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Compromises IV: Final Compromise
Kotori's beloved film critic goes missing.
Nigel Swift-Lipton was en route to the Parisian ghetto, to talk some severe smack about the Entertainment Industry with none other than maverick director Matthieu Kassovitz, rebel-auteur (Le Haine, Gothika) and victim of the Establishment (Babylon A.D.).
Sir Swift-Lipton was penning his latest column and was hell-bent on publishing a real-world account of creative compromise, instead of his usual hypothetical scenarios. When he learned of Kassovitz's experience on the 20th Century Fox sci-fi actioner, he knew he had his lead...or, at least, though he did.
"It will be the best column yet," Swift-Lipton wrote to our editors mere days before his trip. "A right smack in the gob for all these beefed-up blokes with money clips who think they regulate artistic expression."
Somewhere between LAX and the Charles de Gaulle Airport, Swift-Lipton wrote in his carry-on moleskin that he was approached by a man who claimed his name was Alan Smithee. A short, fat man with a receding hairline and a "bratwurst for a nose talked my designated seating partner into changing chairs with him, and the next thing I knew he was ordering me a glass of champagne and insisting on shaking my hand until I could hear my knuckles turning into sawdust."
Swift-Lipton's notes went on to describe Smithee as a "stark professional security type with Ray-Ban sunglasses and teeth whiter than ivory." His words grew more urgent on the next page, where quick long-hand suggested that he had gone to "the water closet" to "have a bit of a break from a.s...man seems weird for me and the text messages he...making mid-flight...it's all gone pete tong."
Mr. Lipton must have been right, for it all did go wrong, so far as experts can tell. The plane landed safely in de Gaulle, but Swift-Lipton never met his limo driver at baggage claim. Authorities were alerted to his disappearance no less than twenty-four hours later, once Mr. Kassovitz remembered the meeting he had failed to show up for the day before.
"Frankly," Kassovitz said. "I wasn't all that enthused about our proposed meet, I just wanted to forget that Babylon A.D. ever happened. It was a relief when I never got a call."
It would seem that Swift-Lipton was intercepted by some Hollywood money man or a "violent force from the movie world." But no Alan Smithee was listed on the airline manifest. Alan Smithee hadn't been there because, as the Director's Guild of America has confirmed, he never existed.
Word came in when this column was due that Mr. Swift-Lipton was spotted off the shores of the Galapagos Islands, but a hand-written letter, whose hand matches that in Swift-Lipton's journal, was mailed to U.S. law enforcement, alleging that Swift-Lipton was disemboweled in the LAX parking garage by no less than fifteen studio execs wearing X-Men: First Class T-shirts.
The note suggested that Nigel's "body was dumped into the trunk of a Crown Vic which took off immediately, dragging his entrails around the winding rows of BMW's and beet-red sports cars before pulling out on to Century Boulevard, leaving dramatic skid marks in its wake.
"It was quite a scene," the letter concluded. "Worthy of a good movie, one might say. It's only too bad there was no videotape in the surveillance system that afternoon."