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Un Amico

"I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship." -Rick Blaine, "Casablanca"

By Koby SampsonPublished 3 years ago 4 min read
Un Amico
Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

He had just gotten my number. The message showed up as unknown and bore an invitation to meet up, hang out someplace, do something.

Josh was new to the neighborhood. He’d just moved from some piss-bucket in the east valley to a rented one-story about a hundred-some-odd-yards from my place.

I’d seen him at a church function. This was 2013, back before I could convey to my parents my resounding disdain for their catechism.

I will extend an olive branch: it forced me to find Josh.

According to him I didn’t make contact initially, even ignoring him at first, for which I still apologize.

Then the day came when he shot me the message.

I replied in the affirmative.

At first we sat in my room, making small introductory talk, feeling each other out, while raking our mental rolodexes for something to actually do.

An idea occurred to me, one that didn’t immediately wash away in the frenzied and powerful current of a fourteen-year-olds stream of thought.

Let's make a movie.

He did not object.

My camera sat in the top drawer of my dresser. It was one of those Flip cameras. Pocket-sized and vertical, it had a USB built into the side on a hinge that would flip outwards for instantaneous downloading of raw footage.

I looked for props to base our movie around. It was Jean-Luc Godard who said: “All you need for a movie is a gun and a girl.”

I had a cheap switchblade and a new friend.

My fevered young mind took the switchblade and spun a yarn to me.

A kid (played by Josh), strolling through the neighborhood being as innocent and unassuming as could be, would find, inserted into the ground, a switchblade.

He would pick it up and stare into the blade. He would become mesmerized, presumably possessed, by this cheap little switchblade.

A blank look would wash over his face as he stalked through the neighborhood, looking for his prey.

He would find another innocuous out-and-about kid (played by me) and stab him.

He would then walk off into the sunset.


He responded to the idea, and we set about doing our on-location filming around the neighborhood.

Josh would walk as innocently as possible while I collected b-roll and flexed my feeble directing muscles.

He explored his improvisational prerogative by plucking an orange from a tree and chucking it into the street. We even found a stray dodgeball for his character to use. This was real good stuff.

The most difficult shot was a close-up of talent’s face with the gleam of the blade reflecting sunlight into his eyes. We both took turns holding the switchblade and turning it over until we got something that looked like a gleam on his face. It was not nearly as convincing or compelling a shot as I had envisioned, but we had to move. We had yet to shoot the stunning finale and the sun was setting fast.

Josh briefly acted as cameraman, getting a point-of-view shot of me loitering dumbly against a wall while the killer crossed the street towards me, to be matched with another shot from my point of view. I got insert shots of the blade thrusting into me. When the penultimate moment came, I flung myself to the ground as dramatically as I could muster in a stunt that I was pretty proud of.

We got the final shot, a long one of him skulking off down the road, just as the setting Arizona sun cast its reddish hue upon the desert basin.

After reviewing the footage and laughing at all the stupid crap we got into, we called it a day and his mom picked him up.

I put the camera back into my drawer and there it sat.

Three years.

It took me three years to finally get around to editing the damn thing. I was taking a video production class at a local trade school, with free access to Adobe and more experience under my belt.

I scored it to Un Amico by Ennio Morricone, a piece that I’d been struck by when I saw Inglourious Basterds. The lilting song complemented the proceedings surprisingly well.

We are best friends still.


About the Creator

Koby Sampson

I’ve been a writer since I was about eight years old, and am now looking to make the transition to professional writer. If I could get paid to do this, each day would be better than the last.

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