Edward and Clair

Book signingClair still had a smile on her face thinking about her brother and all of those girls on top of him taking out years of hostility with every blow to his face. Well the tide did certainly turn. Her smile was soon replaced with a somber expression as she recalled a time when she was a little girl. Edward who was a few years older than Clair, was in his prime of abuse toward her.
A father of one of the other girls cornered Edward one day and gave him the sternest of warnings. “You touch my little girl one more time and I will kill you.” He didn’t mean it figuratively either, he meant kill him and Edward knew it.
Taking his advice, Edward left the other girls alone and Clair became his only interest. It wasn’t the stereotypical sort of sexual abuse that you hear from a news story like gentle aggressiveness, kindness and gifts to develop trust; it was brutal at its core.
At the time, it went on for days and often several weeks in a row. During those tortuous days, and when her parents weren’t around, it was just Clair and Edward. Many times after school, Clair would stay with neighbors and other times tried to sneak in the house. She slowly and quietly opened the back door and it always creaked a little, when it did, she stopped and listened. When she thought it was safe, opened it just enough to squeeze through. She tip-toed to her room and bravely locked herself in.
She could here Edward creeping all around the house like some sort of scary monster on the loose. Clair heard him going from room to room, slamming each door behind him. He knew where she was, but toyed with her anyway. “Where are you, Clair? Come out, come out wherever you are.” She sat in the corner next to the bed and clung to her Bible. What had been footsteps in the distance, she heard them getting louder and louder, then stop. It was eerily silent, then like so many times before, he pounded the door and yelled, “Clair, let me in!” She tried as best she could to cover her ears and block the noise. Shaking and scared she prayed to God to make him go away, but the prayers were never answered, and the pounding continued.
He not only tortured her with the abuse, he tormented her with words. She got up and ran to a window and tried to open it, but she was too little to raise it. Her ears no longer covered, she heard his words, and in a sneering tone Edward asked, “You scared?” He stretched out the words for emphasis, then uttered a maniacal laugh. He lowered his voice so she could barely hear. “The boogeyman is here and I’m gonna getcha.” He followed it with a nauseating, guttural tone and spewed, “Bogga-bogga-bogga.”
This would go on for what seemed an eternity to an eight year old little girl. She begged and begged for Edward to leave her alone. “Mom and dad will be home! Go away!” At least, she hoped. She knelt on the floor, put her hands together in prayer then bowed her head. “Please, God, bring mommy and daddy home, I’m scared.” Edward glanced at the time and panicked, she looked at her small alarm clock and began to feel relieved, but the time shortage never stopped him. There would be more yelling and more pounding until he had his way with her. To make it end and silence him, she opened the door then prayed some more.
Her parents eventually found out about Edwards antics and punished him and scolded her. Her mother grabbed her by the shoulders and shook her back and forth, then said, “You are a bad little girl!” Tears streamed down her face, and asked, “Why am I in trouble? I didn’t do anything.” Then her mother asked, “Did he put “it” in you?” She hung her head down and said no, that he “only” made her touch it. From those days forward and when things didn’t go as planned for Clair, the question of “what did I do” always crossed her mind and why she “deserved it”. The abuse was slowed to a simmer, but never stopped. Later on the physical torment was replaced with verbal threats, teasing and warnings.
Even in her teen-age years, Edward constantly taunted her saying things like, “Someday I will have you,” and, “You are all mine and you know it.” Without being too explicit with his coded language, Clair knew what he meant and those words haunted her for years.

“Suicide by Death”- Introduction

Suicide
by
Death

Mark Anthony Waters

“The counterpart of the suicide is the seeker;
But the difference between them is slight.”
Paul Watzlawick

Introduction
How many times have you considered killing yourself? One, two, three, five, ten? If you said never, you are a liar. At some point in our life, at least the thought has crossed your mind. All of the pressures of life, some pain along the way or maybe the loss of a loved one so close that the thought of going on without them seemed pointless. Self-talk also plays a significant role. You have convinced yourself that there are no rainbows and certain that the greener grass on the other side does not exist. Sadly, all that I cited is reason enough for some to end one’s own life. But wait, I believe there is one more motivator; the ultimate and indeed a final gotcha. I don’t need to explain that one. Some will read this and know what I mean.
I have had my fair share of suicides in my life; family members, friends and several acquaintances. In particular, was the death of my sister. It was very painful and came without warning. I recently turned sixty and at a point in life when people, especially around my age group and above are dropping like flies. Some of them were sick and dying and the rest are buying Centrum Silver by the case to prolong the inevitable. But suicide, that’s a whole new ballgame.
In death and I suppose other emotional trauma as well, it is said that there are five stages of grief; denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. When there is a suicide, I believe the first three come all at once and bargaining doesn’t even count. How could it? And last on the list is acceptance. That’s a toughie.
It tickles me when I hear someway say that so-and-so passed away. I knew full well that they committed suicide. That’s not passing away, — they blew their fucking brains out! Passing away is something you do in your sleep or drop dead because of a heart attack or die after an extended illness.
I have asked myself a thousand times, “Why does someone want to die more than they want to live?” For the ones that were successful, the question remains unanswered, but for those that weren’t, clues as to some of the “why’s” are answered to a degree.
My wife and I were talking about my book and that a lot of research needed to be done on the subject, and she was right. I told her about some of the papers and clinical data I had reviewed and she narrowed my research down to one sentence. “Their backs are against the wall and it is tall and wide and no way to escape from it. It’s an emotional glue that keeps them stuck to it.” In short, depression seemed to be the underlying theme as part of the reason “why” and a mind filled with hopelessness and despair.
My sister feared that no one would show up at her funeral. She doubted they’d fill a back-row pew in a small church. The courthouse where she worked, most of it closed to attend her funeral. She wanted a real motorcycle police escort and not the part-time ones from the funeral home, and she got it. As a bonus, a police honor guard was at her side and her colleagues served as pallbearers. The chapel was filled to capacity with standing room only, even I couldn’t find a seat. Who’d have thought? Obviously not her. I chose not to sit in the family section for personal reasons.
My father-in-law was killed in a tragic accident when my wife was nine. I’d heard, that he wasn’t a very triumphal guy; life had kicked him back a notch or two, I know because of some of the stories I’d been told. One day his son got his kite hung up on a power line and attempted to free it. Dad to the rescue. “Son! No!” He knew of the danger, took the rod away from him and tried to tap it down himself; it was some sort of metal rod. I may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but even I know better than that. He was killed instantly. By the way, he was a Master Electrician.
My father was also miserable later in life. He had open-heart surgery for a valve replacement, and after a full recovery and about a year later he dropped dead. He started smoking, drinking, eating garbage and stopped taking life-saving medication.
In both of these scenarios, I’m not suggesting they committed suicide, what I am saying is both deaths were preventable and their acts that killed them seemed purposeful. Perhaps it was more like suicide by omission.
Others like my sister left no room for doubt that it was a suicide. They usually leave a dramatic note for loved ones or sometimes a voice recording. In my sister’s case, she left three letters. One for whoever found her. (She went to a nearby lake and shot self in the chest) The second was for the police exonerating her spouse for having anything to do with it. And the third to her husband that included a lot of crap. “I’ll always love you”; she didn’t. “I didn’t mean to do this”; yes, you did. “Take good care of the kids”; He didn’t. She left behind a little girl, five and a boy, seven. Photos of them surrounded her body and some lay in her lap.
Some have questioned the title, “Suicide by Death”. At first, I just thought it was a cute, sort of an artsy thing, but in the back of my head, I knew what it meant. For anyone that saw the movie Star Trek; Wrath of Khan, near the end Mr. Spock saves the ship but sacrifices his life in the process. Captain Kirk ran to Spock and tried to open a fuel chamber. Dr. McCoy, “Bones,” said it would flood the compartment of radiation and he and Scotty restrained the captain. As Kirk struggled to free himself, said, “He’ll die.” Scotty replied in his thick, Scottish accent, “Sir, he’s dead already.” At that time in the movie, he wasn’t dead yet and had enough time to share a personal moment with Kirk, but the fact remained that Spock was on his way out, death just needed to catch up. The way I see it, folks usually don’t pick up a gun and blow their heads off on a whim. It takes an amount of planning. And so it begins. You’ve already committed suicide in your mind; it only needs to be followed up with a bullet, noose, jumping off a bridge or whatever, then death’s bitter door swings wide open and welcomes you.
The character I’ve created, Clair, was no stranger to suicide. She has also had friends and family members that killed themselves; so many that she comically said to herself that it must be contagious. For several years, she has made it a professional career trying to end her own life. With many attempts and as many failures, now feels that she is once again at the end of her rope, and this time, a short rope it is.

“Suicide by Death”- Clair, Glen and Stanley

Note: Glen is Clair’s therapist and he took Clair to meet Stanley at a special needs school. Clair tried to kill herself again and this is how Glen dealt with it as best he could.

The next day she was allowed to leave the hospital. Clair was in the discharge area of the hospital waiting for her ride. She sat on the chair in a slumped position and rubbed her throat trying to massage away the pain. It was still sore because of the tubes they shoved down her throat to pump out the pills and alcohol.
Clair was expecting Hunter, instead, it was Glen. He sat down beside her and didn’t say a word. They sat there for several minutes, then Clair broke the silence. She didn’t look at him and shamefully said, “I guess you’re a little disappointed.”

“Disappointed is an understatement, I’m afraid.”

“Afraid? Of what?”

“Because the next time you might be successful, and I can assure you, there will be a next time.”

“Why would you say such a thing?”

“Because it’s true. It’s part of your DNA. Let’s go for a ride, I want to show you something.” They got to his car and both climbed in.

“Where are we going?”

“You’ll know when we get there.” They arrived at a small, single-story building just outside of town. Several cars filled the parking lot and she could barely make out the sign at its entrance. She squinted her eyes and read it silently to herself. It was The Garrard Learning Center named after it’s founder, Dr. Vandergriff Garrard. It was a school that served severely mentally and physically handicapped children and teens.

“Why are you taking me to this place?”

In a therapeutic setting and with little emotion, Glen would cleverly use a barrage of open-ended questions he learned in counselor training, such as, “Why do you feel that way?” Or, “Why do you think that is?” Or, “How did that make feel?” Today would be much different.

While still in the car, Glen turned to her and said, “Clair, I’m throwing the therapy handbook out the window.”

She began to think to herself, “Uh-oh.”

His usual tone turned quickly south. “You think your life is so fucked up? I’ll show you fucked up.” He was right about one thing, he did toss the handbook out the window. She never heard Glen talk like that before. They got out and he slammed the car door, and at a faster pace than Clair. Glen made his way to the front door and she arrived a couple of seconds later. He rang the buzzer and a voice through the speaker answers. “May I help you?”

“Hi, I’m Glen Turner and we’re here to see Stanley.” The doors security lock clicked open and they let themselves in.

The administrator, Dr. Ellison greeted them. She extended her hand and clasped Glens. “Good to see you.”

“You too, Debbie. This is my friend, Clair that I told you about.”

Clair was reluctant and nervously extend her hand as well. Dr. Ellison vigorously shook her hand and welcomed her to the school. “Nice to meet you, Clair.”

“You too.”

“Glen, I guess you are here to see Stanley. He’s excited to see you. It’s been a while.”

“I know.”

The trio made their way to the gym where all of the kids were. There were a lot of noises that filled the air. It was well lit and a bit cool. To Clair, it smelled just like her high school gymnasium, like stale jockey straps from the boys locker room. The bleachers rattled as some of the kids were stomping on them as they cheered the players in a wheelchair basketball game. Stanley noticed Glen from across the court and motored his way toward him. Stanley used his right hand to maneuver his chair, with the other one, weak and uncontrollable, waved to Glen. They met together near the water cooler and as best as he could, reached for him with his fragile arms. The two embrace and Stanley’s arms flopped all over Glen’s back trying his best to pat him. Glen returned the patting with gentler, little ones. In those first few moments, all you could hear coming from Stanley was a distorted, “Hi Gen! Hi Gen! Hi Gen! I wuv you, Gen!” Gen was as close as he could do to pronounce Glen’s name.

They stopped embracing and Glen said, “Me too. Stanley. I want you to meet a friend of mine. This is Clair.”

Shyly and with his head lowered, he peeked up just enough to get a look at her. “Hi, Cwair, guh…, guh…, good to ma…, ma…, meet you.” Cwair was also the best he could do saying her name.

“Clair this is my brother, Stanley.”

She looked at Glen with a confused expression. “Your brother?”

Stanley started tapping on Glen’s arm. “Come here, I want to talk to you.” Glen leaned in close and he whispered, “She’s pwetty.”

Glen moved away from him and replied, “You think so?” Clair overheard the conversation and Glen’s sarcastic reply, then she playfully punched Glen on the arm.
Taken aback by her gentle assault added, “You’re right, Stanley. She’s a regular Miss America.”

Clair grinned then said, “That’s better.”

Stanley started to laugh a little then chuckle as he spoke. Not his usual style and with a hint of sarcasm asked, “Is she your girrrrlfend?” Stanley started flapping both arms about laughing the whole time.

“No Stanley, Clair is not my girlfriend.”

He stopped with the wailing arms, then thoughtfully said, “Well you said she was your ‘fend’” and she is a  girl, so that makes her your girlfend!” He started to laugh again and pounds his thighs like a snare drum. Now Glen started laughing and so did Clair.
The three gain control over themselves and Glen pulled out a clean handkerchief from his pocket. He motioned for Stanley to sit still for a minute. As best he could, he steadied himself and Glen gently held his chin as he wiped away some drool that oozed from his mouth and rolled down his cheeks.

“Stanley, Clair and me are going to walk around with you for a little while, is that OK with you?”

An enthusiastic Stanley said, “Hell ya!”

“Well, Stanley, you got that out loud and clear.”

As they were moving along, Stanley said to Clair, “Guess what Cwair?

“What is it, Stanley?”

“I didn’t fart in gwoop today.”

Not knowing what to say and a tad speechless, replied, “That’s good, Stanley.” She slightly raised both of arms and looked at Glen with an expression that said, ‘what now’? He smiled and with a couple of nodded twitches toward Stanley, prompting her so say something and she got the hint. She nodded back in the affirmative, then lightly rubbed Stanley on the back and said, “I’m proud of you. I’m sure everyone in your group appreciated it.”

“Thank you, Cwair.”

The three wandered around for a while, and as they did, Clair was caught gazing at many of the kids, sometimes in amazement and other times in astonishment. In another room down the hallway, some of them laid on padded cushions on the floor and could only squirm around like a new-born child, while others moaned or cried. Some were strapped to a wheelchair so they wouldn’t fall off while others sat motionless gazing into space. She witnessed several of them getting their much-needed medication to either prolong their lives or maintain it.

She was shaken by the experience and all that she saw, and wiping away moistened eyes, said, “Glen if this is your attempt at a first date, you’re lousy at it.”

“Like I said, I tossed out the handbook when I decided to show you this place. This might help you with a better understanding of yourself.

“Well, it’s working, Thanks.”

“Before we go, I want you to take a hard look around. Look at their condition, look into their faces.”

“I feel terrible. Those poor kids.”

“You know what? This is as good as it gets for most of these kids, including Stanley.”

She began to tear up again and asked, “Why are you doing this to me?” Quiet and uncontrollable sobbing came from her as she asked, and almost in protest, demanded an answer.

“I’m not doing anything to you, Clair. This is their reality. You think that there isn’t a kid in this place that wouldn’t trade you for your self-loathing, pathetic set of circumstances?”

“That’s not fair!”

“Fair? Ask them about what’s fair. To them, “fair” is a place they go to every once in a while, see a few clowns, a couple of elephants and maybe eat some cotton candy.”

She did not like hearing what Glen had to say, but she was listening.

“Here’s the deal, you have a choice, most of those kid’s don’t. Did you ever consider a fate worse that death? A lot of it is right in front of you. To many of these and their families, death would be a welcomed friend. Clair, this about the most unprofessional thing I could ever say to you, but if you don’t pull your head out of your ass, you could end up in the adult version of this. Want to go see one?”

“I’ve seen enough.”

She shamefully lowered her head, then Glen said, “We have to get out of here.”

They said goodbyes to Stanley and Dr. Ellison, then retreated to the car. The drive to Clair’s apartment was silent. They reached their destination and both just sat there, still saying nothing. She broke the silence and said, “I like your brother. What’s wrong with him?”

“He has Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.”

Curiously she asked, “What is that?”

“In laymen terms, Lou Gehrig’s Disease and it is fatal. Time is not his friend.” She just turned away from him and stared out the window.

Clair made several trips to see her new friend, Stanley. They shared many hours together over that span of time. One of the staff members approached her one day and told her how much Stanley liked her, even referring to her as his girlfriend. It made her smile.

On one of her visits, out of the blue, Stanley asked Clair if she believed in God. “I think so.”

Again he asked, “Cwair, do you believe in baby Jesus.”

Placating him, she replied,“Yes, Stanley, I believe in baby Jesus.” Clair walked the hallways with Stanley for a while and said he was tired. “Do you want to go to sleep.”

“I think so. Will yooah ta…, ta…, tuck me in?”

“I’d love too.” They got to his dorm room, and with the help from one of the aides, carefully removed him from his wheelchair and placed him in his bed. Clair pulled the blanket from the foot of the bed and covered him. Stanley reached for Clair’s hand and said, “Cwair, I want you to believe in God.” He had been somewhat somber, but perked up and said, “I’m going to Heaven and play with baby Jesus!”

“That’s nice, Stanley.”

“A nice wady said when I go to Heaven, I’ll be normal again.”

“Stanley, she might be a nice lady, but you my friend are the most normal person I know, and I know a few crazies.”

Stanley began to laugh. “Yooah funny, Cwair!

Then slowly and methodically he said, “I la…,la…, luuuv you Cu-laaair.

“Very good, Stanley. You’re about ready to give a speech!”

She kissed him on the cheek and gave a light tap on the chest. “I love you too. I’ll see you in a couple of days.” And she did.

A few weeks later she went to see him and Glen was there as well. Clair could tell that Glen had been crying. “What is it, Glen? Where is Stanley?”

He shook his head, and with both arms, he flung them around her and held tight and whispered, “Stanley died this morning. He asked for you.” She held him even tighter and tried her best to keep her emotions. It was her time to comfort Glen, hers would have to wait.

Next Chapter

Clair went to a nearby secluded park and sat there for several hours. Her hands tightly gripped the steering wheel, so much so, it left indention’s on it. During that time, she never moved a muscle, she only stared out straight ahead. This went on until it was nearly dark. A few people during her stay came and went. She witnessed a few families playing around, young lovers leaning against a tall oak, and several children who had assembled a make-shift soccer game. She saw all of this never moved or made a sound; she just kept staring.

It was dark by now and the park was void of any people, except Clair. The only light in the park was courtesy of a full moon and millions of stars that twinkled in a cloudless night sky. She interrupted her silence and opened the car door and got out. She stumbled around like a zombie and walked a few feet from the car.

Clair stopped in place and fell to her knees. Still silent but using both fists, started to pound the ground with so much force she created little miniature “combat foxholes”. She was huffing and puffing and the only sound heard was the pounding of the earth. She stopped with the pounding, raised both clenched fists in the air and screamed at the top of her lungs with so much force it hurt her. The pain felt like she’d been hit in the gut with a baseball bat.

She staggered to her feet, looked at the heavens and yelled, “Why?Why?Why? He didn’t do anything to you! He didn’t do anything to anybody!” Again she fell back to the ground and landed on bent knees. She covered her face and a river of tears flowed through her fingers and endless sobbing followed.

She looked up again toward the stars then like a scolding parent, pointed and screamed upward, “Fuck you!” Clair fell back to the ground. Her face laid in the dirt and recent grass clippings were stuck in her hair.

With less anger but increased sobbing, she got back up to her knees, looked toward the ground and quietly said, “I hate you, God.”

Me and the Girls

Well, it has finally come down to this. They say that “sex sells” so here is my stab at it. This weekend here in Rockport, Texas, we celebrated our 41st annual “SeaFair” festival. Me and a few others rented a booth to sell our books written by local authors. I spotted these two beautiful women and thought, “what the hell!” Both of them are proudly diMe and the girlssplaying my latest  book, “Three Days in Heaven.”

Be Just Like a Doctor!

I’ve been critical of the comment one of the hosts on the “The View” made about the “doctor stethoscope”. I owe her a debt of gratitude. Those that know me are aware that I have been an entrepreneur most of my life, having said that, I am proud to announce “Mark’s School of Advanced Use of a Stethoscope”. It will be a school of higher learning in the proper use and care of the stethoscope. After completing the nine-week course, you too can be an advanced operator of this delicate piece of medical equipment. If you are already an RN, LVN, ANP, PA or NP, you too can be just like a doctor! Your certificate will allow you to use your “doctor stethoscope” just like any other MD! Your friends and family will be so proud after you ceremoniously cross the stage and receive your certificate.

Revised Manuscript for Three Days in Heaven

TDiH-shared manu

Book Trailer for “Three Days in Heaven”

Bird and a Note

Those of you that haven’t read Three Days in Heaven, just so you know, God’s watch is broken and Chad is Jesus.

God comes over to me and says, “Tony, we’re running out of time, so let’s wrap it up. Things are getting out of control and I want to give everyone a chance to straighten up, and the time is ticking away.”

I chuckle and say, “I hope you’re using your watch.”

He looks at me, eyebrows raised slightly and says, “Chad’s works just fine.”

He continues to explain my mission. “I needed a beacon, and that is why I chose you. Everything you have seen and witnessed here, in all of its splendor and glory, I only ask one thing of you and that is to send a ‘simple message of faith’.”

I pause for a second and gave Him one of Bev’s infamous glares. I begin to feel a slight pulse in my neck, then ask, “Wait a minute. A message of faith? The pulse is now a throb. “What else?”

“None that I can think of, just a message of faith. Why do you ask? Is that so difficult?”

Now the adrenalin kicks in and I pace around in a circle a few steps, then halt with the pacing. I turn toward Him, and in a fit of anger, both hands fly way up in the air and exclaim, “That’s it?” With my voice elevated to a less than Angelic volume, I continue, “Back there,”— I begin pointing in all directions not knowing precisely where “there” is, I stop and say— “Who cares, where? They think I’m dead!”

“And?” God, more subdued than me, then adds, “They’ll get over it.”

“Get over it! I’ve been kidnapped, and…”

God interrupts me, seeming a bit hurt at my comment, says, “That’s just plain rude.”
Ignoring Him, I continue the rant. “I’ve been to Hell and back, which, by the way, scared the wits out me, and …”

Again He interrupts and says, “I did bring you back and let you see Heaven.”

“What? As a consolation prize?”

Grinning God says, “I could send you back if you’d prefer.”

“That’s OK, I’m fine and dandy right here. You aren’t listening to me! I have a grieving wife, worried kids, and a friend who’s about to hang himself, — and take me with him! And all I need to do is pass along a message of faith?”

I retreat from the ranting, shake my head and say, “I’m beginning to feel like Dorothy, minus the ruby red slippers.” Then ask, “Why didn’t you just send me a dove with a message? I would have believed that.”

God replies, “Oh really? I thought a personal visit would be more convincing than a bird with a note.”

 

Dr. Gandy

The heart monitor begins to come to life. The familiar long, steady tone now signals a heartbeat. Dr. Gandy again asks for the time.
“6:29, Dr. Gandy!”
“Temp?”
“Ninety-five point six and rising!”
“Time?”
“Still 6:29, Doctor.”
Dr. Gandy whispers to himself, “I’m not believing this.” He needs to check this out with his own set of ears. Still sitting in his old, vintage lab chair, he pushes himself away from his workstation toward me. The chair rattles and creaks— its castors, squeaky and wobbly like a misaligned grocery cart. The noise it made is only a distraction because he knows there was much more work ahead. “Folks we’re not out of the woods yet.” Dr. Gandy gets to my bedside and uses his stethoscope to confirm what he has been seeing on the monitor. He listens to my heart, and for those nearest to him is overheard saying, “This is insane.” He quickly rolls back and views more results streaming from the printer. Dr. Gandy tears off a page, turns to Paul and says in a low tone, “I’m framing this.”
Unlike her colleague, another nurse, calmly announces that my blood pressure is almost normal, and my heart rate is strong and steady, but we’re not to the finish line yet.
Dr. Gandy checks my respiration. “He’s not breathing! Prepare to intubate!”

Press Release

This certainly falls in the category of real damn neat!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Rockport, Texas June 29, 2015 – Local resident, author, Mark Anthony Waters has been invited to attend the “2015 Lowcounty Arts and Literary Festival” at the historic Frampton Plantation House in Yemassee, South Carolina. The one-day event is celebrating its third year. This year’s event is expected to be bigger and better with the addition of more writers, authors, artists, artisans and crafters than in the previous two years. Three special guests will be in attendance this year: John T. Wayne, Grandson of America’s famous movie icon John Wayne, will one of the opening speaker. Joel Eisenburg, a Hollywood movie director/producer/author, will also be an opening speaker. And the newly elected Miss South Carolina is the third opening speaker and festival attendee. This year’s event hopes to attract a few more movie industries executives, producers, directors, and agents.