“Waiting for Bukowski: On the Trail of Dustin Rohmer,” by Oliver Cuenca

Mar 8th, 2017 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

In 1968, Waiting for Bukowski was released to extreme critical and popular acclaim. The film followed the life of one Chuck B. Bukowski, a fire hydrant from Brooklyn, New York, and the woman he loved.

Winning every Oscar that year, as well as a Bronze Swimming Certificate, the film was deemed too good to be acknowledged, and subsequently an entirely new Academy Awards Ceremony was fabricated to correct what was seen as damning evidence that the art form had run its course, and that no-one could ever top the sheer, semi-orgasmic bliss of watching Waiting for Bukowski.

This awards ceremony, filmed and directed by Stanley Kubrick (who later directed 1969: A Moon Landing and 2001: A Space Cover-up) was so convincing that Waiting for Bukowski was almost forgotten. Many regarded it as simply as a shared hallucination caused by the drug-addled zeitgeist of the time.

Feeling defeated, Dustin Rohmer quit Hollywood completely, and disappeared off of the face of the Earth. Before he left, he made one last visit to his therapist, Dr. Harry Hawthorne. Even in his private life, Rohmer had been an innovator- he was the first person in Los Angeles to publicly admit to attending therapy sessions for absolutely no reason at all. We interviewed him about this last confirmed sighting of his former client.

“When he came into my office, he had tears in his eyes,” he told us. “He said to me, ‘Harry, I’m not gonna sit on your couch for an hour talking to you about rainbows today. This time I think I really need the therapy.’ And all I could say was, ‘Dustin, I’m not really a therapist. I’m an actor you hired to play a therapist as a publicity stunt!’ And I never saw him again.”

After leaving that office, the director of the single most critically acclaimed movie of all time disappeared without a trace. But what happened to this forgotten genius? Could it be that he is out there somewhere, possibly under an assumed name, living a life away from the public eye? There have of course been sightings of Rohmer everywhere, from London (Alabama), to Tokyo (Ontario). One senior citizen from New Zealand claimed to have seen him working as a pianist in a tiny jazz bar inside his bedroom radiator, and visible only to him. Perhaps these sightings are the clues we need to find him?

Of course not, you dolt. A quick cursory scan through official archives reveal that he died penniless after jumping off a bridge in 1972, the day after Richard Nixon was re-elected.

Honestly, you should have known there wasn’t going to be a happy ending to this. There never is when people do this kind of documentary. Did you never see that one about the Princess Anastasia? That punctured a lot of people’s dreams, I can tell you.

Yet despite the tragedy of his life, Dustin Rohmer shall continue to bring joy to generations to come, as each discover his magnum opus for the first time. Inspirations of what might be, and what should be. Daring to dream that somewhere in Brooklyn, there exists a fire hydrant, and that his name is Bukowski.

At least, they will if they ever decide to release it on anything other than video cassette.


Oliver Cuenca is a 21 year old English student at Falmouth University in the UK. His legs are green, and his shadow tastes like strawberry yogurt.

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