I’m multitasking.  I’m on the couch watching a special must-see episode of Celebrity Rehab while talking on the phone with my bookie, Frankie the Gaspipe.

Frankie the Gaspipe is giving me the latest odds on my dead pool, “So the line on Lindsay Lohan is a 3 to 1 favourite to be the next celebrity O.D., followed by 4 to 1 on Brett Michaels – but my book’s got a special proposition bet with a 100 to 1 payout which you might be interested in – Ted Nugent or Sarah Palin shooting any Kardashian with an unregistered automatic before Lindsay Lohan croaks…”

I’m just about to pull out my wallet and see how much I can afford to risk when an angry looking Nina Pennington appears carrying a bullwhip and dressed in dominatrix chic – thigh high stiletto heeled platform black patent leather boots with shoulder length velvet opera gloves, a miniskirt and a black leather corset.   “Hang up the fucking phone, right fucking now before I rip your balls off,” she orders, taking aim with the whip.

“I’ll lay twenty on Nugent,” I shout into the phone while executing a perfect forward 2 ½ somersault in the Pike position which would have probably won a gold medal in the Olympics and then millions from late night infomercials on my revolutionary “run from your bitch” workout tapes, but with no witnesses I have to content myself with a smaller victory of avoiding being struck by the bullwhip.

“You fuckhead!” Nina shrieks as the whip dislodges the two Elvis Presley commemorative dishes I had recently purchased from the 99 Cent store from their place of honor over the fireplace and sending them crashing to the floor.

“Is this some sort of sex thing? I mean I like the look, the heels make your ass look great and your tits even bigger, but I’m not into S&M, at least not when I’m the one getting hit,” I ask, from my position hiding behind the couch.

“I’m going to be like Jodi Arias,” she shrieks, “Except no jury in the world is going to convict me, after what you did!”

I seize the moment and grab the whip with Nina still attached and give it a good yank.  Even in the best of times Nina isn’t good at walking on stiletto heels, and the sudden pull causes her to lose her balance and tumble to the sofa where I grab her and hold on for dear life.  “Now, tell me what’s got into you?”

“It’s all your fault,” she sobs.

“What did I do?”

“You’ve destroyed my life.”

“How did I destroy your life?  That’s the last thing in the world I would want to do,” I say  honestly, because she still has her father’s black American Express card.  “How can I fix things and make it better?”

“You can’t fucking fix it.  You already wrote that stupid fucking book.”

While I’m Dead…Feed the Dog isn’t stupid, and what does it have to do with this?”

“Because of your book, your asshole friends Hollywood and Roger Debris made a movie.”

“I wouldn’t classify them as friends  – in fact I don’t think I’m on either of their Christmas card lists; but what does the movie have to do with anything?”

“The movie’s based on your autobiography right?”

“I don’t know anymore.  Hollywood and Roger Debris changed everything even everyone’s names, I’m now Rick Stevens, my mother’s name is now Lucy, St. Lolita had her name changed, they even changed the title of the movie to Behaving Badly.  It’s like on Dragnet – everybody’s names have been changed to protect the innocent.”

“Except for mine. They didn’t fucking change my name,” Nina sobs.

I try to console her.  “You should be grateful they kept your name.  At least you’ll be famous enough to get into all those cool clubs – and if you take up drugs and get strung out, you can be like all those other teen stars and land a gig on Celebrity Rehab.  Your career is made!”

“No it isn’t. I listen to the Offspring, I like Green Day, David Bowie, the Wildhearts, Sex Machine Guns, the Clash and AC/DC, hell I’d let Angus Young get to at least third base even if he is a midget.  Now, I just read on the internet that in your stupid movie they are saying I’m a Josh Groban groupie. What are my friends going to think?  I’d rather get stuck in an elevator with Donald Trump while slashing my wrists, than listen to Josh Groban.  They’ve made me into such a dork I couldn’t even get into rehab, much less Celebrity Rehab.” Nina breaks down crying.

“It’s not that bad,” I try to console her.  “Hollywood got a big name celebrity to play you.”

“Great!  I heard she’s back together again with Justin Bieber.   Justin Bieber – Josh Groban?  How big a nerd does that make me?  I may as well go out and buy a pair of Pappagallo shoes and a burqa.  Can’t someone just shoot me and put me out of my misery?” she dissolves into tears and starts shaking uncontrollably.

*                                            *                                            *

It’s three days later and Nina’s picture is all over www.celebritytrainwreck.net.   She’s due to be released this afternoon from the mental hospital where she has been confined on a three day Section 5150 Involuntary psychiatric hold since suffering her nervous breakdown.

I drive over to the hospital and pick her up and am surprised to see her waiting for me with a bigger smile than a Rose Bowl Queen on lithium as I complete the paperwork for her release.

As we get into the car, Nina bursts into a really insipid song called You are Loved.  I’m a little flattered by the title, but it’s so saccharine, I might have to go get tested for diabetes.

“Do you like the song I was singing?” she asks.

I don’t want to upset her, so I tell her it is nice.

“I’m glad.  It’s my favourite Josh Groban song and you’re going to be hearing a lot of it, she cheerfully threatens.

“Did they give you a prescription we need to take to the drugstore to fill to keep you so happy?” I ask, knowing that I’m going to borrow quite a few of whatever Nina’s been taking, if I’m going to be able to maintain my sanity.

I start the engine which also turns on the car radio which is tuned to the all news station.

“I’m standing here in front of the Tinseltown offices of a low budget producer, where demonstrators from a heretofore unknown group called “PETOB” or “People for the Ethical Treatment of Books,” have dumped seven gallons of printers ink on movie producer Hollywood and are threatening to blockade…”

Maybe I don’t need any of Nina’s prescriptions after all, I think as we drive off into the Sunset.

Hollywood Confidential

The muffled voice on the other end of the phone told me to wear a black rhinestone studded sleeveless Selena Gomez World Tour T-shirt and be at the northeast corner of Sunset Boulevard and Doheny at precisely three o’clock.  I was to make sure I wasn’t followed and to carry a counterfeit Louis Vuitton bag filled exactly as instructed.  If there is any sign of my being followed the whole exchange is off and I was warned of the severe consequences.  My contact is to approach me and say “You want me, don’t you” and then I was to hand the contact the bag and in return receive another counterfeit Louis Vuitton bag.

I nervously pack the bag as per my instructions and drive to the West Hollywood destination.  I find a parking space and check my rearview mirror one last time to make sure I’m not being followed.   I pause for a second, there is a blond transvestite wearing a pink boa over a pink angora sweater, a pink mini-skirt, pink fishnet stockings over support hose, and matching pink Frederick’s of Hollywood high heels standing on the corner sucking on a lollipop.

I’m pissed, Roger Debris is about to blow, a word that he is all too familiar with, the exchange.  I get out of the car and walk over to where he is standing, prepared to scream bloody murder at him.   I tap him on the shoulder.  He turns around and my heart skips a beat.  It’s not Roger Debris, it appears to be the aged Angelyne, the not too well preserved billboard icon, and she’s carrying a Louis Vuitton bag.

“You want me don’t you?”  she purrs while thrusting her silicone chest protrusions out at me.

“Here’s the bag, just like you wanted it, now do you have something for me?”

“I’m not your whore,” she throws the bag in my face, “and I certainly don’t want any cheap knockoff Louis Vuitton bag.  I’ve got the real thing.”

Angelyne clutches her bag and hurriedly gets into her Corvette and drives off while I pick up the bag and scan the street trying to figure out what to do now.

My cell phone rings.

It’s the muffled voice again and he’s not happy, “What the fuck are you trying to do?  We’re watching you and we told you no funny business…”

“How was I to know that wasn’t your person?  She had a Vuitton bag and said, ‘You want me don’t you’!”

“Angelyne did?”


“Did she say ‘You want me don’t you’ in a seductive way, like she was going to do you?” the voice is suddenly a lot less muffled and sounds familiar, but I can’t exactly place it.

“I don’t know…and  I was focused on making the exchange and then on how much it hurts getting hit by a real Vuitton bag.”

“What did she smell like?”

“I don’t know.”

“Do want this exchange to happen or not?  Tell me what she smells like.”

“I don’t know.  I mean, I guess like an enraged grandmother with too much perfume?”

“Enraged grandmother, uh uh, that is so hot,” the voice is muffled again and sounds like it is out of breath.

“What do I do now?” I ask.

“Uh, uh, You wait.” The muffled voice gasps.

“For what?”

“So close, uh I mean someone who’s close to coming, I mean someone close will be coming in a… in a…coming in a second,” he groans and hangs up.

Sure enough I look and see Roger Debris, wearing mostly men’s clothing, standing on the corner carrying a Louis Vuitton bag.

Reluctantly I walk over to him.

“Well look what we have here!  If it isn’t little Ricky Stevens looking all spiffy and cute,” he says unctuously, “and look he’s carrying a Louis Vuitton bag, just like mine.  We could be twins.”

“My name is Ric Thibault, not Ricky Stevens.  Now don’t you have something you want to say to me?”

“There are lots of things I’d like to say to you Ricky Stevens.  Are you sure you’re not queer?  I have gaydar and you know – I think you want me, don’t you?”

“Okay let’s get this over with,” I hand him my bag, and start to reach for his bag in return.  Instead Roger Debris hugs me and kisses me on the mouth.  Before he can slip me the tongue I knee him in the groin dropping him to the pavement.

“You little bitch,” he whines as I grab his bag and open it.  Inside is his pink angora sweater and a dog-eared copy of the book Making Movies for Dummies.  I never knew he read books.  He certainly never read While I’m Dead…Feed the Dog.

“That’s not what is supposed to be in the bag,” I scream.

“What’s in my bag is my business mister Ricky Stevens, but I love it when you act so butch.”

I’m about to kick him in the balls when my phone rings again.

“Leave Roger Debris alone,” screams the voice, “look behind you at the woman in the black dress.”

I pivot and see an attractive woman striding towards me, carrying a fake Luis Vuitton bag.  “You want me don’t you?” she asks – and I kind of actually do.

She hands me her bag and I quickly open it.  It is stuffed with wads of used dollar bills and a settlement contract with a green “sign here” sticker.

“So all I have to do is sign and I get…”

My phone rings.  It’s Holly Marotte my lawyer.   “The contract’s got a non-disclosure clause,” she tells me, “that means you can’t tell anyone anything.”

“I can’t even tell them that I won?”

“No you are only allowed to say, that you have amicably resolved your issues to both parties’ satisfaction.”

“You mean you want me to lie?”

“Why should you be any different than anyone else in Hollywood?”

*              *                   *

“…the envelope please,” some over sequined starlet whose name I know I’m supposed to know but all boob jobs look alike to me says, “the winner of the 2013 Academy Award for the Best Original Song in a movie, is “My Life Sucks and My Girlfriend Doesn’t.”

I trot up to the podium and take the statue which will be up on E-Bay within an hour.  “I’d like to thank my bestest friend in the world, Hollywood – and the brilliant director Roger Debris, without whom this would never happen…”

Applying for the Pope Job

Pope Nominating Committee
Vatican City

Dear Sirs,

I saw on Monster.com that you have an opening for the Pope position at your company and I would like to submit my application.   I think after reviewing my credentials you will agree that I am uniquely qualified for the job.

From what I understand you are looking for someone to carry on the long tradition of being the messenger of Christ.   According to the Bible, Jesus was the result of an immaculate conception, which is what started Him in the immensely profitable Son of God business, which your company took over in a leveraged buyout shortly after His demise.

Here is where I can bring my unique skill set into play – because I too, am the Son of God.  Before you think I am some wacko NRA gun toting Rick Santorum follower, let me assure you I have proof.  My parents never had sex, in fact I doubt my alleged father even got to second base with her.

My parents grew up during the Dark Ages in towns like Mayberry R.F.D.. Women were named ‘Mabel’ and ‘Thelma’, while men were cursed with ‘Gomer’ and ‘Barney’. Trust me, people named Thelma, Mabel, Gomer and Barney do not have sex. Their lives were so boring that colors weren’t even invented yet – everything was in black and white.

Enclosed please find pictures of my alleged father, and my mother.  Can you imagine them fucking?  No it’s impossible.  Can you imagine my mother even giving my “Dad” a blowjob?  The only time my mother was down on her knees was while praying for the winning lotto numbers – so she could buy a Prada purse, Prada shoes and a matching Prada colonostomy bag.

I am one hundred percent positive that my alleged father never tried to get my mother drunk so he could take advantage of her – and I am damn sure even if he did, there is no way he could have gotten into her pants because her clothes were hermetically sealed to her body. Sex was like that old 7-Up advertisement to them…they never had it – and never will.

Besides the obvious miracle of my birth, there are a few other miracles I’ve performed.  First of all there is the miracle I performed on my girlfriend Nina Pennington.  Nina is the hottest girl in my class and I managed to get her to give me a blowjob despite my not having an iPhone 5 and my having a huge pus filled zit on my nose.   The second miracle I performed was when I got Hollywood to fall off his wallet and pay me, with a check that cleared, for the screenrights to my novel, “While I’m Dead…Feed the Dog.”

I also have all the management skills that one needs to be Pope.  I got my brother Stephan to do all my chores, mow the lawn and wash my mother’s car with the promise that I would pay him back big time after he was done.  It’s the logical extension of what the Pope does, telling people if they are good now, he will pay them back big time with a place in Paradise after they are dead.

I also have some great, or you could say “miraculous” marketing ideas to bring some much needed money into the Church’s coffers which must be needed due to your having to pay all the money out in legal settlements for your priests butt-fucking little boys all the time.   I don’t want to give them all away but I will offer you this one on the house.  I would have the Church change suppliers for its communion wafers.    We would change to a new company I started called ‘Vati-choc®’.  I have a recipe for chocolate covered wafers, which would be laced with my exclusive blend of cocoa and nicotine extracts.  In my initial tests I was able to create Vati-choc® addicts after only a couple of tastings.  These addicts will go out and sin just to get the relaxing soothing taste of Vati-choc®; and as you know more sinners means more confessions, and more confessions mean greater attendance at Mass, meaning more dough in the collection plate translating to higher profits and better Christmas bonuses for all employees.  I’m sure you could use a little something extra in your pay envelope; maybe you could go buy some hipper clothes to replace the old habits the nuns are wearing.   Once we do that I’m sure we can find a gay designer to create a new habit of Lycra catsuits and black patent leather thigh high boots with stiletto heels.  Using the Church’s tax exempt status we would open up a chain of tax-free nun bars in every city – and the Church would be restored to profitability in a matter of weeks.

I understand your last Pope belonged to the Nazi party as a teenager.  I grew up in St. Louis and my mother took me to a Republican party barbeque where I was forced to listen to Pat Buchanan speeches.  So you can see we shared the same background.

I look forward to a call from you to arrange an interview.


Ric Thibault

A Christmas Carol

It’s Christmas morning and I got up at 4:00 A.M., not to check under the Christmas tree which I don’t have any more because my dog was convinced it was a new indoor bathroom, but because I had a lot of phone calls to make. A hacker friend of mine sent me a file of the home telephone numbers of everyone who works for telemarketing companies and I wanted to make sure that I was able to call and be the first to wake them up and wish each and every one of them the Merriest of Christmases and to see if they by chance needed their carpets cleaned because I happened to have a crew in their area.

I hang up, pour myself an eggnog and start enjoying the Yuletide spirit when the phone rings. It’s Hollywood calling me and he sounds depressed. “Can you meet me at the Starbucks on Melrose right around the corner from my office?”

“I don’t drink coffee.”

“Good. I’m buying,” he hangs up.

Reluctantly I trudge over to Starbucks and half an hour later I’m watching a very pale and almost frail looking Hollywood guzzle his third Trenta Java Chip Frappucino with drops of Caramel flavoring, a shot of soy milk and a dash of protein powder.

“What’s wrong? Did someone ask you to pay them what was in their contract?” I ask.

Hollywood doesn’t respond and sits there alternately fidgeting with his Rolex and looking out the window. I don’t really have anything to say to him and it’s getting to be an Octomom version of a pregnant pause before he finally mutters, “Bah Humbug,” and stares at me.

“Don’t tell me you’re making a version of A Christmas Carol and you’ve moved it to the present, changed Scrooge’s name to ‘Jones’ and now the movie’s about Scrooge wanting to fuck his mother…”

“Shut up damn you,” Hollywood interrupts. “I asked you here because something happened to me last night and I want you to help me make things right.”

“You want to make things right? Did you bring your wallet? This could be an awesome Christmas, I might be able to finally afford that piece of bubble gum I always wanted!”

“Humbug. Shut up and fucking listen. I was coming home, and I put my key into the door, and as I opened the door I looked up and instead of seeing a knocker – I saw Roger Debris’ face in the door but it didn’t look normal. I shut the door, and ran upstairs into my room. I turned on the light and then the electricity went out. I checked my iPhone to see if there was some sort of candle app but I couldn’t find it, so I settled for the flashlight one instead. I’m scanning my bedroom and just as I pass the light over where my bedroom closet is, I see Roger Debris coming through the closet door like he’s a ghost, and he’s wearing his pink cardigan Ed Wood Fan Club sweater and he’s got chains all around him. I’d never been so frightened!”

“It’s nothing unusual or paranormal. Roger Debris has been coming out of the closet for years.” I try to soothe Hollywood.

“No I’m serious. Roger Debris was a ghost.”

“You can’t be a ghost if you’re not dead and I check the obituary section of the newspaper every day and haven’t seen anything on him yet.”

“Humbug!” Hollywood stares at me with steely eyes and another shortened Kim Kardashian like pregnant pause passes before he speaks again. “I asked Roger Debris, why he was fettered and he replied, “Oh sweetie, you would not believe it but I made it link by link and yard by yard; I girded it of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it. Is the pattern strange to you – because if it is I’ve got to talk to Brucie my publicist because he said that my chains were going to be the rage, he had Lady Gaga and Madonna set to do a super gangnam style duet video on an infomercial we were going to put up on YouTube and then I was going to open a boutique on Santa Monica Boulevard. But enough about me. I came to tell you – unless you repent you’re going to be like me, well maybe not so fabulous, but kind of like me. I’m sending three ghosts your way and you’re going to be haunted.”

“Are you on mushrooms, and if so do you have any extra?” I ask.

“No you’ve got to believe me,” Hollywood grabs me firmly by my arm. “No sooner had he said I was going to be haunted when he sashays out the door and all of the sudden Nina Pennington appears holding a candle and states, ‘I’m the ghost of um um, oh I forget… line please’ and we have to do four retakes before she gets the line right and says ‘I’m the ghost of Christmas past.’ I ask her to tell me something I don’t know, and she gets pissed and drags me into the street where Justin Bieber runs me over with his Ferrari. As I’m lying in the middle of the street in pain, I see my childhood pass by and well, I never was too good at reading or paying attention to plots, so what it all boiled down to was she threatens to sing a song unless I repent.”

“Okay if it isn’t mushrooms, is it acid? It must be some pretty good shit .”

“I’m not on acid. I’m pouring out my soul here. This is like religious.”

“Religious? Are you repenting, and if so, you owe me…”

“Bah humbug, I’m not repenting.”

“Then why did you invite me down here?”

“I’m not finished. Somehow I’m transported back to my bed, and everything is back to normal. I’m just falling back to sleep when Jason Lee appears and claims he’s the ghost of Christmas present, except he’s a Scientologist and doesn’t believe in Christmas and wants to take me to some bizarre planet named Xenu where there is this crippled kid named Tiny Tim whose dad is someone I fucked over when I bought his movie rights and now the guy’s living on skid row.”

Hollywood is babbling on so I try to speed him along by interrupting and asking, “Is this some sort of apocryphal story and you’re trying to find a graceful way of paying me without losing face?”

“Humbug,” he shouts grabbing my wrist firmly. “No fucking way! It’s just Roger Debris said there would be the Ghost of Christmas future coming so I went on IMDB.com and saw he was being going to be played by Adam Sandler – and even I wouldn’t stoop so low as to hire him as an actor.”

“I’m sorry I don’t follow you one bit.”

“What day is today?”

“Today? Why Christmas day!”

“Do you know the Poulterer’s in the next street?”

“What the fuck is the Poulterer?”

“It’s a place where they sell turkeys.”

“You mean the Blockbuster that used to sell all your shitty movies on DVD? That whole chain went bankrupt a couple of years ago.”

“No I mean the place where they sell Christmas turkeys that you eat.”

“You mean Ralph’s supermarket?”

“You’re an intelligent boy! A remarkable boy! Do you know whether they’ve sold the prize Turkey that was hanging up there. Not the little prize Turkey, but the big one?

“I know you pay me shit, but I haven’t stooped to taking a job at a grocery store yet. How the fuck would I know and why in the world would you drag me here to ask when you could just go yourself and find out?”

“Well I downloaded A Christmas Carol on Netflix and I thought if I gave you a shilling, you’d go buy the turkey so I could give it to the crippled kid and then I wouldn’t have to suffer watching Adam Sandler try to act.”

“This is America and we don’t use shillings, and even if we did a shilling is worth one twentieth of a Pound which would be about 8 cents in American money. A turkey is going to cost at least sixty dollars. You’re a little short.”

“You would make me suffer through Adam Sandler for $59.92?”


“Where’s your Christmas spirit?”

“Inside your wallet.”

“Okay I’ll give you twenty bucks.”

“And I’ll give you a Banquet turkey pot pie. They cost only ninety-nine cents.”

“Forty and that’s my last and best offer.”

“Have you seen Jack and Jill?” I ask.

This time there is only like a Jessica Simpson baby bump like pause.

“Okay ninety bucks you can keep the change.”

And so, the cripple got his turkey. Hollywood didn’t get the Ghost of Christmas Future, and my movie doesn’t have a ghost of a chance.

As Tiny Tim observed, “God Bless Us, Every One”

And they all lived happily ever after until Justin Bieber ran them over with his Ferrari.

The Wizard of Shit

A guy in a blue FBI windbreaker demands I take off my shoes and belt, and walk through a metal detector while he checks my bag for weapons.  The machine beeps and the FBI guy asks if I have any coins in my pocket which might have set off the machine.

“I signed with Hollywood – of course I don’t have any coins in my pocket,” I explain.

“Okay sir, then you’ll have to follow me.”  He takes me into a side room and orders me to remove all my clothes so he can conduct a strip search.  “Please bend over sir, I need to shine a flashlight up your ass to make sure you are not smuggling in a weapon.”

Because I work for Hollywood, bending over and having my ass probed is nothing new, so I comply and he finds nothing.

“Okay. You can proceed.  Have a good family reunion – but I warn you things are pretty strange in there,” he opens a door.

I walk through and there’s a rush of air and I’m sucked into the vortex of a swirling tornado.  I’m spinning around for what seems like hours until all of the sudden it’s a clear day and I’m lying on my back on top of somebody, as some woman in a blond wig, gold lamé miniskirt and high heels towers over me clutching a vodka bottle.

I’m not in Missouri anymore – and it doesn’t look too much like Kansas either.  “Are you a good bitch or a bad bitch?” I ask.

“I’m not a bitch you sick fucking bastard – I’m your mother.”

“Don’t you think you’re a little old to be wearing those clothes?”  I ask, lifting myself off the unmoving person, who appears to be a transvestite wearing a pink angora sweater with the name “Ed Wood” embroidered inside a heart.

“Yes, I do look ridiculous in these clothes and it’s all your fault. By the way it appears you just killed Roger Debris.  You might want to take that bitch’s ruby slippers.  They might be worth something and you’re going to need money to pay for a lawyer or a screenwriter.”

“I didn’t do anything.   I was sucked through a doorway and landed on top of him. It’s not  my fault!”

“I’d recommend taking the screenwriter, they’re cheaper.  They work for only twenty pieces of silver and I think you’ll have enough with the ruby slippers,” she states as a bunch of singing munchkins suddenly appear, singing Ding Dong The Bitch Is Dead.

I don’t understand how I got here, or what’s happening.  I don’t like this place.”

“You don’t like this place?  How the fuck do you think I feel?  One day I’m Lucretia Thibault, and then your friend Hollywood and Roger Debris came to my home with some FBI agents and told me I’ve been placed in something called the Federal Character Protection Program.  They told me this is all because of your stupid While I’m Dead…Feed the Dog book that they’re making a movie of.  They’ve changed my name  to a an anonymous white-bread name, ‘Lucy Stevens’ – and they’re making me wear these slutty clothes and this wig because according to them you’re such a sick fuck that you’re in love with me.  Haven’t you fucking read Oedipus?  I mean I’m okay with your killing your asshole father like you just did to Roger Debris, but there is no fucking way I’m letting you near me.”

I try to reassure her, “I promise on my mother’s grave that I don’t love you…”

“I’m your mother and I don’t have a grave,” she interrupts.

“That part can easily be arranged,” I reply, “but I didn’t write a word about being in love with you in While I’m Dead…Feed the Dog.  Didn’t you read it?”

“No.  I’m just like your friends Hollywood and Roger Debris.  When I asked them if they read the book they said they’re making a movie and don’t have time to bother reading books.”

“I assure you – I didn’t write anything about wanting to have sex with you.  I didn’t write any of this.  I didn’t want them changing everything.  I want my old life and friends back!  There’s no place like home!”  Lucretia nails me with her vodka bottle.

“There’s no place like home.  There’s no place…”

“Wake up, honey,” someone shakes me.

“There’s no place like home.   There’s no place like home. No place…” I open my eyes.

“Ric dear. It’s Nina Pennington darling.”

“Oh Nina, it’s you.”


Hollywood sticks his head through the door.  “Hello there!  Anyone home?  I just dropped by because I heard the little author got caught in a big lawsuit.  Well he seems all right now,”

“Yes, he got a little too big for his britches.  We kind of thought for a minute, he was gonna leave us.”  Roger Debris appears.  

“But I did leave you.  I was visiting Lucretia in the Federal Character Protection Program.”

“Oh, we dream lots of silly things when we…” Roger Debris says, picking a piece of lint of his pink Ed Wood angora sweater.

“No, Nina this was a real, truly live place.  And I remember that some of it wasn’t very nice.  All I was saying to everyone was, ‘I want to go home. To my real world.  And they sent me home.  Doesn’t anyone believe me?”

“Of course we believe you,” Nina Pennington looks up from her cell phone where she is texting her latest tweet.

“Oh, but anyway,”  I clutch my faithful dog, “Toto, we’re home! Home! And this is my room – and you’re all here!  And I’m not going to leave here ever, ever again, because I hate you all!  And – Oh, Auntie Em, I mean Nina Pennington , there’s no place like home!”

“Your dog’s name isn’t Toto. His name is Duke,” Nina corrects me..

“No it isn’t.  Let’s change it to Toto,” shouts Hollywood  as he gets up and starts dancing with Roger Debris and singing :

Why, if I had a dime, I could

I could while away the hours,

Conferring with the powers,

Consulting with the slime

And my writer I’d be screwing’

With my lawyer and her suing

If I only had a dime…

“There’s no place like Hollywood.  There’s no place like Hollywood,” I sink back into a stupor, “There’s no face like Hollywood….”

Voicemail Hell

Today has not started out that well.

I called AT&T to try and find out why my new iPhone 5 has so many problems. “Welcome to AT&T. Your call is very important to us,” a cheerful automated voice lied, because if it was so important to them they would have fallen off their wallets and hired enough operators to actually take care of their customers. I successfully navigated through eight different voicemail menus, before finally getting to speak to a live human being who wanted to know my mother’s maiden name before they would speak to me.

“Well her name was Thibault until Hollywood decided to make a movie out of my life and then he changed it because it was too French sounding to Stevens,” I try to explain.

“I don’t know what you are talking about sir,” the AT&T operator states, “but if you can’t give me the answer I have here, I can’t establish your identity and cannot talk to you,” and she hangs up.

I’m still fuming when the iPhone springs to life and Warren Zevon’s 1978 evergreen Lawyers Guns and Money my ringtone for my lawyer, Holly Marotte plays. Because I know she charges by the second and also because she is incredibly hot in a dominatrix meets badger meets stripper type sort of way, I pick up the phone on the first ring.

“I just served Hollywood with papers informing him that he has one week to fully comply with what is in your contract or we’re going to pursue all legal remedies available.”

“Okay,” I reply not wanting to run up my bill by asking her to elaborate on what legal remedies are. I’m pretty sure they aren’t sold at pharmacies alongside Robitussin and Vicks Vapor Rub, and more likely are available at the Medical Marijuana store that most of my friends patronize.

“So now the war is on, and you must not talk to Hollywood. If he calls you, you should politely tell him that you are represented by legal counsel and he should address all his comments to me.”

No sooner do I hang up when my phone goes off playing David Allen Coe’s classic country song, “I’d Like to Fuck the Shit Out of You”, which is Hollywood’s ringtone.

“Aren’t you going to answer your phone?” Nina Pennington urges.

“It’s Hollywood. Holly Marotte said I can’t talk to him,” I reply.

“No, Holly Marotte told you to politely tell him that you’re represented by a lawyer and then you can hang up.”

“But you know how Hollywood is, he’s very persuasive, he could sell sand to the Arabs or condoms to priests.”

“Just man up and answer the fucking phone,” Nina orders tossing me the iPhone 5 which picks now to work properly for the first time ever, which gives me an idea.

“Hello you have reached the voicemail for Ric Thibault Industries,” I try to sound like an automaton. Your call is very important to me. If you are calling to apologize for having your shyster send an e-mail claiming I had exhibited bad faith behavior in the form of breaching an oral agreement that I never made please press one.”

I hear Hollywood pressing one. It worked!

Emboldened I continue. “Thank you! If you called to change your best and final offer please press one.

“Operator,” Hollywood shouts into the phone while repeatedly hitting what I presume to be the “O” key.

“I’m sorry we did not recognize your response. If you called to change your best and final offer please press one.”

“Fuck,” Hollywood shouts but follows it up by hitting another key, which I hope is 1.

“Thank you. If you are calling to stop reneging on your agreement please press one.”

“Operator,” Hollywood screams.

“One moment please we are now connecting you.” I intone. I wait ten seconds and then put on my best Indian accent. “Hello my name is Raj in technical support. Who do I have the honor of speaking with today?”

“This is Hollywood,” a very tense voice states.

“Before we start, I have to ask you a security question sir. What is your mother’s maiden name?”

“I want to talk to your supervisor,” Hollywood demands.

“You can dial my supervisor directly sir. Her name is Holly Marotte and I’m not supposed to talk to you anymore,” I hang up.

Today wasn’t that bad a day after all.

Free Lunch

Hollywood is taking me out to lunch at his new favourite restaurant downtown. “I love this place and I’m sure you will too, especially since you’re always bitching about everyone in the movie business being so pretentious. This place doesn’t take reservations or have valet parking. The only problem is it’s getting a little too popular and sometimes there’s a line, but it’s worth the wait. We’ll have a great lunch and then we can talk a little business.”

He parks his BMW in a handicap spot and affixes a cripple pass to his mirror.

“I never knew you were handicapped,” I express surprise.

“I’m not, but I have a friend who is a surgeon and he’s having an affair with some wannabe who wants to be in the movies. So we made a deal. His girl’s in the movie and I have a spastic pass. This place is amazing. It has somewhat of a limited menu, but what they have is good and the atmosphere is invigorating. But before we go in…” suddenly Hollywood grabs me by the collar and rips my shirt.

“What the fuck did you do that for? That’s my favourite Armed Venus, ‘Spurting Joy Wherever I Go’ World Tour t-shirt.”

“This is a theme restaurant and everyone dresses this way. Cheer up it’s the new look that’s sweeping the nation. See I’ve got a ripped shirt too. Now let’s hurry up, we don’t want to miss out, this place is so popular and the prices are great. I want to get there before they stop serving.”

We get in line. For once Hollywood wasn’t lying. All the patrons are dressed as homeless people, and the staff are all wearing Salvation Army uniforms. The food is served cafeteria style and today their specialty appears to be vegetable soup. We sit down at a long table and are joined by six other diners who have really gotten into the whole homeless theme as their clothes are ragged and in some cases dirty. Many of them have blacked out their teeth.

“This place so rocks,” Hollywood states, “The soup’s good too, isn’t it?”

“Yes, but I need something to drink, when’s the waitress going to come and take our drink orders? I could use a rum and coke?”

“I’d like one too,” says the dentally challenged guy with greasy hair who is sitting next to me.

“Make mine a double,” agrees his unshaven dining partner.

I wave my hand and finally attract the waitress’ attention. “Miss, can you bring us a round of rum and cokes?”

“We do not serve demon rum here.,” she bellows. “Alcohol is what got you all in here and if you join me in prayer, you can break the shackles of the devil’s drink and find forgiveness and salvation through our Lord, Jesus Christ.”

Hollywood gets down on his knees and pulls me down with him, while the guy on my left grabs my bowl of soup and starts digging in. “Start praying,” he orders, “otherwise they’re going to find out we’re not homeless and make us pay.”

*         *         *

“I can’t believe you tried to take me to a Salvation Army soup kitchen for lunch to talk business. How fucking low budget can you get?” I ask, three hours later as Hollywood drives me home, after washing dishes to pay for our lunch. “What’s the fucking business that was so important that it was worth that humiliation?

“I wanted to tell you that Roger Debris and I had a meeting last night with the finance people and decided that we didn’t have the budget to call the movie “While I’m Dead…Feed the Dog,” The guy who does the screen titles says it would take too long to type and he’d want to charge us double.”

“But it’s the title of my autobiography – it’s the suicide note that my mother left. It also has a hook and is something that everyone will remember!” I protest.

“Read your contract Ric, I own your story lock stock and barrel. I can do whatever I want.”

“But you promised,” I whine as Hollywood checks his iPhone 5 for messages. “When you were trying to get my screen rights you distinctly told me you were going to keep the title. You even swore on a stack of Bibles.”

“Were you saying something?” Hollywood interrupts.

“Yes I was saying that you swore on a stack of Bibles to keep the title, ‘While I’m Dead…Feed the Dog.’

“That’s bullshit, I never fucking swear! Now, Roger Debris wants to call the movie either ‘Behaving Badly’ which has 13 letters and or ‘Parental Guidance Suggested’ which has 25 letters, so I think we’re going to go with “Behaving Badly.”

“What the fuck does ‘Behaving Badly’ have to do with ‘While I’m Dead… Feed the Dog’?”

“Nothing, but there was a movie made in 2009 which bombed with the same title and I got a special deal on their used advertising posters. All I have to do is hire a few illegal Mexican immigrants that I got a package deal on to paste some stickers with Selena Gomez’s photo over the old ones and like you French people like to say ‘voila!’ I’ve got a cheap movie poster and I’ve saved a shitload, plus I’ve disproved a Hollywood myth.”

“What myth?” I ask, staring out the window at the transvestite prostitute walking down Santa Monica Boulevard, who looks remarkably similar to Roger Debris.

“I’ve proved there is a such thing as a free lunch.”

Milking It For What It’s Worth

“Why have you dragged me to the dairy section of Ralph’s?” Hollywood complains, “I don’t recall any scene in your book taking place in a supermarket.”

“I want you to look at this milk carton,” I hand Hollywood a quart of milk.

“You want to do a product placement deal for ‘While I’m Dead…Feed The Dog” with a dairy? Might be a good idea, we could have Nina and you washing down Yoshi’s Frozen Microwavable Sushi with…”

“No! I want you to look at this picture on the milk carton. See – there is a picture of a missing person.”

“What the fuck do I care about missing people? They don’t go to movies” Hollywood begrudgingly picks up the carton. “Hey, this picture looks a lot like you. Do you have a twin?”

“It is fucking me. It says Ric Thibault, age 16, last seen being lured into a movie producer’s office.”

“You didn’t have to pay them for this advertising did you? We don’t have the budget…”

“I didn’t pay them anything. But don’t you see, you changed my name from ‘Thibault’ to ‘Stevens’ and now they think I’m missing.”

“I’ve told you a million times, no one likes the French, and even worse no one likes little pricks named ‘Thibault’; and I didn’t lure you into my office. It’s not like I offered you some non existent candy and a ride home.”

“No you offered me non existent money and artistic satisfaction,” I point out, “I don’t have any money and I’m definitely not satisfied.”

“Let me ask you something. You’re an artist right?” Hollywood asks.

“I don’t paint pictures of dead fat people, or throw up on a canvas, so I’m not an artist in the traditional sense.”

“But you’re a writer and a wannabe rock star, that’s being an artist isn’t it?” Hollywood tries flattering me.

“I guess so.”

“And this milk tastes okay, doesn’t it?”

“It might – if I could afford it, on what you gave me.”

“So if I decided to buy it for you, you’d drink it?” Hollywood asks, pulling out his seldom seen wallet.


“And if you were really thirsty, like after eating a box of Yoshi’s Frozen Microwavable Sushi, I’d bet it would be really satisfying too, wouldn’t it?”

“Anything that washed away the taste of Yoshi’s Frozen Microwavable Sushi would be satisfying.”

“Then here’s two bucks, and a carton of milk with your picture on it. I’ve made you rich and famous and there you have it. I rest my case. I’ve given you your fucking artistic satisfaction and money to boot. So stop you’re whining and drink your fucking milk.”

Hurting Like the Dickens

“I can’t believe you are holding me to what I promised,” Hollywood is screaming at me on the phone, “I’m a movie producer, I’m not fucking George Washington and I didn’t chop down anyone’s cherry tree.  After all I’ve done for you, how could you do this to me?”

“All I asked was please sir can I have some more.   It worked really well in Oliver Twist.”

“As I recall, Oliver Twist didn’t have his fucking lawyer sending him a certified letter demanding ‘please sir send me some more money, or I’m going to rescind our contract,” Hollywood shouts.

“If Dickens’ producer hired the same screenwriter to fuck with his book as you did for mine, he would have,” I point out.

“Okay, how about this then, instead of what’s written in the contract I’ll guarantee you in cash five times what Dickens got for his screenrights?”

“Charles Dickens died in 1870 – long before there were movies.  He didn’t get anything for his screenrights.”

“All right I’ll sweeten the deal – I’ll make it 100 times more.”

“I was quoting Dickens, not Animal House, I didn’t say ‘Please sir may I have another’.”

“Didn’t you ever hear the expression that money doesn’t buy you happiness?” Hollywood yells.

“Yes, but you haven’t given me that either.”

“I have friends in the Romney campaign and I have binders full of girls…”

“I’ve already got a girlfriend – how about forking over some of the artistic satisfaction you promised?”

“Are you talking wanting your band’s songs in the movie?”


“Okay, let’s me just read the titles, My Life Sucks… But My Girlfriend Doesn’t,  I Don’t Know Much About Girls – But I really Want To Suck Your Cock,  I Won’t Go Down In History – But I’d Go Down On You, Jesus Loves -You But Everyone Else Thinks You’re An Asshole’, “It’s All Pink Inside and yes, Church of the Former Virgins.  I’m sorry I don’t think Selena Gomez’s audience is going to be buying your juvenile ramblings.”

“But you promised…”

“I think you better take the Dickens deal I offered.”

*           *                 *

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…

The Nina Pennington Fan Club & Artistic License

There was a voicemail message from Hollywood on my phone this afternoon. He sounded excited and wanted me to call him back as soon as I got his message.

I’ve learned Hollywood is not one to call me gratuitously, and I’m sure he isn’t calling to inquire about the state of my life – which has pretty much sucked since Nina Pennington got so famous she that has an international fan club. Last night we were in the backseat of her car making out and just as I was about to get the last hook of her bra undone, Nina receives a tweet from the President of her Paraguay fan club tweeting, “OMG! Porqué hace alguien tan puro como Nina Pennington se permitte que encante algún loser wannabe,” and just like that Nina’s grabbed the phone and is tweeting back, “LOL, no worry, Dont have BF, he nothing to me,” while hermetically sealing her bra to her body.

With nothing better to do, thanks to Nina’s fan club, I call Hollywood back and he tells me he just had a really good meeting with his marketing people and wants me to come down to his office on the Studio lot to discuss their recommendation.

“Can’t you just tell me over the phone? I don’t really want to drive over the hill to Burbank, it’s like 150 degrees there, plus on what you paid me as an advance I don’t have enough money for gas,” I complain.

“Okay, but we’re casting strippers now and I thought…”

“I’ll be right there,” I hang up the phone

Twenty minutes later and Hollywood’s secretary is ushering me into his office.

“Ah Ric, good to see you, sit down on the couch and let’s talk.”

“I thought you were having stripper auditions?” I sit down. Someone must have spilled something on the couch, because there’s a sticky wet spot, and it’s attracting little bugs and I get back up.

“Let me get you a towel and we’ll wipe that up shall we? As for the strippers it’s all taken care of… we’ve got three of the best ones money can buy,” Hollywood grins, “and one of them is a midget. But that’s not why I brought you here. I want to talk to you about your ‘Q Rating’ numbers. The Studio and I have been looking at your numbers and they’re not very good – and we’ve been getting bombarded with tweets from Nina Pennington’s Bolivian, Argentinian, Honduran, Panamanian, Nicaraguan and Lesotho fan clubs saying that Nina should be with a better looking guy than Ric Stevens.”

“My name is still Ric Thibault…”

“Whatever. The Studio thinks we need to spruce you up, and beef up your numbers.”

“I’m not becoming a Scientologist.”

“We’re not asking you to become a Scientologist. They don’t even want you anymore. We’ve got something way cooler.”

“Which is?”

“We want to make you a cultural icon.”

“Like Justin Bieber?”

“Not exactly. There is room for only one Justin Bieber. The marketing department and I are thinking of something more lasting. Think Kurt Cobain, James Dean, John Lennon, Michael Jackson, Elvis. I mean really big.”

“You mean really dead!”

“Well a little, but look what being dead did for their careers.”

“You want me dead?”

“Posthumous is money in the bank.”

“Can I fake it?”

“No, the public will see right through it. I believe in cinema verité.”

“Cinema verité is French. I thought you hate the French… and I’m not killing myself. Besides if you’re into cinema verité so much, I don’t remember writing anything about my dying in my autobiography.” I protest.

“Haven’t you heard of ‘artistic license’? There are millions of kids who would give their left nut to be in your position,” Hollywood insists.

“What would the poor bastard in charge of collecting their left nuts do with them after he has them? Is there some big testicle transplant surgery that hasn’t been advertised on late night TV yet?” I ask as Hollywood’s phone chirps.

Hollywood checks his phone, “The President of Nina Pennington’s Romanian fan club agrees. They would look on you a lot more favorably if you were dead. I’ll tell you what I’ll do because I like you so much. I’ll give you two songs in the movie if you cooperate.”

“Can’t I just give you my right nut instead – I mean you have so many left nuts, don’t you need to balance things out a little with a right nut or two, you know like Fox News does? And where do you go to get one of those ‘artistic licenses’?”

The line at the DMV must at least an hour long. I hope I have my forms filled out correctly. Otherwise if you go and see “While I’m Dead… Feed the Dog” and hear two of my songs playing, you probably aren’t going to be seeing any sequels.