I represent writers artist and actors. I will get you booked. $67.00 will get you an introductory package.
Pikeman sat on the bus, grateful for the air conditioning. He had given himself a whole extra hour to get to his virtual office on Sunset Blvd. He tried not to smell the stench of urine and sweat that was present on the bus. He tried not to look at the old woman who had no teeth and an ugly scar or listen to the man who sat arguing with himself about a long ago debt.
As his perspiration froze and dried, he closed his eyes and tried to envision success. He would meet Peter and tell him what he could do for him. Peter would get excited about the idea and they would sign a contract together. He promised himself a victory drink at Bar Marmont.
He opened his eyes as the bus pulled away from the sad madness of downtown Los Angeles and watched the faces change as the 704 drove out of downtown and onto Santa Monica Blvd. Although it was an express bus, it crawled down the road past bums screaming the bible and begging for money and then buildings and houses with peeling paint and many children playing on the lawn. It drove by hipsters loudly proclaiming their disdain for what secretly comforted them and then the Beverly Center with its tourist and its wannabes. Finally it reached his stop, where maids and shop girls dismounted the bus to serve the wealthy and discontented.
He walked to his virtual office, He took the rickety elevator up to the third floor and quickly stuck his sign on the door. He walked into the bathroom, washed his armpits and brushed his teeth. He returned to his office and sat behind his desk reading the Hollywood Reporter that he swiped from the mailbox of a house, that was just three blocks away from the Wilshire Blvd. call center, where he secretly worked. He checked the clock on the VoIP phone that sat on the desk. He still had five minutes before His client was to arrive. He hoped this one would show up. He took a quick glance at the notebook that was left by one of the men with whom he shared the office. He wondered if it belonged to the psychotherapist or the life coach as he shoved it into a drawer.
He heard the precarious rumbling of the elevator gasping its way to the third floor. He instinctively straightened up, then remember to slouch again. He heard the the slow footsteps of a man trying to locate an office.
Pikeman’s heart sank when the man stepped into the room. He was slight and chubby and appeared to be about thirty five. He had teeth that would suggest that he was a smoker and a hairline that would suggest he was a worrier.
“Peter,” Pikeman said rising to his feet.
‘Yes are you…”
“Nice to meet you,” Peter said. They shook hands and sat down.
“So, you were a little vague in your e mail, what exactly brought you to me,” Pikeman asked.
“Well, I wanted a publicist.”
“What did you want publicity for?”
“But, Well, I mean what is it that you do. “
“I see,” Pikeman said wondering how he was ever going to get someone this homely and dull on reality television.
“I want everyone to know about it,” Peter explained.
“Well, we could try to get you on Big Brother or something. Maybe we could start by having you make some videos for YouTube. Can you do impressions?”
Pikeman asked wondering if he still had time to sell his plasma after the audience with this self-absorbed yutz.
“I don’t think you understand. I would never do reality television, in fact I arbore the.”
“ So what are you an actor…a writer? Do you play music?”
“I don’t do any of those things. I’m customer service representative in a call center.”
“Oh yeah, which one” Pikeman asked, “I’ve got a buddy who does that.” He wondered if this wasn’t some kind of trick; was someone trying to humiliate him?
“It’s a legal service in Santa Monica.”
“Yeah, well that can be tough work. I understand why you would want out,” Pikeman said, wondering how many more calls he himself could take before committing suicide.
“Oh, I don’t want out. Well, I mean I do. But, I don’t have any talent and I’m nothing to look at.”
‘That never stopped anyone before,’ Pikeman thought.
“I want all the people in my world to know I exist.”
“In your world,” Pikeman asked wondering if the man wasn’t schizophrenic.
“I want you to let the people I deal with every day know that I’m alive. The coworkers in the call center. My family members, the people on the bus, this really cute girl who works at the grocery store I go to.”
I’ll give you the $67.00, plus expenses and I’ll write you a letter of recommendation.”
Pikeman thought for a moment. He could create bunch of fake Facebook profiles and like everything Peter posted. He could photograph him eating at various restaurants and have a girl he knew who wanted to be a model have her picture taken with him.
“Okay, I’ll do it,” Pikeman said.
The two men signed a contract and Peter left. Pikeman, headed up the block to Bar Marmont. The $67.00 in his pocket made him a professional publicist; now all he needed was a drink.