"Going into shock soon. Hate to be harsh, but if you have unfinished business, or anything to tell someone... might not have much time."
Driven by obsession, he left Texas and dove deep into the psychedelic heart of Old Mexico, chasing a dream that may cost his life.
Skip didn't know what was driving him exactly. He just knew that he had a story to get out and it had to be done before he slipped into the daily drudgery of earning a living for the rest of his life. His mother had passed away the year before without finishing her dream of publishing a book.
On previous trips, Skip had used the intense surreal nature of Mexico to fuel his creative efforts and he knew that if he could just get there with the kernel of an idea, he could use the flood of raw Mexican culture to fuel the rest.
Skip wasn't too sure about the strange spirit world stories he'd heard along the travel trail, but he'd seen enough odd events that he couldn't explain. There was a mystique and power in Mexico that is different than any other country he'd traveled in. If only he could grab onto that mystic power and hang on long enough, he'd have the creative gold to propel him toward his cinematic destiny.
It all started off well enough, but soon one thing after another happened that should have sent him packing. But, he just kept pushing himself through injury and pain until he'd reached the desert. Skip figured he was a third the way there and forging ahead was paying off. Or so he thought.
An ex-entertainment attorney going by the alias of Diego, living in the desert, fasting and drinking his own urine while waiting for his peyote cactus harvest to dry enough for shipment... suggested Skip fast and eat peyote for his pain. The plan made an odd sense and was working well enough to propel him another few days. Until the fateful day he realized he was losing blood and a lot of it very quickly. Still, he continued with the obsession as he made his way up to the town of Real de Catorce to get location photographs.
At this point his obsession had completely taken over to the point he even thought the orange quality is blood-drained skin had developed was merely a trick of the desert light. He was so close to meeting his objective that he could just taste it.
Soon Skip began to wake up and realize he'd gone too far and might not make it. A Mexican witch agreed to work the spirits for Skip and by some bizarre bit of good fortune, he actually made it back into the United States and wrote the last lines "Fade Out" before passing out in the bathroom of a Mexican bus bound for his home in Austin, Texas.
The doctor couldn't figure out how he was still standing and conscious after losing over 60% of his total volume of blood. Perhaps the witch's work paid off, or perhaps the obsession was so strong that it carried him beyond the reasonable. In any case, the doctor told him his brain would soon start shutting down vital organs and that there may be nothing they can do to save his life. The doctor said, "I hate to be so direct and harsh about this, but if you have any unfinished business you need to take care of or anything you need to say to anyone... now is the time. You might not have much time left."
Online Screenplay via Private Page HERE
This still images below where made in Mexico while writing the screenplay. The first portrait image of the Mexican woman, is the actual person the character named Petra is based on. The portrait of the old man in the desert is the actual Don Tomas character. Both are very comfortable with a camera pointed at them and could easily be utilized as actors in the movie.
A travel journal was kept during the initial script writing trip. It has more location stills and location details HERE