You Know It’s Hard Out Here For a Skald
INT. FANCY APARTMENT LIVING ROOM
GUNNAR and HAL enter the living room.
Gunnar points to a sweet guitar.
There she is.
Double-cutaway beveled mahogany body, set mahogany neck with
a rounded profile, bound rosewood fingerboard with trapezoid
inlays, and a Tune-O-Matic bridge with a stopbar tailpiece.
The hardware’s all chrome, with 490R humbucker in the neck
spot, and a 498T at the bridge. Great action and plenty of
She’s my girl, brah. She’s my pretty lay-daaaay.
Gunnar looks at Hal.
You wanna ear-scope a lil ditty? Taste the tintinnabulation?
Uh. Sure. Yeah.
Gunnar offers his pretty lay-day.
Oh no, you go for it.
Gunnar readies himself to play. Hal
Nice place. What do you do?
I’m a Skald.
(’a’ as in ‘father’ or ‘brah’)
A Skald, brah.
A Skald. An Icelandic poet.
(holds up his fist)
Wow. My great-grandmother was Dutch.
Yeah, poetry’s great man. I went through a big Walt Whitman
phase in high school.
Check this. It’s about a old guy who’s son drowned on
Gunnar sets a notebook in front of
himself, starts to play a soft sad
melody on the guitar, as he reads the
Our family shield-wall
Is torn asunder;
Cruel waves cracked
My father’s firm line.
How vast is the breach,
How empty the place
Where the sea entered
And snatched away my son?
Now all goes hard for me.
I see Hel, the dark goddess,
Foe to duplicity,
Waiting on the headland.
With a jocund will
And a heart that fears nothing,
I await my death.
Ooph. That’s…beautiful. Heavy. You wrote that?
Nah that’s from a famous 10th century Icelandic warrior-poet.
Egill Skallagrímsson. But my shit’s a lot like that.
Well, you must be pretty good. You gotta lotta nice stuff.
Oh, yeah. This is my Dad’s girlfriend’s place. I’m just
crashing. All this stuff’s hers.
This hot mama right here is the only nice thing I got. The
vessel of my muse.
Just tap into the flow within, and it all comes pouring out.
That’s how I work. I hit my spirit spot. I unleash my inner
sea, and let it crash in the ether. You can’t think about
it. Just let fly whatever’s in you. All the pain and
Gunnar starts to yell, but stops
Get in on this, brah. It’s not just for skalds.
Gunnar yell again. Pouring out out his
inner problems and worries: money,
job, art, etc. Gradually, Hal starts
to join in. Until he, too, gets swept
up in yelling. They are eventually
having a great time yelling together.
After a 10-15 seconds, they come to a
Yeah, that feels good.
Your craigslist ad said $450, yeah?
Hal pulls out five c-notes.
You don’t have 50 bucks do you?
Nah, brah. Sorry.
You know what? It’s…cool. It’s fine. Just keep it.
Hands over the guitar.
Treat her right, and she’ll be good to you.
Huh? Oh, yeah, no. It’s a gift actually. For my son. He’s
too little to really play yet, but I thought if I got him a
really nice guitar, he’d be more eager to learn. Wishful
thinking, I guess.
Cool. Well, pleasure doin’ business with you. Time’s are
tough out there for a skald.
Like fatherland like son.
Nothing. A skald…your fatherland. You know, Iceland.
Iceland’s economy just went bankrupt. Fatherland. Son.
Right. Good one.
Well, take care.
Gunnar sits, looks around at the
apartment, and silently reads from the