The Optimist

InterrogationRoom

 From Craigslist 

Acting Coach – One on One (Silverlake) 

Working producer and acting coach seeking new clients.
Reasonable rates.

Gretchen sat in the small room gulping down the water that she received  after much begging. Detective Puzzleman sat across from her staring at her like she was a bug under a glass.

“Isn’t there supposed to be a good cop,” she asked.

“That’s only in the movies. Besides, the only really bad guy in here is you.”

“I already told the other guy what happened.”

“Tell me, but don’t leave out the truth this time.”

“It was the truth,” she screamed, fighting back tears.

Puzzleman sat down and crossed his arms. Gretchen blew her nose and began to tell her story once again.

“I came to Los Angeles three years ago to pursue my dream of becoming an actress.”

Detective Puzzleman fought a smile. The woman was thirty-five if she was a day. Stringy brown hair framed a chubby pale face. He tried to imagine in what she thought she might be cast.

“I had been so busy working that I couldn’t go on many auditions,” she said looking down at the floor. I’d taken a couple of audition workshops, but the casting directors never noticed me.

I was forever looking at the Craigslist talent section. One day, I came across Tim’s ad.”

“What was the ad for?”

“For the umpteenth trillionth time it was for an acting coach.”

“What made you think an acting coach would work if everything else hadn’t?”

“It was a very convincing ad. It said that we would have three one hour sessions together and then he would put together a reel just for me. It said he’d worked as a casting director for 20 years.”

“I would have thought he was a scammer.”

“I did at first. But, I looked him up on IMDB. There was a Tim Harger who is a casting director. There was no picture of him, but everything there was consistent with what he said. He told me that he was in-between agencies and it just seemed like he knew what he was talking about.”

“What were the acting lessons like?”

“They were amazing. He  found the perfect parts for me. An ex stripper in a gritty story about a murder in the 1940’s, a married woman in love with her boss and then there was the scene he wrote just for me about a young lawyer defending an innocent man.”

Detective Puzzleman made a weird snorting noise.

“Continue please,” he said.

“So anyway, I felt a lot more confident when we started to make my reel. We filmed  the scene he wrote just for me. Then he said he wanted me to do a scene with another actor. He said the scene was set in a coffee shop. He said that there was no way we could really afford to have a shoot in a coffee shop as it would have cost thousands of dollars, so we were going to do it ghetto style,” she said making air quotes.”

“Ya, mean just go in there and shoot it without telling them that you are shooting it?”

“Right, so his sister Jill, my scene partner comes over to his house and we rehearsed the scene…”

“So he didn’t have a studio space or anything?”

“Well, no, I mean he was just using his house, right then.”

“Where was this house located?”

“Downtown.”

“He had a house in downtown Los Angeles?”

“Well, his apartment.”

“I see. Did he have a dedicated room for this?”

“Well, I mean he lived in just one room.”

“He was in a studio?”

“Yeah.”

“And you believed he was a successful casting director? Was it a toney building, at least?”

“Well, I mean it was the Rossyln.”

“Oh, the lofts?”

“No.”

“The Hotel Rossyln?”

“Yeah.”

He just stared at her for a long moment. She looked down at the floor.

“Anyway, I didn’t mean to interrupt your story. Please go ahead.”

“Well, We rehearsed this scene from a play in which this troubled woman is thinking about killing her husband. She caught him cheating with her best friend and she can’t forgive him. My character has most of the dialog. Jill only had two lines. She asks me why I want to do it and how I want to do it.”

“What play was it from?”

“It was called Man Slaughter.”

“Who wrote the play?”

“Dorothy Parker.”

The Detective Googled the play on his phone to see that it did not exist. Gretchen rolled her eyes.

“What exactly were your lines?”

“You want me to do the scene for you? “

“I got some time.”

“Okay, well do you want to just call action or what?”

“Action,” he said with a mean smile.

“Up could you que me too. I mean after you say action could you say, ‘How ya been doin’?’

“Action, How ya, been doin?”

“Last night I was layin’ in bed and I was thinkin’ about her.. just her, not him. I started thinking about all the times I confided in her….ya know like when I told her about intimate details of our relationship and stuff. Did she go right back to him and tell him what I said?”

Gretchen played with an imaginary napkin. She seemed to be attempting to cry.

Detective Puzzleman pushed the Twitter app on his phone.

“So, I realized that as long as she was alive I was always gonna… just..I was always gonna be haunted by memories of that…that I was never gonna sleep again. I think I’ve had like twenty hours of sleep in the last six weeks. I can’t eat. I drink and it just it makes me so sick. So I got so crazy that last night I went out and I bought a gun, a shotgun, like for hunting.

This is where my scene partner said would say, ‘are you kidding’ and then I would go on.

I’m not saying I’ll use it or anything. I’m just saying I have it; ya know. “

“So you rehearsed it and then went to a coffee shop to film it?

“Yeah we did.”

“The wait staff wasn’t suspicious when they saw you guys filming?”

“No, we used IPhones, not cameras. People film themselves doing everything now a days.”

“I would think it would be a bit different if someone was filming you.”

“Jill and I filmed each other. First from her side and then from mine.”

“You used your own phones?”

“no, his.”

“I see. How long were you there?”

“About an hour and a half.”

“Did he ever give you the actual reel?”

“No, he didn’t.”

“What happened when you asked him for it.”

“He just kept stalling. After a while he stopped answering the phone.”

“Three weeks after this conversation was tape recorded Samantha Hodgens was found murdered at the Alexandra. You were seen on camera going into the Alexandra.”

“I went to meet Jill.”

“What a coincidence.”

“It was a set up.”

“By who.”

“Tim and Jill.”

“Why would they do that?”

“He wanted to kill his ex girl friend and rob her.”

“Oh come on Gretchen, admit it. You were friends with Jill, you started going out with her brother. He told you about his crazy ex-girlfriend who lived at the Alexandria and had a stash of cash and jewelry. You caught him cheating with her, so you decided to help yourself to the goods and eliminate the competition in the process. Fortunately, his sister knew how nuts you were and tape recorded a conversation she had with you at lunch where you basically confessed to your motive.”

“No, I met him on Craigslist, he did the coaching and introduced me to his sister. We made the reel and then I didn’t hear from him for a while. I ran into his sister outside of my building one day and she told me that if I met her at her room at the Alexandria, we could go to Tim’s apartment and get the reel. “

“Then where is the video you made?”

“They must have erased the video. She must have been tape recording me with the recording app on her cell phone. “

“We found a sawed off shot gun in a locker at the Greyhound bus station, along with a pair of diamond earing belonging to one miss Samantha Hodgens.  We found the locker key in your bag How did it get there?”

“I have no idea.”

Detective Puzzleman got up and told her that he would be right back. Gretchen bust out into tears.  She tried to tell herself that everything would be okay.  She wondered if she would go to jail.  She had a vision of herself rotting away. She imagined being raped and beaten and locked in solitary confinement.

She cried until she couldn’t anymore. She wondered when the detective would return. She imagined that he was preparing for her arrest. She wondered if her parents would get her a lawyer; maybe they would get a good one. Maybe she would have to go to jail for a while and then she would be exonerated. She imagined going on “The View” and being interviewed by Oprah.   Maybe someone would see her and see something in her that would bring her opportunity. She began to brighten as she heard footsteps in the hallway.

Empathy

toy

 

 

 

Justin Schafman stirred his drink and looked across the table at Edgar, his prospective client. He was on the hook, but he was a little hesitant. Justin could tell that this guy really wanted to be a well-known author, but the guy knew he didn’t really have any talent. Justin could tell Edgar hated his job as a customer service manager, but he wasn’t really very smart and was lucky to have the job.

“Look, Edgar you’ve got a really great book here, but no one knows about it but you and I’m guessing a few friends and co-workers. Now, I know it seems a little expensive, but you’ve got a pretty good job you work hard, right?

“Yeah…”

“And I mean…you’ve gotta spend money to make money right, man?”

“Well, that’s true but …I just don’t know if I would be able to reach my intended audience this way. I mean I don’t really write the most main stream stuff…”

“Well, that’s our job. Trust me, we have experts in this sort of thing. They can target the exact people who would be interested in your book. We even have a computer program that can pinpoint your dream audience. We’re even trying to have it patented.”

“Really,” Edgar asked?

“I’m tellin ya man, this is gonna be much more expensive a year from now. This is your chance to get in on the ground floor.”

Justin was very careful not to touch his face. He knew that that was a way people could tell you were lying. He reminded himself not to over explain and to seem relaxed. He tried to make his voice deeper and not to cross his arms.  He could tell that Edgar didn’t trust him, but desperately wanted to be able to believe the lies he was being told.

He saw the way Edgar’s eyes always wandered around the room, like he was always looking for something better… a way out.

A pretty woman with dark hair and green eyes walked by. Justin caught Edgar looking at her out of the corner of his eye.

“Look, man, can I fuckin’ level with you for a minute? I used to work as a manager in customer service. It sucked. The people in the office were a bunch of fuckin’ freaks and the customers were really annoying and my boss was this dumb dick who was always riding my ass and all I could think about was how I went to college for this?”

“I think that every day,” Edgar said with a sad smile.

“Well, when my buddy offered me this job I had reservations too. I mean, I hated customer service, but I worked for a big company. This was a startup when I came onboard. But sometimes you just gotta say fuck it and go for it, ya know? “

The two men were silent for a moment. Edgar contemplatively sipped the IPA that Justin had suggested. A homely woman entered the bar. She was pale as a ghost with lopsided features. She was short and plump and dressed in a sweatshirt and jeans. She ordered a drink and sat down with two other dumpy women.

“See those three women over there? They work in my office.”

“Jesus Christ,” Justin sneered sensing a bonding opportunity.

“The white haied one’s really annoying. She’s always messing up and she tells these stupid jokes…Me and my friend Jason call the three of them the wanker blankers.”

Justin laughed. “Dude, come on. You’ve gotta get out of that office.”

Edgar took a deep breath and signed the papers that were in front of him. Justin ordered two shots of tequila to celebrate. They kept ordering rounds into the night. They got louder and louder and Edgar told a few stories about the white, wanker blanker. She appeared to overhear and she and the other ugos got up and left. Justin thought they looked like the witches, he tried to remember the name of the play he read that had three witches in it in college, but he couldn’t.

After a bit, two girls walked into the bar and sat down at a table near them. One was tall and blonde with symmetrical features and killer legs. The other was petite and slightly plump, with a cute face with shaggy dark hair.

Justin opened by telling the tall blonde one that she would look great on a book cover. He told her that the next big author was sitting right with them.

“What’s your book about,” the short one asked.

“It’s about a man who goes home to meet his girlfriend’s parents who are both coffin manufactures. It turns out they are smuggling drugs in the coffins and they want him to join the family business.”

“H’mmm, sounds dark.”

“Oh, it’s very dark,” he smiled.  “All of my stuff is pretty dark.”

The men proceeded to chat up their prospective conquests. Justin observed Edgar as he told the girls  more about his book. Edgar was strikingly ordinary. He was just below average height, with dark hair that was beginning to thin out. He weight about 160 with a good amount of that weight resting in his belly. He wore a white shirt and khaki pant that appeared to have been procured in a discount store.

As Edgar divulged details of the plot to the bored looking honeys, Justin wondered how bad the book actually was. He had told Edgar it was great. He’d skimmed the synopsis and the first and last chapter. He hated to read and hadn’t finished a book since junior high. He could never really tell the difference between good and bad.

After a while the girls asked for rides home saying they were too tipsy to drive. Justin drove the tall blonde girl to a small cottage on Ash Street. He was a bit nervous, he knew she told him her name, but he had forgotten it.

She invited him up for a drink. As soon as they got up he asked to use the bathroom. He checked himself out in the mirror. His five o’clock shadow was at exactly the perfect level of thickness. It lined his strong jaw pleasingly. His thick brown hair was tousled to perfection. He was relieved to see the shirt he’d splurged on at Barney’s gave just the most subtle glimpse of the six pack he had worked so hard to obtain. He’d managed to strike the perfect balance of GQ style and heterosexual apathy.

He walked back into the living-room where the girl handed him a mixed drink.

“It’s my own creation. It’s called a Foul and Fair.”

The two clinked glasses and slammed the drink. Justin kissed the girl. He felt himself getting suddenly dizzy.

…….

Justin saw light, then a celling. He felt tile beneath his head and realized he was lying on a bathroom floor. He tried to sit up, but he couldn’t move. That’s when he saw her; the ugly, pale woman from the night before. She was standing directly above him.

“Morning, Justin! Did you sleep well? My name is Cate, how are you this fine morning? Oh that’s right, you can’t talk.”

Justin tried once again to move, but he couldn’t.

“I guess I should explain. On Friday night you and my asshole boss Edgar were in the bar down the street and you started insulting me and my friends. We didn’t like that and so we decided to retaliate. Wanker blanker, I mean really that expression is in the urban dictionary. Come up with something original. In truth we are witches.

Justin tried to speak again, but nothing came out.

“We went over to my house and we discussed what to do. We thought about crippling you both, making you spontaneously combust, but nothing seemed right. Well then Essie; my friend with the grey hair? She suggested that we turn you into something. Well, that requires an incantation, which requires research so we figured it would take some time. So, we turned ourselves into pretty girls and lured you back to our apartments. I took you to my place and Essie went to Edgar’s house.

Well, at first we were going to turn you both into maggots or something, but then Edgar started telling us about his stupid book. We knew you were a scammer right away and we discussed the possibility of just letting you screw him, but then you would just take advantage of someone nice. So we decided we would just turn you into something and that I would watch him slowly melt down at work.”

Justin tried to scream, but nothing would come out. He thought he was able to move his finger a bit. He felt an enormous amount of saliva in his mouth, but he could not seem to swallow it.

“So, while Essie did research, my other friend Tulley and I set upon the business of making you disappear with Edgar’s $5000. We put his check in the bank and withdrew it over a period of four days. Then we closed the bank account and packed up all your stuff and put it in storage. Your car has been stripped down and sold for scrap.

When Essie was at Edgar’s she stole his laptop and the only print copy of his screenplay. The dumb dick never copyrighted it.

Now Edgar is on the phone all day at work. It’s sooo funny. He is sooo anxious.

His book is a piece of garbage of course It’s like a rip off of the Soprano’s, Orange is the New Black and Six Feet Under without any wit or insight. However, it had a few good lines. We gave them to a nice aspiring screenwriter that we are helping. I wish I could be there when he sees his dialog in a movie.”

The saliva in Justin’s mouth had become almost unbearable. He tried again to swallow but he couldn’t.

“But, I digress. I bet you’re wondering what it is we turned you into. We decided you could do the least harm if you were an inanimate object. Justin Schafman, you are a toilet. You are located in a dive bar right near downtown. It was no easy trick getting you in here believe me. We had to break into the place. Oh, you’re in the men’s room.

Then Cate turned around. Justin tried to close his eyes, but then remembered he didn’t have any. What he tasted next was indescribably horrible.  Cate wiggled his finger and he felt like he was drowning in shit.

Cate left and Justin wondered how many years it would be before the bar would close or he would be replaced with another toilet.

 

Ghost in the Machine

cell

 

 

Becki Marshman awoke one morning to find herself trapped in her laptop. She was not wedged in between the keyboard and the screen as one might assume, but she was on the other side of the screen looking out at her bedroom. She saw her husband sound asleep in their bed. She called to him but, he did not awaken.

After a few minutes the alarm went off and Fred got up. She called to him again, but he didn’t seem to be able to hear her or see her. She realized that he wouldn’t know she was missing until tonight, as she normally got up and left for work two hours before he did.

He dressed and left for work. A few minutes later Daisy Mae, the family dog entered the room and plopped herself down on the bed for a nap.

Becki, sighed. She wondered what she was going to do with herself for the ten hours it would take for her husband to get home. She turned around and saw a long hallway with several doorways. She was delighted to find that she could move about freely.

She walked into the first door and saw her son sitting in front of his computer with a very intense look on his face. She wondered why he wasn’t in school. She looked down and to her horror she found that son’s pant were unzipped, she tried not to look at what he was doing. She ran out of the room as fast as she could.

She ran into the next room to find her daughters room on the other side of the screen. It was a mess as usual. Clothes were strewn all over the bed and magazines littered the floor. Used cups and bowls sat festering on the desk.

She turned around to leave, when she noticed writing on the wall behind her.

“Today Marsha France said I looked like a fucking ghost; everyone laughed. I wish I could make her feel how much it hurts. I’d like to make her look in a mirror while I vivisect her bit by bit till she is just to the point of death. Then I would not kill her, but leave her to writhe in agony for the rest of eternity.”

Becki’s heart jumped. She vaguely remembered meeting Marsha France’s mother at a school. She had seemed nice. Mrs. France had shown her a picture of Marsha and she was very pretty. She decided she would send her daughter to a psychiatrist.

She proceeded down the hallway to her husband’s office. He spent a lot of time in there and she suspected he was having an affair. She squinted into the darkness. She saw his Red Socks poster and the picture of her and the kids. She took a deep breath and turned around. She saw an insurance contract on the wall. She sighed with relief.

She noticed a blue button on the wall. She pressed the button and another page came up. It was a WordPress account called, MightyIvory. It contained what appeared to be a half written essay.

 
“There are no definite numbers, but there are approximately 5 million Jews in America. This is approximately two percent of the total US population. This is a very small percent of people. Of the one percent of people that have all the wealth that the liberals are complaining about all the time the Jews make up all of that one percent.

How has this small group of people become so overrepresented in the economy, the media and in Hollywood?…..”

Becki felt sick. She couldn’t help but nose around a bit more. She found that he had visited, “wherewhitepeoplemeet.com and was chatting with a heavy set young woman who work as a Mary Kay saleswoman.

She left the room and ran down the hall as far as she could go. She saw a bright light at the end of the hallway and she began to run toward it. Soon the light was very bright.

When she adjusted her eyes she realized she was standing in the break room of an office. There was a bounty of candy and cold packed food in the room.  There was also a short, middle aged woman with blonde hair eating crackers and vegetable pate.

“Hi, are you Becki,” the woman asked.

“Yes.”

“Cool, I’m Susan. I’m your sponsor…Sit down, have a snack you must be starving. I highly recommend the Frango Mints. “

“What is this place? Where am I?”

“Your somewhere inside the server. You’re inside the internet.”

“”Yes, but… I mean how did I get here and how do I get out?”

“Well, you got here the way everyone did, you died in an internet related accident.”

“How can someone die from the internet?”

“Oh, usually its texting, one guy got so into a video game that he starved to death. Another guy had a heart attack when he saw his daughter in a porn video.”

“So, how do I get out?”

“No one is exactly sure. Near as we can figure it has something to do with to do with facing reality or self-examination or some other such nonsense,” the woman said.

“There are very few distractions around here, “she continued.  Oh, you get an hour a day to eat and there are bathroom breaks and stuff, but mostly you just stare out at the people you thought you knew in your life and you see everything about them that they didn’t want you to know. Sometimes you overhear gossip about yourself. I hate that part.”

“But I mean. Well I just looked at my house and no one seemed to even notice I was dead.”

“Oh, well that’s because you’ve been dead for at least a year. There very backed up.”

“I see.”

””All this food is overstock from Amazon. You should try some. Really, it’s great.”

Becki snacked on some fancy nuts and coffee. After  a bit a guard came in and told them it was time to head back to work. Becki looked down the hallway and dreaded examining what was on the other side.

Johnathan Livingston Butterbeak

jls

 

Falling catfish from the sky hits woman in the face

 

Markman Bufferbeak was a seagull, but not an especially good one. While the other seagulls flew and fished gracefully, Markman rarely caught a fish and when he did he often dropped it. The other birds in the colony he lived in were not kind about it. They taunted him and called him Johnathan Livingston Butterbeak, they told him he would starve and that no girl would ever want to marry him.

It was true that he didn’t have much luck with the fairer sex, and he ate mostly breadcrumbs and fried fish sandwiches that were thrown at him by tourist. Eventually he met a rather dumpy bird named Mahwak who had migrated to his colony from Cabrillo Beach. She was nothing to look at and she nagged him constantly. They had produced six chicks in their two years together.

One day while out for an afternoon flight Markman saw another bird drop a catfish. He swooped down and grabbed it. He was on his way to present it to Mahwak when he narrowly missed flying into an electric wire. He fumbled and dropped the fish, squawking curse words all the way.

…………………..

Gloria Bortman was walking down the street when a catfish fell out of the sky and hit her on the head. She screamed when the slimy thing slapped her in the face. After she got over her initial shock she looked up at the sky. Fear seized her heart and she dropped to her knees she had never been a religious woman, but Jesus had just hit her in the head with a fish. She hesitantly picked up the fish and headed home to show her husband.

………………….

Markman landed at the colony with an empty beak and tears in his eyes.

“Where have you been? The kids are starving,” His wife squawked.

“I just…I had a fish, but it slipped out and I didn’t see where it went …and…”

“Jesus, Markman. You could have at least picked up some bread.”

“”Let me just rest up and I’ll go back out…”

With this she gave him a hard peck. Then another and another. A crowd began to gather.

“You stay here with the kids, I’ll go get dinner,”

She flew away leaving Markman to face the sarcastic smirks on the beaks of his contemporaries. Someone in the crowd called him Butterbeak.

………..

Gloria arrived at home to find her husband watching CNN and talking back to the television set while stuffing his face full of barbequed potato chips.

“Racist dick, last week you said you were against abortion.” He screamed sputtering potato chips everywhere.”

“Dwezel, I was walking down the street and this hit me in the head.”

“What, someone threw a catfish at you? Were you wearing your union shirt because I bet it was those scabs…?

“No, it feel from the sky it was a sign from Jesus.”

“What are you on?”

“Nothing, Dwezel…God is talking to me.,” she began to tear up.

“Oh come on there has got to be some kind of logical explanation. Maybe someone threw it at you and you didn’t see.”

“It fell from the sky I looked up one second before it happened and saw it fall out of the clear blue sky.”

“A plane probably dropped it…”

“There was nothing in the sky. Dwezel, I think God wants me to do something.”

“What?”

“Well maybe he wants me to fed people?”

“Catfish?”

“No, not just catfish. There was that thing in the Bible about loaves and fishes…”

“What did it say about loaves and fishes?”

“He fed people bread and fish or something like that. Jesus did a lot with fish. Believe me…I do know that.”

“So he wants you to feed the poor?”

She thought about this for a minute.

“Maybe that’s it,” she said with a shrug.

“So are you going to volunteer in a soup kitchen?”

“Maybe, he’s trying to tell me I should like, learn about food. Like taking a cooking class or something?”

“Well, maybe, but.”

“That must be it. Cat’s are curious. What do you do when you’re curious? You learn. Fishes are food, so that must be what he meant.”

She went online to look for cooking classes.

………………….

Marla Finblossom sat at the bottom of the ocean crying. Her friends and family surrounded her and tried to offer comfort. She had lost her husband Frank to a Seagull that morning. He swam too close to shore and the gull had grabbed him. She always told him not to go close to the shore, but he said that the food tasted better there.

She looked at her friends and the vast ocean and wondered where she would go next.

The Last Train to Hell

dol

 

 

Salton Greystone was on his deathbed. At the age of ninety three he had survived an attempted takeover of his corporation, four divorces and a fire that burned 30 percent of his body when he was 50 years old. The doctors were amazed that he survived the fire, but his family took it as par for the course. There wasn’t enough fire in all of hell to burn Salton down.

Salton sat in bed eating the greasy bacon and egg breakfast. He gulped his coffee and thumbed through Variety where he read an unflattering article about himself and his feud with his good for nothing son.

Salton had grown to hate both of his children. At first he hadn’t known what to make of them; slimy little alien looking things that had been presented to him after exiting his wife’s naughty. He was grateful that they had been born before all this nonsense about the father being present during the birth. He was perfectly happy not to see the vile creatures emerging from what had once been much sought after territory.

He had liked them for a little while. From the time they were six to ten they had been pleasant little distractions to play with and talk to a couple times a week. The girl was smart and had a sharp curiosity about daddy’s business. The boy was slow and plump and could be entertained for hours by the simplest of toys. Salton never imagined that they would grow into the greedy monsters that they were today.

He put down the magazine in disgust. He flipped on the television to find news of the election. He thought he heard the flip flop of unwelcomed high heels in the hallway.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Abigail Greystone began the morning on a bad note. She had fallen asleep in her office and awaken to the sound of the maid vacuuming in the hall. She showered and changed there without even going home. She had breakfasted at a random greasy spoon on the way to the hospital where the aspiring actor waiter had pretended he didn’t know who she was and flirted with her. People had been trying to play her with that kind of nonsense all of her life and she found it tiresome and insulting. Her driver arrived late and they had been stuck in traffic for over twenty minutes.

She sighed and tried to toughen up as she approached her father’s hospital room. She wondered if she would hear from Bubbles later that afternoon. Bubbles was the topless waitress for whom her father had left her mother. She had made a clumsy attempt at gaining control of the Greystone empire before the aging patriarch had caught wise and filed for divorce. Bubbles now called Abigail quite often, demanding the money to which she felt entitled. Abigail was in the process of attempting to get a restraining order against the psychotic bimbo.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Barb Platt sat on the end of her bed completely exhausted. She dreaded the prospect of working yet another double shift at the hospital. She realized she had no choice, she owed thousands of dollars in student loans to McKinley College and she only made thirteen dollars an hour.

Barb looked out the window of her tiny room at the Rosslyn Hotel. There was a bum ranting about Jesus in the cold morning rain. Barb sighed and headed down the hall to take a quick shower.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Walter Greystone left his hotel suite to breakfast at Circa 55. He ordered a fruit salad as was his custom when visiting Los Angeles. He came once a month to visit his father in hopes of a reconciliation, but the chances of this happening before the old man caught the last train to Hell were waning.

Just as he was about to take his first sip of coffee, Trisha walked into the room. He rose slightly to greet her. She gave him a peck on each cheek and told him he looked great. She looked great as well. Long dark hair framed her symmetrical face and cascaded down towards her soft curves. She sat down across from him and ordered a cup of coffee.

Although she was seven years his junior, Trisha was Walter’s ex stepmother; he had always adored her. He hated when his sister referred to her as Bubbles. She had been a waitress in a strip club briefly, in her early twenties, but she had gone on to a career as a set tutor for child actors. Walter had always found her quiet warm and enchanting.

The two chatted about this and that as they nibbled on their fruit plates. After a while the conversation turned to unpleasant matters.

“Have you talked to him on the phone recently,” she asked.

“Last week,” he said. “Half the time he says hello, ask me how I am and proceeds to tell me what a piece of shit I am. The other half of the time he’s so looped out on drugs or demntia he doesn’t know who I am, or thinks I’m still five years old.”

“It’s too bad you can’t just talk to him just when he’s in that demented state, he’d be more agreeable.”

“Right, maybe I should try to find out exactly what he’s on from his doctor and slip extras into his Frango mints.”

“Maybe.”

“Will he talk to you?”

“Only if Abigail doesn’t find out about it.”

“Good old Abby. She certainly does have him snowed.

“She got a restraining order against me. An actual restraining order.”

“Does that surprise you? Really? She’s awfully jealous of you. I mean you’re younger and prettier than her and you don’t have to work as hard for my father’s attention. I mean she was a straight A student, she was class president at Georgetown and an Editor of the Law Review and even with all that you were his main girl. Not that I can blame him….” He said with a sly smile.

She smiled back. The two of them decided to do some shopping before heading over to the hospital to see Salton.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Abigail entered her father’s hospital room to find her father angrily flipping from station to station.

“Hi, Dad”

“Hello.”

“Watchya watching.”

“All the shows that aren’t mine, thanks to you.”

“I’m trying my very best, dad. I’m fine and how are you?”
“I’m 92 and about to die.”

“Look I wanted to talk to you about selling Pensky. Trimens is offering us 140 million.” I brought the proposal,” she said handing him the papers.

“Why,” he asked.

“Why do I want to talk to you about it or why are they offering us 140 million?”

“The latter, of course.”

“Well, they feel that the company would be an asset to them and it has become something of a liability to us.”

“I don’t feel like talking about that right now,” he snapped.

“Well, I’m afraid we have to talk about it really soon.”

“Why is someone else going to sell it to them?”

“No I just mean that…”

“That what? That I might die and you won’t be able to profit as much?”

“No…I”

“Look, Abigail, you might as well know about this now. I’m putting Sunbees in charge for a bit.

“Sunbees!? What the fuck? How can you do this to me I’ve worked my ass off for this company and I….”

 

Their conversation was interrupted by the clanking of clumsily driven cart. Barb Platt, Salton’s least favorite PCA was there to give him his pills and his bath.
“We’ll talk about this later,” Abigail whispered hotly. She left the room as Barb got to work.

“How are you doing Mr. Greystone?”

“Alright,” he grumped, He set the papers his daughter had given him down and picked up the enormous cup full pills presented to him by the fat yutz  in the dull blue uniform.

Barb observed him as he took his pills. His chart said he sometimes tried to hide them as he didn’t like the pain pills. She wished he would offer her some of the OxyContin. She was sure that if she could just get a good night’s sleep she would feel more lucid when she had to work these double shifts.

After he silently swallowed the pills she removed his pajamas and began to bath him.

“Don’t get any Ideas. I like em a little thinner than you,” he slurred.

“Okay,” she chuckled.

“”You should try Jenny Craig or something.”

“I can’t afford it, Mr. Greystone.”

“Maybe just cut what you eat in half,” he said.

“Maybe.”

She finished up and headed off towards to the lounge for her coffee break. As she was putting the cart away, she noticed that Mr. Redstone seemed to have left some paperwork sitting on it. She picked up the document with the intention of returning it to him.

She glanced it over. It looked important. She thought that loosing something like this would not bode well in his mental competency hearing. She walked into the breakroom and threw it into the garbage can, just before the trash was about to be taken out.

She poured herself a cup of coffee and smiled wearily as she looked out at the rain.

5000 Facebook Fans

fan

 

 

You have been blogging for five years to little avail. Your blog, “whatamIdoinghere.com” deals with your frustrations working as a high colonic technician. Your writing is witty and insightful you have tried to stay relevant by using the Urban Dictionary as a thesaurus. Your mom and your sister love your blog, but somehow it escaped the attention of the general public. Perhaps it is host sight you chose, you had seen so many less talented people become more successful than you. In five years you have had about a thousand hits and fifty followers. You have written a post a day, you deserve more.

You have always been hesitant to buy Facebook fans, but you are getting desperate. If people just knew about your blog you could get a book deal and quit your shit job. You have been through hell. You have overcome depression, you have had to eat ramen on numerous occasions and you once had a roommate that who constantly berated you.

You figure it is worth a try.  Although people may know that the fans are fake, it might at least get them to go to your blog and have a look and once they do that, they will be hooked. Your mom says you are brave for sharing your life with others. Just last week your friend Jennifer said you were amazing and beautiful, didn’t everyone deserve to be amazed?

You go to a website that sells Facebook followers and retweets and you order 5000 Facebook fans. You write that night’s blog post and head to bed. The next day you get up at 6:00 am and head to work. After a long hard day of vacuuming out some really rancid buttholes, you come home to find a small crowd gathered around your house. As you approach you see that they are starring in wonder at your lawn. You get closer to see that there are oscillating fans all over your lawn, they appear to be battery powered and they are spinning at an astonishing rate.

You push past your neighbors to find your mother in the kitchen, curled up on the floor in a fetal position, crying her eyes out. There are fans everywhere. You got to your computer to see that fans are leaping out of your computer one after the other at a bewildering pace.

You go back to the kitchen and pull your mother to her feet. You locate her car keys as a fan flies towards your head. You run out of the house and to the car. A cop stops you on the way.

“Excuse me ma’am. Are these your fans? He holds up one of the fans and gets it to stop spinning with a stick. You see the word, Facebook written on each one of the blades. A fan hits you in the ass, cutting you. The neighbors begin to run away screaming as more fans fly from the house.

“I’ve never seen these fans before,” you say as you and your mother get into the car.

“Ma’am did you buy these Facebook fans?”

“No,” you scream as you start the car.

“Ma’am, I need to talk to you,” she cop says as you drive away. In the rearview mirror you see that his throat has been cut by a blade in a ghastly scene.

You speed towards the expressway followed by the fans which are hurdling after you. You manage to lose them. You drive to a gas station where you fill up the car and get coffee.

You get into the car and drive to a motel were you rent a room and turn on the news. A pretty blonde reporter reads your story.

“This bizarre story comes out of Denver, Colorado tonight. A computer in a house on Ogden Street began spitting out thousands of battery operated oscillating fans. The fans, which had, “Facebook” written on the blades, are now flying around the city causing injury and even death. The Washington Park neighborhood has been evacuated and the FBI is investigating the case.  Tonight via satellite we are joined by Thomas Pinner who works with Strange Phenomenon Investigations in Scotland.

“Hello, Dr. Pinner.”

“Hello, Tracy”

“Dr. Pinner, what could be casing this strange occurrence?”

“Well, Tracy there are several different thing that could cause it. It might be that someone ordered the fans, but did not select the appropriate method of delivery. It might be that someone ordered Facebook fans, with fans meaning fanatics and the software system simply misinterpreted the order.”

“Thank you Dr. Pinner,” The reporter said.

“No matter what caused the phenomenon, this event has taken a horrible toll on our city. School is canceled tomorrow, there will be no public transportation and the highways will be patrolled. The National Guard has been called out with orders to shoot the fans on sight.”

You order a pizza and explain what happened to your mother. She hugs you and tells you it is okay, you did nothing wrong, you are amazing. You smile to yourself, because you finally know it’s true.

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.