Thursday, September 18, 2014

Another Day In Paradisio

  The last day of the heat wave and it was one worthy of Hell. The Sun would not go quietly. Brown-outs littered the Valley, from Toluca Lake to Encino. Somebody went crazy from the heat and put a college in Woodland Hills on lock-down. And The Van Man had another audition.
  He needed a headshot so he dropped in on a photo lab in North Hollywood close to the audition. It was a cheap place he had discovered which was good because he was dead-broke. Before the audition, Van Man received a phone call from his Father, The Hustler. A few minutes passed and The Father dispensed his racist views of football and life. Van Man was relieved when The Father changed the topic to movies.
"You got Netflix, dontcha?", asked The Father.
"Uh, yeah.", replied Van Man. He lied because The Father threatened to never speak to him again if he moved into a van.
"I'll tellya whatcha gotta see. You ever heard of Nymphomaniac?"
"Yeah, I have."
"Boy, lemme tellya, that's strong stuff.", said The Father.
"Oh, yeah?"
"I'm tellin' you, son, strong."
"Did you see both parts? There's two parts--"
"Volume one and volume two. I got both of 'em. Hell, I got the dvd."
"You've got it?", asked Van Man.
"Yeah, I got it for this ol' boy I know. Wanted me to get it for him and he never picked it up!"
"Well...that's good."
"Everybody gets nekkid in it, boy. Every one of 'em."
"I've heard."
"Great actors, too. It's got that, wait a minute, Stellan Stars--Staarsgard."
"Yeah."
"Shia Leboof. Charlotte Ramplin'...", The Father continued.
"Christian Slater.", Van Man added.
"He gets nekkid, too."
"I know a movie you might like. It's a foreign movie--"
"That Blue movie, yeah, I already saw it.", said The Father.
"You did?"
"Already seen it."
"With the two French girls?"
"Yes. Damn, boy, don't you listen'?"
"Now, that's some strong stuff.", said Van Man.
"Not as strong as this."
  After their conversation, Van Man was beaten. He knew he would become his Father one day, perverted and old. He was half-way there. And it was time for the audition. Van Man had no idea of what to expect which is the way he liked it. In the case of the audition, all he knew was that his character was some type of Russian/European artist named Fred.
  Only a lone young actor waited as Van Man walked in. That was a good sign that it wouldn't take long to be seen. The Young Actor had sides. Van Man asked he if could take a glance at them to see what the scene was about. The Young Actor handed him the sides and said, "It's real wordy." Indeed, it was. The scene was three pages of dialogue and it dealt with the Ottomans revolting against the Russians and Fred's feelings on that. Fred felt "wary" in one sentence. No matter, Van Man would commit no matter the theatricality of the dialogue. He knew to have conviction in everything he spoke. That was the key to acting.
  The Director, Casting Director and Producer entered and introduced themselves. The Casting Director was American. The other two were not. Van Man could only guess they were probably from the Ottoman Empire. Young Actor auditioned first. The Van Man tried to judge his technique. He watched and tried to find something he could steal. Unfortunately for Van Man, The Young Actor's acting seemed unnatural and forced. There was nothing he found interesting in that audition. The Director and Producer did find something interesting about Young Actor and whispered to each other. They're gonna love me, thought Van Man. He slated and began his reading. Van Man was Al Pacino. He was Daniel Day-Lewis. He was Gary Oldman and Marlon Brando with a twist of Dennis Hopper. Van Man raised the quality of the wordy dialogue, gave it depth and was poised throughout. That's conviction, motherfuckers, thought Van Man. He finished the reading and waited for the applause. It didn't come. The two Ottomans thanked Van Man and asked The Young Actor to stay. Van Man left, got into his van and drove away.
  He needed ice cream. That would help kill the demons that had taken over his head. The demons always told him that he's no good. They came every time. It didn't matter if it was failure or success, they would find a way. But ice cream would help. The brown-outs were still in full swing and the ice cream shop was closed. The demons rejoiced. They screamed louder. Van Man needed a fix. Something, anything. He pulled into the coffee shop. He rushed in, set up his laptop on a table and put on the earphones. AC/DC blared and the soothing began. He had his fix. The Thunder washed away his sins and he felt better. There would be more auditions, he knew that fact. There always had been.
  As the day changed into evening, The Sun lost its control over the people of the Valley. The college lock-down was lifted. The brown-outs were fixed. And The Van Man thought about who might have Netflix.


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