Hollywood Shit Show.

Due to complete financial need and desperation, I’ve been an extra on a couple of different television programs, commercials, and reality shows. You get paid to sit around and wait to be herded to set or location…

It can be up to $300.00 a day, or it can be minimum wage. This particular day it was minimum wage, I was to be an extra on the Tim Allen show. From the moment I drove through the gates at CBS Radford my stomach started to turn, and I felt an incredible amount of anxiety and fear. It was the same way I imagined ‘Damien’ from “The Omen” must have felt as he got closer to church.

I was given a parking pass and told to park on the 6th floor visitor parking garage, then to walk to soundstage #9. Sounds easy enough. It was 9:00 AM and already eighty degrees and I was wearing a black wool suit. I parked, and started leisurely walking to the elevator, I heard footsteps running up behind me at a fast clip. “Are you an extra on the Tim Allen show?” she asked me frantically. “Yes,” I said. “Oh My God! We are so late!” I push the elevator button. “What? The call time said 9:30. It’s 9:05.” She whirled past me garment and duffel bag in tow and started running down the stairs, “You didn’t get the e-mail? The call time changed to 8:45!” I hate being late.

I started running down the stairs behind her, “What e-mail? When was that sent?” She was already down a couple of flights of stairs. “This morning, at like 8:15.” she screamed. I started running down the stairs behind her in my wool suit and dress shoes. I had a vision of slipping and falling down the stairs and how that would look in an obit, “He was to be an extra on the Tim Allen Show. Unfortunately lost his footing and tumbled downstairs. He broke his neck and died instantly.” I slowed my roll I wasn’t going to kill myself to get to a soundstage for minimum wage, plus my feet already hurt in the dress shoes I was sporting for the big occasion.

As I walked at a fast clip down the last flight of stairs I saw that she was already 100 feet ahead of me, she looked back and said, “you better hurry up, they close that stage door and the red light goes on we don’t get paid, we are fucked! No money!” she screamed as she ran past a group of truck drivers sitting around on a tailgate lift eating donuts and drinking coffee, reinforcing and reppin’ the teamster stereotype. They laughed out loud at her. I ran behind her I already felt like a douchebag, I didn’t need validation from the Teamsters. I looked up, I was passing stage 3, I had six more stages to get to, it was nowhere in sight, it was easily a quarter-mile from where I was, I walked at a fast clip. I was sweating, my feet hurt, and I felt a rash starting in my crotch from the wool trousers.

I cursed myself and started focusing on all the bad life choices that brought me to this moment as I ran past stage 6. Now I was sweating profusely and pissed off. I gave up and started walking very slowly, “Fuck it.” I yelled aloud, which received a high sign from an executive walking by. I got to the soundstage, a woman greeted me with, “I’m Elizabeth. The production manager. Didn’t you get the second fucking e-mail? You’re late!’ I walked past her leisurely and through the door. “Go wait with the other background players, first room on your left!” I walked into the room.

It was hot and jam-packed with extras. The lucky ones were seated in those old grammar school style desks, others sat on the linoleum floor, even more leaned up against the wall. All waiting. The ‘craft services’ table was an absolute abomination. It consisted of paper bowls of Doritos, mini boxes of Milk Duds, and Good and Plenty, and old brown bananas and played out apples. It also featured Mexican candies and Mexican baked goods, I guess that was for our Latin background friends. The production manager popped her head through the door, “settle in kids Mr. Allen is running 2 hours late.”    “Cool man. Overtime,” a guy next to me said. I made my way to the craft service table and grabbed a handful of Doritos and a couple of boxes of Milk Duds. “Fuck it,” I said again under my breath.

Judgement Call

Tamarind and I walked the produce section of Ralph’s. I stopped to check the ripeness of the Radicchio.

‘I need a painter,’ she said as she squeezed melons.

I watched her meticulously unpack and then restock cantaloupes out of the bin, but made no decision. She didn’t find the ripeness she was on a quest for.

‘Mathias will do it.’ The Radicchio looked fine. I mean how do you even really tell the difference anyway? Must be a color thing. Outside of iceberg lettuce and tomatoes and basic table veggies, I really haven’t a clue.

‘I need my apartment painted.’

‘Oh, he’s not that kind of painter.’ I looked over the herbs and spices. I don’t know. What am I doing? All the sudden I was overwhelmed with everything in the store. Where does all this go if nobody buys it? Right in the garbage, I presume. What a waste.

‘Oh? I see he’s a painter painter?’ Now she was on to the bananas. She took a combo of half-green and half-yellow. Smart move.

‘Yeah but not a paInter’s painter.’

‘So like a man’s man painter, canvases? Like a gay painter.’

That threw me, ‘No not gay, but angry and edgy. Does oil paintings. Like most artists. a self-centered prick.”

‘Is he a drug addict, an alcoholic? Any redeeming damage that would spell talent?’

‘No. He’s very green, still lives at home. Paints still life stuff, country cottage shit, but with a twist.’

‘What possible twist could make those Kincadian abortions palatable?’

‘Whoa! Easy! He paints them with military scenes, foot soldiers & drones. Like, circling the cottages and bombing them. It’s  kind of cool.’ I picked up a bag of lettuce, “pre-washed” it said, with what? Did some guy squirt it with a garden hose while it’s in the picking basket? Did it get sprayed with reclaimed water on a conveyor belt? While all this spun in my head.

‘Oh my god! No way!” She squealed. She picked up a watermelon. Can’t check that for ripeness. Or can you? She tossed it in the cart, smashing the bananas.

‘Fuck it! I want him to paint that scene on my living room fucking wall!’ A young hippie(ish) mom quickly covered her son’s ears and shushed her. She waved her off, ‘are you kidding that is unique and cool as fuck!’

‘On canvas or on the bare wall?’

‘What’s the difference?’ Tamarind was now just throwing things in the cart, grapes, mangoes, obviously, she no longer focused or cares about freshness or ripeness. She was obsessing on the “Kincade” cottage explosion scenes.

‘Well there’s a big difference, if he puts it on a canvas at least you can take it with you when you move.’

‘Oh yeah. I want a canvas. Definitely’ she said simultaneously squeezing peaches. I picked up a plastic box of spinach. “Organic,” it said. Was it? Was anything organic? Isn’t there carcinogens free-floating everywhere at this point? But that wouldn’t have to do with organically grown I guess. I placed it in the cart.

‘How big is the wall.’ Seriously who would want to put a whole scene of an apocalyptic Kincaid on their wall? Maybe I can make a commission if I get him to paint it?

‘Oh like,’ she spread her arms across and up and down.

‘That’s like 8×10 feet. You’re talking like thousands and thousands of dollars.’

‘I don’t care call him!’ I decided it best to give her the number directly. I don’t need a commission. They’ll both have to fight it out.

Billy Joe Johnson Kicked My Ass In Third Grade (1972)

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Victoria Elementary School. I was on the Monkey bars. Just hanging there. Billy Joe Johnson walks up and punches me in the stomach. Suddenly I felt silly in my sweater-vest and Sears Toughskins. I drop to the ground, doubled over. I feel him over me. He had just done the same to Jimmy Bledsoe yesterday. Jimmy was a red-head, “Red on the head like the dick of a dog!” he said as Jimmy lay there crying. Now it as my turn.

“Umph, Shit! What you do that for?” I felt the tears coming but I held them back, I knew it would be a bigger scene if I cried. “Because you’re a brillo haired Jew faggot!” My mother is Irish catholic and my Father was Romanian Jew. Was I even really jewish? I stood up. I didn’t try to fight back. Right then the Gods sent a savior, Mrs. Kratzel. She didn’t witness the punch. “What’s going on here?” Billy Helped me up. “Marcus fell off the Monkey bars Mrs. Kratzel, I was helping him up.” He said, as he glared into my eyes. “Is this true Michael?” I nodded my head. I knew If i said anything, I would receive another beating, plain and simple. I walked away. “Mrs. Kratzel can we play smear the queer?” Mrs. Kratzer nodded her head, “yes but no tackling, I mean it!” I quickly walked away. I knew that I would get tackled. “Um Mrs. Kratzel can you help me with my SRA card assignment?” Any excuse to get away. “Sure michael, Meet me in the math lab.” I followed quickly behind her, grateful to miss out on today’s smear the queer playground nightmare.

Side Note. The use of the word “queer” is not homophobic in this game. It’s used as acatchy name to describe the game. The “queer” in this sense is just the kid who’s it. Because it’s completely voluntary to be the “queer”, and being the “queer” requires a certain amount of bravery, it is not used in the derogatory in this particular usage. That being said, if somebody is calling you homo or faggot, this meaning becomes null and void and you have every right to beat them within an inch of their life.

I sat in the comfort of the math lab, occasionally glancing out the window, quite a few kids were playing the game. Billy Joe had the ball, no one dared tackle him or even come near him. He forced the ball to Jimmy Wilson and immediately tackled him.

Side Note. Billy Joe Johnson (pictured above) in 2009, He wants people to know he’s a burglar, robber, white supremacist, gangster, drug addict and savage murderer who believes in Nazism and the power of Nordic hammer-wielding deity Thor. He is currently doing parole-less life in prison.

I wrote a piece of fiction Dude


 

Against my better judgment, I picked up the phone. It was a blocked call.
‘Yes, hello?’

‘I wrote a piece of fiction dude.’ It was Martin, his voice sounded flat, monotone. I didn’t respond. I didn’t know what to say. There was a pause.

‘I wrote a piece of fiction dude,’ Martin said it again in the same banausic tone. Still, I had no idea what to say. Again a pause.                                                                                                    

‘Hello? You there man?’ A light wind through the screen door blew a couple of fur balls across the Pergo flooring.  

‘Yeah man, I’m here.’ The furballs tumbled and settled by the dog’s water bowl. Maybe I should buy a broom?    

‘I wrote a piece of fiction dude?” Now his statement was in the form of a question.                                                                    

I realized that buying a broom would be the obvious choice. But I had a vacuum. It was an old Hoover upright.

It developed a bushing or gear problem though; as a result, it made a sound that I imagined a blender on high-speed that was filled with hex nuts might produce. It had no suction problems though. It worked just as well as the day I rolled it off the ‘Sears Home’ showroom floor. I wore ear protection and even put the dog outside when I used it, because he literally tried to cover his ears with his paws and forearms, or forelegs as it were. It was a lot of pre-production to vacuum. It had been a while since I geared up to do it, and as a result the fur balls tumbled to and fro depending on the direction cross breeze. I’ll get to it. It might be a while, I was single, and it didn’t bother me. The dishes, the laundry, and the dog shit piled up. It didn’t matter.        

“Do you want to hear it?” He asked.

“Hear what?’ Occasionally my mother visits and she will clean and do laundry and even pick up the dog shit. But I realized I felt no different either way.                                                                              

“I wrote a piece of fiction dude,” now his voice sounded stressed and desperate.      

“Sure man, read it.” I pondered the whole bachelor thing. Fuck it. I tried. I guess I’m not a relationship person.  

“Chapter One, the deputy loaded his gun, it was going to be a hot sweltering summer day of crime on the streets of Chicago…”

My mother and father weren’t relationship people either, 11 marriages and or partners between them. Subsequently they gave birth to the same, it doesn’t take Dr. Phil to figure that out, so no mystery there. He continued,      

“…Smithers was a veteran of the Chi Town P.D. He had 40 days and a wake up to a beautiful retirement in Tempe Arizona…”

Maybe just a select few can actually really pull of the relationship game. I mean really pull it off, you know?                                                    

I mean like love cherish respect, death do us part, type of deal.      

“…his wife had begged for the house in Tempe for health reasons, but Smithers had an autistic brother…how do you like my piece of fiction dude?” I didn’t answer, Martin continued reading.

Revenge

Milicent Penelope Owens broke up with me. She said that I wasn’t attentive to her needs, and according to her Gramma Owens “not a proper suitor.”

I’m still trying to wrap my head around that statement. I’m in shock. Two years we were together. A lot of laughs, what I thought was romance, and a real heart to heart match. I’m trying not to completely lose it. I can’t even watch “our” shows or listen to “our” music, it all reminds me of her. So I started seeing a psychiatrist, one Dr. William Deutch. Hoping he could better explain what “wasn’t attentive to her needs, and not a proper suitor” means. For now, he wants me to focus on me, on Preston, and to really be honest about the feelings that are surfacing.

He said, “Preston, let’s be attentive to Preston first. Let’s explore what Preston’s,” he stops and raises his hands and makes those hook-like quotation marks, which I hate, “needs are.” He believes there may a be a connection between old abandonment and grief issues. Don’t get me wrong, I mean that is good and great, but I have reason to believe that Milicent’s is having sexual congress with Timothy Allen Pawsett. The guy is a complete sociopath. Pawsett frequently stands against the wall near the entrance of Coffee Talky Café on his cell phone watching everyone walk in and out. He leans back with his right foot against the wall.

He sports Vaurnet shades which he occasionally tilts down when an attractive woman or girl of any age walks by. He wears beige Levi Dockers, a pink Izod La Coste shirt and a baby blue sweater tied around his neck and always wears the same beige Sperry Top-Siders boating shoes (he’s never been boating.). His whole eighties throwback fashion is just, like morbid. He looks like the poor man’s version of James Spader in “Pretty in Pink”. He stands there with his jaw clenched talking through his bleached veneers while looking everyone up and down. I don’t think he’s on the phone with anyone.

His upper lip is always slightly curled like he’s being forced to smell cat feces.
Five years ago, when I was a freshman, (Pawsett was a junior) while changing into my gym clothes he hit me with a K-Swiss sneaker so hard it left an imprint on my back. I tried to fight him, but Brandon Warren jumped in and they both really busted me up. Brandon was expelled, he was an evil asshole too, one time he put Ben Gay in Stanley Harper’s jock strap and hung him from an equipment hook. So anyways week later I went to Goodwill and bought 10 pairs of old sneakers, really ugly ones. Reebok, British Knights, LA Gear et al.

The ugliest colors too, pinks, greens, yellows, and browns. Then I went to Bob’s True Value hardware and bought a couple of dozen tubes of Crazy Glue. While everyone was in the third period I snuck out to the parking lot with a hefty bag full of shoes, and I crazy glued them all over the windshield, the t-tops and the back window of Pawsett’s classic Gold ’88 Camaro, which he lovingly referred to as Goldy, he even had 1GOLDY1 on the license plate. I also crazy glued the door locks and the window seals, which later on that same evening proved extremely challenging for the AAA locksmith to open.

When he came out to his car there was a crowd of people standing around it gawking, he screamed and yelled through clenched teeth and sneering lip desperate to keep his composure. “OH MY GOD! YOU FUCKERS! WHO DID THIS TO GOLDY? YOU SCUMBAGS!”

He desperately tried to pull the sneakers off, some tore off, but the soles stayed intact and stuck on the glass. I watched, then I walked by, and he ran up to me flailing his arms like he was going to punch me and I kicked me in the balls so hard it lifted him about half a foot in the air. He screamed a feminine scream that took all the spectators aback, then the crowd oooh’d and ahhh’d and laughed obnoxiously. It took gallons of acetone to get the sneaker soles off the glass. The acetone also damaged and bubbled Goldy’s paint job, which was thousands of dollars to refinish. I was never charged with the crime because no one saw me in the act.

12 steps (IMHO)

Look, I’m a fan of 12 step programs. I believe they do help, I’ve watched these programs help 100’s of people over the years. BUT…

you have to beware of, sexual predators, money grubbers, real estate agents, grifters, hustlers, poseurs, producers, actors, second story men, old rock n’ rollers, old punkers, elderly R & B artists, bad teeth, bad caps, stupid hats, silicone tits cheeks and asses, Botox, bikers, tattooers, hot rodders, gurus, yoga teachers, dream catchers, spiritual make believers, Buddha beads buffoons, agents, writers, brooding struggling artists, directors, money grabbers, liars, cheats, thieves, age inappropriate fashion, bad hair, bad vibes and unwanted hugs and touching. But who am I to judge? I’ve had my fair share of sponsors over the years. Some got loaded, one blew his brains out (he was a doctor operating a pill mill) and got busted bailed out went home and put a gun in his mouth. My most recent made it clear, “I can’t keep you sober, hopefully you will have an experience and not have to drink or use again.” Well it’s been 4 years and 4 months and the one thing I remain clear on is if I drink and or use drugs I cannot control the amount I ingest. This is something I’ve experienced over and fucking over again. And the thing is (in a sober state) I have an obsessive mind that takes me back. So I talk to people about my fucked up thinking and ideas. I also try to be helpful to others and LAUGH! Not get punked out by the world of impermanence that’s FOREVER constantly changing around me. I’m not gonna mention god because to me it’s irrelevant in doing the steps, I’ve been agnostic and atheistic for many years, but I’ve been able to become somewhat of a better person through these steps. I’m not quite as needy desperate selfish and angry.

Long Island Memories…

The San Gennaro feast –
Three or four times a year in Island Park or in any of these Incorporated little villages they replicate the NYC style Little Italy Annual Feast. ‘FEAST?’ Like these people don’t ‘feast’ all year around, like they need another excuse to fill their insatiable, big, Walmart fashion wearing asses with sausage and peppers, and meatballs, and pizza, zeppolis (deep-fried leftover pizza dough rolled in a horrific, diabetic, and coma producing amount of powdered sugar) and Diet Coke (irony.)

There’s always like the one hot chick at the feast that every fucking dude beats off to or obsesses on and every chubby disgusting chick in the village hates. They wander around aimlessly being lead by Carney like vendors to the next gastric torture chamber, all wearing some stupid T-shirts that they had made at the little stupid T-shirt making booth, shirts like, ‘I’m with stupid’ or ‘Irish and proud’ ‘Italians only’ or fat big bellied assholes with the NYPD t-shirts on. They’re all looking for something somewhere but they never find it. So like they just eat into oblivion and go home and nap, and come back and do it all over again the next day. It’s all gossip world and everyone knows everyone’s business.

A lot of white trash. Who are you to judge these people, you ask? Well, most of my relatives live there, angry alcoholics still blaming the ‘niggers and spics’ for everything. Which is ridiculous and lame because there is like hardly any African Americans or Puerto Ricans or Latins that live there. They are forever defending cops (because their sons, uncles, or some mental deficient in the shit stained, algae-ridden gene pool, happens to be one) most of them have never been outside of New York. Except for maybe like the aggressively white Poconos for trips, where they have some timeshare cabin, or that they paid $24,000 for.

They’re Philistines, their cultural high point of the year is Super Bowl commercials. Quite a few of them develop health problems. Which include but are not limited to hypertension, gout, diabetes, premature hair loss or thinning (the men and the women) even forms of cancer out of self-hatred or possibly living so close to a landfill dump. When I moved back out there in ‘90 my cousin Lucky took me to Pete’s clam bar, which was across a narrow canal from said landfill. He’s slurping down the sixth clam on the half shell while looking out at the seagulls (flying rats as he calls them) on huge mountains of garbage. He was joking, about the proximity of the possible toxicity of the dump to restaurant distance, theorizing on the health dangers.

Then he’s like, “come on you pussy eat some.” I tried, and gagged and threw up a little. Lucky was a New York city cop. His name was a direct result of being born 7 pounds 11 ounces. Which is hard to fathom, because presently because then he was 6 foot 2 inches and weighs 525 pounds, he’s had a crippling food addiction ever since he stopped drinking. As he puts it, “I’ve never met a carbohydrate that I didn’t fucking like.”

Getting Through It All