Playing with the Big Boys

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Her perfume is boring and it smells up the hallways of wilted flowers. A stoic woman walks past me in a pant suit on a mission to press the elevator button. Her dated heels are muffled by the light gray carpeting. She must be a lawyer. There’s law offices all throughout this building, and especially on this floor, where the production company producing my movie is oddly located. One of their staff writers has some script notes for me and I’m to meet him here…in five minutes.

All the big boys are sipping coffees in the conference room: the owner of the company, the director and the head writer — all men, all professional and all waiting for me. These three guys somehow take up the long conference table. There’s a lot of aftershave in here.

I take my seat and smile awkwardly at the unexpected presence of the owner at the table. I take this in for a moment and I’m definitely playing with the big boys here — I’m one of the guys.

Am I late? I’m thinking to myself and check my watch.

“Don’t worry; you’re on time —we’re early.”

I laugh again, hoping they didn’t hate my rough draft.

“We love your script, but you need a new Act Three.”

I lean back in the fancy leather chair, sip some tea and catch a breathtaking view of the Hollywood Hills jumping out at me like an Ansel Adams photo and wonder how I’ll do it.

“No problem,” I say and sip again.

____________________________

“You should over-tip her. I wasn’t pleasant,” I say to my scruffy boyfriend who’s treating me to lunch. He determinedly scribbles something generous on the tip line. “Um…yeah, I know.” He sighs, trying his best at adjusting to dating a girl who acts looney when her blood sugar levels drop. The meeting went all morning; I should have packed a snack.

As a fellow waitress, if an unpleasant customer tips well, I seemingly forget her saying with a crude sneer, “I asked for pepper five minutes ago, should I get it myself?” It’s like a generous tip is the unspoken apology.

I’m now running my fingers along a flowing flowered dress at Anthropologie. I turn over the price tag — two hundred and seventy five dollars. I put it back. It’s a funny thing. These dresses always seem so charming when I’m standing in this particular shabby chic boutique with chandeliers and cracked wooden tables with oatmeal-lavender papered soaps stacked like pyramids, but then I get home and realize the pricey dress I bought is indeed…a frock. Not a cute dress at all.

But something’s wrong. I hunch over from a wave of immense abdominal pain as shivers coat my body.

I need a bathroom ASAP and am denied by the lady who works at the store. I run like a madwoman into the nearest book store.

Food poisoning.

“So…how was your day?” My best friend Kimmy taps her long fingernails on the desk in her accounting office. She’s shaken from just having had to fire someone.

“Oh, you know… It’s never boring.”

Alice can be reached at AliceActress@yahoo.com.

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Tales of a Toluca Lake Actress

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