“Small Time Hollywood”

office

The tiny waiters sat in the bottom of the briefcase as the elevator rumbled its way to the first floor. Fred and Artie talked excitedly about their new lives and Sam said nothing. They stifled when they heard the sounds of traffic, realizing that they were being carried down the street.

Pikeman and Byron arrived at Byron’s car and set the briefcase down on the floor of the passenger’s side. They agreed to go to a local Walmart where they could procure a dollhouse, furniture and some ready to eat food to feed their new dependents.

Byron started the car and headed towards the freeway. Pikeman’s stomach began to knot. He was going to be successful; this was happening. People were going to respect him and they were going to expect him to know what he was doing. They would hold him to a certain standard and have no Idea that his ”discovery,” had been nothing more than an accident. He felt nauseous; at least at the call center no one ever expected anything from him. They pulled into the Wal-Mart parking lot, climbed out of the car and opened the briefcase.

“Okay, guys were just going to get you a house and some supplies and we’ll be right back,” Pikeman said. With this he felt a sharp bite on his finger. He leaped back in shock. Sam leaped out of the car and began to run across the parking lot.

Byron started after him, but Pikeman held him back.

“Let’s not call attention to ourselves. Where is he going to go?”

The Adrenalin rushed through Sam’s body as he raced under the parked cars to the street. He planned to catch the bus to Hollywood where he would find a real agent and become a serious actor. He reached the street and began to look for a bus sign when he suddenly saw a shadow.

The woman walking towards Wal-Mart had no Idea that there was a tiny waiter stuck to the bottom of her shoe. She had no Idea she had stepped on anything at all. She wondered why the two young men standing near the door looked so forlorn as she walked in.

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

Medgar Simpson sat in his apartment waiting for Dr. Peterson and his lawyer to arrive. He was at the end of his rope with the clan of tiny people and he could not wait to get rid of them. He and Dr. Peterson were meeting to plan the press conference where they would announce their discovery to the world.

The doorbell rang and he buzzed his guests up. Dr. Peterson appeared at the door with a hefty brunette woman.

“Medgar this is Roz Finkleman, my attorney. The two shook hands. They all headed over to the terrarium where Roz stared in wonder at the tiny people.

“Oh my God is that David Strathairn,” she asked.

“Again these people are repressed memories. He is actually a repressed sexual fantasy from the mind of a very disturbed woman.”

“Well, even so, it isn’t every day you see a big star like that. Especially not stark naked.”

Mr. Strathairn rolled his eyes and went to hide in the tiny fish castle. The other tiny people grudgingly introduced themselves and went back to their game of 80’s trivia.

The three full sized people headed into the kitchen and began to discuss the press conference. It was decided that it would be held at The University of California during the Jewlicious Festival. They decided to invite only established journalist from reputable publications and no bloggers.

“The thing that could be a problem here, gentleman is the legal rights of the tiny memories are questionable.”

“I don’t see why they would have legal rights. Their just memories,” Dr. Peterson said.

“Yes, but they have bodies. They eat sleep and talk and from what I saw just now they have moods and feelings, Roz said.

“Well, I suppose that’s true. But it’s not like they can fend for themselves. They are completely dependent on us anyway,” Dr. Peterson argued.

“But you took them out of their natural environment,” Roz said. They were doing just fine inside the head.”

“Maybe we should just introduce them to the academic community for a while. “ Medgar said. “We could study them, find out how they came into existence and then, I don’t know, tell the government about it and then do a press release.”

“I don’t think that’s such a good Idea,” Roz said. One of the other doctors could attempt the experiment on another schizophrenic and make it look like his discovery. We want to move quickly, but carefully with this.”

“What if we got them to sign some kind of agreement, just so are bases are covered if someone brings up the question of their rights,” Medgar said.

“Getting them to sign an agreement would be like our saying that we think they have rights and can think for themselves,” Roz said. We want to go in assuming that they don’t have any rights, but come up with a plan of action, just in case someone argues that they do have rights.”

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

As the trio at Medgar’s house argued. Pikeman and Byron were setting up the doll house that was to serve as the set of the new reality show, “Small Time Hollywood.”

The two men had broken the news of Sam’s death to Fred and Artie who seemed sad, but not entirely devastated. They had no problem eating the mini candy bars that Byron had fed them. After they finished setting up their bedrooms and the living room, they each took baths in cereal bowls.

After they got dressed in tiny doll suit they sat on their living room sofa and Byron got out his camera. They two waiters introduced themselves and talked about what it was like to live in a woman’s head.

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

The actors on the set of “What Happened to Doug.” Stood around the body of Sam Waterman waiting for the coroner to arrive. He had suddenly dropped dead in the middle of a scene.. Everyone thought this was strange as he was a health 50-year-old man.

Some of the actresses were crying and everyone was panicked. One of the background extras looked at the body and screamed.

“Oh my God. His arm!”

“What’s wrong,” the director said.

“His arm, it’s disappearing!”

Cashing in

office

“What do you mean my advantage in this situation,” the tiny aspiring thespian asked.

“Well, I mean you are awfully small, you are very distinctive. Plus how many repressed memories are out there just walking around? It might make a really good reality show,” Byron said.

“What’s a reality show, “Fred asked.

“How old was the woman whose head you were in now,” Byron asked.

“I have no idea,” Fred said.

“What year was it when she came into your restaurant?”

“1984,” Sam said.

Byron smiled. They had no idea about cell phones, lap tops or reality television. They didn’t know about gay marriage, 911 or the internet. His mind raced at the possibilities.

“People become big stars now a days just from being themselves. You have to have something about you that’s special and you certainly have that.”

The waiters all  high fived each other. The four men began to plan the show. It was decided they would live in a doll house in Byron’s apartment which just happened to be located in Beverly Hills.

…………………………………………………………………….

Medgar Simpson parked in the Ralphs lot and ran into the store. He did not feel comfortable leaving his apartment for very long these days.  He bought fourteen frozen dinners a box of cereal bars, a six pack and an enormous bag of potato chips for himself. The then Purchased tofu, veggies and rice, brie cheese, mac and cheese and fancy wine for his guests. He drove back to his building and ran upstairs. The tiny people were sitting in their terrarium playing Sorry and using themselves as pieces.

He said hello to them and got a few grudging responses. He put away the groceries while heating up a frozen meal. After gobbling it down he cracked opened a beer and made a salad, boiled water and stir fried some tofu. He opened the wine to let it breath and then poured it into tiny thimbles. When the water reached a boil he made the mac and cheese and doled out ten servings onto a set of Barbie plates. Along with the salad. He carried the meals in two at a time where they were devoured by his unappreciative charges.

“Could you cut the tofu smaller next time,” asked the woman in the house dress.

“Where’s my fish,” asked Jesus.

“You’ll get some tomorrow,” said Medgar in the most pleasant voice that he could muster.

“Excuse me,” said the man wearing the tweed jacket.

“Yes, professor,” Medgar asked wearily.

“I Believe I requested Brie?

“You’ll have it tomorrow as well. I can’t serve all the food at one meal.”

“When will we be interviewed,” the woman in the house dress asked.

“Tonight, or possible early tomorrow morning. Dr. Peterson will be over as soon as his wife falls asleep.

Several hours past and Medgar had two more beers. Dr.  Peterson arrived at midnight explaining that he had given his wife an Ambien. He took each of the little people into the bathroom and interviewed them one by one. Medgar sat and took notes as he recorded the interview on his cell phone.

The woman in the housedress had been Shelia’s aunt who she had caught reading her diary when she was young. The boy on the bike was a grade school bully who had grabbed at her in front of her entire sixth grade class. The man in the tweed jacket was a college professor who made fun on a poem she’d read in class. She had repressed a memory of a time when she had peed in her pants at scary movie she’d seen involving the Catholic Church. THis explained what Jesus was doing there. The teenage version of her was there because she had repressed her entire 15th year. David Strathairn was merely a forgotten star crush. He complained about the fact that he had been completely naked for the last 30 years. Dr. Peterson ignored his request for pants.

When he was done and the little people were asleep. Medger and the doctor sat in the kitchen drinking coffee and eating chips.

“It’s quit fascinating, really,” the doctor said. Every one of her repressed memories has to do with some sort of public humiliation, except for that actor of course. Not only is it a great psychological study, but a sociological one as well. She grew up white, middle class and Jewish. She never had to worry about survival as a child, yet she has a very survivalist mentality.  She does almost nothing now but sit and stare at the television set; she is a completely blank slate.”

“You’re going to be very famous, “Medgar said. “

“So will you, my friend. I just want to study them for about another month. “

Medgar felt his butt cheeks contract. Another month of playing nurse maid to the tiny people? Still he wanted those referrals of whom Dr. Peterson had spoken. He smiled and the two men began to plan a strategy for their study.

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

Byron sat in his office waiting for the publicist who shared his virtual office to arrive. He’d found his card in the desk and decided it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a partner in this new endeavor. He heard the elevator creek and crash, followed by steps down the hallway.

The door swung open and a slight, dark haired man entered the room.

“Byron?”

“Yes.”

“I’m Jay Pikeman.  The two men shook hands.

“So, I’m curious to see what this is all about. You say you have some sort of miracle you want to show me?
“Yes, but before we get started. I’m going to have to ask you to sign this agreement,” Byron handed Pikeman a single sheet of paper that basically stated that he would not disclose anything that that was about to be seen or discussed. After the papers were signed the men sat down and Byron opened the desk drawer. The three waiters climbed out. Pikeman gasped and smiled.

The three waiters introduced themselves. Byron explained that they were repressed memories from a woman’s head. Then they discussed the reality show. The three waiters had been living in a luxury doll house in Byron’s living-room. They already had a bit of film footage. The three young men had been 21 for 30 years. They would all be 51 years old now. The show would focus on the three young men hunting down their 51 year old selves and bounding with them.

After the meeting, Pikeman left and the waiters climbed into Byron’s briefcase. Everyone was happy accept for Sam. As they rode home in the dark briefcase he thought that he did not want to meet himself at 51; he wanted to be young. He did not want to be a novelty, he wanted to be a serious actor. He began to plan his escape.

Bang (part 6)

mic

Penelope tried to ignore the thoughts that kept running through her head. She worked on her resume for a while and then watched the news. Everyone was talking about the Hollywood Liberation Front, including the ladies on The View. Whoopi said that she could understand the frustration the young actors were experiencing.  Nicole said she thought the whole thing was just a publicity stunt and Miss Piggy, who was guest hosting said that she thought it was very sad that aspiring actors now-a-days wanted instant stardom rather than working their way up the way she had.

Penelope put on her sweat pants and jogged around the block ten times. She took a shower and got dressed. When she came out into the living room she could hear Tabitha and Billy who were sitting in the kitchen.

I wanted to do one of the shows focusing on how astromometry can help people, you know to raise awareness for people in like, Oklahoma who may not have access to some of the centers, but the producers wouldn’t let me. They said people wanted to escape from their problems when they watched television. Plus, the network has all these product placement deals that they do with companies and their just wasn’t time to talk about Astromometry. So I was struck down on two counts,” Tabitha said.

“That sucks, “Billy said. “But, you should be proud of yourself for caring in the first place. “

Penelope rolled her eyes, sat down on the couch trying not to make any sound.  Tabitha cared? Tabitha didn’t even realize she had been kidnaped she was an airhead, Penelope though.  The only thing impressive was that she even knew Oklahoma was a state. She felt like rushing into the kitchen and grilling Tabitha on current events. She couldn’t help but notice that in the entire time they had been together Billy had never once told her that she should be proud of herself for anything.

“This is really good soup, by the way,” Billy said.

“Thanks, my mom taught me the recipe. “

“Are you guys really close?”

“Yeah she’s like my best friend.”

Penelope wished Karen from here old job were there with them. She would have a field day making fun of Tabitha. They could spend an hour making fun of the way the starlet walked like she was on a runway all the time.

“That’s really cool. Penelope hardly even talks to her mother,” Billy said.

“Oh no, that’s sad.”

“Yeah, I think every woman needs to have a good relationship with her mother in order to be really well adjusted.”

Penelope felt her blood pressure rising. She calmed herself down by telling herself that Tabitha could do A LOT better than Billy and three weeks wasn’t really that long. Her thoughts were interrupted by Tabitha laughter which sounded like she was taking large gulps of air.

Josh and came back and said he had successfully hacked into Reality Now’s computers with a few tips from Mike. He had the e mail addresses and social security numbers of every producer on their staff. That evening Mike came over and Tabitha sat in Front of the computer again.

“Hello, America. Today, The Hollywood Liberation Front hacked into Reality Now’s computer system and found a great deal of personal information. There are several E mails that we are certain the producers and officers at the company would not want the public to see. We demand one week of age equality for background extras. That means that backgrounds on TV shows must  be comprised of fifty percent persons over forty on all productions for one week.”

After they were done filming the group retired to the kitchen for ice cream sundaes.

“In addition to all of their personal information we have a whole munch of e mails about not letting the show Constant Camera get “too dark,” Josh told them.

“The script was really funny tonight guys,” Tabitha said. I love the Idea of having these really goofy demands.

Bang (part 5)

clap

Penelope awoke to a loud knock at the front door. She went to answer it and found two policeman standing in front of her.

“Penelope Roger’s,” one of them said.

“Yes,” she said.

“We have a warrant for your arrest for the Kidnaping of Tabitha Kraft, the other one said. “You have the right to remain..”

Penelope let out an enormous scream as the police officer seized her arm. It turned into a buzzing noise. Penelope bolted up in bed and slapped off the alarm. She showered and dressed and went to the living room where Billy was already dressed and thumbing through a magazine.

“Mike’s here, he’s prepping Tabitha for the day,” Billy said. Look, I’ve been thinking.  People have probably seen us around town, we stayed in a couple of hotels and our landlady back in Los Angeles is gonna notice we haven’t been around for a while.”

“Look we don’t really know anyone who would even notice us gone for ten days,” Penelope said.

“No, I know, but just in case I think we should apply for jobs ask around about work. That way, if anyone asks, we were having a hard time financially and we were thinking of moving here. We stayed in hotels for five days and the car for the next week.”

“Okay,” Penelope said.

The two headed for a greasy spoon that advertised free wifi. Billy turned on his phone and the two ordered breakfast and began discussing Craigslist prospects loudly.

There was a big screen television on the wall. The sound was turned off but, the close captioning was displayed. Wolfe Blitzer was prattling on about the economy. His show ended and Anderson Cooper’s show began. A picture of Tabitha was proximately displayed.

“Turn this up, Clair,” a patron shouted to the waitress.

“Well the story keeps getting curiouser or and curiouser. One week ago a woman robbed the Central Casting office in Burbank California. Early this morning this bizarre video featuring reality star, Tabitha Kraft was released on YouTube. In it Ms. Kraft claims that she is with the organization responsible for the robbery called the Hollywood Liberation Army which is dedicated to fighting for the rights of poor artists and actors. She makes several demands including “public transportation to be free for three months. Fairer pay rates for background actors and free health care for freelance workers in California.” Here is the video.”

The video began and the patrons in the restaurant sat transfixed. Penelope nervously sipped her coffee and munched on her omelet. Billy smiled vaguely at Tabitha as if he were proud of her.

“The police were investigating the authenticity of the interview,” Anderson said. “Producers of the show have refused to comment on the video or discuss the wearabout’s of Ms. Kraft. “  Anderson announced that he would be having a special show that evening with  special guests, including an expert on cults and a psychologist who was an expert in the psychology of fame.

Penelope and Billy left the restaurant and headed home. They found Josh sitting in the living room.

He told them that Mike had gone to work and Tabitha was going over her lines for that night’s video.

“Anderson Cooper just did a story on us.” Penelope said plaintively.

“That’s great,” Josh said. “If you guys will stay here for the rest of the day. I’m gonna head out to try to hack into Reality Now’s computers.”

“You know how to do that, man,” Billy asked impressed.

“With a few tips from Mike,” he said.

He left and Penelope sat at the kitchen table writing her resume. After a moment Billy announced he was going to help Tabitha run lines.

Penelope tried not to listen at the laughter she heard coming from the other room.

Bang (part 4)

fa

Mike set up the lights he’d procured from the studio and Tabitha sat in front of the laptop. She opened her script and gave it the once over. She laughed and said it was funny. She turned on the webcam and everyone was silent.

“Hello my name is Tabitha Kraft and I am a member of the Hollywood Liberation Army, the group that is responsible for the Central Casting robbery. We represent poor artist who have been taken advantage of by big corporate studios. We will continue to stage acts of rebellion until our demands are met. We want public transportation to be free for three months. We want background actors to be given a fair rates. We want free health care for freelance workers in California. That’s all of now. “

She turned off the webcam and everyone clapped.

“That was great, “Billy said exuberantly.

Penelope eyed him suspiciously.

“Well, we’ve got a big day tomorrow, so we should probably turn in,” Penelope said.

Everyone began to head to their rooms.

“Hey, Mike could you call Steve and tell him I love him and I’ll see him Sunday.”

“Okay, “Mike said.

Tabitha went into the guest room

“How did you get her cell phone,” Penelope asked Mike.

I told her she had to be without her cell phone for seventy two hours in order for this part of the show to work. I told her the director though her reactions would be more natural if she didn’t have any contact with the outside world.”

“That was okay with her?” Penelope asked, shocked.

“ Yeah , she’s in the Church of Astromometry. They require their members to do a pop culture cleanse once a year with. No internet, television or phone for one week. She started it tonight. Two birds, one stone I guess. “

Penelope and Billy headed for their room and Josh went to his. Mike left and took the computer to an internet café where he would park just close enough to the building to post the video on Youtube using the café’s free wifi.

Penelope undressed and put on the night gown that she had taken to wearing. Billy stripped down to his boxers and climbed in next to her. He seemed cheerful.’

“”You know, maybe this will work out,” he said. “Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to be like a gangster.”

“You mean a folk hero,” she asked.

“Yeah, like that. You know I expected her to be some kind of a spoiled bitch, but she’s actually really sweet,” he said.

Penelope didn’t say anything. He turned out the light and kissed her, she did not stop him, she realized it was the only way he would forgive her.

Josh stayed awake in his room with the door slightly a jar so that he could see the door to Tabitha’s room. They had agreed to stay awake in two and a half hour shifts, just in case Tabitha got smart and tried to leave.

Bang (part 3)

clap

Penelope and Billy held up in their motel room for several days, watching the news and living off the pizzas that Josh brought them. Late at night, after Josh got off work the three of them would plan the kidnaping and the subsequent press release they would send out about why Tabitha Kraft was joining the Hollywood Liberation Army.

The plan was to have Josh’s friend Mike, the PA hand Tabitha a phony schedule telling her that she was supposed to convince  a pizza delivery boy to play a prank with her. They would hide the camera on her so the delivery boy would not know he was part of the show.

Josh’s grandmother was currently living in a nursing home and Josh was living in her house. They would then take her there where they would have her make various videos saying she had joined the HLA and was on the side of all the poor oppressed aspiring actors in Hollywood.

They sent their rent in and passed the next two weeks at various motels around Nevada. They spent two nights sleeping in their car. Billy dyed his hair black and Penelope dyed her’s red. Billy ate a lot for about five days while Penelope basically starved.

They watched the news whenever they could. They were relieved when they heard that the woman who was shot was said to have recovered and returned home. The night before they were to head to Josh’s grandmothers to carry out their plan. they discussed the possibility of ditching Josh, but realized the only way to do this effectively was to kill him.

Penelope lay awake in bed that night, secretly excited about the plan. Although she had never been political, she liked the idea of doing something that would have a lasting impact on other people. She’d wanted her hold up to make a statement, now maybe it would.

“Are you still mad at me,” she asked Billy as they drove to Josh’s grandma’s desert home.

“I don’t know,” he answered gruffly. They drove in silence for a moment. “It’s just that I think you should think things through more before you do them. I mean we could have planed the robbery together. Plus, you just ordered that pizza without asking me we coulda gone to the Taco Bell drive though and avoided this whole goddamn mess.”

“Uh-huh,” she answered.

They arrived at the house where Josh was putting his pizza delivery outfit on, even though he did not have a shift that night.

“Okay, the crew is off tonight they’ll be at some strip club. My friend Mike will be there pretending to hide the camera on her and mic her and so on and so forth. Afterwards I’ll bring her back here. Mike will follow us and we’ll start making the tapes. I got you guys thick horn rimmed glasses, wear them at all times.”

Penelope put on glasses and stood looking in the mirror. She had whitened her teeth and was applying a great deal of lipstick. She ate a few bits of the pot infused brownie bites that Josh had stashed in the kitchen, then she had a few more.

Billy turned on the computer that they had purchased from a man on Craigslist. He made sure the camera was working and took care to make sure he did not go online. They had both turned off their cell phones for fear that they could be traced. After about an hour they heard the car pull in to the driveway followed by laughter.

Mike, a tall dark haired man walked in with Josh and Tabitha Kraft.

“Hey you guys this is Tabitha and Brad. These are my roommates Scott and Katie.” “Hi” Penelope and Billy said.

“Hey,” Tabitha said looking Penelope up and down judgmentally.

“Well, I’ll be right back, “I gotta get Kraft services,” Mike said.

“Get Brie and apples,” said Tabitha in a baby voice.

Mike left and the car pulled out of the drive way. Penelope and Billy served Tabitha and Josh coffee and brownie bits.

“So, Mike told us you would be filming part of a reality show here over the next few days,” Penelope asked innocently.

“Oh, yeah, it was really fun, Tabitha said. Brad here came over to deliver a pizza and I dragged him along to gift wrap Brittaney Spears hotel room door, it was really funny.”

Billy and Penelope laughed nervously. They chatted a bit more about Tabitha’s reality show and Mike came back in with the three large bags of groceries. After they had snacked on wine and cheese. They told Tabitha it was time to make the first video.

Bang (part 2)

clap

For a moment they both froze.

“It’s the pizza. It’s okay it’s just the pizza,” Penelope said.

 

Billy stuffed the money into the backpack and opened the door and a thin young man entered carrying their food.

“Hi there folk, I’ve got two large sodas, a family size salad and a large mushroom pizza, $27.00 for ya.”

“Thanks just put it on the table, Billy said slipping a hand into the backpack and taking out forty dollars. Just give me $5 back”

The young man reached into his money pouch to take out some change. Suddenly he stopped and stared at the television. He took a long look at Penelope. Billy and Penelope turned to the screen to see a rather poorly light still photograph of the robbery being shown on CNN. For a moment they all stared at one another in stunned silence.

The delivery boy handed Billy his change and began to leave.

“Wait,” Penelope said. The delivery boy turned around to see Penelope holding a gun in her shaking hand.

“What the…” he began.

“Jesus, Penelope,” Billy said.

“Look, we all know what just happened. He saw me. He’s going to tell the cops.”

“No I wasn’t I swear.”

“Bullshit,” Penelope’s voice broke.

“Look what are ya gonna do shoot me?” Everyone will hear it plus, did you check in under your own names? Everyone will know you’re here.”

“Riiight,” Billy agreed.

“You’ll go to jail for murder, not just armed robbery. How much did you guys get anyway?” he asked being to realize that he was in no real danger.

“Practically nothing.” Penelope said beginning to cry.


“Look,” the delivery boy said approaching her. “Put down the gun, you don’t have to be afraid of me. I think there’s a way we can all work together if you just listen to me for a sec.”

Penelope and Billy looked at each other.

“Look, you hate Hollywood and Central Casting and all the bullshit, so do I… I have an Idea. My name is Josh by the way.”

Penelope took the remaining bullet out of the gun and put it in her pocket. She grabbed the backpack and put the gun in it. She clutched the bag to her chest.

“What do you want?”

“Let’s sit down and have some pizza. I’ll tell you about it.”

They all sat around the table. Penelope sat with the backpack wrapped around her legs.

Okay, so here’s what I’ve been thinking about. You know Tabitha Kraft? She an heiress, she was on the Kardashians as one of Kim’s friends?”

“I think I know who you mean,” Billy asked.

“Yes,” Josh said. “Well she’s making a show of her own right now, I have a friend who is a PA on the show. Plus, she orders pizzas all the time. She has Bulimia, I think.”

“You want to rob her,” Penelope assumed.

“No, no. I want to kidnap her.”

“That’s a sure way to go to jail,” Billy said.

“No, just listen to me,” Josh continued. Have you guys ever heard of Patty Hearst?

“Yeah, sure,” Penelope said.

“Well what I’m thinking is we kidnap her and get her to do stuff for us.”

“You want to brainwash her,” Billy asked.

“No, no, she’s already brainwashed. We’re gonna tell her it’s part of the show…”

Penelope and Billy munched their pizza and listened with great intensity.

Bang (part one)

clap Bill Box sat in his car reading a map and trying to figure out the best way to get to Long Beach from Burbank. He heard footsteps running up to the car and his girlfriend, Penelope Rogers swung open the door and jumped inside.

“Jesus,” he exclaimed!

“I just robbed Central Casting! Drive!” She said looking over her shoulder and throwing her overstuffed book bag on the floor.

“You did what? “

“I just robbed Central Casting, let’s get out of here”

“Okay but we are definitely breaking up.” “What made you decide to do that,” he asked as they speed down the freeway

.” “We talked about doing a robbery.” She said clutching the backpack with her feet.

“We joked about a robbery,” he said thinking he heard sirens in the background. “You might have told me what you were going to do

.” “I didn’t know til the last minute myself,” she said. “I honestly went in there to renew my picture and I saw everyone standing there in line. Looking at all the pretty, thin people and I got to thinking about all the work they would get and all the work I wouldn’t. Then it occurred to me that they all had at least $25.00 cash and the casting directors had been taking money all day. So, I took my grandpa’s gun out of my bag and made everyone get down on the floor with their cash in from of them.”

“And they all complied?”

“Mostly, this one girl tried to run.”

“What stopped her,” he asked not really waning to know.

“I shot her.” “Oh my God! Like in the leg?” “I don’t know..” “Is…you don’t know where you shot her?” I think it was the leg. I shot her and she dropped, I assumed she just knew I was being serious and followed my instructions.

“Jesus Christ, Penelope!”

“Look, calm down. My old picture has been deleted from the system and my hair is a different color than it was in that picture. No one there knows me. We’re gonna be okay. Let’s just go and hide out in Nevada for a couple of days.” They drove in silence for several hours.

Stopping only once for gas and the restroom. They arrived at a seedy looking motel on the outskirts of Vegas. They sat on the bed and Penelope dumped the money out of the bag. They counted $8000. “Well I think we can pay rent this month.” Penelope said. “We can pay for the next few months,” Billy said brightening a bit.“If they’re not looking for us.”

Penelope turned on the television and began looking for some news. She stopped when she saw Anderson Cooper sitting in front of a screen that said “Robbery at Central Casting.”

“In a bizarre story a woman held up the offices of Central Casting in Burbank, California and shot a woman this afternoon. Central Casting supplies background actors for films and television. Potential extras pay $25.00 to have their picture taken at the agency. The pictures are then put into a database where casting directors can select the actors they want. Every Tuesday the actors can register for the agency. The alleged gun woman forced a hundred or so background extras to give her their registration fees. This video shows the hold up. The shooting victim was taken to Mercy hospital where she is in serious condition. Anyone having any information is urged to call the Los Angeles police department.”

Penelope and Billy nervously studied the video tape with great intensity. There was a knock at the door.

Time (part 12)

clock

Other me got up and began walking beside me.

“What where you going to do if I hadn’t shown up,” I asked her.

“I was just going to stay at the theater all day and night and then go have a meal at Denny’s at around 3:00 a.m. Then I was going to head back around sunrise,” she said.

“Well, for some reason doing that doesn’t end well,” I said.

“Right,” she said.

“We could just go back.”

“Together,” she asked.

“No, then there would be two of us. I mean you go back to 2013 and I’ll go back to 2014.”

“Yeah, I guess so,” she said.

“I mean, I think it’s probably the best idea don’t you? God only knows what happens to you.”

“Yeah,” she said.

“Is there something wrong,” I asked.

“Look, let me ask you this she said, what do you think of Tom?”

“I think…I mean he seems nice.”

“Really?”

“Well, he seemed a little standoffish…,” I began carefully. “But that’s probably because he didn’t get to know me …”

“I’m afraid you …I mean we just traded one abusive relationship for another.”

“Yeah, well he didn’t seem so thrilled when he found out we were together,” I admitted.

“Yeah, well I think that he was only ever with me in the first place because he was so grateful for my saving his job. He rewarded me with his willingness to be my boyfriend,” she said making air quotes.

“He’s never hit you has he?”

“No, he’s just really cold. I always feel like I’m in trouble. “

“Well, if we I mean one of us could break up with him.”

“Yeah, then no more time machine.”

“Right,” I said.

“Look, I think we could both stand to meditate a little bit and since the theater is out I wanna show you a places that’s really pretty cash as the kids say now-a-days,” she said.

We got on the bus and headed to the heart of Beverly Hills. We headed down Bedford Dr. to the basement of a small office building. “Sensory Anticipation Center.” the sign on the door said. We entered the office and other me asked for two tanks. The beautiful blond receptionist told us she had one appointment at 2:00 and another at 2:30 p.m. We reserved them and then we sat down in a dark waiting room that was surrounded by glow in the dark fish tanks.

“Where are we?” I asked.

“Remember when we were twenty five and we floated in that sensory deprivation tank?”

“Yeah, that was frustrating, I mean we couldn’t really relax enough to enjoy it.”

“Yeah, well the idea there was to put you in a place where you are unaware of your physical body and can get in touch with your inner thoughts,” she said.

“I remember. If you remember I remember, remember?”

She laughed and went on.

“Well about ten years ago they perfected the tanks and more people started using them. Well, pot use and floating go hand in hand and at first the pot growers association was thrilled at all the business they were getting. Float tank places sold brownies, even. After a while though, people began having epiphanies, they started becoming less materialistic. This scared advertisers and so they came up with these new tanks, you’ll love it trust me.

“Shelly,” the receptionist called.

She jumped up and told me she’d see me in two hours in the decompression room. I sat gazing at the fish, they were quit hypnotic and colorful, and they were also robotic.

The receptionist called my name and led me down a hall to a small room with what looked like a standard issue sensory deprivation tank. I showered and got in. for a moment everything was silent and dark.

Suddenly, there were stars everywhere and I began to have the sensation of floating forward though space. A tall handsome man was hovering over me. I felt myself being pulled upwards towards him and following him at an astounding rate of speed as the stars spun around us.

Waltz music began to play and we were dancing together in an opulent ballroom surrounded by beautiful revelers. I was no longer naked, but wearing a ball gown. He took me by the hand and pulled me out of the room and we ran down the street to a parked sports car. We got into the car and drove fast as beautiful scenery dashed passed us. The car stopped and he started floating through the stars again.

Suddenly, the sky turned pink and colorful cakes and candies began to float by. They looked close enough to eat and I tried, but they pulled away. The images turned to 3-D images of bottles of high end alcohol. The bottles spun very slowly. The stars returned and spun at an astounding rate until I felt dizzy. The darkness returned and again I floated there for a moment. I felt anxious I wanted the images back. Soft music played and the lights came up.

I climbed out of the tank, showered and headed towards the decompression room. Several people sat drinking tea and thumbing through magazines, but other me wasn’t one of them. I noticed a small local paper on the coffee table. I sat down and looked at the story.

Three Buildings in North Hollywood to be demolished today, the headline read. “122, 126 and 128 Van Nuys Blvd will be demolished with dynamite at 6:00 p.m. today. The city of north Hollywood elected to demolish the eyesores which have been abandon and uninhabitable for the last five years,” the article read.

I bolted up. My building was going to be demolished in two hour and so was the time machine. Other me must have seen it and run.

I went outside and looked for a taxi, but I didn’t see one. I jumped on the bus and headed back to NOHO. I wondered how I was ever going to make it up the stairs past a demolition crew; either one of me.

When I got there, there were cops and people everywhere. There were a couple of street vendors selling hot dogs and popcorn and souvenir construction hats. Two cops stood talking to a construction worker who appeared to be giving a statement. He looked up at me and pointed. They all walked over to me.

“That’s definitely her.” I heard one of them say. I turned to run, but they grabbed me. They took me to their car.

“What were you trying to do in there, ma’am?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I said.

“Ma’am two people saw you run into the building and up the stairs.”

“When?”

“An hour ago,” the cop said.

“I was on the bus an hour ago and I can prove it,” I said. I showed him my bus transfer. He wrote out a report and let me go.

After another hour the cops determined the building was secured. I watched helplessly as the buildings crumbled to the ground and everyone cheered.

I realized I was stuck in the future.

Time (part 11)

clock

 

 

“Kelly,” I said.

The other me turned around and looked at me dropping her popcorn when she saw me.

“I…..I’m ….”she gasped.

“It’s okay. Let’s just go somewhere and talk,” I said.

We exited the theater silently and began walking down the street. I noticed that she was shaking life a leaf.

“Is there a coffee shop around here, “I asked.

“We should just go to the park” she said. “We shouldn’t be anywhere where there might be cameras.”

We walked a few blocks to a small park and sat down on what I’m pretty sure was not real grass.

“What year are you from,” She asked me.

“October, 13th 2013 sort of…” I began.

“That’s where I came from,” she said.

“I know I originally came from 2014…it’s….I. I was in 2014 when I discovered the time machine. My …our life was a mess so I went back to 2008 to change a big mistake we made.”

“What mistake,” she asked.

I proceeded to tell the story of how we had the successful psychic business and the secret blog. About how we met a boy who was an auto mechanic, who was mean to us and eventually dumped us and how he outed us as being a fraud on the internet and we ended up losing the business and ended up as Tom’s roommate rather than his girlfriend. I told her that I went back to the past and simply sat in our apartment and did nothing on the day I had bought the car that would lead to meeting the mean boyfriend, figuring that if I never bought the car I (we) never would have met him.

“When I got back to 2014 I went to check my Facebook to see if what I did had changed things. I saw that I still had my ..our business but I noticed that the last post was on October 13th 2013 and so was my last email and my last tweet.”

“That’s weird” she said.

Tom and I went back to October 13th 2013. We found out we were boyfriend and girlfriend and we found your note saying what year you were traveling to and the name of the shop you were going to. I followed you.”

We sat in silence for a moment as she tried to comprehend everything.

“I guess I should thank you,” she began. I’ve always traveled to the future in the time machine. At first Tom was against my selling things, but I thought it made for a good retirement plan. I mean, we’re going to need it being in business for ourselves.”

“Wouldn’t it have been easier to just go forward a day, buy a paper, get the lottery numbers and win the lottery? That’s what I ….I mean or we…” I began.

“I know, exactly. I always wanted to do that but Tom wouldn’t let me. He was very paranoid about that kind of thing.”

“How did you …did we get together with Tom?”

“He came to a party where I was doing readings. He said he wasn’t doing well at work and needed to make a sale or he would get fired. I told him that I sensed a company in the valley needed a new camera equipment provider. Actually, I knew they needed one because I did a reading for a man from that company. He called them and made the sale. I saved his job.”

“I see. “ I said. “Well, if you’re selling things, isn’t he afraid that you will accidently pass money from the future,” I asked.

“I haven’t been saving money. Just buyer points.” She said.

“I noticed something about that on my Subway receipt. What are those?”

“It’s a long story, but from what I have learned since I’ve been here it’s part of a new world order. In 2014 Sony was hacked by North Korea because of the movie The Interview…” she began.

“That was on the news the day I found the time machine,” I interjected.

“Well once the movie was actually released it was a huge hit. It broke all the records. North Korea got even angrier and began hacking into all kinds of American businesses. At around the same time there was a terrorist attack on a French satirical magazine by radical Muslims. Pretty soon there were more attacks on satirist and writers all over the free world by both Muslim and North Korea and it went on for ten years. They would hack attack us and we would bomb them. They eventually formed an alliance. ‘The War Against Humor’ the media called it. For a couple of years it looked like we might go to actual war. President Clinton attempted to impose more sanctions.”

“Hillary?” I asked.

Yes, well, congress blocked the sanctions and she lost popularity because of her inability to stop what was happening. Sarah Palin got into office and we send troops into Korea as well as several Middle Eastern countries and this brought about worldwide economic devastation. That was when the UN had a summit and decided that countries should work with each other rather than against each other. It was decided that each country would do what it did best. Japan and Israel invent things, things are manufactured in developing nations and most of the Middle East is a prison. It is the job of Americans to consume things and buy things. We now have one world leader that was elected by the UN. They appointed Apple Paltrow in part to appease the Koreans as she is genetically incapable of humor.

“Wow, people didn’t protest?”

“A few did, but the media didn’t really cover it. There’s nothing about it at the library now,” she told me.

“So basically it’s everyone’s job in America to buy things and you get points when you do?

“Yes, you used to be paid for the point in money, but they are phasing that out. Everyone will have their points loaded on to their arm GPS and everyone has to get one by January You can just take your receipts and they put the point on. So I won’t be going any farther into the future than that. I’m saving the points in a drawer at home.”

“Were you planning on quitting social media as of today or something?” I asked. “I mean today in 2013?”

“No” she said.

“Well then, I think for some reason you came to this day and didn’t get back. Is there anything that could have stopped you?”

“I don’t think so, “she said.

“I think we need to find out,” I said getting up.