’s not as if he’s ever been shy about doing so or does it behind people’s backs.

    I think a lot could be resolved by an email exchange saying, “Okay, what would you like me to DO?” instead of this constant defensive posturing.

  49. Martin S says:

    Dave – I don’t think any of this has anything to do with Real Steel. it’s been going on for many months. Over a year – in spurts – I think.

    That’s what I originally thought, but everyone started focusing on ‘Steel, so I thought I missed something along the way.

    Am I the only one waiting for Finke to enter the mix?

  50. Foamy Squirrel says:

    “I thought I missed something along the way. ”

    I was just going from DP’s comment at the top – ‘in response to a comment I wrote about “kids movies.”’

    Certainly the feud has been going on for longer than just now, but it was phrased as if this was the latest issue rather than out of the blue.

    “Am I the only one waiting for Finke to enter the mix?”

    All we need is Jeff Wells and we could start selling tickets.

  51. anghus says:

    I liked the 2nd Real Steel trailer. I want to see it.

    Maybe that gets lost in all of Don’s weirdness. Sometimes movies sell themselves. They don’t require blood vendettas and anger.

  52. David Poland says:

    Foamy… been begging Don for anything I can do… to know what his problem is… for a year.

    He’s been threatening me for a year.

    So please stop the equivocating bullshit. This is ALL Don.

  53. David Poland says:

    This is not about Nikki or Jeff. This was just about Don and his raising the threat ante over the weekend.

    I forget I live in the Coliseum sometimes. I prefer a kinder view of humanity.

  54. Joe Leydon says:

    Don. Nikki. Jeff. David. I think I’ve seen this movie already.

  55. Haven’t had anything to add here (other than yes, Real Steel, be it a hit or a flop, is arguably as critic-proof as they come), but I must have missed something, Joe. How in the world did we get to asking about Double Dragon of all things? I did look it up and yes it was one of Don Murphy’s first productions (even more shocking… it was written by Paul Dini!!), but it seemed a completely out-of-left field question. My wife recently forced me to watch Super Mario Bros, which she had never seen. Pure hell, a perfect example of, with the exception of casting Bob Hoskins, how to do everything wrong with a major studio production. Point being, I’ve never seen Double Dragon (it never got much of a theatrical release and seventeen years just flew by), but I may take your recommendation.

  56. Joe Leydon says:

    See it when in the right frame of mine, or with a youngster, and you may have a good time. To be brutally honest, I enjoyed it more than any of the Transformers movies. Not that I detested those films, you understand. But DD in its own way rocks.

  57. The Pop View says:

    As a long-time reader of David Poland, I just wanted to chime in and offer support. The idea that he would make a threat like that or have any power to “destroy” a film or a filmmaker is absurd.

    I don’t always agree with Mr. Poland, but I always value his voice.

  58. Destrie says:

    Wait, I cannot fathom it being so srtaighotfrawrd.

The Hot Blog

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

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