Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Running the Red-carpet Gantlet

With the Oscars now a distant memory and the jostling for next year's awards already in earnest (the smart money is on Vin Diesel for best actor for The Pacifier), I wanted to pass along a scene from my novel, where my intrepid hero attends the Academy Awards:

"This is the moment I've been dreading," Joseph said to his wife as they headed down the red-carpet.

"Be brave. I'm right here with you," reassured Angel.

"And now on the red carpet we have George Huddleston, who's up for best original screenplay. He's only twenty-two! I've got panties older than that!" shrieked the interviewer, a real live harpy who have survived thousands of years only to find herself a television personality. America, what a country!

"My name is Joseph and it's adapted screenplay I'm up for."

"The card says 'George', George."

"I know my own name, Joan."

"I'm sure you think you do, George. So about your original screenplay--"

"Adapted," he said, but she paid him no mind.

"That's the Little Richard story, right?"

"Uh, no."

"Tutti Frutti, right?"

"The book was called Cosi Fan Tutte, If You Can."

"That's what I said, Cosi Fan Tutti Frutti. It's a Mafia picture, set in Ohio."

"Please?" said Joseph.

"The Cosi Nostra. For a writer you don't know your own material."

"No, Joan. I guess not," he said, furtively looking for an escape.

"This must be your lovely wife, Angie. Wonderful to meet you."

"It's a pleasure to meet the woman responsible for Rabbit Test."

"That animal is dead to me--dead! Let us never speak of it again!"

"I'm sorry."

"S'alright. Who are you wearing?" she asked Joseph.

"I have no idea."

"Men!" she exclaimed, throwing up her arms. "What about you, Angie? Valentino?"

"Rachel McGarrett, custom made," she said, dropping the name of her mother, Angel having sensibly recycled a prom dress.

"It's fabulous! I love it! You must give me her number."

"She'd never speak to me again if I did."

"Hah! I know the feeling. I'm as popular in dress shops as dry rot and mildew! So George--"


"--what was it like working with Little Richard?"

"Indescribable," as it never happened.

"Oh! Oh! Oh! There's your sister Sally. Come over here!" she ordered. Salix, Joseph's cousin, ascended the platform. "Give us a kiss!" They air kissed each others cheeks. "Now that is a marvelous, simply fabulous dress," she said. "Of course, it helps if you have the right equipment," she said as she cupped her breasts. "Don't change them."

"Our creator's handiwork."

"They're real and they're spectacular. But don't get me started on Him."

"Not on speaking terms?" asked Angel.

"You make just one little pact--one!--with the competition and you are dead--dead!--to him. Sally, you don't much look like your brother."

"I guess not."

"Thank goodness," he said.

"I loved the song you two did, even if I don't speak Yiddish anymore." (The song was in Latin.)

"Oy gevalt!" said Salix.

"So what award are you presenting tonight, George?"

"I'm not."

"Then just what is it you are going here at my ceremony?"

"I'm up for original screenplay."

"Adapted," she corrected. "Any last words before I shove you off my red carpet so I can speak to the legend herself, Miss Pia Zadora?"

"Are you drunk?"

"As shikker as a Kennedy behind the wheel. But I have some smooth X to even it all out," she said, popping some pills right there. "Scoot! I've got real celebs to harrangue. Pia, darling, you were incredible. I wept during your death scene. Or I would have it I still had tear ducts. Anyhow," she continued as Joseph and company headed to the Shrine Auditorium.

"Well, Joey, for once the worst is not yet to come," said Salix.

"Who else needs a drink?" he asked.


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