Jackson’s apartment, Long Beach, CA – late summer 1982
“Jackson… I… There’s a…” her pecan sized ice-blue eyes closed, her lips turned tightrope. She opened her eyes, re-inflated her lips, glanced at the ceiling, breathed a barely audible “Shit…
He waited, his back against the refrigerator of his narrow kitchen, unopened beer in one hand, arms folded like a shield. As if it would help if she went full Tasmanian devil.
On the opposite side of his small kitchen divider stood the very attractive, very tense Kaitlin Everson, the actress whose lawsuits had roared like background noise on cheap tape through almost five months of his life. She was putting her camera-loves-me face, framed by the perfect swept up cascade of lazy ringlets over softer waves, through minor contortions while she absently tapped her fingers on the divider’s tile top.
After a short eternity that was probably less than a minute, she finally found him with her eyes. “There’s a long story, Jackson. About… About why I hate musicians.”
It sat on the counter between them. Awkward, slightly embarrassing. Like having a sun pinked fat man in a speedo suddenly show up in your line of sight at the beach.
“I’ve heard some of them.” He considered the urge to kick start their usual venom laced exchanges, took a straight shot instead. “That’s why you’re here, Kait? To tell me a long story?”
“Alix was supposed… She didn’t call you?”
“She said,” adopting an exaggerated French accent, “‘My love, the lovely and most delighted Kaitlin has telephoned. You will speak with her of what she desires, s’il vous plaît?’”
He gauged her, found nothing, shifted his voice back to normal.
“Since no one living has ignored Alix’s s’il vous plaît,
here you are. We could have gone neutral somewhere. Or was that the point, to stay out of public places?”
“No…” she turned, made a slow, right-to-left scan of his place. “I heard about this old apartment of yours. How comfortable and real it is. The open windows, the sounds, the sweet monster dog. And about what happens here. I heard… was told
that you had eleven top-shelf L.A. women in here on Saturday mornings all summer with zero trippy bullshit. I had… I wanted,
to see it.” She stopped her fingers, took a surprise deep composure inhale for someone usually cooler than a bucket of ice.
“So I sat with Randi Navarro and Cicily Warren at a Women in Broadcast
luncheon last week.”
“Rubber chicken and a ‘go get ‘em gals’ speech from somebody irrelevant. What else did those two have to say that would put you in my living room?”
“They showed me their personal bio packs. And they were the shit. The supreme
shit. Custom hint-of-color-folders, custom cards, embossed calligraphy, perfect complementary colors, not overdone. Definitely not office supply store print shop ready-to-wear. They said massive taste, and they would be the first ones out of any pile. I asked Randi where they came from and she said you were involved, and that… That I should contact the French lady lawyer who untied our two-little-bitches-in-Hollywood knot. I called and she said to set up a meet with you. And that you, that you
might let me in on who does that work.”
He caught ‘Your
little bitch in Hollywood knot’ before it got out.
“Any of them could have sent you straight to the source. No one needed to send you to me like I
clear who gets access to that talent. Yeah, I’m involved, indirectly, but it doesn’t matter what I think, or how you and I feel about each other. The point is that a talented person who has something to offer and could make a difference gets hooked up with what they need to advance their career.” He turned, put the unopened beer back in the fridge. “If I had to be ape shit happy with everyone I worked with I’d be screwed. And so would you and so would everyone else in this town.”
we feel about each other? I mean, now that we aren’t…”
“Suing each other? The truth is you
carried the movie that made us and everyone involved all temporarily insane, and at long last some money. You’re way too good looking and too talented and your bitch factor is too high for you to disappear. And you’re too smart not to care about something. So I’m down. Like I said, not that it matters what I think.”
“That was the best backhanded compliment I’ve ever gotten. I think.” She leaned both arms on the divider. He stepped up to the counter attached to the other side, thought for a second.
“Look, Kait, I was a green, dopey, shaggy flatland college boy with a deal that fell in my lap. You gave me that shit on your shoes look the day we met and I figured okay, fair enough. I’m not actress bait, drop it and get on down the road. I always wonder why girls who bail on me do it, but I get it. I justify it by telling myself I’m an acquired taste.” They looked at each other for a few, like a lion tamer and a lion, trying to figure out who was which.
“It wasn’t personal, Jax.” She did that thing he thought was a universal girl move, averting her eyes to look at her fingers absently doodling on his tile-topped divider. “Musicians were like a, a bad habit until I started getting real work. After I got the full-time job on the soap, I put that part of me down. Some guys I’d known before wouldn’t let it go, and they did some really stupid, mean shit.”
“I can see how everybody I know who buys strings or sticks would miss you.”
“That’s two believable almost
“Don’t faint on me, I’m out of brandy. Finish your story?”
is I got tired of their shit and one night I’d had enough and went off on a B-list spandex hair farmer at the Whiskey. It got turned into ‘Ex-Groupie Soap Star Goes Off’ press. With pictures of me screaming and looking all fucked up. Which I was, screaming anyway, about all their lying bullshit. I had to sue them, all of them, to stop it.”
“So suing musicians is just how you get through your day?”
“You can bag the grin. Randi warned me if I gave you a chance, you’d find a way to get around me. No matter what I put up.”
“Randi and I went a few rounds at first, so she warns every female that’s about to talk to me.”
“She should. And Cicily told me what you did to that piece of work pussy-bait ex-loverboy of hers. I worked a laundromat-on-acid fabric softener spot with that rat fart when I first started, back in high school.”
“Whoa. No shit? The one where the girl pulls her clothes out of the dryer, the guy dumps his clothes all over to run help ‘cause she’s so cute and her clothes smell so good, everything goes all wiggly and BAM, they’re holding hands in a field somewhere?”
“Hell yeah. I can’t believe that was you and Gibson. That’s sad, because a lot
of us wanted to be the dude in the laundromat. You probably started a whole humongous urban myth about picking up chicks with fabric softener, you being all way wet-dreamable in that almost see-through dress. In fact, I need to call some people and tell them the ‘Smells like Sunshine and Happy’ chick filed a couple of lawsuits to keep from going out with me.”
“You’re not supposed to be funny, Jax. Or nice. Or easy for me to be with, or work with. I emptied my humility piggy bank and rehearsed some deep southern fried Scarlett O’Hara damsel in distress for this.” She crossed her arms, grabbed her lacey blouse with both hands in the center of her chest. “Oh puh-leeeeease
, Mistuh Jay-uc-son, you just hay-uv
tuh help po lil ol’ me
.” She let go, relaxed her arms back onto the divider.
“That has to be the smallest humility piggy bank on the planet and the best Scarlett O’Hara I’ve seen since some guys explained cotillions to me when I was sixteen.” He pulled a pair of business cards from a kitchen drawer, set them on the divider. “You’re helped, Kaitlin. The only rule is don’t try to be smarter than the people who will help you. That about killed the control freak in Randi, but if you like her package, that’s how it happens.”
“Screw that stress. Let whoever it is clean up my press world and drop a quarter in my direction when it’s time to pick it up.” She tapped the counter again, caught herself, shook it off. “Okay. Coming here
is what about killed me
. And that’s all there is? No ‘who’s on top now.’ No insincere apologies, no name calling, no games? No pinch my left butt cheek until it’s purple?”
“That’s it. Well…”
She raised an eyebrow.
“Is that your hair?”
“For fuck’s… Yes
it’s mine. It’s cut longer down the back so I can put the center curls in and it balances. If I don’t put the curls in I have to do all kinds of crap with clips or my hair looks like a horse’s ass from behind. Godammit, I see it. Don’t you even think
it. What is it with everyone and my fucking hair?”
“Everybody says it’s a fall. That bass player you got so pissed off at had a curly fall just like your hair tied to his antenna and lime green crotchless panties taped to his back window. He said both of them belonged to you
“They weren’t mine. Not my hair, for damn sure not my panties. I mean give a girl some credit for taste. And that waste of air with all of his phony Kaitlin’s groupie swag taped to his car got his ass sued with the rest of them. I am not
a groupie and never was, and this is my
hair. Once upon a time I liked to hit a fatty and dance and I liked to go out with band guys. Until a few years ago turning twenty-one and regular employment raised my IQ.”
“So you didn’t pull a train after the —”
“NO!” He thought her eyes might catch fire. “You can eat shit and fucking die, Jackson. You’re as bad as all the rest of them.” She spun, steamed for the door.
the Kaitlin I know.” He couldn’t hold the laugh. “Day-um, bitch. Chill. You hungry?”
She stopped at the door, turned halfway around. “You hillbilly ass
hole. I’m starving
.” She did the index finger flip between them. “You? And me? Now
“Let’s go. Hangin’ with you’ll make me look good, and we can bust each other’s chops a little longer without blood or lawyers. You forgot these.” He held out the two business cards, tugged on her ringlets when she got close enough to take them. She yanked the cards with one hand, punched him on the shoulder, hard, with the other.
“Fuck you, you, you,” a laugh of her own got out. “You goofy, pickle dick hick
.” She shook her hair, checked out Paula’s and Stacey’s Morisé Women’s Initiatives
cards, dropped them in a clutch not much bigger than they were. “You’re driving. Because I like your old car and want to be seen riding in it. Since that is so
incredibly shallow of me, I’ll buy. But only if you take us somewhere clean in West Hollywood or Beverly.”
She looked up, caught him grinning. “And all that ‘I’m really just a cute, fun guy’ shit you’re working like it would make La Brea belch Elvis back? Buy it a coffin. If anyone asks? We still hate each other. Got it?”
Morisé – 1700 Oilman’s Bank Tower
“Kaitlin Everson?” Paula set the folder on top of everything on Stacey’s desk. “I missed the legal do-si-do, but I got the word upfront from Studley. Do we have right of refusal?”
“Alix said that we all underestimate the invisible Director of Women’s Initiatives. That he has turned a negative into a positive and has now completed the process for which he has been in training.” She watched Paula’s face go question mark. “Yeah, me neither. Something about forgiveness and the big picture. Shannon has thinned Kaitlin’s bio to bullet points for me, and Kaitlin is ready for the initial preferences call. Which is you
. They’ll shoot the interview in Zane’s green room, edit her aircheck, Jackson will smooth it out next door at Air Biscuit. It’s a genuine project.”
“Don’t you think it’s amazing how they do those interviews? It’s just two people in chairs in Tits’ small warehouse and it looks like someone’s badass living room or the Parthenon or some beach that’s too clean to be real.”
“What is more amazing, Paula, is that Alix threw him and Kaitlin together without an ambulance on standby and that you get away with calling Zane Rialta ‘Tits’.”
“Studley says Alix sent Kaitlin to him with a s’il vous plaît
, and everybody out there calls Zane ‘Tits’. It’s like her unofficial celeb toe tag.”
“I’m not sure about the toe tag, but the s’il vous plaît
explains this.” Stacey handed Paula a copy of True Star
that had landed with the morning mail. “They’re a quarter page in the gossip section, on the patio at a burger place. Smiling.
He must have had to send his soul out to the cleaners after that.”
“The smile tells me the picture is doctored.” Paula pulled on the sides of her mouth with her index fingers and made a face before she opened the paper, shuffled through to the middle. “‘Heart Throb Actress Starring in Real-Life Romance!’ Who writes this used dog food?”
“People like us who don’t quite have total autonomy about what they publish?”
“Somewhere in that, I heard ‘We’re doing Kaitlin Everson, Paula. Get over it’.”
Anonymole has decided on a whiff of an idea from me that September is scene month.
Not every day, but often, we should offer a short scene that stands alone and when you walk away you have a decent idea of what’s going on and might want to turn the page. This is number 8 or 9 or 10 of “Hukt awn seens werks fur mee!”