Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Closing Night

Looking at the white in my blog window, I am frozen. So many feelings and memories in the last few days are rushing forward like the violet of broken blood vessels. I can't organize them right off the bat. So let me start with Closing Night of Reservoir Bitches.

Abe was late again. Eventually, he did make it to the show on time, but I spent half an hour the day before emphasizing waiting at the playhouse to see if he would make it in time was distracting, especially when I was doing 'read throughs' with the cast beforehand.

Sitting outside, smoking a cigarette we greeted Evie as she climbed the stairs to us, each arm cradling a bag of food and wine. Her zip up hoodie parted just above her perfect breasts. She spit out her half smoked cigarette on the ground and said, "I am sick as a dog, so don't mind me tonight."

The cast of Bitches always have something going on behind their eyes. Before our performance, during our performance and after. Its hard to read them. I can stare in their eyes and see they are reviewing something a lot more important than our casual conversation like shadow dancers behind the curtain of two, black pupils.

Evie, "Check my pants to see if there is any blood. I am about to get my period."

Me, "Haven't you gotten your period every week since we opened?"

Evie, "Well, I just switched birth control."

It was raining that night and we were sold out. Just after our "Bitches! Bitches!" chant, Em told me her brother (previous suitor Mr. On the Right) would be moving in with his girlfriend late summer. Bitter acid pooled in my lower lip.

I was off of my game even though the crowd was great. They laughed at all the right jokes, but my improvised lines in the opening scene didn't strike up any kind of reaction. Silence. I was disappointed, but regained them during my monologue.

I was flubbing lines here or there. I already surrendered to this performance. I just wanted it to be over with. Everyone else was high on the applause between scenes and the laughter from the crowd. My head was trying to steady the needle, so I could get on that black, vinyl groove. I was waiting to hear the sound of porous static.

A homeless man wandered into the lobby to much on the crackers, cheese and cupcakes left out for family and friends overpaying to see the performance. I walked over to him, ripped the food away from his needy little fingers and carried it backstage. He looked through me and moved on to a bag of Laffy Taffys Ms. Brown left out.

What a dump.

I was down afterward, while everyone else was fluttering around the dressing room, giggling and planning to rendezvous for a drink later. I hated my performance. I hated seeing that fat fuck stage manager. And I hated that I didn't go out with a bang.

Abe said, "You don't seem very happy." I said, "I hate fucking up. I dwell on it for a long time. It isn't fair to the rest of the cast. I am moody backstage." He heavily nodded his head and blew out white smoke.

We met everyone at a bar later for one last hoorah- but Pink, Evie and White all migrated away from our table to the bar, sharing a conversation not meant for the rest of us. I didn't care. My martini cooled my throat and I kept touching Abe's leg, eager for him to take me home to my bed.

The next day, we were still on the subject of him moving in. It was wearing me down. This time, instead of sounding angry and bitchy, my voice was cracking and my eyes were filling with tears. I kept organizing my sock drawer and closet, hoping he couldn't hear the dry, crunch of my throat. My mother always says, "Never let them see you cry."

I quietly started panting tears, like I was a child.

Abe attempted to dab at my fears with the promise he would pay for this month's rent, then he would somehow switch tracks in the conversation and remind me that he can only afford to cover one month's rent. After this, I would be on my own.

I said, "I don't want to take your money and rely on you for it. I want you to invest in us. In a nest. I want us to be partners."

Abe would then say, "But I can't afford to move and live in LA without a job lined up."

I said, "I could keep working and try to support us the way I have been. Why not do what you said we would do on New Year's Eve (when we were both drunk) and move in here to get on your feet and then move out together? You say that that's what you want to do, then you take it back. And that happens over and over again."

He moved towards me, "Ok, baby, don't cry. Come on. I know I said that. Don't keep reviewing it in your mind."

He blotted the make-up dripping from my eyes with a small piece of toilet paper and held my face.

He said, "Can you just give me time to think about it?"

I said, "Of course. But I am 33. I am running out of time. I can't afford to piss 5 more years away on someone. Its the last 5 years I have to make babies and then I will be too old for anyone else to want me."

He said, "Stop that. You don't look 33."

I said, "It will all catch up to me."

He reapplied my make-up for me. I was booked on a job and had to go.

I was cast as background in a Compeed commercial. I showed up and was not hand selected to go to set with the first group of cast paparazzi. So I danced around the craft service table and pillaged the sandwich/snack bar. When Wardrobe finally saw me, they put me in a skin tight black dress with a plummeting neckline reaching all the way down to the purple bow on the front of my bra. The open seam in the skirt split my dress all the way up to my belly button, revealing my naked thigh when I walked.

Then they wanted me in heels, so I had to crouch on the steps of the Wardrobe truck, parked in an open lot in the middle of Beverly Hills with the wind whipping open my dress, and squeeze on silver heels. Travis was there. Travis is the tall, good looking audience wrangler I see half the time I book work through this casting company. He has always been kind to me, respectful and, I confided to Matt one evening on set when we were blitzed, that I would happily have unprotected sex with him in the back of my car. (Abe and I were on hiatus at the time)

I could feel my underwear flashing in front of him, so I kept my head down and focused on my chipped pedicure. My body is super thin right now, and my underwear just happened to be cute that day by joyous coincidence. It was still very uncomfortable and I just didn't know why I was in this outfit.

Someone from crew took my picture for continuity and I said, "I had to wear the bra with the purple bow today."

The guy taking my picture said happily, "Yes . . . you . . . did. You look great."

I went to the bathroom, which was in a wagon, and found difficulty in flushing one little square of toilet paper down. After two failed attempts, my third overzealous flush knocked my sunglasses off the top of my head into the empty toilet bowl. I quickly shoved the glasses under the pathetic stream of water from the portable sink and dried them off. I knew the talent transport van was waiting for me, so I quickly rushed out the bathroom and sat next to Travis.

My bare leg was pressed up against his and I said to a van full of strangers, "My glasses fell into the toilet bowl. Geez! I don't know what to do now." There were a few chuckles and half fast suggestions, then Travis moved his leg away from mine.

I wasn't trying to seduce Travis, but things with Abe and me aren't fantastic right now. The resentment was billowing between us. And I gave him a two month deadline to:

a) Come up with a plan for his career

b) Decide where he has to be to make that plan happen (city, etc)

c) Come up with a back up plan

Eat, Pray, Love mentions how fathers used interview men who came to court their daughters for a reason. You need to know their intentions with your daughter and their plans for the future. Now that fathers play less active roles in our lives and decision making, we don't think to answer those questions. Well, now I am.

It was a nice surprise to have Travis working along side me in the scene, but he wouldn't look at me. He wouldn't make conversation with me. I don't know why I care, I am not seeking to date Travis. But something about his reluctance to look at me bruised my ego even more after Abe's hesitation to take the next step in our relationship. There was a growing feeling of rejection.

Someone called out, "Can I have all the paparazzi over here?"

I clunked my heels over and he said, "You're paparazzi?"

I said, "Can't you tell in this dress?" And I dragged my feet in line with the other warmly dressed men holding cameras.

This was a night shoot staged in a covered garage of a hotel parking lot, and I was freezing my ass off. I didn't recognize a lot of the background on this set. People were shooting the shit about doing background on Entourage. Apparently, they have those huge open casting calls for the show because girls never want to go back after all the aggressive, sexual propositions from the principle cast. I had heard a few times that Jeremy Piven will walk up to random girls on set and fast talk them to his trailer, do a few lines of coke and boink them.  Those, allegedly, are the girls that are booked as regular background on the show.

One actor next to me mentioned, "Great, so you are used by the cast for sex and end up getting a regular job for minimum wage. Now that's something to be proud of."

Later, I was shivering next to that same actor. He was plump with some early balding but still around my age, and he had a wedding ring on. I confided, "I can't think when I am this fucking cold."

He said, "That's funny, because I am quite warm."

I said, "Oh good. I'm glad. Got socks around your feet, too?"

He said, "Oh yeah. Its quite toasty down there."

I said, "Good! Good! And, financially secure? Got your rent covered?"

He said, "Oh yeah. Check cleared. All good."

I said, "Great. Its so good to hear it."

He laughed and said, "You're funny."

The commercial was for a European herpes creme . . . apparently. The story of our little commercial shoot was a world famous tennis player (none of recognized) walks into a trendy night club and feels the burn of a blister on her foot while the paparazzi are taking pictures of her. The direction was always the same for background, in broken English, "You are curious and excited."

Every time we did a new angle of  the same fucking thing, I would throw off my winter jacket and say, dryly "OK. I am curious and excited."

The effeminate dude next to me with hair gelled straight up said, "Wait. Did she win this game with the blister? Because that would make me a whole lot more excited."

A night of sarcasm, indeed.

When we moved locations to an open sidewalk in the middle of the night, a number of girls started complaining. We were waiting in folding chairs on the sidewalk and it was an especially cold night, where Los Angeles locals were wearing winter coats and scarves after sundown.

While the camera set up, we all bundled together and put on shoes and socks to keep warm. When camera was up, I stripped off layers with the night air ripping open my dress like a frozen knife and stood along a staged, red carpet. I didn't take off my velvet, black boots and fuzzy socks. I kept them on. Fuck it. No one would notice.

A man from Wardrobe came up to me and said, "What is this? Peter Pan. Where are your shoes?"

I rolled my eyes and skedaddled back to my chair and squeezed my bare feet into those 4 inch heels.

Then ran back and leaned up against the good looking, black actor next to me. We hadn't spoken before.

I said, "Pardon me, I don't know you but I really need your body heat right now."

He said, "You know . . . for the record. I am really cold, too."

I said, "Dude, my tits are hanging out and I am wearing a cocktail napkin for a skirt."

He slightly turned his head and said, "Excuse me?" He heard me.

What a little bitch! I really don't like male actors. And what is with the third strike? Don't they want me to press my bosom against their backs through a thin, fabric apron?

So, I switched to the tall, beautiful girl on the other side of me, who looked like Posh Spice.

She said, "I am so fucking cold, I can't do this anymore."

I said, "I know. Fu-uuuuuuuuu-ckkhhhhhhh."

They brought out heating fans and put them behind us. Each time they said, "Cut" all the girls swarmed around them. I don't know what it was, but right around then, the men on the crew started eye balling all of us like we were hanging from metal hooks in a deli storefront window.

Posh Spice Redux and I huddled over each other, and felt the director staring at us. He said, "Don't worry girls, only a few more minutes and we are done with this version."

Posh said, "This version?"

She looked and me and I twisted my face, which made her laugh. The director said, "You girls have dirty minds." To this moment, I don't know what he thinks he heard . . . but I could feel his eyes on my tits for the rest of the night. Ironic, since they have almost completely disappeared with my weight loss.

We only had a few more camera shots, and I felt those icy blue eyes rolling all over me. I even met his stare while he studied me with a delightful smirk on his face. I got the distinct feeling that he would easily take me to his hotel room, promise to keep me in the mix of commercial casting, cum on my lower back and fly back home to his wife in Amsterdam the next morning. I could be misreading the situation, but I am telling you that's what I felt.

And my first thought wasn't, 'Gross.' My first genuine thought was, 'I would never be able to do that with a boyfriend. If I do indeed break up with Abe, I could fuck a handsome but sleazy European director to see if it actually got my career moving a little faster.' I wouldn't be totally above it if I wasn't in a relationship. Maybe once or twice, as a social experiment.

I hate feeling desperate for money. Desperate for Abe to move in to shoulder half of my overhead. Desperate to find the next step up in paid acting work. Desperate for someone else to come in and rescue me. The only word to possibly describe the sinking around my feet is "desperation." It would be a lot easier to be a feminist if I had a little more money. No one ever tells you that in school.

We moved in the street to surround a black Lexus where the world famous tennis player would now emerge without the blister on her foot. The car was on, so I pressed the front of my body along the hood with a couple other girls.

The AD said, "Now, girls, this isn't a music video." Everyone was a fucking comedian that night.

When we wrapped, I jogged back to wardrobe to turn in the dress and took off down Wilshire. I called Abe and we were talking about two things:

1) The fact that he cashed in part of his stocks to help cover my rent and neglected to bring me a physical check to transfer those funds (4 days after rent is due).

2) The plan I had for Friday, the next day, where I would not book myself work, take down my laundry and wash clothes at his place for free before joining his family for Shabbat dinner.

Recently, I realized that Abe never directly answers my questions. He throws up a lot of excuses and theories to indirectly move me toward or away from an idea. In this case, he didn't think it was a good idea for me to come down because a) it would wear down my car b) I don't have the money for gas and c) I should just try to book more work- never mind that we just wrapped at 1:30am and I was going to be exhausted.

So I asked him seven times in a row, "Just answer this question with a yes or a no. Do you want me to go down there and see you?" He got angry, threw up more excuses. I cut him off and asked again and again and again. Then he hung up on me.

That is when I wrote the following email:

You don't answer direct questions

Your justifications contradict themselves

You offer financial help and then don't bring it up until your girlfriend has to awkwardly bring it up more than once. Like you never offered the help.

You don't bring your checkbook when you transfer money to help your girlfriend because you never wanted to give her the money in the first place.

You don't want your girlfriend to come down to have dinner with your family because you will have to give her the check and want to do other things.

You complain about giving your girlfriend money for gas and then stop at garage sales to justify the purchase of stuff you doesn't need.

You don't know what you want.

And your girlfriend doesn't know if you want her. And she doesn't know if you are honest enough to be her partner.

He wrote back some awful things. I don't want to paste them in entirety here, because its just poison. So I have included segments:

"Fuck you!!!!! I drove from fucking mission viejo to hollywood to see you RB play and I never bring a checkbook, so fucking excuse me for not showing up with the money raining out my pockets.  So you think I'm going to back out of doing what I say I'm going to do.. NO Bitch  you  can not be demanding in this way,,,,no fucking way----you don't deserve that thousand dollars like I'm obligated to give it to you now.   that is so fucking selfish!!!!"

"I don't want to have to think and deal with your constant dilemmas every fucking day  like its the end of your damn world.."

"That right, I don't know If I want to move in with you, spend my life with you, have babies with you..   You are a fucking mess!!!
you need to get your shit in order, stop being an emotional basket case all the time, and whining about shit that doesn't matter telling everybody that they are the reason you are having so much trouble.  You don't let people help you . . "

Then, 15 minutes later he wrote me this:

"Why do want to be upset with so many things?  You are even upset when someone helps you . . ."

"ITS YOUR SHIT to feel bad about--not mine,, not other people you know---YOURS to feel bad about---I got shit that I feel bad about, but I don't pin it on you like should feel bad about also. . ."

"You should feel bad that you seek to make others feel as bad as you do.   YOU DO THIS to everybody you know--I've seen it."

"You are talking about how you only have a little time to have a baby---how you gonna have a baby if you have 2 pit bulls?

My child ain't gonna grow up around to pit bulls, so I have the constant stress of making sure there is no problems between the dogs and the cats,,, LET ALONE 2 DOGS AND A BABY.   ARE U INSANE?   can you do anything for yourself without making a pile of garbage and problems for yourself?   I waiting to see."
 
I didn't respond. I spent the next two days wondering if I am a piece of shit.

Then, I thought, these emails remind me of Not-for-Profit. I promised myself never to let anyone talk to me like this ever again. This relationship would have to end.

To Be Continued . . .

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