Artistic Satisfaction and Mad Dog 20/20

I’m having a power breakfast with Hollywood at Jerry’s Deli and Bowling Alley. We’ve got a table underneath an autographed publicity picture of Rodney Dangerfield which is ironic because I’m feeling like I can’t get no respect.

“Remember when I wanted to buy the rights to your autobiography you told me there were only two reasons to sign a deal, one being to make a life changing amount of money, and the other to get artistic satisfaction?”

“Are you finally giving me the life changing amount of money?” I ask, “I always wanted enough money to buy a mansion in Beverly Hills, a Mercedes Convertible or at least enough for the Rascal electric Scooter for when I get too lazy to walk.”

“I have to be honest with you,” Hollywood makes me worry about all the times he has told me things in the past which were not prefaced with his same pledge of sincerity, “this is a low budget movie so I’m not able to give you the money you might want…”

Quickly and surreptitiously I reach into my wallet to make sure I have enough money to cover his matzo ball soup and strawberry blintzes as well as my two fried eggs. Thankfully I do, so I won’t have to spend the rest of the day washing dishes if he does a runner on the check.

“Okay, so you’re giving me artistic satisfaction, and the movie is going to be the way I wrote it, Suckerpunch is going to do the soundtrack and Mary-Louise Parker is going to give me a…”

“Not exactly,” Hollywood interrupts. “Now you know we’re friends, and above all I’m a man of my word. I promised you one of those two things, so I just wanted to check on whether my making you famous would constitute giving you artistic satisfaction?”

“How famous?” I ask.

“Every press release is going to have your name, and I’m making you Associate Producer of the Movie.”

“What’s an Associate Producer do?”

“He associates with the Producer and watches his name on the credit roll.”

“I’m not sure that’s worth all that much…”

“Sure it is,” Hollywood counters, “It’s dead easy. This is America and girls are easily impressed. It’s all about being high profile. Get yourself an entourage, take some PCP, get caught shoplifting at Saks Fifth Avenue, go to jail for a few hours, get out, make a sex tape with some reality/porno star, have Gloria Allred sue you, and you’re guaranteed to be the lead story on TMZ for life. What could be more artistically satisfying than that?”

Hollywood’s cell phone rings. Evidently he’s late for an appointment with a finance guy and has to run, sticking me with the check – which he promises to grab the next time.

I think about what Hollywood said and realize he’s probably right. Being on the front page of the National Enquirer, or the lead story on TMZ is the epitome of art. I need to be more high profile but, although I could do the porno tape and maybe even the drugs, I really don’t feel too good about the shoplifting. I drive down to the Starline Tours office and stand in line. There are five people ahead of me, clutching their wallets.

“That’s $44 dollars for the two hour comprehensive narrated tour of breathtaking stars’ homes in Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Bel-Air, and Holmby Hills” a woman with a lavender and turquoise mohawk says without looking up.

“I don’t want to buy a ticket. I just want you to add my house to your tour,” I explain.

“What’s your name?” she asks.

“Ric Thibault – Hollywood’s making a movie about me. It’s starring Selena Gomez. I’m in all the press releases.”

“Let’s see,” she picks up her laminated plastic guide to the stars home map. “We stop at Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Lopez, Tom Cruise, Nicholas Cage, David and Victoria Beckham, Dr. Phil. No, your name isn’t there. Sorry.”

“Could you maybe try Ric Stevens?”

“Any relation to Darren Stevens from Bewitched?”


“Too bad. I like Bewitched. No, that name’s not there either. Were you involved in a scandal where somebody died? We go to O.J. Simpson, Michael Jackson, Sharon Tate and the Menendez Brothers.”

“Nobody’s dead, at least not yet; but Selena Gomez is playing my girlfriend in the movie…”

She looks up at me, “You’re Justin Bieber? You sure don’t look as cute as him and besides his house is in Calabasas which is too far to go for our two hour tour. We’d have to charge at least $80 a head for the extra two hours and that’s if we don’t hit traffic. Do you have that type of money?”

“No I’m not Justin Bieber, I’m Ric Thibault – they’re making a movie about me…”

“Never heard of you. You’ve taken enough of my time poser. Next”

I drive dejectedly over to Saks Fifth Avenue. Unfortunately I can’t find anything I like enough for it to be worth stealing, but I do find a homeless guy outside in the parking lot who is willing to be in my entourage if I can stake him to a bottle of Mad Dog 20/20.

I shell out the money and ask my new friend if he wants to be my “Homeboy”.

“I will if you buy me another MD20,” my new friend smiles.

At $2.49 a bottle, I’ve got me the beginnings of an entourage. Artistic satisfaction is right around the corner! Michelangelo eat your heart out!

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