If I had just a nickel for every time I’ve been asked to replay the story about how AK got rolling, I wouldn’t have to worry so much about dropping five-kay on ponies or jack.

I’ll never forget the day. The three of us were in the dumps, hung-over, and drifting. Twenty-somethings feeling trapped by culture’s slow, sucking grind, sick of relying on booze for our alter-ego escapes. So Gonz and I went over to Saint’s, mixed up some light bloodies and dreamed of skillets and bacon, but our stomachs weren’t ready for that yet. Another couple hours of dog-hair and maybe we could consider it.

No one spoke during the first round. That was tradition, and respect for the mixer. About halfway through the second, our spirits started to sparkle, the way they will onmid-shelf vodka and TJ, and we began kicking around the usual suspects, a disappointing matinee or an em-es-gee buffet, or both, probably, maybe some pool, and a long nap until 8 or so, when we do it all over again.

But that morning something happened. We all felt it. Knew we had to act on it, and broke from tradition. Saint brought out three notebooks and pens, and we began kicking around ideas. We wanted to draft a story of crime, deceit, double-crosses, maybe some white-crosses, but no sex, we didn’t want to cheapen it, but we wanted it sexual, something everyone could relate to, and then some stuff that they hoped they’d never have to, also. That day we penned the outline, the characters and most of the dialogue to a little something we called Double White Crosses, just because it sounded cool. It had very little to do with the story and more to do with Gonz’s headache.

I knew a guy who knew a guy who knew a guy to about the sixth or seventh power, and so the favors began, and the bargaining and the selling of our souls. We knew what we had, but we didn’t know what we wanted, and we were too quick not to distinguish the difference and its consequences. It’s easy to say we don’t have regrets, or that we are wiser for it, well, perhaps that much is true, but I doubt the former has much veracity. It ends up that they liked Double White Crosses a lot, too much probably, because what they proposed was to make the movie, but also develop a legacy. They’d pay us nicely for the movie, but they didn’t think that any of us, and certainly not the three of us, had the raw materials for the legacy they wanted.

So they proposed their deal. We sell them everything, and all we get is writing credits, but not all of us, and not any of us for that matter, we were all capped under one pseudonym, a name they plucked from one of the story’s characters (one that they wanted to change anyway), and that became the collective us: Roger Avery. Oh, they also proposed that we all get a shit-load of money upfront and some points in the rear, which is way better than it sounds. But the legacy they wanted to create was that of a rags-to-riches, high school drop-out, video store clerk, watching anything and everything, and then coming up with something better than anybody had before.

And so it was, and that’s how it began. We took the money, watched our dreams be bequeathed to someone we never met. Started drinking even more than before, but just prior to a coup de grace Vegas trip, we created a front company, Artificial Khaos, and have been writing early drafts for the studios ever since, among many other projects of course. Anything we can waste money and time on that strikes our fancy and keeps us from zombie-walking the nine-to-five at local businesses.

-RJ Duke (2002)