I will once again flag this as NSFW (Not Suitable For Work). Sam is a very creative writer – Simon
On being pampered, paparazzi, Sir Steven, and when a big toe becomes a thumb
As the duo exited their plane they both looked at each other and at the same time started to remark how quickly the flight went.
“Because we talked the entire way,” Gary said.
“No, because we drank the entire way,” Charles said with a laugh. He then hurried to the terminal where he could turn on his iPhone and see if he missed any calls or texts. He also was going to call Emma and his children as he walked to the luggage carousal.
“Meet at luggage!” Gary yelled. Sure do miss being the first off the plane, he mused as he stopped to text his office about arriving safe and sound.
They both couldn’t believe how fast their luggage arrived and thought it was a good sign.
As soon as they started to look around for their ride to The Beverly Hills Hotel, their luggage was taken out of their hands and a very large, uniformed chauffeur introduced himself.
“I am your driver, Mr. Curtis and Mr. Harte,” the large man said in a booming voice that matched his shoulders width.
“The Gary Hart?!” A woman standing near them shouted out.
This caused a few others within earshot of the woman to turn and stare. They also used their body language to their advantage waiting for the answer
Gary froze, awaiting Charles to mock the situation. But this was a new Charles Craig Curtis who wasn’t one hundred percent cured, but damn close. Charles pointed the very large driver towards the street and grabbed Gary by the elbow and muttered “Come along, Senator” as they briskly exited the airport into the awaiting stretch limousine. Right before he stepped onto the sidewalk, Charles looked back and saw the little group all pointing at them and talking amongst themselves about seeing Senator Gary Hart.
God how we Americans love our celebrity moments, Charles mused as he stepped into the huge vehicle and started to experience true celebrity.
“You really like taking advantage of these Senator Hart moments, don’t you?” Gary pointed out.
Charles cracked a smile that would have made the Cheshire cat envious.
The Cheshire cat is a fiction al feline popularized by author Lewis Carroll in his classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and known for its distinctive mischievous grin.
“You two ever been to Beverley Hills?” the large driver of the limousine asked them as he eased out of the parking spot.
“Only in my dreams,” Charles answered.
“Is this a trick question?” asked Gary sarcastically.
“Not bad answers,” the driver said with a yawn. “Most people are lucky if they get to fly over Beverley Hills.”
Both Charles and Gary started fiddling with everything that was in the limo’s back seat area. They opened and shut the windows. They opened the sun/moon roof and took turns standing up in it, and then they both stood up in the opening. They checked the bar out. They opened the refrigerator. They opened and shut the privacy glass between the driver and themselves a few times. They switched seats and then the driver spoke up.
“Congratulations, gentlemen,” the limousine driver said.
“For what?” they answered in unison.
“No one has ever done as much in this limo as you two have in such a short time,” he said sarcastically.
“It’s almost better than flying first class,” Charles said.
“It’s first class ‘limousine style,’” Gary added.
“When we get to the hotel, then you both will know what first class is.”
“I thought you would have driven in a limousine many times,” Charles said to Gary.
“A long time ago. Now it’s the subway, taxi or sore dogs for me,” Gary said.
“Speaking about taxis’, isn’t it nice not to have to worry about the driver being a terrorist,” Charles said as he gestured to their enormous Caucasian driver.
Gary laughed, and asked the driver why he put a special emphasis on the word ‘the’.
Charles touched a few more buttons and smiled at all the items that popped out. He was amazed when one compartment had a bunch of reading glasses in it and started putting them on as the ride continued.
“You’re being silly,” Gary pointed out.
“Why not, I’m a celebrity,” Charles said with a laugh.
“That’s the spirit, Mr. Curtis,” the driver called out. “You would be amazed at what that back seat has experienced. If this car could talk….”
“What about you talk about what I asked you?” Gary asked.
“Okay,” the driver responded. “
“The Beverly Hills Hotel is the only place that had an entire community sprout up around it. Think about it. Usually the community comes first and then a hotel,” the driver said. “To say nothing about the beauty of the place, the charm, the mystique, and of course the most important factor of all.”
“What is that; who owns it?” Gary guessed.
“A sultan owns it. But that’s not it,” the driver said.
Great, the terrorists will come to my room disguised as chamber maids, Charles thought as he waited for the answer from the driver.
“It is the hotel,” the driver said, as he pointed to the marquee of the hotel.
Charles pushed the button that opened up the moon/sun roof and both he and Gary poked their heads through to gawk as they approached the entrance.
“Wow!” they both said.
“It’s better looking than the pictures of it online,” Gary said as he sat back down and waited for the driver to pull up to the lobby entrance.
“Isn’t everything?’ Charles answered as he, too, sat back down in the big back seat.
“I think so,” said the driver, “especially in southern California.”
The driver parked by the front door, and before they climbed out of their seats, he had their luggage taken to the front desk. Both Gary and Charles held out tip money for him. He refused it.
“Taken care of by the studio,” he said with a smile.
“You sure?” Gary asked him.
“When it comes to money that I have received, I am.”
Charles and Gary shook their heads, pocketed their cash and proceeded to the front desk.
The front lobby was gorgeous and the service impeccable.
“How about a drink before we get to our rooms, call it a day and be fresh for our big day tomorrow?” Gary said as he tugged Charles by his right elbow.
“Sounds like a plan to me,” Charles said. No more than a few, then up to my room to call Emma, the kids, and then to bed, Charles thought, as he followed Gary to the bar off the lobby.
They asked the beautiful desk clerk and her equally handsome assistant which was the better of the bars to have a few cocktails in as well as engage in small talk without being bothered or bothering anyone else.
“Definitely Bar Nineteen Twelve,” the beautiful desk clerk said while her equally handsome assistant nodded in approval.
“Sounds like a novel,” Charles said.
“Maybe Emma should name the third floor of Moise Pipeck’s ‘Nineteen Thirteen,’” quipped Gary as he headed off into the direction of Bar Nineteen Twelve.
He listened to my gushing over Emma, so I guess it’s my turn to listen to him, Charles mused.
They walked in and instantaneously knew why the desk clerk had pointed them to it.
“Gorgeous,” Charles said.
“Better than Moise Pipecks, I am sure,” Gary said sarcastically.
“Gentlemen, what will it be?” the bartender asked as both men sat in the middle of a long bar in very comfortable high backed swivel chairs.
Charles asked for a menu, because he was feeling hungry, which surprised him considering how much food he had eaten on the flight.
“I’m hungry, too… must be the travelling,” Gary said as he looked at the menu that Charles opened up on the bar.
“Traveling makes everyone hungry,” the bartender said. “When I was a traveling
salesman, I couldn’t believe how much weight I could put on going from one place to the next. I’ll give you gents a few minutes.”
Charles and Gary watched the bartender waltz down to the far end of the bar to their right.
“Did you notice something?” Gary asked Charles.
“Yes, there are no prices,” Charles noted.
“No, about the bartender?”
“He’s blabby?” guessed Charles.
Gary signaled for the bartender, even though he hadn’t decided what to order. He wanted Charles to see what he had noticed that was odd about the bartender.
“What can I get you gents?” the bartender asked them both.
Charles looked at the menu with one eye and with the other eye he gave the bartender the once over and couldn’t detect anything odd about the man.
“There are no prices by your items,” Charles pointed out.
“This is Bar Nineteen Twelve in the hotel. If you have to ask, you can’t afford,” the bartender said as he put his hands on the bar near the menus, and then Charles saw what Gary wanted him to see.
Charles looked at Gary and Gary knew, instantly, that Charles had finally seen what Gary had seen earlier.
The very affable Charles Craig Curtis wasn’t going to let his eyes embarrass him, and he laughed at what the bartender had just said about the prices.
“Well, what will it be?” the bartender asked with an annoying look in his eyes, but in a voice that didn’t give, what his eyes were saying, away (good bartenders know how to do this).
Both client and agent looked at each other. Each knew what the other wanted.
“A glass of your finest Pinot Noir for my very good client Charles Craig Curtis,” Gary said with gusto.
“And a very large gin and tonic for the best agent in the world Gary Harte,” Charles said loudly.
Of course with the mention of Gary’s last name the few people in hearing distance moseyed over to catch a glimpse of the man who they thought might have been President of the United States of America.
The bartender knew that Gary Harte at the bar was way too young to be the ex-senator and ex-presidential candidate and retreated to get his two customers their drinks.
The few people who were in hearing distance assumed it had to be the Gary Hart, because they were at the hotel, and after all, being in southern California meant celebrities were on every corner, or in this case, in a fancy bar.
As the four gawkers crept towards Charles and Gary, Charles spoke first about what he had seen on the bartender.
“I saw it,” Charles said.
“What do you think?” Gary said.
“I think we should be ready for your fans,” he answered as he watched the four gawkers and their drinks arrive simultaneously.
“Probably a war wound,” Charles whispered to Gary.
“Maybe an accident in cutting up lemons and limes,” Gary whispered back.
Both men were referring to the right thumb of their bartender.
“Don’t stare,” Charles cautioned.
“I can’t help it,” Gary replied as the bartender went to the cash register to ring up the sale.
“His extremity isn’t a celebrity, you know,” Charles said.
Gary was about to reply when the four gawkers inched in around them both.
Charles felt their presence before Gary did, because Gary was focused on the digit of their bartender’s right hand.
“Come to meet Mr. Harte?” Charles asked the gawkers.
They all nodded at the same time.
“Can I buy you all a drink?” Charles found himself saying.
They all nodded in agreement.
So this is what happens when one is a celebrity, Charles mused as he gestured to them to order a drink from the bartender who had a funny looking right thumb. The bartender obliged the gawkers and got them their drinks. The gawkers thanked Charles and then in rapid-fire succession asked Gary Harte some questions.
“You have aged well, Mr. Hart,” said the first.
“What are you doing in Beverly Hills?” asked the second.
“What happened to Donna Rice — she was hot?” asked the third.
“Can I have your autograph?” asked the fourth.
Charles was going to wheel around on his bar stool and let the group in on his inside joke. Gary wouldn’t let him, and beat him to the punch, as they say.
“Sure. Would all of you like my signature on a cool napkin from this bar? It should fetch you something on eBay,” Gary said.
The four all nodded.
The bartender motioned for Charles to talk to him while Gary jotted his own name on the cocktail napkins.
“You look familiar, but I cannot place you. You’re the celebrity. There is no rhyme or reason that he would be Senator Hart,” the bartender with the strange looking right thumb said.
“You’re going to get a great tip if you let him play out the string,” Charles said. “By the way, if you can guess where you have seen me you will get a big tip,” Charles said.
“I am working on that. But I know he isn’t Senator Hart,” the bartender said.
“How do you know that?” Charles asked him.
“Because Senator Hart is in bungalow number 69. He’s working on a documentary,” the bartender said. “Also, your friend looks like the senator like my left thumb looks like my right.”
Did our glancing set him off? Charles thought as he pondered how to answer the bartender in his comparison of his mismatched digits.
Gary looked up from his napkin signing as Charles wondered what to say. Gary was
surprised to see his client Charles engaged in a conversation with the barkeep. He quickly handed the autographed napkins to the gawkers, who told him that he looked great and should have been elected President of the United States of America.
Gary laughed and then frowned as soon as he looked over, and saw the bartender’s odd looking extremity gripping the bottle as he poured a drink for one of the autograph hounds.
The gawkers returned to their end of the bar. A few others walked in and sat at the opposite end of the bar, and the bartender waltzed over to them.
Charles gestured to Gary to drink up.
“I can’t,” Gary said.
“You too drunk or feeling guilty about pulling the wool over those people’s eyes?” Charles asked.
“I gave them what they wanted. Besides, I didn’t commit any crime. No forgery. I signed it with an e at the end. It’s his thumb,” Gary said with disgust.
“Why don’t you say it so they can hear you back in New York?” Charles said sarcastically. “Let’s move to a table.”
Charles motioned to the bartender that they were moving to a table. The bartender gave them a friendly wave with his hand and that thumb of his stood out like, well, the big toe that it was. Gary gagged and Charles cringed at the gagging, more than the odd looking appendage.
At the table, Charles tried to find out why Gary was so turned off by the bartenders thumb.
“Because it looks like a big toe,” Gary whined as he pushed his drink away.
Seeing this, Charles took an extra big sip of his wine and smacked his lips when he was done. “Best glass I’ve had since we left, and I have had a lot to drink since we boarded the plane.”
“How can you drink knowing his toe might have slipped into your drink?” Gary gagged as he got up from the table, drink in hand and went to the mens room with it.
It was Charles’ turn and time to act, well, like Charles Craig Curtis. Charles got up from the table and walked over to the bartender. Charles was going to be honest and blunt and ask the man about his thumb.
“After all, he wasn’t going to punch me out in a fancy bar inside the hotel,” he later told Emma over the phone.
“I bet he was born that way,” Emma offered up.
Charles made a buzzer sound and told Emma if she was a guest on a TV game show she had just lost.
Charles watched the bartender tend to the other customers and looked again at his right thumb to make absolutely sure it wasn’t a deformity. He assumed it wasn’t, because the man’s left thumb was perfectly normal, as were his other fingers. The bartender walked over to him, and Charles ordered two glasses of water with lemon in them. He decided to pop the question about his thumb when the bartender came back with the water. Feeling guilty before he asked, Charles dug a twenty dollar bill out and put it on the bar top.
The bartender brought the glasses over and looked at the ten bucks that Charles had just placed down on the bar.
“No charge for water, especially with the prices you are paying for the other stuff,” the bartender joked.
“It’s a tip for you — on the condition you answer a question and you don’t get offended,” Charles said.
“Buddy, I’m a bartender. Nothing offends me, especially if I gain a dub.”
A dub is slang for a twenty dollar bill… US Currency.
Charles took a deep breath and looked back at his table where Gary had returned and was glaring at him.
“Excuse me for asking this, but is that a big toe where your thumb should be?” Charles said in his most humble of tone — ever.
“No, it’s a little toe. You should see the size of my big toe. If it was on my hand I would have been the star of Tom Robbins novel Even Cowgirls get the Blues,” the bartender said with a wave of his large appendix.
“Sissy Hankshaw is one of my favorite fictional characters,” Charles noted.
“Who is that?” the bartender said sarcastically.
Sissy Hankshaw was the star of the book by Mr. Robbins. She was the epitome of a free spirit who happened to have over-sized thumbs.
Charles was familiar with the book and the character. He didn’t think that the bartender was as cool as Sissy. He figured he had crossed the line, as they say, with his question and went to leave, when the bartender grabbed Charles’ left hand with his right one — the one with the toe for a thumb. The grip wasn’t tight, it was rather gentle and Charles relaxed.
“It’s from a war wound,” the bartender said. “A rather odd wound.”
“I’d like to hear about it,” Charles said. (Not being a veteran of any war, but very fond of the people who risked their lives for him and got paid diddlysquat for it, Charles did care.)
“Call your friend over. He needs to hear it, too,” the bartender said.
“How did you know that?” an impressed Charles asked.
“I’m a damn good bartender. I read people for a living.”
“I really wanted to respond to him by saying ‘I’m a damn good author, people read me,” Charles later told Emma.
“Funny… but finish the story, will you please?” begged Emma.
Charles motioned for Gary to come over to the bar, and when Gary’s body language gave him away, Charles went to retrieve him and told him what had happened so far– the least they owed him was to listen to the story about the man’s war wound. Gary reluctantly agreed.
“And apologize to him before he starts. He read you like a bad cover,” Charles pointed out.
Gary shrugged and gagged one last time as they made their way to the bartender.
“I see you don’t have a drink,” he said to Gary. Gary pointed to the water.
“Drink up,” the bartender said as he picked up the glass with the big toe staring Gary right in his face.
Paybacks are a bitch, Charles thought as he motioned for the barkeep to tell his war story about his war wound.
“Before I do, there is something I need to get off my chest,” Gary said.
“My thumb, your chest,” the bartender joked.
All three laughed at that, and just like that — it seemed all of Gary’s inhibitions about the big toe for a thumb disappeared.
“I have to make this story quick,” the bartender said. “I have a special customer that comes in later, and I have some things to do on top of pouring drinks.”
“By all means,” the now serene Gary said.
Charles rolled his eyes at Gary, but he was starting to feel the effects of the flight, time change and the booze. He also wanted to talk to Emma and fall into a deep sleep to be ready for the big-time tomorrow. He gave a nod to the bar keep to resume.
“I come from a long line of veterans. I will be the last one of my bloodline to serve, though,” the bartender said somberly.
“Why is that?” Gary asked.
“What war did you get hurt in?” Charles asked. Charles Craig Curtis was a master at going down different avenues when a story was being told — after all, he was a writer. However, when he was talking, he loved going down avenue after avenue.
“It’s when others do it, I really hate it, because I can’t control when it is taking place,” he moaned to Emma later that night after he had left Gary at the bar.
“I’ll keep that in mind,” she said as she rolled her eyes.
“I’m a Gulf War vet. The phony Gulf War,” he spat out.
Charles and Gary didn’t move a muscle. They both knew the differences about America versus Iraq one and two. What’s more, they were not going to say anything about anyone who was there. This was the bartender’s story and they paid keen attention as he went on.
“My war sucked. Yes, we won, but three cops in a rowboat could have kicked the Republican Guard’s asses, and we were fighting in the desert,” he said with a laugh.
Both Charles and Gary laughed at that line.
“The battles were over before they started. The flyboys carpet bombing the shit out of the Republican Guards on the ground had them ragheads surrendering at such a fast clip — that’s where I received my war wound. Hey, will one of you buy me a shot? I like doing a shot when I tell my war story,” he asked.
Charles gave his blessing.
“Make it a very expensive one,” Gary hollered out, and the bartender laughed at Gary’s generosity with Charles’ money.
Charles smiled, because Gary had sensibly lost his inhibition about the bartender’s big toe for a replacement thumb.
The bartender raised his glass as a salute to the men for buying it for him and downed it like the professional he was.
“Before you begin, please tell us your name,” Gary said.
“Only fair, but I do know his,” the barkeep said as he pointed to Charles.
Both Charles and Gary were taken aback.
“You’re Charles Craig Curtis the now famous writer,” he said.
“Why did you put special emphasis on now?” Charles asked.
“Because we have a mutual friend I’d like to tell you about.”
“Some other time,” Charles said. “I want to hear about your war injury first.”
“I’m Gary Harte, Charles’ agent,” Gary said.
“Oh, the ex-Senator,” the barkeep said laughing remembering the gawkers. “I’m Harry.”
“OK, Harry. Please continue,” Charles urged.
“As I pointed out, the battle where I was injured was over incredibly fast. We were ordered to charge over the dunes, because our superiors said we had flanked our enemy. As soon as we got to the top of the dunes we realized not only had we flanked them, but they were surrendering already. And boy did these guys know how to drop their guns,” Harry said laughing loudly.
“Did I miss the punch line?” Gary asked.
“What’s so funny about dropping their guns? I would think that would make you and your buddies’ day,” Charles said.
“Well the ragheads didn’t just drop their weapons, they dropped their uniforms. Everything. They didn’t want to be thought of as a member of the Republican Guard and the best way to accomplish that was to be stark raving naked when we swooped down on them,” Harry said, stifling a laugh.
“Mission accomplished,” Charles said sarcastically.
Both Gary and Harry laughed at Charles’ rather placed shot at George Bush Jr. who infamously proclaimed “Mission accomplished” when the war in Iraq was very far from being over.
“There was one problem. Someone had to spread the prisoners’ cheeks and look under their balls for hidden contraband, hidden orders, and hidden maps,” Harry said.
“The spoils of war,” Charles said sarcastically.
“I assume no one volunteered,” Gary guessed
“That’s why the military begins and ends with taking orders. I was ordered to start checking between the cheeks of the prisoners. My superior officer gave my some surgical gloves, a high powered flashlight and an interrupter. The interrupter ordered the ninety-men who had surrendered to form a line and they would be inspected, given a bathrobe, slippers, water, rations and clearance paperwork. Members of my squad were to take care of the goodies. So it began. About half-way through the line, a few of the ragheads moved away from my next customer and I figured he had passed gas, so I held my breath as he bent over. What happened caused my injury. By the way, when I tell you, please laugh, because I’m getting the chuckles just thinking about it,” Harry said.
“I can’t wait to hear,” Charles said.
“Me, neither,” agreed Gary.
“His asshole was booby trapped and I tripped it when I try to pluck what I thought was paper from it with my right hand. Amongst other things… it blew my thumb off, and of course, the raghead to bits. The surrendering ragheads recoiled in terror; our squad quickly corralled them, and made them sit down crossed legged with their arms on top of their heads. My buddy put a tourniquet on my arm and taped my arm to my head. He shot me up, because the pain was unbearable and went looking for my thumb. The Sergeant called in for medical treatment, but all the medevac units were committed to potential counter-offenses and a medic from battalion was sent to aid me. My buddy didn’t find my thumb, but he found the right foot of the raghead whose booby trapped asshole had blown off my thumb. The toes were still wiggling, and he dropped it in a freezer bag filled with cold water and put it into a chilled bin that we use to save limbs. The medic arrived incredibly fast, sized up the situation, and gave me a knock-out drug. When I awoke, I had my right big toe for a thumb and the ragheads right toe on my foot, replacing my old big toe which is now my thumb,” Harry said as he held out his big toe/thumb in what Charles later told Emma was the ‘toes up sign’.
Both Charles and Gary didn’t know how to respond, so Harry did for them. He laughed like crazy, which made them join in, too.
“I won’t show you my toe, because although it works, it isn’t pretty,” Harry told them. “Isn’t it even funnier that the ragheads toe is the color of the rest of my hand? No why that is?”
Charles and Gary shook their heads. They were clueless, as they say.
“Southern California weather, with an assist from the tanning booths!”
“How long did it take you to heal?” Charles asked Harry.
“Was the rehab long?” Gary asked.
“What, neither one of you are going to ask me if I ever get an urge to ride a camel?” Harry said, laughing his hearty laugh. “Surprisingly, everything went fast and was easy, except for one thing.”
Both Charles and Gary shrugged their shoulders.
“I lost my urge to become a proctologist,” Harry said, again laughing his big, deep laugh.
Of course, Charles and Gary chimed in, and Charles bought them all another drink and was very happy the way things were turning out. He was also getting very tired, and decided to call it a night. He wanted to get on the phone with Emma and get in a quick ‘hi’ to his kids. He also knew that after a long talk with Emma, he would fall into
a deep sleep and be rested for the big-day tomorrow when he was all set to get more red carpet treatment. He said goodnight and shook Harry’s hand with the big toe for a thumb and patted Gary on the back. Charles was pleased to see that Gary and Harry were chatting away with one another as he bid Gary and Harry a fond adieu, and made his way up to the beautiful room that awaited him.
He wasn’t disappointed in the room, but he wanted to be a tad bit more sober before he began a conversation with Emma. He decided to take a quick cold shower, but before he could get ready to do so, he felt a very strong pain in his gut to take a dump. He quickly sat on the toilet and smiled that he got to it, just in time.
He realized it was going to quite some time before his bowels emptied. The vast amount of alcohol and rich appetizers had taken their toll. Since he was going to jump in a shower, he stripped while sitting on the toilet and marveled at how well he did that.
“All that practice stripping finally paid off, albeit for a different reason,” he laughed.
As he laughed, malodorous fumes reached up and grabbed him by his nostrils. He was stinking up the place and felt embarrassed, because it was such a terrific place, and he was afraid that when the maids came in the next morning they would tell the entire hotel staff about his stink.
“I think your picture should be right next to the word ‘scatological’ is the dictionary,” Emma said with a laugh after he told her what happened next.
“After what I did, I think ‘dumb’, would be more accurate,” Charles said.
“As you know Charles, I am a very good psychiatrist, and I have to agree you’re more n right this time than I am wrong,” Emma said with a big laugh.
What happened to Charles might happen to others who don’t consistently wear or keep their reading glasses near or on them (or want to be bothered by them at all!)
Charles Craig Curtis didn’t like to leave a bad scent, and the aroma coming out of his body was definitely something he didn’t want to be associated with — especially at the hotel. With no windows to open and no fan switch near the toilet, he started squinting looking for help.
It was found in the form of an aerosol can.
“How convenient,” he said as he fumbled for the can that was aligned with a host of other little bottles on the bathroom sink right next to the toilet and started spraying away the foul odor.
Instantly, the horrible smell disappeared, because what he had just sprayed was a fragrance of sorts.
But it was a mini-can of menthol shaving cream that the hotel provided in all their rooms.
The cream went everywhere and only masked the stink for a millisecond.
“What did you expect? Shaving cream is for shaving, Emma said as she laughed.
“I better glue my reading glasses to my head,” he said with a sigh.
“Did the smell go away?” she asked.
“After I took a nice hot shower, yes, it did,” he said.
“Good. I wouldn’t want you embarrassing yourself anymore in the bathroom;” she said “so get some surgery to correct your vision. You can afford it.”
After a very long and happy conversation with each other, Charles Craig Curtis ended his part by saying “Emma, I have something very important to share with you.”
Emma cringed and told Charles just that.
“It’s not bad at all. It’s a good thing that I need to share, because it will show you how much you have helped me heal,” he said.
“And I might add, rather quickly,” she said.
“When I first met you professionally I was really a mess. Before I tried to get creative, which my whole life depended upon, I used to yell out nonsense, because I thought it would help cure me. Now I realize that there is only one thing to yell before I do anything, and that is to tell Emma Everly Hancock that I love you.”
But Gary Harte wasn’t that tired. He was also alone in the bar with his favorite bartender Harry. Harry bought Gary a drink and told him that he had something to
discuss with him. Gary was sure it would be about Harry needing an agent and probably had a book going about his accident or memorable customers. Gary decided to check his messages and send a few texts back to the office while he nursed his drink. He didn’t see a woman walk in and sit at the far booth, which was hidden from his viewpoint.
“I overheard some of your conversation with the writer,” Harry said to Gary.
“You must have great hearing.”
“Bad thumb, but 20-20 hearing,” Harry said with a smile. “So, you’re horny and want some pussy. I can help you.”
“Is this on the level?” a suddenly upbeat Gary asked.
“Let me pour you a cup of coffee and tell you about what levels await you,” Harry said.
“Coffee?” a buzzed Gary asked.
“You’re a little, too, drunk for what I’m about to offer you up. A couple of big cups of coffee will help us both make wise decisions,” Gary said as he poured a mug of coffee for Gary, who didn’t mind at all seeing the man’s big toe holding onto the handle of the pot as it poured.
Gary took a few sips and started to wonder.
Am I, too, buzzed? Is this on the level? Am I being scammed? He took a few more sips of the coffee and felt better. Since the room wasn’t spinning, like he imagined it would be if something had been ‘slipped’ into his coffee, he decided to ask an honest question.
“Harry, since it’s obvious you didn’t spike my coffee, what gives?”
“Follow me, Gary,” Harry said, as he walked from behind the bar and motioned for Harry to join him at the booth that Gary didn’t know had a mysterious guest waiting for him.
Gary could see that someone was in the shadows and was a little hesitant to sit, but Harry wasn’t forcing him, and then the shadow turned into a very attractive woman.
Hope she needs a literary agent, Gary thought as he sat down.
“I’ll get three cups of coffee,” Harry said.
“Do you like it black?” the woman asked Gary.
“Is this a trick question?” he shot back.
“I think you need to find out if I am a trick first?” the woman shot back at him.
“No, she’s a treat,” Harry said as he sat down next to the woman and passed both her and Gary a mug of coffee.
“My name is Monica, Monica Peters,” said the woman as she held out her hand and leaned forward. By emerging from the shadows, Gary Harte saw all he wanted.
She was petite. Her hair was jet black and very straight. She had big doe eyes with long eye-lashes, a turned up nose with a small mouth that Gary thought had way, too much gloss on it. She wore a leather vest and her cleavage just spilled out of it. It didn’t take long for Gary to imagine sticking his face in that cleavage. This aroused him as he took her small right hand is his and shook it as he introduced himself to her.
“We can play Monkey Business,” she said with a laugh.
“I’m not that Gary Hart,” Gary said.
“I know. Harry told me about your fans over the phone,” she said in her husky voice. “But if you want I can play Donna to your Senator.”
And Gary Harte found himself being led out of the bar by the hand by the mysterious Monica Peters.
Charles was awakened by his iPhone going off. He fumbled for his reading glasses and read that it was 6:00a.m. Then, he saw that it was Emma calling him, and he remembered that he had asked her to call him at this time before he fell into one of the best sleeps he had experienced in a long time.
They spoke for a few minutes and Emma wished him a lot of luck in his upcoming meeting. Then she said something that surprised them both.
“Have you noticed that we’re acting like a married couple?”
“Why, yes,” Charles replied.
“And?” she asked him.
“I love it! Call you when I’m through being paraded around Hollywood.” He bragged.
Charles got dressed as Emma had suggested — black cowboy boots, chino pants,
white-button down shirt, and a navy blue blazer with a pink kerchief in the upper left pocket. He made sure his iPhone was charged, put his reading glasses on top of his head, tucked a brown paper bag into his inside coat pocket and made for the lobby for a quick breakfast with Gary.
As soon as he arrived in the lobby and made his way to where the continental breakfast was being served, Charles Craig Curtis smelled trouble.
Gary Harte, who was always early, was nowhere in sight.
Charles took a deep breath, poured himself a big mug of coffee and hoped that his agent was running late.
But Charles also knew that time was running fast, because the limousine was going to be pulling up to the hotel very shortly. He patted the bag and felt better. He took another sip of his coffee and decided to look at what was being offered on the buffet table.
His eyes grew wide and his stomach growled when he came upon the fresh fruit, assorted muffins, assorted danish, assorted bagels, different types of cream cheese, assorted yogurts, assorted cold cereals, fresh scrambled eggs with a choice of bacon, ham or sausage, mini croissant sandwiches, chilled orange juice , and different flavors of hot tea. As he grabbed a little of each (but not, too much), he forgot about Gary. He was hungry and he knew the food would taste marvelous.
He wasn’t disappointed and was mulling about going back for a few more bites when he heard his name being paged.
Got to be him, he thought as he walked into the lobby and came upon the limousine driver from the airport.
Now, Charles started to worry and he started to feel woozy. The driver sensed something was wrong and screamed for the concierge to get a doctor. Charles started to hyperventilate and fight with the limousine driver trying to lay him down, because he wanted to grab for his brown paper bag and solve the mini-crisis. It was no use — the driver was in control of Charles, and when he came to, he was amazed at how many people were gathered around him. He heard many suggestions and causes from the various voices, but Charles knew what to do.
“I can handle this,” he said as wobbled to a sitting position and reached inside his jacket for the brown paper bag. He did as Alice had shown him and the gathering crowd soon departed as they saw that Charles was in control of his own problem.
“The employees were just happy that they didn’t cause it,” the limousine driver said to Charles as he whisked Charles off to Sir Steven’s offices. “Where is your agent?”
Good question, Charles thought as he dialed Gary’s number. There was no answer and there was a good reason why not.
While Charles was yakking up a storm with Emma, and then sleeping like a baby after he had left the bar, Monica Peters and Harry were taking Gary back to their place of pleasure.
“For a price, a small price,” Harry had assured him when Gary had asked him why he was going along.
They all piled into a Chevy Cruze. Harry driving, Monica and Gary in the back seat.
“What’s the price?” Gary asked.
“I help Monica, but not in a way that interferes with you and you pay me a five hundred bucks cash,” Harry said.
“She’s that good?”
“The best fuck you ever had. I should charge more, but I’m a fan of Charles Craig Curtis and so is Monica,” Harry said.
“How about I get you both an autographed book instead of money?” Gary said.
“We can’t pay the rent with books. I’m coming up on the bank in a second, you can use the ATM,” Harry said, as Monica grabbed the back of Gary’s head with her left hand, stuck her tongue in his ear and with her right hand rubbed his chest. Gary couldn’t get to the ATM machine fast enough.
As he took the money out, he tried to remember the last time he had paid for sex and thought probably one of the best things about not being married is that you can pay for sex and not feel guilty. Try as he could, he couldn’t remember paying for it, but he knew he had.
As soon as Gary forked over the dough, Harry drove them all to a nondescript building that Gary thought looked like a small doctor’s office as soon as Harry parked the car. Gary thought the street was quiet for being in Los Angeles and mentioned that to Harry and Monica.
“It’s a street mostly made up of doctors, dentists and professional offices,” Harry said.
“But the building we are going in is very special,” Monica said seductively.
“I hope so,” Gary said.
“Wait here, while I disarm the alarm,” Monica said to both of the men.
Gary nodded and noticed that Harry held his right arm at a funny angle.
“What’s with the arm, Harry? Is that from the booby-trapped asshole, too?”
Harry was standing ramrod straight. His left arm was flush against his left side. His right arm was in front of him, bent at the elbow, in what looked to Gary like an armed forces salute. But, being held out in front of him, his hand was at his waist, not the bill of a cap.
“It’s Monica’s and my ‘salute’. It has a special meaning to us.”
Gary was just about to indulge in asking another question, when he was yanked inside the front door by a very eager Monica Peters.
“Guess the coast is clear,” Gary said sarcastically.
Monica giggled and started gliding down the corridor. Gary followed not even thinking about Harry’s salute anymore or even where Harry was.
Monica told him they were in her audiologist’s office and that was what she was during her day job.
“A damn fine one, too,” she added.
“I gave you enough money for a hotel room,” Gary protested.
“Anybody can fuck in a hotel room. This will be very special,” she said as she opened up a door that to a sound proof room. She waved in Gary.
“What’s this place?”
“A sound proof room. Better yet our sanctuary for tonight,” she said with a big smile. “Here, put these on.” She handed him a big pair of earphones that had extra thick padding around where they fit over someone’s ears.
A new kinky, Gary thought as his smile was even bigger then Monica’s. “So you make a lot of noise when you make love?” he asked her.
“All the time, but I don’t make love. I fuck,” she said as she fiddled with some dials and switches that the earphone was plugged into. “Untangle the chord would you, and then walk around the entire room so I know the chord is straight and won’t pop out.”
Gary did as he was told.
Just as he had finished stretching the chord as tight as it could go a terrible thought popped into his mind.
She could strangle me with this, and no one would hear me scream. Harry will help her dump my body out where Charles Manson used to live with his “family.”
Charles Manson is in jail for life (but eligible for parole) for leading a group of followers dedicated to serving him as their leader. One way they served him was to kill for him. He and a few of his henchmen and henchwomen were convicted of killings in the infamous Tate and LaBianco murders. Manson’s “family” members were linked to a lot more but it was never proven. The bodies were supposed to have been cut up and buried in the desert around old western sets. Manson should have been dead a long time ago, but a lot of Americans think killing people who have been convicted of killing others is cruel and unusual punishment. They would rather spend oodles of taxpayers’ money keeping Manson alive where he gets three meals a day and once in a while rears his ugly face to face a parole hearing.
Monica saw Gary tense up and instinctively knew why. After all, she loved sex and knew men who weren’t quite adept as she was might think otherwise after being put in a sound proof booth with a long and strong chord around their head. She decided to lighten the mood. “Has anyone ever told you that you don’t look anything like Senator Gary Hart?”
Gary Harte started laughing like crazy.
Men are like silly putty when I want them to be, she mused as she motioned for Gary to come closer, which he gladly obliged, still laughing at her ice breaker comment.
“I’m going to speak into the microphone, and you do and repeat what I say,” she said as she motioned for him to sit down next to her. Gary sat down and marveled at all the high tech machines on the table.
Gary rubbed his hands in anticipation. He had no idea that what to expect, other than what Monica had told him.
Oh, boy—did she ever. After all, she was a top-notch audiologist in her own environment, in more ways than one.
The audiologist took over before Monica the sex fiend stepped in. “I’m going to
turn on a soft crackling sound in your left ear. Raise your right hand when you hear it,” she said as she moved a dial on her machine to the right. Gary noticed that she didn’t have a big toe for a thumb and smiled as he raised his right hand.
The noise wasn’t uncomfortable and neither were the words spoken by Monica into his earphones.
“Please repeat after me—you want to fuck me!”
“I want to fuck you,” Gary said.
“Session over,” Monica said as she abruptly got up and removed Gary’s head set.
Gary was stunned, speechless and helpless.
“Just kidding honey. I told you to repeat what I just said. You should have said ‘you want to fuck me, not I want to fuck you’, she said as she put the phones back on Gary’s head.
Gary was still stunned—but even more aroused.
“First phase over. I’m going to stop the noise in your left ear and command you to do things.”
Gary smiled, until he heard the command, then he beamed.
“Strip naked,” the voice in the microphone directed.
Gary couldn’t remember when he got out of all his clothes quicker.
I hope she starts sucking it, he thought.
“Come closer and undress me,” she commanded.
He had her out of her clothes faster than he had just climbed out of his and was amazed at the beautiful naked body that was standing in front of him. He looked at himself and felt he should pay more attention to muscle building, but being European, he was more into cardio activities than weight lifting, and as he looked at his now bulging penis, he was glad of that, because Monica’s body was going to require a lot of stamina.
Monica was short but very muscular. Her clothing didn’t come close to revealing the
muscle toned body that was confined there. Gary wasn’t surprised that she had no hair around her mons veneris, as he too, shaved his pubic hair. Her breasts were small, but they were solid and her nipples were as erect as his penis.
Monica turned around, and Gary was even more impressed by her shapely ass and calves. She bent way over and grabbed the desk. “Mount me!” she screamed into the earphones.
He did and was extra turned on by her moans into the microphone that were transmitted into the headset. She never let go of the table or moved her mouth away from the microphone, and Gary never had the earphones fall off, despite an incredible grueling fuck. Little did he know that his tour de force with Monica ended up being one of Harry the bartender’s favorite stag films to masturbate to while watching.
Harry was Monica’s boyfriend, and he secretly filmed Monica’s sex romps, and then in the darkness of his own privacy—spanked his monkey like a mad man. The reason for this was it wasn’t only his right thumb that was blasted off when the booby-trapped asshole went up but the majority of his penis was too. He was ashamed of what was left and it was the only way he could get off. Monica was trying to raise and save enough money to get him a penis transplant, but even with a sterling reputation as an audiologist and $500 sex capades, she had a long way to go. She hoped to hit up one of her ex-lovers for a loan, since he had become rich and famous.
After their coupling was completed and they heaped hearty praise among each other, Monica said she wasn’t done with Gary and invited him back to her apartment. Gary obliged. As they exited, Gary noticed the names of the people who worked in Monica’s office. He didn’t see the name Monica Peters, but he did see a name which he would try to remember, because he thought it would be a good one for a future female in a story.
That name was—Demi Swift.
Charles couldn’t wait for Gary any longer. There was no way he was going to be late. He hoped that Gary hadn’t met a disaster, but he knew what type of disaster would await him if he kept Sir Steven Spielberg waiting.
Boy was I wrong, Charles thought as he checked the time on his watch. He had been
at the meeting place for forty-five minutes and felt like he was in a doctor’s waiting room, because not only had it been a long time, there were others there and they were getting antsy.
“This is worse than waiting at my doctor’s office,” said a heavy set man in an expensive suit.
Charles smiled at the remark, but said nothing.
“No, worse than being at the department of motor vehicles,” said another man, who was also wearing a very expensive suit.
The heavy set man came over and sat next down to Charles. He leaned over to Charles and told Charles that he didn’t like the other man.
“Did he steal an idea from you?” Charles said innocently.
“No. The son-of-a-bitch is in front of me,” the man said.
“Are you competitors?” Charles asked.
“He’s a bean counter from Wall Street. I’m an idea man,” the man said. He was about to offer his hand and make more small talk when a stern woman opened up the main door to the waiting area and called out “Sir Steven will see Charles Craig Curtis.”
“That’s me, old sport,” Charles said as he got up, patted his inside coat jacket to make sure he had his brown paper bag and checked the top of his head for his reading glasses.
Charles could only imagine what the heavy-set man thought about Charles going in ahead of the ‘bean counter’ and the ‘idea man.’
Charles mentioned the conversation to the woman who called him in, and she laughed and said “one of the first times you might see a writer going first anytime in this town.”
Oh boy, Charles thought as his walk slowed down, and he started viewing all the pictures on the walls.
It was a long hallway, because of all the pictures on the walls of Sir Steven with this famous person or that famous movie poster from the many films that Sir Steven had produced, directed or both. He asked his guide about the pictures and posters of people and movies that he didn’t were done by Sir Steven
“The many people Sir Steven helps without calling attention to himself,” she said.
Charles liked that. Suddenly he felt a panic attack coming on because he was right in front of a huge majestic door that Charles Craig Curtis knew when it opened he would be face to face with the man whose face he had just seen a hundred times in pictures.
I sure wish Gary were here, he thought as he took a deep breath and patted the bag under his jacket.
The huge doors swung open very slowly. The woman who has escorted him down the corridor motioned for him to step in as she pivoted and went back to where she came from.
Charles stepped into a room that he couldn’t believe.
It was all white. There was nothing on the walls and the only furniture in the room was an old fashioned picnic table. A man was sitting on the far bench of the table with his back turned towards Charles. Charles Craig Curtis had no idea where this was going.
But Sir Steven Spielberg did, and then he spoke as he swung around to be face to face with his newest property — the author of Domestically Wild.
“Sit down, Charles. We have a lot to discuss,” Sir Steven said with a sweeping motion with his right hand.
Charles couldn’t move. He wanted too, but his legs felt like they weighed a thousand pounds apiece.
“Are you all right? Where is your agent?”
“I think I’m about to have a panic attack… and I don’t know, but I wish he were here,” Charles said.
“Do you need a brown paper bag?” Sir Steven asked and instantly Charles felt better. He reached under his jacket and produced his own bag. Sir Steven motioned for him to breathe in and out as Alice had shown him on the train, which to Charles, seemed like eons ago.
“That’s good, Charles. Everyone needs a brown paper bag to inhale and exhale — in and out — of from time to time. When I first started in this business I think I went through fifty bags an hour,” he said with a laugh. “Feeling better?”
“You’re a very attractive man. Your cover jacket photo doesn’t do you any justice. Have you ever thought about acting?”
“Thank you, Sir Steven. I’m a writer. I don’t want anything to do with the script. I don’t want anything to do with the movie. You bought the rights, and you’re the expert at movie making. Me? This is my first time in the spotlight and I’m not blowing it, because it just might be my fifteen seconds of fame,” Charles said as humbly and as honestly as he could.
“So, you listened to what my lickspittle said to you when he picked up the signed contract. Good for you—well said. But isn’t it fifteen minutes?”
“Not anymore,” Charles said with a shrug. “But thanks for the compliment. And if I do say so myself, you’re better looking in person than on TV or in the magazines.”
“Are you hustling me?”
Is he being serious or funny, Charles thought? I’ll respond funny. “Well, with what you paid me for the rights, I thought we should get intimate.”
Sir Steven howled with laughter, and Charles felt like he had known him for years.
“So, where are the press and all the cameras?” Charles asked.
“That’s the beauty of my filmmaking ability. There are cameras and microphones planted all over this room. We are going to talk quite naturally about the project. I then have my team of filmmakers slice and dice a montage that we release to the entertainment tabloids and their counterparts on TV. We attach a press release and viola—it’s perfect. Just remember, before you leave I will send you a copy of everything to your iPhone so you don’t look like a moron if those vultures call you for a comment. No cameras in your face, no embarrassing photos, and most importantly– no annoying assholes,” Sir Steven said with a huge smile on his face.
Charles looked around in amazement. He didn’t see anything. He even slipped his reading glasses down from the top of his head and peered around and saw nothing.
Sir Steven laughed. “You will never see anything except the finished project, Charles. You’re from Boston, right?”
“So you read the cover jacket after you looked at my picture,” Charles said with just a hint of sarcasm in his voice.
“Touché. But, more importantly, I read your book; I loved it, and my film will make you more money than your book sales because of all the tie-ins. My marketing people will clear all that up with your agent. Where is the senator?” Sir Steven asked with another big smile on his face.
Do I bite? Charles thought. Of course.
“With all due respect, Sir Steven, my Gary Harte is not the Gary Hart,” Charles said.
“I know that. I wanted to see if it was true about how humble everyone says you are. I learned from some of the best movie moguls that the best way to do that is to ask someone about a friend of theirs and see what they say. You passed. Boston is a rather big, but small city, right?”
“A good way of summing it up. You never visited when making Jaws?” a disbelieving Charles asked.
“I should have. But, if I would have left Martha’s Vineyard, I wouldn’t have returned. Most of the time we were so over budget due to delay after delay after even more delays, I was afraid to leave, because I thought the studio would fire me and bring someone else on. It turned out a lot better than what we, on the crew, called the film while we were making it. We called it Flaws!” Sir Steven said with a hearty laugh.
“You invented the summer blockbuster,” Charles pointed out.
“No, I didn’t, and that’s one reason I like Boston,” Sir Steven said.
“I’m lost,” Charles admitted.
“It happens quite a lot in Hollywood, Charles. But the reason I like Boston, and although I haven’t been there in a long time, is because the Wall Street suits hate Boston.”
“Well, I’m no big fan of New York City, but I’m sure that doesn’t keep the Wall Street types up at night,” Charles joked.
“They hate Boston because the Red Sox have caught up to their beloved Yankees,” Sir Steven said. “They wine and dine me, and then they drag me to a Yankee’s game or they blow me off, because they have to go to the Yankees game. So, I have become a great fan of the Red Sox, because I loathe Wall Street.”
“I hate to ask anyone about their finances, but don’t you own stocks that are rising faster than a teenage boys’ testosterone level?” Charles asked.
Sir Steven laughed and shook his head that he owned stocks.
“So why the contempt?”
“My favorite subject, Charles… my favorite subject. Wall Street has ruined the movie industry ever since they took charge of it back in the thirties. I know that sounds simplistic and makes you scratch your head, but it is true. But at least back in the
golden years of Hollywood the filmmakers still had some influence in the movies. But now, it’s all “Wall Street”—all the time and it’s only going to get worse, because of what the suits will finance. Making movies is so complicated because of the financing. That’s why you see less quality films and more quantity films. Which is why you are about to become even wealthier because of your book. Do I make any sense?”
“Of course. I was a poor, starving self-published writer. When this book took off, all of a sudden, the publishing world treated me like I had been around a long time and are demanding more children’s books or even a sequel. I ran into writer’s block and have since turned it into my favor with a book of collages that they are backing me on, only because of the success of my book and the promise that I write another children’s book,” Charles said.
“What types of movies do you, like Charles?”
“Yours, westerns and anything by Mel Brooks. By the way, my girlfriend’s ex was involved with the Red Sox,” Charles said.
“In what capacity?”
“Oh,” Sir Steven said, bored with this topic. “Which of my movies do you like best?”
“Is this a trick question?”
“No. It’s a very serious one. Don’t fuck up the answer,” Sir Steven said in a very serious voice.
“My favorite movie that you made is Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” Charles said.
“That’s your answer?”
“Why would I lie?”
Sir Steven jumped out of his chair and came over and gave Charles a big hug.
“What was that for?”
“Being you. Do you know what type of answers I get to that question?”
Charles shook his head; he couldn’t come close to imagining the answers Sir Steven received when he was asked that question. Besides, he thought I really liked Close Encounters.
“I loved westerns. Now that Disney made that stinker The Lone Ranger, you won’t see a western until we have finished the seventh sequel to Domestically Wild. I wish Mel would do one of his spoofs of the crap we are seeing now, but even then, I don’ think he could get it made,” Sir Steven sighed.
“That’s a shame,” Charles noted.
“No, that’s show biz,” Sir Steven correctly pointed out. “Wall Street and those Yankees need to be beaten whenever they can. That’s why I do like your Red Sox. Maybe I should do a movie filmed in Boston about the Red Sox beating back that Babe Ruth curse.”
“Baseball movies seem to do ok with Wall Street,” Charles blurted out.
“You’re learning, kiddo, but let me give you two little tidbits about why I will never understand Wall Street and how they decide what gets financed. First off, you probably are not familiar with the name James Whale are you?” Sir Steven asked Charles.
Charles Craig Curtis had never heard of James Whale.
But Sir Steven Spielberg and other great filmmakers knew the name. James Whale made some of the best horror films in the 1930’s for Universal Studios. His most famous was the horror classic Frankenstein. He was a brilliant filmmaker and one of the few openly homosexuals in Hollywood.
“But it was the thirties and ‘Uncle Carl’ was broke,” Sir Steven told Charles.
“Uncle Carl” was the nickname for Carl Laemmle, a pioneer in the movie making business who founded Universal Studios. He and his son, Carl Jr., were forced out of Hollywood by the suits from Wall Street who took over his studio.
“Wall Street forced ‘Uncle Carl’ out and James Whale was finished as a serious movie maker in this town. He eventually killed himself. He was finished because he was gay, and gay was never going to succeed in the 30’s in America institutions if Wall Street had its say. That mentality skipped the 40’s because it was all war time propaganda but made a huge come back by going after alleged communists in the 50’s. In the 60’s Wall Street took a back seat to more serious films; slowly but surely, since the late 70’s, right up till now make no mistake about it, Wall Street is in cahoots with the big studios calling all the shots. That is why you see what you see on the big screen. That is why I am making a film about your book. That is why there will be product placements and a whole toy-line before and after the film comes out. That is why I already have financial commitments from the studios for a sequel,” Sir Steven said.
“A sequel? You haven’t even started filming the original!” a disbelieving Charles pointed out.
“We take nothing for granted, and we take everything for granted in this town. We also take no prisoners and make a lot of people very rich. You’re going to make more money on selling the rights to your characters… not to mention the fast food tie in. It’s a great game when you’re invited to play. A better game when you’re not the pioneer. You know what a pioneer is, don’t you Charles?” Sir Steven asked him with a grin.
“I like westerns. That’s an easy one.”
“Don’t ever forget this lesson… the pioneer gets scalped.”
Charles understood the lesson immediately.
“In Boston, do you walk around?” Sir Steven suddenly asked Charles.
“Walk my dog all the time,” Charles answered.
“That’s right, you have a dog. I used to live in Malibu and walk around all the time, but smoking forced me to stop walking.” Sir Steven said.
“I thought you smoked cigars. I know I saw a picture of you somewhere puffing away,” Charles recalled.
“I love a cigar. It’s second hand smoke that pisses me off, and that’s why I left Malibu,” Sir Steven said.
I could knock that one out of the park, but I won’t touch it with a ten foot cigar after he told me how much money I’m coming into, Charles thought as he waited for his host to explain his remark.
“Let me explain. I loved taking walks wherever and whenever I could. Helped me clear my head about the obstacles I was dealing with. Malibu is an intimate community. When you walk around, cars drive by so close that when someone in the car puffs away and blows their smoke out of their cars’ window, it smacks me in the face and fills my nostrils. My wife thought I was going crazy, until I had her go on a walk with me, and low and behold, if every car driven by a smoker who puffed out the window didn’t find me. So, we moved. Well… that wasn’t the only reason,” Sir Steven told Charles.
“I see,” Charles said, but he really didn’t and thought Sir Steven Spielberg was either testing him or running out of things to say.
“One last lesson about Wall Street, Hollywood, and myself and I’m off to meet more investors, work on our press conference and make us both some money with the toy figurine deal. When you get back to the hotel, find your agent and have him call my people up.”
“You said you liked Frank Capra flicks?” Sir Steven asked Charles.
“He’s done a few that are magical,” Charles answered.
“It’s a Wonderful Life one of those?” Sir Steven asked.
“Of course. I think I’ve watched every holiday season. Looks terrible in color though,” Charles pointed out.
“You remember the good banker Mr. Bailey and the bad banker Mr. Potter?” Sir Steven asked.
“If this is going to be a pop quiz, I’m going to flunk. I remember the hot blonde more than any other character,” Charles admitted.
Sir Steven Spielberg howled at that and then got serious with his on-going lecture about Wall Street’s influence in showbiz.
“The dream factory known as Hollywood wants everyone out in America to think that the Baileys of the world always trump the Potters of the world. I used to think that, too, until I ran out of money making Flaws,” Sir Steven said.
“I thought that movie made more money than all previous movies in the history of Hollywood combined did?” Charles said.
“It did, but it took awhile. Authors have one great advantage over filmmakers. Know what that is?”
“I thought you said this wasn’t a pop quiz,” Charles said as he shook his head.
“Budgets, kiddo, budgets,” Sir Steven pointed out.
Charles was lost and Sir Steven picked that up.
“I envy a writer like you. You might be starving, but all you really need is a pen and paper. As long as you have five bucks, you’re creating. Since the beginning of time when it came to making movies, it was all about the budget. I thought that Flaws
needed another scare scene. I told the producers and the suits at the studio who checked with the suits on Wall Street. They all were against my idea for filming another scene. So I somehow got three thousand dollars together and filmed the scene in a friends pool that really helped the movie.”
“Why are you sharing all this inside stuff with me?” Charles asked.
“Writers always think they are doormats out here. I figured the more I shared with you, the better you would feel about me, Hollywood, and our project,” Sir Steven said.
“See? It worked! Thank you for your time. I’ll see you before the opening and then at the opening,” Sir Steven said as he got up and embraced Charles in a businessman-type hug. Charles nodded as he broke the embrace. The woman who had shown him into the office, in the first place, quietly appeared to escort him out. As he left, Sir Steven called out “Remember most of the stuff I told you was lies multiplied by a myth divided by a pinch of the truth.”
If you missed the earlier Chapters you can find them here.