In The Cell

pink

 

 

 

It was 2:00 a.m. and Marsha was just about to go home when her phone buzzed. There was a woman named Susan, just two blocks away, who was requesting an Uber. Marsha decided to do one more trip.  She arrived in front of a small brownstone to find a tall man of mixed race standing outside of the building. He walked towards the car and attempted to open the back door and knocked on it when he realized it was locked. She rolled down the window slightly.

“Hi, I don’t think this is your Uber, sir. I’m here for a woman.”

“Is her name Susan?”

“Yes.”

“That’s actually my girlfriend, I got a new phone and I don’t have Uber set up, so she just let me use hers.”

Marsha hesitantly unlocked the door. It seemed like a plausible story. It was very unlikely that a random stranger would be able to guess the name of the customer.

The man climbed into the backseat and confirmed that he was going to North Hollywood. Although it was late and she was tired she was grateful for the long trip and the large fare it promised.

They pulled out onto the street and drove in silence until they got to the freeway.

“I’m Marsha,” she said after a moment

“Okay,” he said with an uncomfortable glance out the window.

“Do you mind if I listen to some music.”

“No that’s fine.”

“Do you have a preference?”

“Anything is okay,” He said rather irritably.

She turned on a classic rock station and studied her charge in the rear-view mirror. He was very tall, nice looking and about thirty five. He was wearing a designer shirt and a nice pair of trousers that looked as though they were part of a suit.

She assumed the ride was some sort of a walk of shame situation. She smiled a bit to herself. Had the man met this Susan in a bar in Long Beach or had they met somewhere in Los Angeles and retired to her apartment? Maybe they knew each other and it was some kind of friends with benefits situation. Maybe they met on Tinder and it was just some random hook up. Maybe he was married and she was actually driving him back to his wife.

Marsha regarded her own flabby face in the mirror. She wondered if he was just in a bad mood or if she was simply not worthy of his attention.

She glanced back at the passenger and saw him reach into his pocket and pull out an iPhone. He began texting with someone. She noticed that the phone was pink. She had never seen a man with a pink cell phone before. He wasn’t gay. He said he had a girlfriend. He also said it was a brand-new phone. His gruff masculine demeaner made her wonder why he would have chosen pink.

“Are ya warm enough back there,” she asked.

“I’m fine,” he said abruptly.

The man had a deep look of concern on his face as he texted. He seemed to be involved in a very serious conversation. His hands were even shaking a bit. She wondered if the woman he was with had just woken in the middle of the night to find him gone. Maybe it was his wife? She felt rather cozy watching the drama unfold.

It was then that she noticed the red stain on his shirt.  Her stomach knotted. It was a fairly small stain, but it really looked like blood. Then she noticed another stain on his sleeve. She told herself that it might be just sauce, or perhaps it came from a cut.

What if he’d murdered the woman he was with? What if he had killed her and used her phone to call the Uber? Maybe he killed her and hid the body and then used her phone to get an Uber. It would be the perfect get away. When people noticed that she was missing it would looks as though Susan had run off on her own volition in the middle of the night.

She looked in mirror again to see that he had gone on Facebook and was posting something. She had to hand it to him; he was clever. Maybe he was posting something to Susan’s page of her saying that she needed a change or a break or something.

It occurred to Marsha that she had Susan’s phone number. All she had to do was call the number and if the pink phone rang she would know that her suspicions were correct. Then she remembered that if her suspicions were correct, he would also have her number. She decided she would drop him off and then call the police.

She turned the car onto the exit ramp and began to drive to the address.

“We’re almost there,” she chirped nervously.

“Okay,” he said.

The man reached into his breast pocket and Marsha’s hands gripped the wheel. What if it was a gun? What if he had seen her looking at him in the rear view, figured out that she was suspicious and decided to kill her?

Her heart raced as she drove down the street. She sped up and reached for her phone to dial 911. She felt a sharp thunk and water began splashing all around the car. She realized she had hit a fire hydrant.

“What the fuck,” The passenger screamed.

He leaped out of the car and ran down the street. When the cops arrived, Marsha attempted to explain what happened. She was handed a ticket and some information about rehab.

Marsha was fired from Uber. She spent the next week on her cell phone looking for a job.

 

The Optimist

InterrogationRoom

 From Craigslist 

Acting Coach – One on One (Silverlake) 

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

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

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

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

“I already told the other guy what happened.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What was the ad for?”

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

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

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

“I would have thought he was a scammer.”

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

“What were the acting lessons like?”

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

Detective Puzzleman made a weird snorting noise.

“Continue please,” he said.

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

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

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

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

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

“Where was this house located?”

“Downtown.”

“He had a house in downtown Los Angeles?”

“Well, his apartment.”

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

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

“He was in a studio?”

“Yeah.”

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

“Well, I mean it was the Rossyln.”

“Oh, the lofts?”

“No.”

“The Hotel Rossyln?”

“Yeah.”

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

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

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

“What play was it from?”

“It was called Man Slaughter.”

“Who wrote the play?”

“Dorothy Parker.”

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

“What exactly were your lines?”

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

“I got some time.”

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

“Action,” he said with a mean smile.

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

“Action, How ya, been doin?”

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

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

Detective Puzzleman pushed the Twitter app on his phone.

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

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

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

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

“Yeah we did.”

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

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

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

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

“You used your own phones?”

“no, his.”

“I see. How long were you there?”

“About an hour and a half.”

“Did he ever give you the actual reel?”

“No, he didn’t.”

“What happened when you asked him for it.”

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

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

“I went to meet Jill.”

“What a coincidence.”

“It was a set up.”

“By who.”

“Tim and Jill.”

“Why would they do that?”

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

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

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

“Then where is the video you made?”

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

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

“I have no idea.”

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

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

Charlie Manson’s Greatest Hits Part I

manson

 

 

Oscar Tubington was a bastard: at least that was the general consensus. When he was 35 he impregnated his secretary Abigail and she had insisted that he leave his wife for her. He didn’t want to get a divorce, but Abigail threatened to go to the authorities about the cocaine that he often romanced his clients with.

His wife had been furious and attempted to sue him for fifty percent of his talent agency.  He hired a team of lawyers and she got a modest bungalow and child support until their ten-year-old daughter turned eighteen.

He and Abigail got married right after their baby was born and they had stayed married for some twenty years and had two more children together. Their marriage ended when Oscar’s car stalled out on the train track and he was killed by an oncoming Amtrak. He went to the afterlife and was sitting in the waiting room to see exactly what came next.

A woman’s voice called his name and he was lead to a small office that contained a woman who was so fat she resembled a lounge chair with a head sticking out of it.  She was sitting on a reinforced loveseat. There was a beanbag chair directly across from her and she motioned for Oscar to sit down. He fell gracelessly into the beanbag chair and introduced himself.

“I know who you are, Mr. Tubington. I’m your judge.”

“My judge? What do you mean exactly, my judge?”

“I get to decide if you go to Heaven or Hell.”

“What, are you fucking kidding me? You’re God?

“I didn’t say that. I said I get to decide where you go.”

“And who might you be?”

“I’m Karen Kraft. We went to Jr. High together. You called me fat and made fun of me because I had a learning disability. I was like ten pounds overweight at the time. As you can see, I developed a horrible eating disorder.”

“This is my fault?”

“You and your friends.”

“I was like twelve.”

“Yes, I know, but so was I. I gave you the benefit of the doubt, but you were a complete schmuck. You cheated on both of your wives. You emotionally abused your children and you ran a dishonest business.

“I gave to charity.”

“For a tax shelter.”

“I patronized the arts. I owned a gallery.”

“In Portland. You opened it there because you knew you could get artist and buyers to come from California and buy and sell art in Portland, because there is no state tax there.”

“So obviously. I’m going to Hell.”

“Not necessarily, you may be able to redeem yourself.”

“How?”

“Well, were running a little social experiment up here. You may be able to assist us.”

“What kind of social experiment?”

“Well, we’ve been doing a little study of history’s greatest monsters. We’re trying to find a common thread. We are particularly interested in the cases of Hitler and Charles Manson. “

“Why them?”

“They were both failed artist.”

“Oh yeah, I remember hearing that Charles Manson tried to get into the Monkees.”

“Well, that’s an urban legend, he was in jail at the time. But he did try to make it as a singer and songwriter! If fact that has to do with your assignment. In the world you were a talent agent, yes?

“”Yes! And a good one.”

“Well, we believe that if Charles Manson had been a successful artist, the whole Manson Family Murders may never have happened.”

“So what do you want me to do?

“We want you to travel back in time and make sure that Charles Manson gets signed to a record deal.

“And if I am successful.”

“You’ll jump through that hole and right into the delivery room where you will be reborn,” She said pointing to a hole in the corner of the office.

“And if I fail?”

“Hell.”

Oscar sighed. He signed the paperwork and agreed to go back in to me and see what he could do. He was dressed in an enormous aluminum suit. He leaped off what appeared to be a cliff.

Oscar awoke to the sound of an old fashion alarm clock. The room he was in was pitch black. He turned on the light to find himself in a cheap motel room. He took a shower and dressed in a wide lapel suit that had been laid out for him.

A delivery boy knocked on the door and handed him a San Francisco Chronical, coffee and a bagel. He looked at the date on the newspaper, it was March 22, 1967. He thumbed through the paper and saw that there had been a coup in Sierra Leone and that there had been an oil spill in Europe. He finally landed on the want ads and saw that an ad had been circled for a talent scout in the music industry.

Oscar picked up the rotary phone and dialed the number.

Empathy

toy

 

 

 

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

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

“Yeah…”

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

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

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

“Really,” Edgar asked?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“H’mmm, sounds dark.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

…….

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

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

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

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

Justin tried to speak again, but nothing came out.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

“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.

Life Coaching Available

office

From Craigslist:

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

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

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

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

Dear Byron:

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

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

Yours,

Jim

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

“I am middle aged,” he said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“He’s alive,” one of them said.

“Get off my chest please. “

The waiters complied and Byron sat up.

“Who are you?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The waiters all looked at each other and chuckled.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The reality show in Tad’s head. Part 1

mm

Caroline tiptoed though the alley trying to avoid stepping on the broken glass and used needles that were strewn about. She looked for the address that was written in invisible ink on the fortune cookie. When she found it she knocked on the nobless door. She knocked three times and spun around in six circles.
“Who’s there?” a voice said.
“Census”, Caroline said.
The door swung open and she ran inside.
“Get on the slide”, the voice said.
Caroline looked at the slide.
“But, I didn’t bring my bathing suit.”
“Then, take off your clothes; there are large towels at the bottom.”
Caroline reluctantly complied. She had always been afraid of waterslides and this was a particularly long one. She closed her eyes as she rushed towards the bottom. She was thrown into a hot tub that appeared to be full of bankers having a business meeting; they regarded her nudity with annoyance.
She looked around for the towels and was disappointed to find several large rolls of Bounty. She wrapped herself in them and proceeded to the waiting room where there was an enormous number ticket dispenser. Although she was alone in the room she took a number and sat down. She waited for what seemed like an eternity, when a blonde, heavily made up forty something woman in a business suit came in to the lobby and called her number.
The woman sat down across from Caroline in the small, neatly decorated office.
“So Tell me 42, what brings you to Match in Mind?”
“My name is Car…”
“No! The woman screamed! No names!”
“Sorry…I came here because of my ex-boyfriend.” Caroline said.
“Let me guess, you want revenge?”
“No”.
“You want him back?”
“Not exactly”, Caroline said beginning to become frustrated with the woman.
“Well what then?”
“Well you said you could get me inside the head of any man.”
“Or your money back”, boasted the woman.
“I want to be his conscience”.
“You mean you want to be on his conscience?”
“No” said Caroline. I am convinced he doesn’t have one I want to be it and bother him until he apologies to me”.
“Ya know sweetie, for the prices we charge … Well I mean we can get you any guy you want. And permanently”
“Not interested.”
“I’m not sure how long something like that would even take.”
“I have time and money”, Caroline said. I will need some assistance.”

“What kind?”  The woman asked.

“A film crew. I’m going to do it in the form of a reality show.”
“Okay, come back next Thursday. We should have everything ready by then.”
The woman handed Caroline her business card alone with a large bag of what appeared to be M & M’s.
“Eat 100 a day. You should notice yourself getting a bit smaller with each passing hour. Be careful on your way over on Thursday, you will be microscopic; you may want to allow for extra time.”