Awards Show!

I am facing a dilemma.

Nina Pennington is standing in front of the mirror practicing her Oscar acceptance speech for her role in Behaving Badly the movie that was genetically mutated from my autobiography While I’m Dead… Feed the Dog. Nina has decided to go for the gut-wrenching heartwarming motif – and has concocted a story about how she drew her inspiration from her dying mother’s stoic battle with breast cancer and how she got down on her knees and promised God she would suffer through a wardrobe malfunction on national television if He would restore her mother to health.

My dilemma is as follows. Do I tell her that they have fact checkers who will find out that her mother doesn’t have breast cancer and instead has a case of gonorrhea contracted from her banging my drummer Bam after an all night bout of speedballs and Jägermeister shots – or do I tell her that she is wasting her time because her performance was so wooden that I’m now afraid to have sex with her lest I get splinters in my penis – or do I offer encouragement because her flashing a bit of nipple would be far more interesting than watching two hours of a bunch of celebrities congratulating themselves for having hired a publicist good enough to get enough people to overlook the fact that they are self-indulgent drug addled pompous assholes and vote for them?

I’ve ruled out option two because she still has her father’s black American Express card and finally after a long internal debate I am leaning towards option three, because this way I’ll look more like an optimist than a killjoy and besides you can never have enough tits on prime time television especially when they are the result of Divine debt fulfillment.

“How am I doing?” Nina asks, “Do you think I’ve got the sincerity thing down, or should I put some pepper on the back of my hand and rub it in my eyes and cry?”

“You know if you cry, people will think you are sensitive and then you’ll get typecast and you’ll spend the rest of your life either as a televangelist’s sidekick like Tammy Faye Bakker, or doing infomercials for starving kids and homeless pets and you’ll have Sarah McLachlan songs whining in the background. I don’t know if those things pay enough so you can afford all the industrial strength waterproof mascara you’re going to need. So I recommend practicing harder on the wardrobe malfunction. Why don’t you put on the black patent leather corset, the elbow length gloves, the knee high boots and…”

Before I can finish my fashion guidance the phone rings and Nina quickly picks it up.

“Hello?…. Hi Hollywood… Oh My God! Me?… Several categories?… Clean Sweep? They like me – they really like me!!! Ric too?”

*              *                 *

I’m in the backseat of a stretch limousine dressed in a fucking rental tuxedo that makes me look queer and set me back $125 or about five times the total box office of Behaving Badly. But I don’t care. I’m too busy working putting the finishing touches on my acceptance speech.   I’m going for the short and sweet. “Thank you all for making this all possible and now that I’m a certified star all women who still have all their teeth and want to have sex with me have my permission as long as they don’t have any boyfriends who have had recurring roles on Lockup.”

The driver has the all news radio station on and they are doing a story on the Academy awards. Brian Savage is reporting live at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. “Crowds have already started forming for tomorrow night’s Oscars…”

“Wait a second,” I panic. “He said the show’s tomorrow. I can’t afford to keep this tuxedo a second day much less take a second day off from my job delivering pizzas! And how much is this limo costing us?”

“Relax, Hollywood said he’s reimbursing us for the limo, and I’m sure the award show is tonight.   They must show it on tape delay,” Nina reassures me

“Tape delay? You mean I can find out all the winners and then place a bet with Frankie the Gaspipe before the show airs and everyone knows?” I’m excited about the prospect of winning some bucks.

“Hollywood already told us who won,” Nina replies, “and we know we made a clean sweep so let’s bet the farm.”

“Okay.” I pull out my iPhone and call Frankie the Gaspipe.   “Hi Frankie, what’s the line on the Academy Awards Best Picture?”

“Let me see, I can get you Captain America at 3 to 1, The Lego Movie at 4 to 1…”

“What about Behaving Badly?”

“I don’t even have to look it up. It’s a suckers bet 10,000 -1.”

“Sucker bet,” I snicker. “I’ll tell you what, I’m going to lay my entire life savings on Behaving Badly, I’m talking the whole $72.39 and will you take two coupons for $2.00 off any toppings at Papa Johns?”

“It’s a bet!”

*                                  *                      *

The limo slows down and I look out the window. We’re not in Hollywood, but instead we’re outside a small theater in Santa Monica called Magicopolis.   “Driver I think you’ve made a mistake. We’re supposed to be going to the awards show.”

“This is the awards show. Go on in, they’re all waiting for you.”

There’s a red carpet, but I’m a little uneasy as I walk up it as there are only two photographers, a dude in an Iron Maiden t-shirt, and two homeless guys pushing shopping carts that they stole from Ralph’s.

“Maybe we’re too late,” Nina brushes back a tear as an usher opens the door for us, “I haven’t even had time to flash my…”

As soon as we enter the theater spotlights blind us. “Don’t worry, enjoy the moment. This is your day. Just stick to me and I’ll get you to your front row table,” the usher yells over the applause, while Nina’s engineers a wardrobe malfunction dropping a strap so her left boob is in view.

The curtain rises as we sit down at a table occupied by Hollywood and Roger Debris, and a man in a tuxedo and tennis shoes comes out and grabs the microphone. “In the history of our awards show we have never had anything like this year’s results. I apologize to everybody but it’s going to be a short show tonight because one movie not only racked up a nomination for every category – but actually won each one.   I am proud on behalf to award your 2014 Razzie for the worst actress, the worst director, the worst screenplay, the worst picture, the worst Rip-Off of a good book, and the worst musical score to, Nina Pennington, Roger Debris and their original minor motion picture Behaving Badly.


The Make A Wish Foundation & The Mafia

It’s Monday night and I’m handing on Sunset handing out fliers promoting my band’s upcoming benefit gig at the Whiskey for the Make A Wish Foundation.  There’s a tragic seventeen year old girl by the name of Nina Pennington who, in addition to being my girlfriend, has a terminal case of boredom and we’re desperately trying to raise money to fulfill her dying wish, which is to have a boob job – something which actually might save her life.

The really sad thing is I’m partially to blame for Nina’s condition.  She used to be a vibrant blond All American girl until I made the mistake of selling my autobiography, While I’m Dead…Feed the Dog to Hollywood who decided to sodomize my book into a movie called Behaving Badly.   The onset of the disease was slow but deadly.   The first symptom manifested itself immediately after the first draft was completed.   Everyone who knew Nina Pennington noticed an acute depression set in as her life was transformed from that of a Quaalude-imbibing, morally casual Midwestern teen from the 1970’s to that of a vapid slacker chick from forty years later.   By the second draft the illness had permutated and the slow inexorable slide into a wooden wetback Disney girl who goes out with Justin Bieber and listens to Josh Groban had begun.

It was terrible.  Those around her were horrified.  Script doctors were consulted.   Her friends and family tried to send her to rehab where she could develop some color and life – but nothing worked.  She was on a one way course to oblivion and all we could do is try a hail Mary play and try to reverse her decline by getting large new breasts and hoping that those and a pair of crotchless panties would make her interesting to someone.

For that we need to raise $30,000 to enlist the services of famous Brazilian plastic surgeon Ivo Pitanguy to blow up her boobs and pray that maybe – just maybe –a set of 38DD’s would constitute a personality.

I’m handing out fliers and I have to say I’m kind of touched by the outpouring of sympathy for Nina.  I’m gratified because most of the men I’ve approached with Nina’s story are sympathetic and willing to buy tickets.   I’ve sold about fifty tickets at twenty dollars a pop and only need to sell another 1,450 tickets for a club that holds 300 people to make my goal, but I refuse to let math be my enemy.  If the Fire Marshal attempts to shut down the gig Nina’s life will be on his conscience, not mine.

I’ve just taken in a $40 donation from a guy who said he’ll toss in another $100 if he can watch Nina get her new boobs installed when I feel a blunt object shoved into the small of my back, and someone’s hand materializes across my mouth to stop me from yelling for help.

“You’se better not make a peep, I’s got a gun and I’s a not scared to use it,” states a man with an Italian accent.

I nod, while making a mental note that if I am lucky enough to survive this I will need to empty out my suddenly soaking boots as my new companion shoves me into a dark alley where a short guy in a sharkskin suit emerges out of the shadows, “Is this the Ric Thibault fuckhead?” he punches me in the stomach.

I fall to my knees.  “It’s all your fucking fault finocchio,”  His companion kicks me in the balls

“What’s my fault?  I don’t even know you”  I ask writhing in pain.

Cornuto,” he grabs me by my shirt and throws me against the wall.  “You a wrote the fucking movie Behaving Badly, yes?”

“No I wrote the book, While I’m Dead…Feed the Dog that Hollywood and Roger Debris fucked into the movie.  I didn’t have anything to do with it.”

Cazzo, I a no believe you – it say on iMDB you’se the associate producer.  You a lying to me frocio?”  he takes out a gun and puts it to my head.

“It was a contractually mandated credit.   I had nothing to do with the movie.  The movie has nothing to do with my book.  I hate the fucking movie,” I scream.

“You a swear on your mother?” he asks.

“My mother’s dead.”

“Okay, you a swear on your mother’s grave?”

“They cremated her.”  The guy with the gun starts toward me so I quickly add, “but I’ll swear on whatever else you would like.  I’m telling the truth!”

“Get on your feet,” he lifts me up by the shirt.   “Now we’s gonna take you for a ride.  You’se a got $4.50… where’s a your wallet?”

The other thug grabs my wallet out of my back pocket.  “Gino, He’s a only got a bunch of twenties.”

“You don’t got no coins, no small change?” the one named Gino grabs me by my collar.  “How we gonna take you for a ride when Metro Bus charges $1.50 per person and only accepts exact change?”

“I’ve got a thousand dollars in twenties if you let me go.” I whine.

“With a bunch of twenties we could call Uber and take him in a cab,” his partner states.

“Because of this testa di cazzo  we don’t a have no money to have no smartphone to call no Uber.  We don’t even have no money to buy bullets,” he says tossing what I thought was his weapon down the alley.

“You mean that’s not loaded?”

“No that’s not even a real gun.  It’s a toy.  Because of you and your fucking movie, we a no got no weapons.”

“What do you mean, because of me?”

“Because in your book you had Italian Mafia right?”

“Yes.  I had Sal Veneruzzo and the Mafia.   Did you read the book?”

“Yes, I read your book, it was really good.  We were sure we were going to get parts in the movie – and then you a screwed us.”

“How did I screw you?  I didn’t have anything to do with the script or the casting.”

“You a no cast the movie?   Who cast the movie?’

“Hollywood and Roger Debris I guess, why?”

“Because in Behaving Badly they use Lithuanian mobsters.   They replace us – honest hard working 100 percent Italian Mafiosos with third world gangsters.   We don’t have any jobs – our unemployment insurance has run out – and we’re broke.   I lost my house, I lost my car, I lost my wife, I lost my mistress, I lost my kids…”

“You also seem to have lost your accents,” I point out.

“What’s the use?  The world’s gone to shit.  First they cancel the Untouchables, then the Sopranos, now While I’m Dead…Feed the Dog or Behaving Badly.  I don’t even have money for a cup of coffee, much less a venti cappuccino from Starbucks.  What’s the fucking point of living?”

“How about I give you some money and you go get revenge on Hollywood and Roger Debris, the people who made the shitty movie?  Maybe you could break their legs or something?”  I magnanimously offer some charity to my would-be attackers with a Jesus-like gesture.

“Thank you.  You’re a nice guy and I really appreciate it,” Gino replies.  “But here’s the reality.  The movie’s got no legs, so we can’t break their legs.  It would set a bad precedent and create a union jurisdictional dispute.”

“The Mafia is unionized?”

“Damn right.  We’re from the Hitmen and Dump the Horse’s Head in the Bed Local 256.   We don’t break legs.  Leg breaking and loansharking is Mafia Local 399.  We’re fucked just like your book.”

We have one of those pregnant pauses while we stare at each other.

“I’m sorry I hit you,” Gino apologizes.

“And I’m sorry I kicked you in the balls,” his companion adds.

“No hard feelings?”  Gino offers me his hand.

“Hey, if you’re not doing anything on Saturday I can get you passes to the Nina Pennington benefit concert.”

“Will Selena Gomez be there, or Justin Bieber?”

“Probably not.”

“Well thanks but we’ll take a pass on the tickets.  The only reason we’d go is if our friends were going to be there.”

“You’re frienda with Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber?”

“How do you think they got to be stars without us.  You don’t think people really like them do you?   Ciao!”  With that the two gangsters walk down the alley into the darkness.