#BlogTour #Extract ~ Forward to Glory: Exposition by Brian Paul Bach @ftgquartet @gilbster1000 @AuthorightUKPR

Butterbugs is becoming somebody. He has come to Hollywood to act, and as an aspiring performer, so far, he is a survivor. His dream persists… though barely. But something’s coming.

He has had to endure nearly crushing challenges with a tenacity deserving its own kind of award. Perhaps simple luck is all that’s needed. It soon appears, from unexpected quarters. And starting there, his ascent begins.

Butterbugs is about to be exposed – as actor, as talent, as star. A splash like no other will soon inundate Hollywood.

In FORWARD TO GLORY’s guise as a four-part epic-noir-satire, EXPOSITION continues the grand procession commenced in TEMPERING. Proudly episodic, unabashedly sensational, it is a saga geared to a seasoned readership eager to embrace a daring narrative with determination and relish.

As he advances, Butterbugs is gifted with the assistance of many: Vonda – the superstar, who literally picks him off the street; The Angry Black Priest – the super-artist, who, out of tragedy, teaches him wisdom; Sonny Projector – the super-agent, who sees something exceptional in this intriguing unknown; Old Atrocity – the super-technician, whose cinematic expertise perfectly compliments the actor’s unique persona; Cody, Saskia and Justy – women to love, who love him; Pepper and Prairie – whose very existence may be nothing more than shadows on a screen but whose power is projected upon him; and Heatherette – whose reappearance saves his life.


I. Tempering – the Actor’s struggles

II. Exposition – the Actor’s rise

III. Apotheosis – the Actor’s climax

IV. Beyond Fin – the Actor’s legend

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About the Author

Brian Paul Bach is a writer, artist, filmmaker and photographer; he has worked across the entertainment business, in theatre, music and as an academic. He now lives in central Washington State with his wife, Sandra. His previous works include The Grand Trunk Road From the Front Seat, Calcutta’s Edifice: The Buildings of a Great City, and Busted Boom: The Bummer of Being a Boomer. He writes a regular column for Kolkata On Wheels magazine. The first book in the Forward to Glory quartet, Tempering, was released in March 2017.

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Brian Paul Bach


Butterbugs, the chief protagonist in this four-part saga – of which TEMPERING was the first, and EXHIBITION the second – is a nobody from nowhere, who came to Hollywood to try his chances at acting in films. His initial experiences were dispiriting. But his persistence starts to pay off. Chance encounters provide upward mobility, and soon he is discovered, and the roles begin to come.

In the opening chapter, Critical Mass: And He Didn’t Even Know What Hit Him, Butterbugs has just heard that a breakthrough series of films in which he was to star has been cancelled. In despair, he calls his girlfriend Cody, a high-level worker at a major film studio.

‘Cody? Is that you?’

‘Who’s this?’

‘Butterbugs, lover.’

‘At such a time?’

‘Oh. My clock says 4:10.’


‘AM or PM?’

‘Butterbugs! What’s with you – ?’

‘Oh, Cody, star-love, I… I got…’

‘What’s wrong?’

‘Well, can I come over?’

‘Over? It’s after 4:10…’

‘You said I could come over any time. Via Crazy Lane…?’

‘Butterbugs, it’s a school night. Er, morning…!’

‘So you’re…’

‘I’ve got to get up in an hour. My precious sleep… What remains of it…’

‘So, you’re mad at me?’

‘Mad? What’s that all about? I’ve got to get up soon.’

‘You’ve got an hour.’

‘Butterbugs, just tell me. Are you OK? Did something happen?’

‘Something happened. I’m, I don’t know, I just want you. You.’

‘Just… tell… me… what… happened.’

‘I thought I could come over.’

‘Butterbugs, would you just tell me? Use the miracle of the telephone. I’ve got to meet with Kritchurd Puerile’s fucking PR dude in three hours at the Bev Hills Hotel. It’s going to be a jungle of a day. Now will you just get on with it?’

‘I thought that I could just, I don’t know, be with you.’

‘You used to be.’

‘I’ve been so busy, Cody. Cody!…?’

‘And you think I haven’t? What makes you think –’

‘The Bucolics! Cancelled!’

‘Oh, Butterbugs…!’

‘Yeah, cancelled!’

‘I’m so sorry…’

‘Oh, Cody, I don’t know. What to do.’

‘You poor Butterbugs. I’m sorry, so sorry.’

‘Sonny quashed it.’

‘Sonny? Why??’

‘He caught Porter trying to sign me for three pictures, but –’

‘Ah! The old two-for-three. Or is it the other way round? It’s past 4:10! I’m not yet –’

‘You know…!’

‘You aren’t the first one, hunk. I’m sorry, and sorry again.’

‘So, Cody, can I, can I, come over?’

‘Butterbugs, I’m sorry. For all kinds of things. All sorts of reasons. But, but, I have two sons, and two of them, well, I have to address their issues, you know.’


‘Kid stuff. Stuff with kids. Well, not exactly.’

‘You love them.’

‘Yes. Yes, I guess I do. What are you talking about? Of course! Well, I guess I’m really awake now.’

‘So, can I?’

‘I just told you, what I have to face with the boys.’


‘Well, Urie got pressured into OxyCynara at school, and he didn’t want to do it, but he was the one who got caught. And Elvin, well, they’re accusing him of being gay. They, his peers. Because, well, he, is, I know it. He’s gay, and I’ve got to figure out a way… His father and I –’

‘What, I ask you, has that got to do with me?’

‘Where have YOU been? Apparently in your own world, that’s for sure.’

‘Cody, I. Cody, I…’

‘You just don’t know. You just care about your feature picture career. You say you loved me. And I loved you. But what does that mean now?’

‘It means, I love you!’

‘Yeah, well, that’s fine to say, but… Butterbugs, I’ve got to…’

‘What’s OxySinai, anyway?’

‘OxyCynara. A very powerful opiate. You see what I’m up against? Kids taking that shit!’

‘I’m up against some stuff, too. Some shit. And not exactly my own.’

Sensing that Butterbugs might be facing a personal emergency, Cody considered acceding to his request. On the other hand, it was wholly impossible. She had spoken truth to her lover, and even then, not in toto. There were plenty of ancillary matters and subplots attached to the general scenarios already outlined. Besides, she couldn’t be Earth Mother to every needy soul out there, regardless of his puppy passions. The gap of generations was felt acutely this early morning in bed, solo.

‘We all have our own shit to wade through, Butterbugs.’

‘But love-Code! But – you’re my main thing! Aren’t I yours?’

‘When I have time, Butterbugs. When I have time. Right now I have to go. I have to. You talk to Sonny. Even Parker. You can still talk, can’t you? It’s the Industry. It’s not all glam. People have been killed for less. Don’t let it throw you. Talk to Sonny. I’ve got to hang up now. Good luck, Butterbugs. Good luck…’

The click happened.

Butterbugs kept the receiver to his ear.

‘Cody! Are you there? Cody! Are we… over?’ Then, lowering it slowly, ‘We’re over. She just stopped it. I know it. And I did it.’

Now an established star with a huge following, Butterbugs experiences one triumph after another. In Chapter 66: ‘The Promise of Joy’, he is out filming on location. Needing a respite from an argumentative set, he wanders off and soon encounters a great lodge and its two occupants, the lovely Pepper, and the much younger Prairie. In the ensuing idyll, Butterbugs falls in love with Pepper. Jana, the film’s director, finds them and is jealous. Two thugs associated with the film show up and Jana is subjected to attempted rape. She is rescued by Butterbugs, Pepper, and Prairie. A police helicopter awaits to evacuate them from the scene.

In the hubbub and turbo-noise of the blades whirling, Jana only had time for a quick appreciative ‘thanks’ glance in Pepper’s direction – no more.

As for Butterbugs, it was naturally assumed by all that he would accompany Jana, to see the whole affair through.

‘We’re outa here, Butterbugs,’ Jana yelled, as he hustled her out to the chopper. Everyone was waiting. ‘Let’s go!’

After she was safely loaded, he started to withdraw.

‘Let’s go, Butterbugs!’

The helicopterian tumult was pressing in from every angle.

‘I’m not going back,’ he announced.

‘You what?? What? Oh, hell! After all this?’

‘I’m staying on. I belong here. Especially after all this.’

‘People,’ interjected Chopper Pilot Melstone, ‘We’ve got to lift off, now.’

‘You heard the man. So get in – please – movie star and rescuer!’

Jana thought her star might respond to being treated like a real-life hero.

‘NOW!’ repeated Melstone.

‘I tell you, I’m giving up pictures. I’m staying here. I’m staying on.’

‘Butterbugs.’ A voice came from directly behind him, marvelously strong in the midst of the roaring wind. It was Pepper.

He spun about. She was a vision of loveliness, with her hair blowing all around, with lips anxiously parted, and eyes as soulful as the first moment he had seen them, in quieter times.

‘Pepper! You came!’

‘I did. To see you off. And now, you must go.’

Butterbugs was thunderstruck.


‘It is right that you accompany your director, after what has happened tonight. She needs your comfort and support. You must see it through.’

‘But Pepper, we are on the verge of knowing each other. This time, this, this situation, has brought us together. Do you not feel –’

‘I do. I tell you, I do. I feel it. Like no other feeling. Ever.’

‘We must talk.’

‘We will talk. But right now, you must see Jana through, to complete safety.’

How could he argue further?

‘Then I will go. And we will talk.’

He was able to pause only a fleeting moment before all stops were pulled out. Or almost all.

‘I think I love you. That is the truth in front of us now. I think I love you, Pepper.’

‘Oh, Butterbugs! That is the wonder I had hoped for! I can say the same, and I will, except: I know I love you. I love you!’

She kissed him then, fully, with a conviction that matched her words:

‘Oh, my dear lover!’

He returned everything she gave him just then, with his compliments, and their equality was all around them.

‘Pepper! Pepper! I love you too! I know it, I knew it! Oh, Pepper-love! The first moment I saw you! You knew it, too!’

‘I did! I did!’

They kissed again with passions boosted by the surrounding cyclone, as well as the perceived impatience of the crew and Jana, who looked upon them without malice, but with a sort of exhaustion that went well beyond near-rape. It also marked a desire’s defeat, for here, directly in front of her, was a scene she could neither stage nor edit.

‘I am a director,’ she thought to herself. ‘And a helpless one.’

‘People!’ repeated Chopper Pilot Melstone, ‘I’m afraid we really must go now.’

He knew of the star he now addressed, and gave him every possible opportunity to play out his poignant scene with all courtesy (‘Just like in one of his pictures!’ he would crow to his colleagues later), but if they didn’t take off right now, fuel supply records after the mission’s conclusion would be an embarrassing point of compromise to the county, movie star people or no.

‘Then, I depart,’ said Butterbugs, letting up from his kiss for a moment before re-engaging. ‘My love also to that little Prairie of yours, sweet-teen lovely!’

‘Oh, yes, yes, yes!’ Pepper cried.

‘And I depart in pure love, for that is what I can give and feel, at last!’

‘Go now,’ she replied, with held-back tears. ‘And return! Truly, we will meet again.’

Reluctantly, Deputy Sheriff Dan Merrick gently dared to touch the star on his shoulders, as a signal that the urgency of departure was now very real, and approaching a red line of criticalness.

Butterbugs complied, and his eyes never left Pepper’s until she was compelled to retreat beyond the danger zone of the blades. Butterbugs almost burst out of the craft – to ensure her safe passage back to the lodge, if nothing else. But stout Merrick strapped him in, directly opposite Jana, who could no longer bear the scene, and looked only down.

Butterbugs’ star continues to rise, further and further – higher than any star ever. The climax is told in FORWARD TO GLORY’s third Act: APOTHEOSIS.

Thus, the themes for each of FORWARD TO GLORY’s four Acts: I. TEMPERING [the Actor’s struggles], followed by II. EXPOSITION [the Actor’s rise], III. APOTHEOSIS [the Actor’s climax], and concluding with IV. BEYOND FIN [the Actor’s legend].

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