Hollywood called me this morning. “I was rereading ‘While I’m Dead…Feed the Dog’ last night and I have to tell you I love your book now even more than I did when I first read it. You’re a great writer and it’s been my goal to capture the magic of your book on film…” while Hollywood rambles towards to his inevitable ‘but” I take the time to be grateful that when God created man He put quite a bit of buffering between the lungs and the rectum – because if He hadn’t I’d probably be dead from smoke inhalation from the amount of smoke being blown up my ass.
“…and I’m going to make you proud, your book is so good that we’re going to win an Oscar… ” Hollywood is laying it on so thick that I can feel the inevitable ‘but’ going into labor… (‘congratulations Mr and Mrs. Hollywood it’s a fourteen pound boy although I am sorry he appears to have been born without legs but no problem Jerry Lewis is going to host a telethon…”)
“…but,” Hollywood pulls me from my daydreams. “Ric, we’re going to need your help with the publicity aspect, since this is your autobiography we’re selling.”
“But it isn’t my autobiography anymore, you changed everything I wrote,” I protest. “you’ve changed my name…”
“No one likes the French. We’ve got to sell tickets you know.”
“Okay, but you changed the time, the setting…”
“Where would you rather be – Clayton, Missouri or Los Angeles? You come from a place that is so flat and boring that you sat on your front porch and watched your dog run away for three days.”
“Okay I admit that, but what about my relationship with my mother? I hated my mother and you have me…”
“Minor artistic license. Our marketing department said we needed a more heartwarming movie.”
“I fucking hate heartwarming – I like dark movies.”
“Then you’re going to love ‘While I’m Dead…Feed the Dog’ it’s going to be dark, it has to be because we’re so low budget that we needed to save money on lighting.”
“What about my band Armed Venus, you said we could write the music for the movie?”
“Selena Gomez is the star of this movie, and she isn’t going to sing a song titled, ‘I Might Not Go Down In History, But I’d Surely Go Down On You’. She’s a Disney girl, a wholesome family star.”
“She goes out with Justin Bieber. He pukes on stage. Didn’t you see it on YouTube?” I ask.
“Puking is a patriotic thing to do, remember when George Bush puked on Japan’s Prime Minister?”
We go back and forth for the next hour and Hollywood adeptly parries every complaint.
“So are you going to help me promote our movie or not?” he asks.
“What do you want me to do?” I ask wearily.
“I want you to help publicize the movie and speak positively about it and tell everyone how pleased you are with Roger Debris as a director and screenwriter in bringing your true story to life.”
“But that would be a lie. I’m not good at lying.” I protest.
“I can fix that.”
“I made a fifty dollar donation to the Republican Party, and in return they are going to teach you how to lie. They have this “Fair and balanced” training program that teaches you to lie, and I pulled some strings to get you a scholarship . It’s at the Fox News headquarters in New York.
So seven hours and one plane ride later I’m at Fox News Headquarters at 1211 Avenue of the Americas in New York City. Sean Hannity shows me a picture of a high school biology class. “Okay Mr. Stevens. What do you see in this picture?”
“I see a picture of a biology class, there’s a girl with her hand raised to probably ask a question?” I say before feeling this massive jolt of electricity jolting me from the chair.
“What are you some sort of pinko or something? Now sit down” Hannity sneers, “This picture is obviously a picture of the left wing inculcating susceptible children into becoming abortionists and communists. Let’s try something easier. What’s this?” He shows me a video of a bunch of dead oil-soaked seagulls lying on a black beach with a guy wearing shirt with a British Petroleum logo walking by.
He’s right – it is a lot easier. “It’s a photo of the damage caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill…” This time the jolt is even worse and I need to empty my boots.
“Fucking retard,” Hannity scoffs, “Anyone with half a brain can clearly see this is an video of British Petroleum being a good corporate citizen and using the money it receives in corporate tax breaks to create jobs for unskilled labor to clean beaches in Louisiana.”
“We’re going to try one more time and I want you to get this right,” Hannity turns on the television to a video of Mitt Romney.
“Corporations are people, my friend,” Romney pronounces.
“What did you just see?” Hannity smiles, reaching for a button on his console.
* * *
It’s a week later, and I’m conducting my first celebrity style interview talking to a reporter from Entertainment Tonight about “While I’m Dead…Feed the Dog.”
“What do you think of the young screenwriter/director Roger Debris?” the reporter asks.
“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for “the Avengers” no matter what…” I feel myself slipping into a trance.