“Alice: We’re on a stake out — your mother and I.”

My father whispers as he exhales the Arturo Fuente Opus X with pride, like he’s The Godfather or something. He plays the part well. I know exactly what’s going on; I see it without being there. My father sits behind the driver’s seat in complete control, with a relaxation, maturity and ease that comes from being a private investigator and staking people out for the past twenty years. He’s a pro. He’s biting into a donut, ignoring the lull that comes from ingesting too much sugar. He’s indulging in a jelly-filled Dunkin’ Donut and sipping on a hot cup of coffee to make light of the fact he’s just gotten out of the hospital and needs my mother to help him at work — for a little bit. You know, to help with stakeouts.

The two of them are invisible somehow behind the walls of the yellow jeep parked inconspicuously across the street from the subject in question. My mother perches on her hind legs, ignoring the fact she’s wearing a skirt. She peers through binoculars like a female version of MacGyver. My dad’s teaching her well.

“Who you guys staking out this time?” I say with a new curiosity, still not quite believing my mother has taken a break from designing women’s avant-garde hats to play the part of private detective. A Capri Ultra Light cigarette rests in between her lips as she zooms in on the target. Her thin legs are a tremble from thrill and fear.

My dad keeps his voice low.

“We caught him, hon.”

“Caught him doing what, dad?” I excitedly ask.

I hear my mother shift loudly on the leather seat and yell, “We’re not supposed to tell anyone, Alice. This is serious P.I. stuff!” My mother is really running with this now. I think she thinks she’s in a detective movie.

I hang up the phone after giving up on knowing the exact whereabouts and whoabouts of my parent’s latest stakeout to consider something… Nudity. To be nude, or not to be nude: that is the question. Nudity is required in the recent film I’ve been cast in. The mistake I made was agreeing to do it before I completely understood the scene that required it. I admittedly let my Last Tango in Paris art-house fantasy take over — where nudity is viewed strictly as art. But I need to be realistic too. I would like to be in Woody Allen movies one day, so is appearing somewhat nude putting me on track for Woody Allen or taking me down another road?

I have a phone meeting with the director this week to discuss further.


Until I know more, I wonder if I can find a Dunkin Donuts’ in the valley? A jelly filled donut and hot coffee sounds perfect right about now.

Alice can be reached at

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Tales of a Toluca Lake Actress

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