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…

Microwavable Sushi and the iPhone 5

Having Nina Pennington as a girlfriend was a lot more fun before she became a celebrity. Before the movie a date consisted of us going out for a pizza and my plying her with enough boxes of wine to extract the mineral rights concession to her body. It was dead easy – Nina would take off her clothes and I would commence drilling operations.

Now things are so much different. First of all I can’t buy her a pizza anymore because Hollywood sold the product placement rights to “While I’m Dead… Feed the Dog” to Yoshi’s Microwavable Frozen Sushi. Everyone involved with the movie has been ordered to eat Yoshi’s Frozen Sushi whenever there is anyone with a camera around – which is unfortunately all the time, because Hollywood has hired paparazzi to follow Nina so Vanity Fair can do a sympathetic story on her bitching that stardom has robbed her of her privacy.

Secondly we can’t use boxes of wine, because Nina now has so much class that wine has to have at least three words written in French on the label, and I haven’t been able to find anything yet with ‘boîte de vin’ written on it.

Finally the biggest bummer is Hollywood having enrolled Nina in the prestigious “Sarah Jessica Parker – Sex in the City Starlet training Academy” where she is being taught how to pick at emotional scabs, then once the scabs become infected how to talk to her friends incessantly about it, and how to not take her bra off during sex. I haven’t seen the sacred twin peaks of Pennington in ages..

Last night was the perfect example. I got enough Chateau du Blotto down Nina’s gullet that we could make out. So we’re kissing and I’m rounding second base heading for third when Nina gets out her brand new iPhone 5 and starts texting her friends a blow by blow account (lmao :) bbf think he getting (!) but (_x_) lol am on rag! (: “ , She’s two minutes into composing her message and I’m getting close to verifying the text’s veracity when the iPhone’s battery dies and she gets so mad that she hurls the phone out the window and nails a paparazzi right in the face.

The iPhone didn’t shatter, but the paparazzi has a goose egg and is claiming he is emotionally shattered and is threatening to file a one million dollar lawsuit against Nina and me for assault with a deadly iPhone. But good luck to him on that because from what I understand the lawsuit must be filed in the Court closest to the incident, and according to her iPhone 5, the event happened somewhere just south of Venezuela, right by the Eiffel Tower.

Fair and Balanced Truth

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.