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troublemag | July 7, 2022

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Triple Zero

Triple Zero

To A Dead End Heartbeat

Robert Ruckus

The sirens sound down the dimly lit city streets. I lay wondering how we got here while the skaters rush by flipping tricks through the midnight hours. The grinding on concrete planter boxes is familiar to my mind as I set down on the hard yet comforting carpet floor. Here is home in this jungle, or I am at least calling it home for now. I light my joint and peer out over the balcony watching the kids spend every waking moment living, breathing, pushing, grinding.

Not a dead end in sight in this city. Not on the outside, at least.

I see my own reflection in the window lit up by the never ending night light, offering comfort to the uncomfortable on hot sheets, and wonder if it’s me or some stranger. Human, muser, filmmaker. In an environment that is as suffocating to the brain as the smoke is to my lungs, I inhale more eagerly than I exhale, letting it draw out through my senses like a lover holding my hand.

Her touch is soothing, real, even godly at times. That one moment of utter beauty and revelation that never ceases to leave your mind, like a child witnessing his first, second, third film, it never ends and nor do I want it to. This moment is perfect, surrounded in the swallowing madness we just know as the industry. For us we call it life itself and living is always easier when it’s through the screen.



The reality is sometimes different.

“I lost my day job, the other day,” says film friend A-Z.

I sit down and write, send emails, plot, predict, plan, sweat, smoke, depress, redress, compress, rework, rewrite, repeat, reignite, fret, fear, cry loudly out for it all to come true. The genie never comes so i rub the lamp a little harder. Stiff luck.

When I look back over the balcony I see endless opportunity glowing with the slam of trucks against concrete. Skaters scream out with each triumphant fall, stumble, moment of victory. Repeat, repeat, never admit defeat until you can no longer stand up and never, ever be beaten. It doesn’t matter what level I’m on, even looking down I feel grounded as if my footsteps were sounding on the roadside. Grounded, or at least padded between air cushioned soles and the dirt on the pavement, I glide by different cultures, facades, faces, smokers. I see them and they see me, at least when I am in front of them, washing by as quickly as I chose to move my feet.

The hustle of daytime events seems vacant in the early AM. A Porsche drives by with *insert generic middle aged white guy here* in the driver’s seat, alone but uncaring as the music blares out, echoing the driver’s lack of fucks given against the brick walls and closed shop windows.

“Got a smoke bro?” asks homeless guy X.

“Yeah holmes.” I pass him my spliff.


“Damn that’s the magic. Thanks brother, I hope you have a real good night.”

“Stay warm my friend, I hope it gets better for you soon.”

“It will because I want it to,” he says. “This is just a moment in time bro, but they’ll never know what hit ‘em when I get out of this mess. We’re all in this together.”



Robert Ruckus attended The Dead End Film Festival at Coburg Drive-In, Friday 24th November 2017. The inaugural festival was presented by BabySteps.

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