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Munch

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Craigslist: Like Food? Wanna be paid to eat on camera?

 

Mary Beth arrived at Denny’s for her 9:00 a.m. appointment. She ordered some coffee and checked her phone nervously. The coffee arrived but the man who was supposed to meet her did not. She was just about to leave when she got a text message saying that he would be there in five minutes. Ten minutes later a harried looking man entered the restaurant. She waived at him.

He smiled and took a seat across from her.

“Hi, I’m James.”

“I’m Mary Beth.”

The waiter approached and he ordered a coffee. Mary Beth took a good look at him. He was about forty; short with curly hair and a pot belly. He wore a Nirvana tee shirt and jeans.

“So you answered my ad. Did you have any questions about what the job would entail,” he asked.

“Um” Mary Beth began. She looked around for fear that someone might hear her. “You would film me…like…eating dinner.”

“Well, really you would mostly be filming yourself.”

“Right, but I mean today….”

“Today, I would audition you. I will be auditioning girls for about the next week, for all three meals. I would then pick someone. They would come over to my studio and I would teach them how to angle their web cam on their mouth  just so..”

Mary Beth looked around the restaurant again. She thought the couple at the table behind them might be listening.

“After that, they would make one video a day for one month. We would put the videos up and see how they fly for one month. If the videos are successful, there would be more work.

The waiter came back and took their food orders. James ordered pancakes and eggs.

“I’ll have the same,” Mary Beth said.

“I thought you wanted the burger and fries,” he said, his eyes narrowing a bit.

“Oh, sorry…. right. I’ll have a burger and fries.”

The waiter walked away.

“Did you have any other questions?”

“It’s really $200 a video?”

“Right.”
The woman sitting behind James seemed to turn a bit.

“ And I mean the camera….”

“It would just be focused on your mouth.”

“It pays through Pay Pal?”

“Yes.”

They made awkward small talk until the food came.

Mary Beth took a bite of her hamburger and began chewing it.

“”Open your mouth just a little bit,” he said. “Not that much.”

She tried to comply.

“There you go. That’s it. “

This went on for five minutes until James finally excused himself and went to the bathroom. When he came back he appeared to be sweating. He devoured his meal and paid the bill.

Mary Beth and James walked out into the street. He said he would make a decision in one week. If she did not hear from him by then, she wouldn’t.

As she walked back to her car she wondered how she did. She wondered if there was still enough time to apply at Fed Ex.

Life Coaching Available

office

From Craigslist:

I am a professional life coach that is here to help you achieve the best type of living for your life. If you want to achieve your goals, but always seem to be just out of reach , give me a call and set up an appointment

Byron Foghorn awoke to the sound of his neighbor playing Led Zeppelin and doing some sort of exercise.

He looked at the alarm clock it was 10:00 a.m. His head throbbed as he looked at the empty bottle of cheap vodka that he had polished off the night before. The taste of the potato based poison rested heavily on his tongue.

He picked up the letter from Jim and read it again, hoping that the words had changed.

Dear Byron:

Although I love you and have enjoyed our years together, I must tell you that I can’t see you anymore. I have decided to run for Senate and I cannot run the risk of indulging in our “game” any longer, it would be too risky.

I am putting my fate in the hands of GOD. I have enclosed a token of my appreciation which should help sustain you for the next several months. I will give you a job recommendation if you need one.

Yours,

Jim

Byron put the letter down and went to the bathroom where he threw up. He took a shower, brushed his teeth and looked in the mirror.

“I am middle aged,” he said.

He sat down at his computer and went to Craigslist. He placed yet another ad for his life coaching services. He decided he would go over to the office and take a few selfies sitting behind the desk. He chose a nice shirt and a sweeter vest.

He climbed into the tasteful grey sedan and sat there for a moment. The 720 bus rolled by and he remembered riding it during those early days in Los Angeles.  He wondered if he could go back to it. Three months; he had three months to make a whole new life for himself.

He drove straight down Santa Monica Boulevard until he came to a parking garage with a good rate. He walked over to the virtual office and got into the elevator. He felt a little scared as the elevator struggled to get to the third floor.

He arrived safely and began setting up his camera to take a selfie that would not look like a selfie. He took several shots of himself and sat at the desk for a moment wondering what to do.

He knew that one of the men who shared the office with was a publicist, he wondered if he could work out something for a discounted rate. He wondered if there might be a business card in the desk. He began looking through the desk drawers. He found a ruler, a bag of pens and all three door signs. All of a sudden he felt a sharp bite on his finger. He withdrew his hand to find a tiny man wearing a white shirt and black pants attached to his finger.

He shook his hand and screamed the tiny waiter fell to the floor.

“Hey what’s going on out there,” a tiny voice from inside the desk asked.

“Hey Sam are you okay,” another tiny voice asked.

Byron’s knees went weak and he collapsed. When he opened his eyes there were three tiny waiters standing on his chest.

“He’s alive,” one of them said.

“Get off my chest please. “

The waiters complied and Byron sat up.

“Who are you?”

“We might ask you the same question, this is supposed to be a psychotherapist office.”

“It’s a virtual office that I share with two other guys. I’m a like coach. Who or better yet what are you? “We’re repressed memories. We were living in this woman’s head, but we got vacuumed out we were gonna make a break for it, but we didn’t really think it through the stairs are too high for us and we can’t reach the elevator button. “

“I see,” Byron said, assuming he was dreaming.

“My name is Sam, this is Artie and Fred. Look, we are very hungry. Could you go buy us a sandwich?”

Byron went to a local deli where he purchased two pastrami sandwiches and two cokes.  He decided that this strange episode he was having might be a sign that he should get some help. He wondered what the psychotherapist who shared his office charged. He stopped by the liquor store for a bottle of scotch.

He returned to the office and watched as the waiters devoured the sandwich. Afterwards the four men sat drinking scotch out of the soda bottle caps and talking.

“So what kind of oppressed memories are you guys? Why was she oppressing you? “

The waiters all looked at each other and chuckled.

“Well, this chick was kinda fat and homely, or at least she was when she was 16. She came into our restaurant and we were all daring each other to ask her out. She heard and her parents heard, we’ve been in her head ever since,” Sam said.

“What are you going to do now,” Byron asked.

“I’ figure I’m small enough to live anywhere I want.” Fred said. I’m going to Beverly Hills.”

“Well, I always wanted to be an actor, “Sam said. “But I doubt there are many roles for someone my size.

“That’s a defeatist attitude, Sam” Byron said.

“It’s a realistic attitude.” Artie said.

“Not really,” Byron said. “What you have to do is identify your advantage in this situation.”

Byron looked at the men and realized he had their attention; an Idea began to form in his head.

HOLLYWOOD PUBLICIST AVAILABLE

  office

From Craigslist:

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…”

“Jay Pikeman.”

“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?”

“Myself.”

“But, Well, I mean what is it that you do. “

“I live.”

“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.”

“Peter, I…”

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.

Time (part 5)

clock

 

 

 

All of my social media sites came up and my secret blog did not. There were ten good reviews on Yelp and two bad ones. We checked under images and found the same retouched picture of me that had always been there.

I went back to my personal e mail. I remembered that the in box went back further on that one month. Most of it consisted of updates about meet up groups. There was an e mail from an old high-school friend about her kids. There was a fourth of July party invite from my fair weather friend Mark.

I went to Meetup.com to see if I was signed up to go to any events. It turned out that I had been signed up to see Book of Mormon three days after my disappearance from social media.

“Maybe I should just get back in the time machine and go to a week before my last post.”

“What if it’s dangerous,” he asked.

“Do you think I was murdered? I think there would be some evidence.”

“Maybe you were abducted. I think we should investigate this further before you go back.”

“What do you propose we do?”

“For starters I could go over to your old place and see who lives there.”

“Okay,” I said.

“Just stay here, no going in the machine. I’ll be back in a couple of hours.”

While I waited I surfed the net. I looked to see that all the major news stories over the last year were still intact. I went all the way back in my Facebook profile, back to the very beginning.

I’d started it four years before moving into the Beverly Hills apartment.  At first I just posted advertisements offering my party services. After a while I started posting articles about famous psychics through history and articles by self-help gurus. I had an official company blog on which I’d written several articles and I was the official psychic writer on the website Chat-her.  I never had a personal Facebook, only the one for the business.

I looked for some evidence of why I would have stopped posting. Most of my post got about ten or so likes. I had some rather successful behind the scenes film industry people as Facebook friends and clients and a few minor actors. I looked through my friends and was impressed to see I had at least two hundred more than I remembered having. I noticed I was friends with Tamera Kelly the actor on Contemporary Twins. I was pretty impressed, she was becoming a big star.

Then I noticed the name Katrina Fuller in my friends list, the woman who had been e mailing me. I went to her page and looked at her profile. She was the wife of a reality show producer. She had attended Harvard where she received a degree in English. I was impressed. Most of my clients only had degrees in blow off classes from fake universities. I wondered why she had decided to hire me for her party. I wondered why I seemed to be avoiding her invitation.

I went back in her history, looking for clues. She didn’t post very much, pictures of a red carpet event here. A picture of her and a celebrity there. There was one picture of her standing with Tamera Kelly that was taken almost a year ago. I went back to October 5th of 2013, but there was nothing. I went back a little further to the date of her e mails to me. She had posted a comment or two about the difficulty of party planning. She had posted the song Bust Your Windows, which was about revenge and didn’t seem to fit in with her musical taste.

Suddenly I heard a rumble. I stood up and turned around the bedroom door opened and I saw someone who looked familiar; it was me, wearing a t shirt that I owned two years ago. I looked shocked when I saw myself I felt my knees going out from under me.

Sales and Marketing

 

craig

 

 

Kleinman sat across from Lucy Fisk his new boss at Fisk and Peterman as she greedily shoved Greek salad into her mouth while washing it down with giant gulps of the triple Sambuca that she’d ordered. Kleinman sipped daintily at his, as he was afraid to get drunk so early in the day.

“So, we’ve got this kid whose been working in our department. Some hipster from Dumbfuck, Goddamn Idaho. You know the type; He was the smartest kid in his high school class of twelve people. He thinks his an intellectual because he’s heard of Gertrude Stein even though he’s never read her, which to be fair is more than the other Dumbfuckians know. He started out as an intern and he banged Agnes so she went and hired him.”

“H’mmm, that’s too bad,” Kleinman said unsure of why she was telling him this.

“He messed up the Hacha Spice account, by fucking posting the fact that our “fan videos were paid for. Spacha Sauce got hold of It and it was all over Twitter. Agnes feels he should be given another chance, I say, bullshit fire him.”

“Wow, that is a really tough position to be in,” Kleinman commiserated trying to think of a way to change the subject.

“So I said okay, but if he screws up again he’s out and she said okay.”

“That seems fair.”

“I think it’s not fair at all, I mean he really fucked up. Kids today feel like they have to put their whole lives on the internet. I don’t get it, are they trying to get their identities stolen? Do they want to be blackmailed?”

“People are getting more tech savvy and less sophisticated,” Kleinman said feeling uncomfortable with the way the conversation threatened to become philosophical.

“Anyway, that’s where you come in. Ya see I have a little favor to ask. You better drink up, it’s a dozy.”

He gulped down his drink as she ordered two more.

“I want you to get him fired.”

“You want me to fire him,” Kleinman asked feeling quite dizzy.

“No, no I want you to get him fired.”

“How?”

“Up to you.”

“I’ll get fired as well.”

“No, I’ll protect you,” she assured him.

For a moment he just sat there in his drunkenness, wondering what to do.

“Look, he should never have gotten his job in the first place. He gave Agnes some nauseating smelly artist bullshit about how he wanted to learn from an older woman; when really he was just a horny kid who’d fuck a dirty sock. He never demonstrated any talent for the job and we almost lost our shirts because of him.

“Is this why you hired me,” he asked not wanting to know.

“Not entirely, but we may need to trim the fat in six months if you know what I’m saying.

The pair returned to the office quite drunk. They pretended to work for four hours and went home.

Kleinman saw the kid in the elevator. He attempted to strike up a conversation, but it didn’t work.

He went home and looked at the want ads on Craigslist, but no one wanted a forty year old copy writer. He watched TV and wondered how he could get the boy fired without it being obvious.

He went on Facebook and looked the kid up and found him quite easily. There were several pictures of the young man enjoying himself at various event. Going back in the kid’s history he noticed there were several pictures of him with an attractive young lady with dyed red hair and a nose ring and then there were not.  Kleinman chuckled at the fact that He’d listed a litany of famous novels as his favorite.

He started to friend the kid, but then he thought better of it. Something like that would be too obvious and may even be harassment.

He began to create a new profile a woman named Lolita, with pink streaked hair and a love of old movies.  He found a picture in one of his own more attractive Facebook friend’s archived photo albums. He created the profile, sent a friends request and waited for the games to begin.

Casual Encounters?

 

 

 

craig

Melody took a deep breath and pushed the elevator button. Her heart raced as the elevator rose to the tenth floor. She’d made sure to take a picture of the hotel and post it on her Facebook page with no comment, she wanted to let people know where she was without telling them, just in case anything went wrong.

She was fairly new to Craigslist. She’d looked for jobs there before, but she’d never looked at the personal ads. It had been almost a year since her horrific break up with Sam and she still could not stomach the idea of having an actual boyfriend again. For several weeks all she could think about was sex or her lack of it. She spent her evening reading Erica Jong and Anais Nin and trolling the internet for subtle but thought provoking videos. She’d started reading Craigslist casual encounters the week before. At first she’d just looked at them never intending to do anything. At night he would fantasize about doing everything in the ads. She imagined the men as being ruggedly handsome, not wanting to think about what the men looked like in real life.  She realized that it was just a fantasy and she was sure a murder, rape or mugging awaited anyone who would answer such a thing.

Then on Saturday she saw an ad that she couldn’t get out of her head. “Let’s just make out I’m in town for a week, come to my hotel room! I’m staying at the Plaza.”

Something about the ad sounded safe and sincere. They had exchange e mails. He had sent her a picture of himself, but it was very shadowy and distant and in it he was wearing a “No Fear” T-shirt. She’d asked how recent it was and he admitted it was ten years old. He told her he was forty and she’d confessed to being thirty five. They arranged to meet the next afternoon at one. She’d told him she was too paranoid but described herself, a petite brunette, considered fairly attractive.

She got off the elevator and walked towards his door. She stood there for a full five minutes before getting up the courage to knock on the door.

“Come in, “a voice said.

She walked into the room leaving the door wide open as she went. There, in bed, wearing a vintage Spud’s Mackenzie tee shirt and acid washed jeans was Ryan Bisc a partner in the law firm where she worked.

For a moment they did not speak. He looked as though he was trying to place her.

“Do you work for me?”

“Yes,” she said. “I’m Melody, I work in research”

“So you saw my picture and you decided to come and maybe work some kind of deal or something?”

“No, the picture wasn’t very clear and it was old. I work in a different part of the building and I only see you like one a month. I thought you said you were from out of town?”

“I guess I just…I’m sorry. Could you close the door.”

Melody closed the door and sat down.

“Are you married,” she asked.

“Why do you ask?”

“Because, I don’t know I just thought that…”

“Are you married,” he asked.

No, I’m not even…no.

“Well, I should go..”

She got up to leave and he walked her to the door. On impulse, she grab him and kissed him. He resisted and first and then pulled her towards the bed. Suddenly his cell phone went off.

He jumped up and answered it.

“Uh, huh…..Okay…okay. Did we ever get the witness statement? Well, it’s a lot different if she actually broke something. Before we were told she just had a black eye….uh huh….uh huh.”

Melody sat up. She tried to signal to him she realized they were talking about the Robinson file which was sitting open on her desk. She tapped Ryan.”

“Ryan, I…” she began she slapped a hand across her mouth.

“Well get it to me as soon as research finishes it.”

He hung up the phone.

“Were you working on that file.”

“Yes, I have the witness statement on my desk.”

“Oh well the defendants attorney needs to see what we have,” he said.

“Um, I said I would be back from my dentist appointment at 3:00.”
“Oh, yeah I guess it would look kind of suspicious if you went back now.”

They sat there in silence for a moment.

‘Dentist” he said with a chuckle, “did you ever see the movie M.A.S.H?”

“I didn’t.”

Oh, Well you should.”

She looked at him confused.

“Wanna watch a movie,” he asked her.

They sat on the bed and watched Rain Man until it was time for Melody to go to work.

When she got home she went on Craigslist again, this time looking in the legal assistance section.

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