9/22/09

Flash Fiction Friday #2: It's a Long Way to the Top (of The Stage)

Nicole’s cataracts had worsened, so I knew she was going to be running late; she's had to relearn her way around. She surprised me at the restaurant when she showed up beside our usual table and asked me, "Wow, what just happened?"

"Are you sure about that medical marijuana, Nicole?" I asked her as I helped her push in her seat. I've heard it's stronger than the regular stuff. "No, it's not that," she informed, "I haven't started taking it yet. I just got off the phone with my agent, and she's got an audition for me. I haven't talked to her in about five years, I think. She just called me out of the blue this morning. "

We went through the formalities of ordering. I wondered just how much money I'd spend monthly purchasing items just so I could sit in public places pretending they were my office. Thank goodness for the resurgence of the European-style sidewalk cafés in the form of Starbucks and its plentiful and improved offspring. I love the audacity with which the States emulates French traditions, blowing them up to absurd proportions. It's as though I am being asked, "Now that you can find Brie at Wal-Mart, why would you ever have need to return to Europe?" It didn't take long for Nicole to tell me why she'd wanted to meet me at our old restaurant, where I was going to have to actually tip for a change.

I'd been stuck in LA for twenty-five years, and at one time, had thought Nicole might be my ticket out, to New York. It's funny, she actually was, though I had no idea sitting there with her in the restaurant that day. As her agent for seven years, all I could ever get her were commercials and that one bit part on Friends, and there I was stymied by her gall, listening to her ask me to accompany her to a shoe-in audition for the next Diablo Cody film I'd just heard about. It was going to be big, her directorial debut. I could admit that Nicole was perfect for the part, in a perverted way. She is beautiful, or maybe striking, but definitely past her prime-- a funny, but apt choice to play the stripper lead role. She also told me about her upcoming cataract surgery. I was trying hard to be happy for her, as our coffee was delivered... cold.


At the audition, I gritted my teeth as I watched Nicole laughing with Dustin Hoffman, from afar. She was going to get the part; it was obvious. It was hard for me not to be jealous, but I wasn't sure which part was worse. Nicole was fifteen years my senior, and, yet, she had stolen my husband, kinda; she really did me a favor, I later saw-- plus, she didn't have a dime to show for it. I was a little jealous of her agent, who was going to make a pretty penny off her set-up without doing a lick of work. I'd heard Cody is generous and contract negotiations would be a cinch.

I made calls and texted clients while I watched Nicole do a very good job. Her years of stage acting had served her well. She definitely had a poise that might be hard to come by in the casting of an aged slut. I had to admit I was actually happy for her as she rubbed elbows with Susan Sarandon, who would be playing her best friend, also a stripper. It was hearing that Tim Robbins would play her husband that was hardest for me to swallow. He and I had dated for a time, albeit long ago. What a good kisser.

I saw Nicole trip on the old stage a few times from what I surmised was her poor eyesight, but was completely take off-guard when she suddenly fell off the stage altogether. In a flash, she was surrounded by her very own star-studded death scene, and without a second thought, I slipped my card into Diablo Cody's hand before heading out the door. It's funny how life works out, sometimes. Funny.

13 comments:

Cormac Brown said...

I love the descriptions, I love her observations and...here we have an agent with nobility and grace. The rarest of the rare...in L.A. no less.

Übermilf said...

"The Casting of an Aged Slut" should be the title of the book this story is excerpted from.

Randal Graves said...

Gimme flash! Fiction! You're this generation's Bon Scott if Bon Scott was a woman in Hollywood and you, not the corpse that he currently is. Now that ending is just good, dammit.

Cormac Brown said...

Care to help us get a jump on next week's?

Freida Bee, MD said...

Cormac- Two things. Would it be terribly bothersome for you to change the comment format to pop-up windows? I just can't comment on the FFF site from my home computer.

Twice tried to post mine...

"I knew I shouldn't __________, but as soon as I saw what she pulled out of her purse, I knew I really didn't have much choice in the matter."

Cormac Brown said...

D'oh! You should've emailed me, wrote it on Cormac Writes or hit me up on the Facebook. They all flow to my smartphone...which is why I don't use the pop-up window, as it doesn't work all that swell on it. I switch it over right now.

Cormac Brown said...

Okay, the pop-ups are in effect and so is the starter sentence.

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