Coffee Rhetoric: Writer and Actor, Terrill Closs Tangles with THE BEAST

June 27, 2011

Writer and Actor, Terrill Closs Tangles with THE BEAST

2014 Update: Within the 3 years since this interview Terrill has hosted child pageants and was featured on 'Toddlers & Tiaras' and relocated to Los Angeles, where he has acted as a visible extra on several popular TV series, including 'Scandal' and 'Glee'. He continues to edit his book about 'The Beast', and hopes to release it to the masses sometime this year. 




Every now and again, I meet someone’s acquaintance or am introduced to a dynamic character I either end up wishing would suck on the open end of an exhaust pipe or who I'm intrigued by and will chop it up with in 3D over drinks, email, or social networking. 
Recently, I did a feature on a talented and exquisite Avant-garde   unicorn by the name of Dani Arranka, after having attended his birthday where he premiered the music video to his single, Be Like Me. A few days later my sister pitched me another idea: “If you liked Dani, you’d totally love my friend Terrill! She exclaimed. He’s a writer too! I think you’d like some of his work. He lives in Atlanta now! I told him all about you… ” At this point in the conversation, I sort checked out, because sister was rambling a mile a minute and my attention span has waned with older age (not my fault). 
In any event, I suggested she tell him to email me and give me the skinny all about himself, on his own accord. Sister sent me an email with one of his short stories attached. During that time, I was swimming in emails and in the midst of working on blogging the behind-the-scenes action for HartBeat Ensemble’s play, Flipside; and so it slipped to the back burner

Shortly after the initial suggestion to check out her friend, I got a Facebook friend request from one Terrill Creative-Closs. I noted we had my sister in common and remembered that this was the friend I was supposed to know about, and gladly accepted. The rest is history. I started noticing the lamentations in his status updates... one in particular, suggesting he'd need to soak in a Hazmat-sanctioned bleach bath (not really), before having to immerse himself in seedy goings-on at his job, which he called THE BEAST: Another night at THE BEAST! 
Subsequent posts would follow along that same vein, the underlying subtext seeming to be that folks wish him luck and the mental stability to sustain him through the evening...
"@THE BEAST: Sum guy got mad at us, on his way out. So he screamed & threatened to tell the cops that we’re ‘running a prostitution ring."
 another recent Facebook status read. 

But Terrill would also post updates about the progress on the book he's working on, inspired by exploits at THE BEAST.  
“…typing up my book and luxuriating… knowing I’m free from the grasp of THE BEAST tonight and tmrw.”  
Needless to say, my interest was, once again, piqued by this book-in-progress. I was anxious to delve into how found himself toiling away at THE BEAST and how he ended up in Atlanta. I also wanted to get a sense of his writing voice. So I had the opportunity to build with Terrill via an email conversation. What he relayed to me would prove to be even more compelling than his status updates on Facebook. It was so interesting; I couldn't bring myself to condense any of it and so, am presenting it on here exactly as he presented it to me, in its entirety. It’d be in your best interests to read on… not to mention he's rather easy on the eyes. 
Details about 'The Beast' are graphic and, perhaps, NSFW. 


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THE BEAST: Who, What, Where, When and WTF.  – As relayed by Terrill Closs

On where he grew up... 
Hey Tiff. I grew up in Hartford for the first ten years of my life and moved to Manchester, where I lived for the next ten years of my life.  After graduating Manchester high school, I worked at McDonald’s for two years and hated it.
On what prompted his move to ATL... 
I needed to see another part of the world and meet new people. So in 2004 I moved down to Georgia to attend school at a local tech school called High-Tech Institute.  I graduated with an Associate’s Degree in Graphic Design & Animation, in November 2006.  
That whole year was the toughest year of my life.  My mom moved down here too and we became homeless for 3 long crazy months, while I was in my last year of school.  We had to wash up in public bathrooms and spend hours at local libraries and random places.  Thank God we came through it.  Now, 5 years later, we’re still not quite where we wanna be, but God is working behind and in front of the scenes for us. I believe it.
Struggling has only motivated to me to do better for myself.  
On his influences... 
I’m a huge fan of Stan Lee, Aaron Spelling, Wendy Williams, Mariah Carey, Seth McFarland, Tyler Perry, Ted Turner, Greg Weisman and Diane Warren. 
Terrill on his writing process... 
When I write, I always have a particular subject in mind that I want to write about.  Once I’ve become inspired to write about something, I turn on my creative powers and go for it. 
In everything I write; I like to captivate my audience by telling compelling stories that entertain you while making you feel something.  Often, I like to make my readers gasp, laugh, learn and yearn for more.  
My favorite thing to do is throw in a nice twist towards or at the very end of each story.  It totally makes people gasp and makes them want to go back and re-read the story to see how the hints affect the twist and are creatively planted beneath the soil of the story. 
Details about THE BEAST and how he came to work within its belly. 
First of all, I call it THE BEAST because it’s so rough on us at times, like battling a ferocious beast. Plus, I feel like I work in ‘the belly of the beast’ because it’s so dark and unholy in there. lol 
In March of 2010, I was on a mission to find a job.  I had been on unemployment for about 9 months and my benefits were about to run out.  While going for a joyride with my good friend, he suggested that maybe I should apply at his old job, a private gay men’s bathhouse (“A Sex Club” or as my mom calls it…“A Whore House”).
It’s tucked away in a dark corner, at the bottom of a seedy-looking area in Midtown Atlanta.  I work at night, so you know it’s even eerier around that time in that kind of area.  The whole area is crawling with crazies, beggars, flying roaches and tran[s]-hookers. 
At work, I stand at the one check-in window and register and check in all kinds of guys.  Some are high on drugs when entering and some will be after they check-in and go off into the darkness.  It’s basically a sex club where guy do each.  Every night, I see some of the most unbelievable stuff.  People on drugs are the worst.  There’s usually plenty of them in there doing some wild thing.  Guys on drugs have tried to climb the walls in their room, like Spider-Man.  Some just collapsed on the floors in the halls and we just step over them as we walk the halls to clean some rooms.  Meth heads come in foaming at the mouth.  
People call in to ask us the weirdest crap too.  Dude on the DL are so bold they don’t even bother taking off their wedding rings when in the comfort of The Beast, ‘cause nobody else does.  A lot, not all, but a lot of them get it in with each other and never use condoms because they believe that they’re invincible.  Plus, they figure that the other guy is married, so he must be safe too.  Lord knows be stay SMFH.  
Along with the weird stuff, there are some funny things that happen there too.  Like one guy was walking and lifted up his leg, like a dog peeing, and he yanked out the fudge-covered, cream filled condom that his TOP had must’ve accidentally left inside of him.  After quickly yanking it out and letting it hit the floor, he had the nerve to just casually keep on walking.  My co-worker and I were like OMG!!!!!  One other guy said “Did ya’ll just see that?”  lol  People come up to the check-in window and greet me with the Wendy Williams “How You Doin” too.  I love it when they do it in groups. It’s so cute.  Guy ‘swirl out’ too, meaning they nearly overdosed and we have to call 911.  The paramedics stroll in with their stretcher and can’t believe what they see.  It’s hilarious; the look on their faces.  
This one beggar with no teeth comes into the lot dressed in Ed Hardy and Coogi clothes and has the nerve to panhandle at the entrance door.  We usually run out there and bring a big ol pole to beat him with and a bucket of water to dump on him.  He’s crazy and very bold too.  I often have to call big Robin on him.  She’s a regular office in the area that doesn’t take anyone’s crap.  This 19yr old boy somehow hopped the tall metal fence and snuck in.  I caught him and had Big Robin and her partner come in and arrest his butt.  Random customer were checking out and leaving ‘cause they thought we were being raided.  Lol.  But we’re legal, so that won’t happen.  While the kid was in handcuffs I said, “Tomorrow’s Easter.  What are you gonna tell your mom when goes down to the station to pick you up and bail you out?  ‘Oh ma I got arrested breakin’ into the whore house.’ They all were rollin' as they were takin' him out the door.  Dude was crazy! 
There’s a lot of drama BEHIND the counter too, with my bosses and co-workers. Oh my Lord. If you only knew!   I’ve taken all that I’ve learned and know, and I’m creatively spinning it all into a wonderful web of wildly captivating storylines, memorable characters and realistic dialog. 

On striking creative GOLD at THE BEAST... 
I don’t know. I think I used to always joke that my job reminded me of a surreal reality show.  We all joked about that at work.  And maybe it was the summer of 2010 when I really started contemplating writing some kind of book.  But the first one I envisioned was a silly whatever type of book.  
After writing a short story entitled “The Beauty and The Beast” for my Facebook friends to read and enjoy. It hit me! I decided to use characters from that short story for a soap opera type of book the centered around The Beast.  In the book, drama surrounds the employees, some of the customers and some of the people connected to them all.   I just made up a short story about a beautiful wife following and catching her husband at The Beast for Facebook, and now I have all of these amazing characters and storylines are separate yet are intertwined too. 
It’s dramatic, with a hint of humor at times, dark, controversial, explicit, erotic, shocking, and PACKED (and I do mean JAM packed with twists and crazy INSANE cliffhangers at the end of each of the chapters, which I call “Episode” (i.e. Episode 1, Episode 7).  There’s a slight bit of supernatural stuff in there too, but it works.  It’s nothing far out there either. It really works for this book. I have it all planned out in my head how I want it to be…even the next book…volume 2. 
I’m writing this like it’s a dark TV drama soap opera, ‘cause my ultimate goal is to get it published, put on the New York Times Best Sellers list (hopefully #1) and then have it be made into a TV show, like how the Sookie Stackhouse Novels were made into the show “True Blood.”  I so badly want “The Beast” to come on right after TB, on HBO every Sunday.  That’s my goal. I even designed the shirt I want the workers on the show to wear.  And I want to sell them in real life too so that the fans of the show can have their “Beast” t-shirts too.  I’m just burning with ideas and dreams that I’m working on. 
On his writing history... 
I’ve been writing since 2002.  That’s when I wrote my first short story, about Mariah Carey.  It was a funny story, poking fun of her diva phrases and tendencies; meant to help cheer up one of my best friends. She really liked it.