“Small Time Hollywood”

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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!”

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Group Therapy Available

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From Craigslist: Group therapy available for anxiety, sex addiction and anorexia.

Medger Simpson parked the ratty Geo Storm several blocks away from his virtual office on Wilshire Blvd. The young psychotherapist wondered what Dr. Peterman, who he had not seen in five years, could possibly want to talk to him about.

Dr. Peterman was a psychologist who had worked in the mental hospital where Medger had done his college internship. The doctor specialize in multiple personality disorder and schizophrenia. Medger had facilitated a group therapy for families of patients with multiple personalities.

In all the time they worked together Medger had never gotten the impression that Dr. Peterman was partial to him in any way. Peterman had given Medger reasonably positive reviews. But, the doctor had always seemed cold and authoritative toward him. He was certain that he had been forgotten the second he walked out the door.

Medger climbed the stairs to his third floor office. He wondered why anyone would take the elevator when the stairs were faster and safer. When he reached the office he noticed with some irritation that the publicist he shared the office with had left some goofy looking guy’s headshots all over the desk. Medger put the headshots in a corner and placed his sign on the door. Soon after which he heard the elevator cranking to pick up his visitor.

Dr. Peterman entered the office the office wearing sweats and tennis shoes. The two men shook hands and asked after each other’s health. Dr. Peterman shut the door and sat down.

“So what can I do for you,” asked Medger.

Dr. Peterman leaned toward Medger in a conspiratorial fashion.

“Medger for the last six months I have been conducting an experiment on a young woman with schizophrenia. She had all the classic symptoms of it; voices in the head, delusions of grandeur and the paranoia that goes with it…

”Uh huh,” Medger said wondering where this was going.

Well, One day she came in for her usual appointment and I examined her. I was looking in her ears when I saw a tiny woman running down her ear canal. At first I thought I might be seeing things. I continued the examination and said nothing. But the next week I examined her and I saw a small boy riding a bicycle back and forth.

Medger sat back in his chair.

“DR. Peterson….um, are you having… do you think…are you in therapy right now,” Medgar said wondering if the doctors wasn’t experiencing a psychotic break.

“Don’t patronize me, Medger! I’m perfectly sane. I do, however know how crazy I sound. You’re the first person I’ve told about this.”

“Thank you, I’m flattered.”

“Medger, I have devised a device to extract these creatures. If I can take them out and study them. I may well be able to cure schizophrenia. If nothing else I could certainly cure hers.”

“Sir, what you are talking about is very dangerous. Not to mention illegal…..”

“I know it is. I can’t do it in the hospital. That’s why I’m coming to you.”

“What could I do?”

“Well, Medger, I was wanting to have you assist me and use your office for the extraction.”

“Dr. Peterman…..I don’t know. Isn’t there someone, well I mean you must have many trust worthy colleagues.”

“Yes, but I can’t go to any of them I am too closely affiliated with them. You and I barely know one another, no one would ever suspect.”

“I’m afraid I’m going to have to say no. You can’t just go around experimenting on people.

“Look, I’ve talked to the patient about it and she wants it done. She is very high functioning. She says she would rather be dead than keep taking meds all her life. I will give you fifty thousand dollars in cash and do anything I can to ensure that I will refer the most famous people I know to you for their psychotherapy.”

Medgar told the doctor that he would think about it and the two men parted. As he walked back to his car he wondered if he would end up losing his psychotherapist license over this. He drove back to the valley with his stomach in knots.

A week later he found himself at his office pacing the floor as he waited for the doctor to arrive. As he waited he imagined one of the men he shared the office walking in on him. It was impossible of course the door would be locked and their card keys wouldn’t work, but he worried just the same.

A few minutes later Dr. Peterman entered the small office with his patient Shelia in tow. She was a short, pale, slightly plump blond woman in her mid-forties. She looked nervous when she entered the office and there were sweat stains on the armpits of her Winnie the Pooh Tee shirt.

Medgar closed the door and the doctor sat Shelia down in a chair. The valium he had given her was beginning to set in. The doctor pulled out a contraption that looked like a giant twisty straw and inserted into Sheila’s ear and poured water into it. Nothing happened for about fifteen minutes. Then Medgar was astonished to see a tiny woman in a house dress swirling out through the straw. She landed on the carpet gasping for air. She was followed by the boy on the bike, a man in a tweed jacket with patches on the elbow, three waiters, a tiny Jesus, a teenager who resembled Sheila and a tiny version of David Strathan.

As the tiny people fell to the ground Dr. Peterson instructed Medgar to put them in a small fish tank. After Shelia’s head was empty, the men secured the fish tank and put the fish tank in a large box that Medgar placed on a dolly. The doctor handed Medger his money and instructed him to meet him back at the office in two weeks. He suggested feeding the people plain oatmeal.

Medgar went to retrieve his car from the parking lot next door and the doctor and Shelia left. Nobody noticed the three tiny waiters cowering under the desk.

HOLLYWOOD PUBLICIST AVAILABLE

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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 9)

 

 

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The machine rumbled and stopped; I stepped out cautiously. There was nothing in the closet except two rats who stared up at me after I came out of the machine. I bolted out of the closet and into the bedroom which contained many more rats. I ran to the front door, but there wasn’t one: they building had been abandon. I walked down the stairs avoiding several more rats along the way. I almost tripped over a homeless man on my way out.

The street outside was just coming to life in the early morning hours and a boy skated past me on a hover skate-board. A little old lady walked by me with a small yapping dog in a pink designer bag. I did a double take and realized that the dog was actually a robot. The woman looked familiar as well, she was tall and thin with white hair and a pointy noise.

I walked towards the train station to find it still open and operational. I went to buy a ticket, but discovered that the machine was not accepting cash. I went into a drug store and went to the prepaid credit card rack. The selection was very sparse and there were signs everywhere saying “Micro-chipping deadline January 31 2041.

I loaded the card with $100 and walked back out into the street. The neighborhood had definitely gone way downhill. I wondered if North Hollywood wasn’t the new Downtown, based on the homeless people wandering around the train station. There were many abandon apartments and several homeless shelters lining the street.

I purchased a ticket which I was shocked to see was $10.00. I asked several people on the train platform if they’d ever heard of an antiques store called Luther’s most of them looked at me oddly and shrugged their shoulders. One man told me he could find out he rolled up his sleeve and revealed a small screen on his arm. He gave me an address in Silver Lake.

I got on the train to find almost everyone staring at their arms. I looked around at how the girls were dressed. Business clothes hadn’t changed that much and skanks had taken to wearing halter-tops with skorts and high heels. I couldn’t help but notice that the majority of people looked a lot fatter than they did back in 2014; I’d never felt so thin. The train itself was likely the same one I’d ridden on thirty five years earlier (a few hour ago). It had not aged well, the seats were torn and there was scrub off graffiti on the walls.

I got off at The Sunset and Vermont station and headed up the escalator. Several hover mopeds raced by on the street. A couple of young white men walked by wearing backwards baseball caps and pants down around their ankles. I walked by a pizza shop called Old School Slice, boasting bacon, gluten and sugary sauce on the windows. I found Luther’s in a tiny shop on Sunset. I walked in to find a pretty young woman standing behind the counter wearing a backwards baseball cap, a Taylor Swift tee-shirt and a bored expression.

I looked around the store for a moment. There were several old movie posters including Showgirls, The First Wives Club and The Interview. I looked to see if there were any posters for any of the early 21st century Oscar winners, but I couldn’t find any.

Two soft faced young men wearing backwards baseball caps walked by me. I noticed one of them had a teardrop tattooed on his face.

“What you have to understand is that most of Penshee’s concepts were based on Buscaglia’s early writings, which were fundamentally exercised in pop culture existentialism,” one was saying to the other.

A man of about eighty or so entered the store carrying a large box. He set it on the counter and began to remove Items the girl did not help him.

“Do you know how many copies of we have of A Night in Paris? The girl said tossing it aside.

“What’s this?”

“It’s a Salad Spinner, “The man said trying to sound cheerful.

“You spin meat in here?”

“No People used to make salad out of vegetables instead of meat and candy. It used to be hard to get them all combined.”

“Well I doubt people are gonna wanna put there algae tablets in it.”

“Believe it or not some people still eat vegetables,” the man said somewhat impatiently.

“”A hundred,” she said.

“Okay,”

“Fifty Shades of Grey? Everyone who went to high school listened to this book,” she scoffed.

“That’s signed by the author. I know you can use it you have a very educated clientele around here. Radsters love classic literature. I’m not so old that I don’t know that.”

“I’ll go get Barry,” she said rolling her eyes.

A moment later she returned with a man of about fifty who came out and took a look at the book. There was more negotiating and the old man walked out with $200.

“Hey there Kelly are you still here? See something we can help you with,” Barry said to me.

“Ah no, Well I mean yes I’m not Kelly. I’m her sister Tracy. I’m visiting from Denver. I thought she said she was coming here and I guess I must have missed her.”

“I thought your hair looked different,” He said.

“You don’t happen to know where she might have gone do you, “I asked trying not to sound too anxious.

“I really don’t know. She never says much when she comes in here just sell her stuff and goes. We’re always glad to see her! I don’t know how she does it, but everything is always so well preserved it looks like she bought it yesterday.”

“Oh, she comes in often then I take it? “
“About every two months or so, but she never mentioned having a twin.”

“You don’t have any idea where she might have gone do you?”

“Sorry, I don’t” Barry said.

“Why don’t you just use your GPS. The girl said pointing to her arm.”

“Oh, yeah right duh, I’ll try that,” I said heading into the street.

I walked down the block looking to see if anyone would lend me an arm.

Time (part 8)

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I took the card from Tom. On the front of the card was a picture of a hundred or so lifesavers. When I opened it it said “Happy Birthday to my love and my lifesaver. Love, Tom.”

“Maybe you saved my life, “he said as if he were trying to explain the relationship to himself.

“Maybe,” I said. Oh, wow I really did do a reading for Tamera Kelly.”

“Really,” Tom said leaning in over my shoulder to get a look at the blog.

Well, I call her Kamera Felly on my blog, but I noticed we had become Facebook friends and what I wrote here describes her physically.”

I sped-read through a few more blog post. It was full of my usual sarcastic observations about my clients. There were only about twenty posts since 2010, it had only been an outlet for my most frustrating emotions.

While I read my old blog Tom found my day planner in my desk. It occurred to me that I should feel invaded or offended or something, but the truth is I didn’t. It was like he was looking at a stranger’s planner. I didn’t know any more about what was in it than he did.

“Do you have your own shorthand or something,” Tom asked.

“What do you mean?”

He handed me the planner and I looked at the day’s agenda.

“T’s feed turt get wi and crack,” it said.

“Well I would guess that I need water and crackers for something.”

“Did you check your Facebook page?”

I went to Facebook and looked, but I did not see any events coming up. I checked for friends events, but there were none that day.

“Let’s check your Facebook,” I said may be they’ll be a clue or two there.

He reluctantly logged on and we looked at his page. His profile picture was of him holding a turtle. There was a picture of the two of us stand in front of the Staples Center in his albums. Other than that there were no pictures of me.

We scrolled down and found that he was going to North Carolina for a few days for work. Most of his post were links to music he liked and a few random articles. He scrolled back several months, but there weren’t really any clues to where I might be. He slowed his pace when he came to a post that said January 11, 2012 became friends with Kelly Peirce.

“Go to Tom’s to feed Turtle, pick up wine and crackers.” I said finally able to understand my note.

“Do me a favor,” I continued, “look to see if we have any mutual friends. There were several one was my neighbor Gina, another was a guy named Frank Peppers who neither of us knew and then there was Katrina Fuller.

“Do you actually know Katrina Fuller,” I asked.

“It sounds vaguely familiar.”

I clicked on Tom’s private messages.

“Hey, what are you doing? He said.

“I wanna see one thing.”

I scrolled though his messages until I got to one from Katrina.

“Why settle for ramen when you could have steak…just sayin….”.

I thought I saw a small smile play on Tom’s lips. I felt jealous, Katrina was pretty.

There was only one other brief exchange in which they discussed a movie they’d both liked.

“Where do you know her from,” I asked.

“Look, Kelly I don’t know what happens in the future, or I mean what happened in the past or I mean, I mean, it’s not like I can answer for my actions in this case and it’s not like we are really together.”

“No, it’s not that. That woman had been emailing me repeatedly asking me to work at a party, I never mailed her back and I don’t know why.

“I seem to remember her having something to do with work, like I trained her on some software, or something. Look, I hate to say it, but it sounds like you might be at my house feeding my turtle, maybe we should look for you there,” Tom suggested.

I grabbed a hundred dollars out of my old cookie jar stash and we took a cab back to Tom’s place. We were relived to find his key worked. We entered and found the turtle tank in the kitchen. He had two small bowls that were already full of food and water.

“Goddamit,” Tom said. “You’ve already been here.

“Wait there’s a note,” I said.

“Hon, I went to 2040 to sell some antiques at Luther’s. Be back tomorrow.”

“Is that your handwriting,” Tom asked.

“Yes.” I said.

“Maybe you’re lost in the future.”

“In 2040?”

“Maybe,: he said.

“It makes sense, I mean I didn’t have a lot of close friends except for apparently, you it only stands to reason that you wouldn’t report me missing considering the time machine and everything.”

“Right.”

“Tom, I’m gonna go to 2040 and look for myself. I ‘m gonna go to the ATM first. I think about $500 should do for a couple of days. Do you want to come with?”

“No, I’m good.” Tom said.

“Are you going back to 2014,” I asked suspicious that he might try to go back a few months and “fix” things.

“Yes, but you go first.”

After a sojourn to the ATM and a trip to the 7- 11 for sundries I packed a small bag with the few clothes I had at Tom’s and got in the machine.

“It’s already set to June 10th, 2040,” I told Tom as I entered the machine.

“Have fun.: He shut the door and I pushed the button.

Time (Part 2)

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I ran down Van Nuys Blvd to the train station in the sweltering heat. I noticed my purse was still the small red one I’d been carrying when I left and the same $75.00 was still in it. I checked the bills and found that one of the twenties was from 2014. I tried it in the fare machine and miraculously it worked a day ticket and fifteen dollar coins spat out at me.

When I got off the train I bought a copy of the newspaper the date was October 20, 2009

I rode the train to my old building in Beverly Hills and ran up the stairs to my old apartment. As I was on my way up the stairs I realized I no longer had the key. I went to the management office and explained that I had lost my key, I was given a duplicate after signing a form saying I would pay $25 along with next month’s rent.

I walked up the stairs and opened the door to my former life. I had rented the apartment the year before. I couldn’t believe my good luck in finding an apartment for only $1000 a month in Beverly Hills I couldn’t believe the money I was making as a psychic.

It had started two years before that at a party. I was going through a rough time financially and I had been looking on Craigslist for ECT jobs when I came across an ad for a man who needed a psychic for a party. I called and told him I was a psychic and I would work his party for $100 plus tips.

I arrived at the fancy night club where the party was being held and stumbled through the first couple of readings. My third reading sat down at the table he was a tall thin man with a large nose feathered hair and a fake tan.  He said he was trying to make a big business decision.

I told him that he had been an artist in a past life and a business man in another and that those two things were constantly in conflict. I asked him if his conflict had something to do with art and commerce.

“Yes, yes that’s it exactly,” he said.

“You should listen to your artistic side,” I had told him.

He said he would take my advice.

I worked at about a party a month for a year after that in addition to my phone survey job and selling my plasma. One night the same man came up to me and said that he had taken a chance and produced a pilot of a television show that had been picked up by a network. He wanted to thank me and he wanted to recommend me to all of his friends.

After that I was working three nights a week and making about $500 at each party. I took to Googling hosts and their Facebook friends so I would seem to know more about them; no one ever called me on it. I started to get a good reputation. I finally splurged and got the apartment.

Just after I signed the lease my old Honda died on me and I had to get a new used car to get to jobs and to keep up appearances. It was on October 21 of 2009 that I had bought a car that would prove to be an enormous pain in the ass and even something that would be responsible in part for my eventual downfall.

I sat at my old desk and turned on my old laptop. I checked my calendar and found that I had a party booked in Santa Monica that evening. My heart raced. All it said was the name Sampson and an address. I didn’t remember the party at all. I went to my email, but then I remembered I changed accounts and I didn’t remember my old password. I was asked a bunch of security questions and I finally got back in I searched for an email, but I couldn’t find anything. I went to Facebook and found that I was mercifully logged in. I scrolled though my messages, but there was nothing. I typed the name Sampson into my friends, and nothing came up. I looked for recently added friends and found four. I went to each of their pages and finally saw that a Chad Peterman had posted a party invitation featuring me as the entertainment.  I breathed a sigh of relief and began to stalk the people who were invited to the part.

I took a shower with my old lilac scented soap, donned my gypsy outfit and headed to the door. I attempted to call a cab, but my phone wouldn’t work. I located my old phone sitting on my old coffee table. I sat in the back of the cab rehearsing my old line of bullshit in my head.

 

Time (part one)

 

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I felt hopeful when we saw the ad for a roommate in North Hollywood. My unemployment check did not begin to cover the rent on my Beverly Hills studio and what little I made from audience work and blogging just barely made ends meet.

I’d only met Tom, my new roommate briefly. Tom’s last roommate had run off without paying the rent and he was desperate to find someone new. I noticed that he was kind of nice looking, tall with dark hair and around thirty five. I’d felt a bit inferior being short, a little plump and pimply with hair that refused to do what I told it to. He told me he was in the business of selling travel packages and I told him I was unemployed . I decided not to mention my former career until I got to know him better.

I drove the rental car that was loaded with all my worldly possessions to the small two bedroom on Van Nuys Blvd. A few days after I moved in Tom went to Arizona on business   and I had some time to set up my room, unpack my things and snoop though Tom’s room.

At first, I was a bit disappointed. There was a plain storage bed with a non-descript blue bedspread flanked by two night stands. I snooped through the draws and found tee-shirts and blue jeans, a few Playboy’s, condoms and a copy of On the Road.  There were pictures of family and a movie poster or two on the walls. In the drawer there was a picture of Tom shaking hands with a young Andy Kaufman and a poster from a Dali exhibit in San Francisco.

I entered the closet only to find, a couple of nice suits and many button up shirts and Dockers.  I moved an empty suitcase out of my way and that’s when I saw a door with a golden nob. I opened it and found myself in a small booth. On the wall of the booth were three dials one said day month and year, another said time of day and another still said location.

I quickly shut the door and replaced the suitcase. I went back to my room and thought about what I just saw. It couldn’t be. It had to be some sort of joke. Maybe the apartment had been used in a movie.

The next day I went to a French fry tasting focus group. I got back, with $75.00 in my pocket, feeling very full and wanting a nap. I realized Tom would be home in the morning, so I snuck into the room for one more look.

I opened the closet door and went towards the booth. I heard the apartment door open and shut outside.  I started for the door of Tom’s room, but it was too late. He opened the closet door and saw me.

“Tracy,” he said confused.

“Hi, I just…I um …I … I mean um…I want you.” I said.

“What?”

“I want you…I was just I was going to you know sleep in here be here when you came back.”

“It’s one o’clock in the afternoon and I wasn’t coming home til tomorrow morning; you were going to stay in here the whole time?” He eyed me suspiciously as he came towards me.

“What were you really doing in here, looking for money,”

“No, I swear,” I said.

“You want me? Okay, fine…Let’s go.”

“Well, I . I mean um. Okay um…let me just jump in the shower I guess.”

“Oh relax, he said. You obviously know about it.”

“What is it? I mean it looks like a replica of a movie time machine.”

“It is a time machine…a real one.”

“Oh come on.”

“No, really. I found It here when I moved in.”

“How does it work? I mean if you have to be in the booth to use it, how do you get back?”

“That’s the frustrating part. You see it has limited abilities. I can travel back in time but the place lever is stuck in Los Angeles and not only Los Angeles, but this particular apartment which was built in 1976 .

“You can’t go back further than 76,” I said disappointed that I would never meet my uncle Marty.

I can’t travel anywhere on a plane or rent a car because my driver’s license was issued in 2014. I’m afraid to spend too much money for fear of calling attention to myself.”

“Cant you just go back a couple of days. I mean you could win the lottery. In fact today is Friday, the lottery is on tonight. I said hopefully.

“Look, Tracy I know it probably sounds a little silly, but I don’t want to mess with fate.”

“What makes you believe in fate?”

“The same thing that makes me believe in time machines.”

“oh.”

“You can try it if you’d like. I would just ask that you tell no one and that you don’t do anything that could affect history too much.”

I went into the kitchen and made myself a cup of tea. I could go back to any time in my life after the age of one. The possibilities seemed endless. I decided to go back five years when I had made a terrible decision to buy a used car that was a total lemon and that I had totaled in an accident.

Tom set the dials while I watched. He exited the tiny room and closed the door. I pushed the start button and the room started to vibrate. There was a loud screeching noise and then, nothing.

“Tom, I think it stopped,” I said.

There was no response. I stepped out of the tiny room into the closet. This time it was packed full of women’s clothing. I crept to the door and opened it to find a very pink bedroom decorated with elaborate pillows and a Johnny Depp poster.

I walked out the door and started towards the living room. I was stopped when I felt a pair of eyes on me. I turned to see a red-headed woman wrapped in a towel staring at me in horror.

“ I….I said I’m sorry.”

I ran out the door and into the street toward the train station.

Fortune

 

 

 

gc

I left the Egyptian Theater after seeing Rear Window feeling incredibly depressed. During the film it occurred to me that no matter what, I would never ,ever look like Grace Kelly. It also occurred to me that I would never be as talented as Alfred Hitchcock, but mostly it was the Grace Kelly thing. I stopped for a slice of pizza and a beer when I noticed a fortune teller across the street.  I really didn’t believe in such things , but it’s not like reality was offering me anything to look forward to, so I headed over to see if she could bullshit me into enough of a happiness coma to get me though another two weeks of selling snake oil to the elderly at my crummy telemarketing job.

I walked over to the shop and went inside. A small dog greeted me as I entered. I sat and waited in the reception area which consisted of a single fold out chair and a small round table with magazines on it.  After a moment a dark haired woman, who seemed to have forgotten to wax her mustache came out and greeted me. She led me to a small back room.

“You have nice eyes,” she said attempting to butter me up.

“Thank you,” I said unmoved.

“So what brings you to me?”

“Shouldn’t you know?

“Don’t be a smart ass,” she said.

“Very well,” I said. “I want to know if my life will ever get any better or if I’m ever going to have a reason to live.”

“No.” she said

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“I mean no, that’ll be fifty bucks, “she said.

 

“You want me to give you fifty bucks for that; are you insane?”

“You asked a question I answered it.”

“Based on what,” I asked indignantly.

“Based on this whole thing you’ve got going on.”

“What whole thing?”

“You plain and pale, you’re old and you have a big nose and you go to old movies and psychics by yourself on a Saturday night.”

“But, I mean …. I mean aren’t you supposed to give me like false hope or something?”

“You seem to be someone who thinks of yourself as to smart to fall for that shit. If I told you’d just talk smack on Facebook and I’m not your human kicking post.”

“So then, according to you I might as well just go home and slit my wrists,” is that correct?”

“Well, you could always just concentrate on revenge. You could make everyone whose ever treated you unfairly suffer.”

“How am I supposed to do that?”

“I have some potions that…”

“Oh no you don’t.”

“If you don’t want potion you could try the internet to get revenge. A fake Facebook profile? Maybe you should fine Jesus?
“Maybe you should asshole,” I said turning to leave.

“Where’s my fifty buck,” she asked.

“Sue me! I said walking out.

All of a sudden I couldn’t move. I was frozen with one foot out the door of the shop. The gypsy came and picked me up. She kept me in the shop for several weeks using me as a conversation piece and a coat rack. I was eventually sold to an antique collector from San Francisco. He had me shellacked and I currently on display in his dining room. I am called “loser on a stick as I am standing on a giant stationary parrot swing.

The collectors are all very fascinated by a sculpture that can talk. I like it here, much better than the call center I had been working in in LA. I am feed very good food several time a day and when they want to exercise me they take me to the park and spin me around on the merry-go-round. The maid washes me every few days and when I can persuade her two she gives me wine or pot brownies.

I’m not sure where everyone thinks I went, although I bet my landlord is upset. I bet they were happy at the call center.  I’m not sure if this curse will ever wear off; I’m not even sure I want it too.

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.

Luck

pills

 

 

Jennifer Pallyworth sat in the passenger seat of her agents care texting her boyfriend. She glanced up at the rear view mirror to see the camera crew following several cars behind her.

‘On way to tard’s see you tonight,’ the text said.

‘XOXO weer the red pantees,’ her boyfriend wrote back.

“I talked to her mother this morning, she said the whole family is really looking forward to meeting you,” her agent said.

“That’s cool,” Jennifer said looking back down at her phone.

“We got a call from Time they want to do a feature story on your work with CP kids.”

“Oh, I mean …they want to talk about the CP thing….what about the show?”

“Well, oh course you’ll talk about the show. You’ll talk about your work with CP kids and then the tie in to the show.”

“What tie in,” she looked up from the phone.

“When Trisha comes on the show, there’s gonna be an episode about CP. You guys are gonna go visit a farm and the daughter is gonna have CP.”

“Whatever,” Jennifer said.

They rode for a moment in silence.

“It’s just that it seems like it would really, I don’t know that it would make people uncomfortable, ya know. I mean they come home and they just want to relax or something and then …they turn on the show because they wanna look at hot people and then there’s this I don’t know like handicap person and so they get get depressed and watch something else.”

“Well for your information, there have been several shows that have featured people with CP . Facts of Life, that Life Goes On.”

“I thought he had Downs Syndrome,” Jennifer said.”

“Oh, well sorry they’re basically the same thing.”

“Well, did they have one on Friends, no Will and Grace, no How I Met Your Mother, no. People hate reality,” Jennifer said. “I’m just sayin. It’s not the 80’s anymore no one wants to think about that shit.”

“Honey, It’s probably only gonna be for one episode.”

“Why can’t I just do the Ice bucket thing? I paid a lotta money for my tits, ya know? Plus it takes like two minutes and it doesn’t cost anything.”

“That ALF.”

“What the fuck is ALF?”

“I have no idea, but it is not CP and our contract is with the CP association.”

 

“Do you have any Ambien,” Jennifer smiled.

“That’s my girl,” her agent said reaching into her purse.

……………………………………………………………………………………………

Trisha looked out the window of her bedroom. She wondered what was keeping them. She just wanted to get this over with. The SAT’s were in a week and this was cutting into her study schedule. She had watched Day Job’s last night and she had been horrified at its moronic humor. She wished she’d never agreed to meet Jennifer Pallyworth, but realized it was the only way to put her branch of Students with Physical Challenges on the map. She needed this for her extra-curriculars. If she could be the first high school SPC president to get on national television she was certain to distinguish herself from the other applicants. She headed downstairs carefully griping the railing tightly as she went.

“She’s late, “she said to her mother.

“Five minutes,” her mother retorted.

“Did you see the show last night, did you watch it? It makes Saved by the Bell look like a cinematic masterpiece.”

“Honey, it’s a great way to raise awareness…”

“She must be a true intellectual to participate in something like that.”

“You’re participating in something like that.”

“Well, it’s not like I can go out for track.” Maybe she’s not dumb maybe she’s just a sell out.”

“Maybe she’s just an actor trying to get her foot in the door,” her mother said.

“I’m going to the bathroom,” Trisha said.

Trisha was washing her hands when she looked out the window and saw them. Jennifer was standing outside the car texting and her handler was talking on a cell phone. Her stomach knotted. She could feel the stares and the looks of pity already. Worst of all she could just hear them talking to her very slowly, widening their eyes as they talked. She always wanted to use a lot of big words when people did that, but her speech impediment made it impossible for such things to have the proper effect.

She opened the medicine chest and reached for the Ambien spilling them as she went.

“Shit,” she exclaimed stuffing them back in the bottle and swallowing one on the way.

She walked back out into the living room where the camera crew was setting up.  Phil, the director greeted her as she entered the living room.

“Hi, Trisha” he said sounding slow and surprised and overjoyed to see her.

“Hi,” she said.

“So in just few minutes the doorbell is going to ring and your going to open it and let Jennifer Pallyworth in. Okay?”

‘What’s the doorbell,’ Trisha wanted to say, but though  better of it.

“Okay,” she said. She looked out the window and saw Jennifer put her cell phone in her purse. A makeup artist touched up her lipstick. She pasted on a fake smile and walked towards the door. She seemed to be staggering a bit.

Trisha thought she was probably on something; she smiled to herself realizing this was the one advantage of her condition.

Phil yelled action and she walked to the door.