*This is a short story in the form of a film script.

INT. interrogation room

A man, SUSPECT (30-40 year-old Latino) wears an ORANGE UNIFORM.

He sits on a chair at the end of a table, facing the only door in the room.

The door opens, FBI AGENT PEREZ (40s, Latino, tall and well built) appears in a dark blue suit. He wears an identifying FBI badge around his neck.

The FBI Agent sits on a chair on the opposite side of the long table.

The Agent re-accommodates his gun and the holster as he sits in the chair.

A camera on a tripod records the conversation.


I’m with the FBI. I’m Agent Perez. I need to ask you some questions.


Shoot. I mean, go ahead.

—Agent Perez takes a note pad and pen from his jacket.


All facts point to you as the culprit. So, I’m going straight to the point. Why did you kill him?


He was bad for America. He was a racist ignorant. Half America wanted to get rid of him.


Half America?


Yes, America always had its share of racist and hateful people. But they were hiding in the shadows.


Did somebody pay you to do it?


There was no money involved at all.

—The suspect takes a sip from a plastic soft drink.


Do you know how many psychos blame the devil for their crimes? Well, in this case God made me do it.


Did you do it for political reasons?


I don’t even vote.


Did you have any accomplices?


I did it all by myself, but God was guiding me. I was never afraid of failing.


Are you a religious fanatic?


Believing in God doesn’t make me a fanatic.


Have you killed anyone before?


No. He was the only person I hated in the world.


Did you enjoy killing him?


I enjoyed getting rid of him.


Do you consider yourself a hero?


Absolutely not, but let the people decide. In any case, I don’t care.

—Agent Perez re-arranges his gun and holster, which seems to be uncomfortable in the small chair. 


What punishment do you think you deserve?


Are you kidding me? Heaven will be my reward and my victim will be fighting for supremacy in hell. Too bad hell doesn’t have beautiful walls.


You sound like a terrorist when you say, ‘Heaven will be my reward’.


Oh yeah, you’re right! . . .  but I know I’m not.


Do you think you helped him prove his point to say you are rapists and criminals?


You can’t blame six million people for the actions of one person.


Don’t you think he could have changed?

—The suspect leans on the table and looks directly at the camera.


It’s impossible for an asshole not to smell like shit all the time.


Do you have any regrets?


Maybe just one. I wish I had killed myself right after I did it.


Well, if you’re lucky you’ll get the death penalty, but if they give you life, it’s going to get boring.

—The FBI Agent removes his gun and holster and puts it on the table.

—The Agent pulls his chair.


Anyway, good luck, I guess.

—Agent Perez stands up and walks out of the room.

—He leaves his gun behind.

—After a brief moment, a shot is heard.

C/U – Outside, Agent Perez’s face shows a faint smile.

Fade Out

“The more you can increase fear of drugs and crime, welfare mothers, immigrants and aliens, the more you control all the people.”
—Noam Chomsky.

Edmundo Barraza

Lancaster, Ca. May-10-2016

Keep Dreaming

“A man living in the US gets a visit from his ‘replica’. The man had emigrated decades before. His ‘replica’ remained in Mexico living an alternate life. Now he wants to find out about ‘his other life'”. The eternal internal question “what if”.

Filmed under ‘lock-down’ conditions. My son Carlos Barraza and I were forced to experiment and learn other areas of film making. In other words, my son and I were the total cast and crew.

A week after we finished editing, we received our first Semi-Finalist award from FENACIR — A famous film festival in Mexico.

The first version with English subtitles.

The second version with Spanish subtitles.

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Drugs and Chocolates

A kid selling chocolates door-to-door to raise money for a trip to Disneyland encounters a drug dealer as a potential customer. #ShortFilm #DrugsAndChocolates

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Ghost O’clock

“An honest ghost hunter and an ambitious photographer try to catch a ghost on film to win a cash prize from a TV station.”  6:46 min. #ShortFilm #Ghost O’Clock

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(Watch the short film at the end of the story/post.)

I could still remember the moment I became a pacifist, an animal lover, and a defender of animal rights. From that moment on, I also turned into a better person.

That day, while playing in the backyard and armed with a flyswatter I squashed a butterfly with it. My big brother witnessed the act, became upset, and sad, and then he gave me a lecture I would never forget.

“That butterfly probably had a family; it probably had babies that needed to be fed. Everybody loves butterflies, they’re beautiful to see, and they’re tender creatures. The way they fly and the way they move, it brings happiness to everyone. All living creatures have a right to live. Even if it is a cockroach or a mosquito, or a bee, you should respect their lives. Only if you’re attacked by an animal you should defend yourself, only then you have a valid excuse to kill an animal.”

My big brother was twelve-years-old, I was seven. It remained in my mind forever. It affected me for the rest of my life. Since I received that lecture, I never, knowingly, hurt any living animals. I avoided violence and I never participated in a fight in my whole life. I was patient and I reasoned with measured actions. 

At school, it took me a week before I could decide to dissect a frog. I loved science class, but whenever we had to experiment with small insects I just couldn’t do it. I began to overcome that phobia until much later. Visits to the Zoo became more enjoyable the more I learned about animals. I supported PETA and regularly volunteered my time at the local animal shelter.

But that lecture sure had an impact on me. I became a teacher, studied biology, zoology, and became an entomologist. I read many books on animal behavior and loved all animals that crossed my path, even after my big brother got killed by a bear on a camping trip at Yosemite National Park.


The first time I saw that cockroach on the blackboard was the first time I’d seen a roach in my house. My immediate reaction was not normal, like calling the exterminating company, or like running to the store to get a can of Raid or Combat or even a Roach Motel. But I wasn’t too happy about it either. I knew how they propagate if you don’t take the proper steps. My house was clean and organized. I barely cooked at home. The kitchen was impeccably clean most of the time. I lived alone and hardly dated anyone. I was introverted and I loved my solitude. So I left the bug alone.

In the following days, I saw the cockroach a few more times, always on the blackboard. I hoped it was the same one, and the only one. I struggled to decide if I should get rid of it. I thought that if I saw more than one at the same time I would take action. Not directly myself, but I would call an exterminating company and leave the house for a week. I would order the company to fumigate the house and remove all evidence afterward.

My blackboard was always full of notes and writings. Every week, I would scribble all the highlights of the next test I’d give to my students. After a few days, I noticed that the roach was always at the center of a letter. Having all the time in the world, I decided to find out what its favorite letters were. The first two letters I noticed were h and i. I smiled and said “hi” in return.

The next day, the roach ‘wrote’ . . .  “f o o d”, and it caused a terrible sense of stupor on me. I thought that was too much of a coincidence. At first, I didn’t do anything about it, until the next day when the cockroach stepped on the same four letters.

I thought it was so absurd. Bizarre was also a word that came to my mind.

Baffled, and still in shock, I put some bread crumbs on the board next to the chalk holder. 

All rationality and common sense decreased after a few more ‘conversations’ with the cockroach. Curious, but still in doubt, I erased all writings on the blackboard and left it clean for a few days. 

The cockroach disappeared for the same period. 

I knew that cockroaches could survive a nuclear war, or that they could live without food for around thirty days, and without water for about a week. I assumed that my house, being so clean, my little friend would starve to death or move out of the house. Both outcomes would have caused misery in my heart. I couldn’t allow the poor bug to die, I couldn’t bear that guilt. After a few days, I wrote on the board again, right away my little friend showed up and we resumed our ‘correspondence’.

“Food”, wrote again the starving insect in a minute.

I hurried to the kitchen to get some breadcrumbs.

After that, I stopped all experiments and during dinner time I would gladly share my food with “Cuca”, that was the name I gave to my new friend, which was short for ‘cucaracha’, or cockroach in Spanish.

I knew that cockroaches preferred dark places, and for that reason, I began to close all curtains and blinds in the morning. I started to give small chunks of rotting food to my friend. And I also began to write a journal. I had never been so happy.

One day, Cuca spelled “ugly” on the board. 

“Me?” I asked. 

“Yes,” Cuca replied.

Of course, I agreed. It was obvious to think that all animal species thought the rest of the species were ugly. What a gorilla could think about a hyena, or a chicken about a snake, or a peacock about a crocodile? But it was a little different for humans. To humans, a lot of animals were beautiful. Doves, eagles, blue Jays, deer, even elephants, and whales. And of course, butterflies too.

“What about pain?” I asked. 

“?” Cuca answered. 

“Can you feel pain?” I asked again. 

“?” replied Cuca.

Okay, Cuca has never felt pain. How fortunate, I concluded.

Then, I had an idea. I went to get my magnifying glass. I thought about meeting Cuca up close and personal. When I returned I opened the window to let some light in. It was a little after noontime. The sun shone on the board, it was perfectly bright to meet Cuca for the first time, face to face. When I put the magnifying glass near Cuca, smoke emerged from one of its wings. Cuca vanished in a fraction of a second. I opened my eyes as big as it was possible, I also opened my mouth. “Ah!” I screamed and threw the magnifying glass to the floor breaking it into a million pieces. “Oh no, what did I do?” I hit my head and pulled my hair with both hands. 

Cuca didn’t come back for an entire week. And when it did, it spelled “pain”.

When I approached the board Cuca reluctantly stayed. I offered excessive amounts of food, enough for an entire colony. I wished Cuca could bring all its family and friends; I didn’t care if they caused the worst infestation ever. I was feeling so sad. It took another week before all things went back to normal. Cuca healed nicely, it only left a small black mark on its wing.

One afternoon, when I returned from school I met the cleaning lady as she was exiting my house.

“Good afternoon professor,” she greeted me. “I need to tell you something; I just killed a cockroach on your blackboard. I think you need to call the exterminating company before an infestation invades your house.”

*Just because a subject is serious doesn’t mean it doesn’t have plenty of absurdities.

 -P. J. O’Rourke 

Edmundo Barraza

Lancaster, Ca. Nov-25-2016

The Corpse Is Alive

A five-minute movie

1- This is the basic story for a short film entitled “The Corpse is Alive”

2- We made the film to participate in ‘The Germ’ Film Project in Fresno, Ca.

3- The rules were:  a) Horror film. b) Luck had to be involved. 3) Under five minutes.

4- We shot the film in two days in the middle of July.

5- This was our first attempt at making movies.

6- It has won thirteen nominations from different Film Festivals around the world.

7- Enrique Martin-Valdepeña and I (Edmundo Barraza) finished this project by the end of 2015.

The story begins with a conversation between father and son as we watch a blurry funeral procession. Then, we see a person with a shovel in the dark as he jumps over a cemetery wall. The conversation is taking place off screen. (O.S.)

“You know what dad, regardless of all the arguments we’d had, you’re still my role model. You’re brave . . . you’re fearless . . .”

“Wait a minute, what do you need? It sounds like you’re ready to ask for something.”

“No dad, I don’t need a reason to say something nice to you, I’m just glad you’re a good father. Some of my friends don’t have a father and that must be tough.”

“Well, if I’m a good father it’s because you’re a good son. You make my job easier.”

“What I really wanted to know is if you’re afraid of anything. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you scared.”

“I fear a few things, but my biggest fear is to be buried alive. I have nightmares about it. So, when I die, I want you to make sure that I’m really dead. I also want you to leave two things in my coffin, my cell phone and my gun . . . just in case.”

“That’s a weird request, but logical.” after a pause, “Oh, I almost forgot. Can I use your car tonight?”

“I knew it! I knew it!


The dead awakens.

What’s this?

This must be a joke.

What the hell?! It looks like a coffin.

Damn!  It is a coffin! This can’t be possible. 

(Starts banging on the coffin’s lid) 

Damn! I knew it, they buried me alive. Help! Help! Somebody, get me out of here! I’m alive! I’m alive!

Was I such a bad person to deserve this punishment?

Wait a minute! Where’s the phone?

What the fuck . . .  no signal? AHHH!!! . . .  

What about the gun?! Where’s the gun? 

(Finds it on his side, tucked against his rib cage. While checking if it’s loaded, he accidentally discharges the only bullet in the chamber)



Desperation increases

I don’t understand. I should have been dead already.

What did I do? Do I deserve to die twice?

Could it be that your worse fear turns out to be your eternal damnation? 

Damn, I must have been a real bad person.

I hope this is the way everyone dies. 

Maybe this is just Purgatory.


The misery continues

Damn, I’m thirsty. I can resist a week without food, but this thirst is killing me.

But if I had water that would only prolong my misery.

How long have I been here?

What did I die of, anyway? 

I wonder if my son put another bullet somewhere in my pants. 

(Looks for it, but instead, he finds an envelope full of money in his back pocket) 

What the fuck is this? No bullets?

Money! Money! Money! What the fuck do I need money for? I want another bullet!

Fucking money is not good here!

Then with his eyes wide open, astonished and scared . . .  he hears a faint sound coming from up above, and another . . . and another, sounding each time closer and clearer. Until finally, his son lifts the coffin’s lid and dad rushes out of the grave.

“Somebody . . .  Somebody up there?” 


“Please, please, please! Come get me! 

“Help! I’m alive, I’m alive down here! 

“Is that you, fucking Satan, coming for me?”

“Dad?” You’re alive! How could it be? It can’t be possible!”

“Of course I’m alive why did you bury me alive? Didn’t I tell you to make sure?”

“I’m sorry dad. I was sure about it, aren’t you glad I was wrong?”

“How long have I been here?”

“Three days.”

“How did you know I was alive?”

“I didn’t, I came back for the money I was saving to buy a car. My mom made a mistake, you’re wearing my pants!”

(As credits roll, we see father and son hugging and walking side by side as they head for the cemetery’s gate)

“Next time I die, I want to be cremated son.”

“You got it dad, whatever you say.” 

“How come I didn’t run out of air?”

“They let me bury you next to the storm drain.”

 “Let’s go get a beer.”

“But you look like a zombie, dad.”

“I don’t care, I’m thirsty.”


Edmundo Barraza

Lancaster, Ca.  Jun-20-2015

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Part-Time Actor

Filming the hit-man and his driver planning their next assignment was a little complicated. But shooting the crew was fun.

Read the short story  and watch the 4min. short film at the end. #ShortStory #ShortFilm #PartTimeActor

They began shooting at ten in the morning. The entire crew was ready when the Director gave the first instructions of the day:

“Camera, action!”

The first scene of the day was between two actors, John the hit-man and Sharon his driver. They sat in the living room across from each other.

John cleans a gun.

“Man, this gun looks real,”  John says.

“Cut!” The director yells. “What the hell, John, that’s not in the script,”

“Sorry, sorry, my bad, but you know what, the gun looks real,” John apologizes.

“Yes, I know. It is real, and it’s mine. But, trust me it’s not loaded. We didn’t find the fake one in the prop room. Now, shall we continue?”

“Yes, of course, Mr. Director,” John responds sarcastically.

“Camera! Action!”

“Okay, Sharon you’re going to be waiting for me in the car with the engine running. I’ll be coming out of the apartment as if I’m going to the park,”

“Don’t worry John, I’ll be waiting for you, cool as a cat,”

“And if you hear a few shots, don’t panic. But please don’t leave without me. And, and . . .  damn! I forgot my next line. Sorry, (pause) as you know my wife is pregnant, and she’s due anytime, I can’t concentrate, and . . .”

“Don’t worry John, I understand,” says the director.

“Let’s take it from ‘but please don’t leave without me’. Ready?  . . .   Camera, action!”

“ . . .  and don’t forget to fill out the gas tank. Remember last time? when we ran out of gas just a block away,”

“Yeah, but that was your fault, you didn’t give me any money that week,”

“No excuses this time, I don’t want to push the car again. Especially after, after . . .

“Shit! Can I have a copy of the script?”

“Come on John, did you really study your lines?”

“Yes, Sharon, but like I said the wife is pregnant and . . .”

“Yeah, yeah, last year your wife was not pregnant and it was the same thing. You should go back to your old barista job.”

“You know what? I’m not getting paid enough for this shit.” John says as he turns to the director.

“Is he getting paid for this? Sharon looks at the director behind the camera.

“Well, his wife is pregnant and  . . .” the director answers.

“You know what? I’m two weeks behind my rent.” Sharon says.

“Okay, okay, I’ll pay you for this month’s rent. Now, can we continue? Jees!”

“No, we can’t continue until she admits I’m a good actor. Come on, everybody in this room knows that, right?” says John.

The room suddenly turns more silent than a funeral parlor.

“I can’t believe you guys, well, in that case, I’m gonna have to show you how it’s done . . .  one second, let me check my lines.” Looks at the camera and says:  “All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.”

“Okay everybody, we’re losing precious time here. Let’s do it. Let’s take it from ‘ . . . especially after’.  Camera, action!”

“ . . . specially after I shot that crooked politician in front of his wife,” John says.

“Oh, and don’t forget the gun this time,” says Sharon.

“Of course not, big dummy, I never repeat the same mistake.” 

He tries to put the gun in his holster, but the gun goes off and John falls back on the couch, with blood coming from his mouth.

Everybody screams and panics. Chaos fills the room. Somebody yells: “Call an ambulance! He’s still breathing, hurry up!”

 In the middle of the confusion and mayhem, John gets up.

“So, you fools still think I’m a bad actor? You didn’t find the fake gun because I had it with me all the time,” 

As he begins to shoot everyone, cast and crew included, John says in a very Darth Vader voice . . . “I’m going to be a father”.

Edmundo Barraza

Lancaster, Ca. Oct-11-2017

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The Psychic

“Wow, at this point you could be one of my worse clients ever. You almost stepped over the line. You were disrespectful, not just blunt. If you leave now I wouldn’t feel offended; instead, I would be pleased. Tell me, why would you go to church if you have no faith?” she replied.

A skeptical and rude person consults a psychic after losing his wife. *Read the short story and watch the short film at the end. #ShortFilm #ShortStory #ThePsychic

Never before in my life did I consider visiting a psychic or a palm reader. Even though I’ve seen that place in the corner over a hundred times. I never had a reason to go. I wasn’t even curious, not even if I got a free consultation.

I knew I was a rational person. Believing in ghosts or the afterlife was not my thing. But after the real-life nightmare that occurred to me and my family I began to consider paying her a visit. I’ve seen that lady many times parking her fancy car in the driveway. She never wore long flowery dresses like old hippies used to wear. She didn’t look like a gypsy either. She often had a smile on her face. 

After the accident, I became a widower. I was convinced there was no reason to continue living. Life was completely meaningless. Suicide was often on my mind, but life had always been a precious treasure to me, so I hung on. I even thought that maybe with the passage of time, and if the pain (ever) faded away I could form another family, but to consider that would be betraying their sweet memory. 

No, without my family I could never find happiness again. I needed to communicate with my wife or else I couldn’t go on living.

One day, curiosity won over pride. 

I waited for her arrival and followed her from the parking lot to the front of her office. The psychic unlocked the door and held it open for me. 

“Good morning,” she said with a friendly smile. “How can I help you?”

“I don’t know if you can, I sincerely doubt it, but I need to at least give it a try. First, I need to clarify my posture. I have to say that I’m suspicious about your abilities to connect people from different dimensions. In my mind, I always related your profession to frauds, scams, and charlatans. And I also find hard to imagine ghosts dancing around your desk. I’m sorry I’m being so blunt, but I needed to get it out of the way. Are you still willing to help me?”

“Wow, at this point you could be one of my worse clients ever. You almost stepped over the line. You were disrespectful, not just blunt. If you leave now I wouldn’t feel offended; instead, I would be pleased. Tell me, why would you go to church if you have no faith?” she replied.

“Yes, I understand what you’re saying,” I answered with some regret.

“Oh, and more thing, I haven’t seen any ghosts dancing around my desk either, but I’ve seen spirits sitting on the same chair you’re sitting on.” she said.

“I’m sorry, you’re absolutely right, for a moment I forgot that I came to ask for a favor. The words I chose were a little rough, I’m sorry. The main thing is that I wanted to be honest and clear. Can you really see spirits or ghosts?”

“I can feel their presence, and yes, I can see them sometimes. I don’t mind if you don’t believe me, that doesn’t change the fact that I can see them. But let’s change the subject. I don’t have to convince you to believe.”

“Is business good?”

“Yes, lately, spirits have been running rampant and unrestrained. If you trust me, you’ll soon find out what I mean. Why do you ask if business is good?”

“Well, good psychics should always be busy.” 

“Why don’t we get to the point, what brings you here?” 

“I need to communicate with my wife. We were involved in a car accident. My wife and my daughter died. It was my fault. I don’t want to be on this Earth anymore, not without them. My guilt is so big it’s eating my soul. You see, I was driving the car and at the same time I was trying to give the bottle of milk to my daughter, but I couldn’t reach, so I removed my seat belt for a second. The vehicle went off the road and I was ejected and passed out, the car overturned several times and I never saw them alive again. I need to ask my wife for her forgiveness. I also want to join them wherever they are.”

“Do you believe in God?” she asked.

“Not really, but I used to be a believer. I guess, little by little I became a cynic. Now, I regret it because if I pray, I would feel like a complete hypocrite.”

“Some things are easier to believe if you’re a spiritual person. But let me explain what I know. The nonphysical part of a person sometimes manifests as an apparition after their death. A spirit can be able of surviving physical death or separation of body and spirit. Sometimes, when the body ceases to exist and there’s nothing that can hold the soul and character of a person, the spirit wanders aimlessly seeking a body that doesn’t exist anymore. Another thing I know is that your family is alive and well.”

“What do you mean?”

“I’m sorry, our session is over, you can leave now, there’s no need to open the door. You can just walk through it.”

And as the man crossed the door with his head down, a couple of tears fell from the psychic’s eyes.

Edmundo Barraza

Lancaster, Ca. 12-27-2016