The time: the spring of 2003.
The place: Hollywood, USA.
Our hero: Buddy Best, producer, writer, director, the man responsible for such cinematic classics as Blunt Force Trauma, Song of a Dead Man, Vampire University, Kiss Me Then Kill Me, and Shadow of the Sun.
(Click here to read our previous episode, or go here to read the first chapter of Uncle Buddy’s House©, recently short-listed for the long list of the possible short-listed nominees for the J.J. Hunsecker Award for Best Novel Adapted From a Motion Picture Adapted From a Novel.)
The next morning, Friday, at around eleven o'clock he was in Harvey’s office with Harvey, Iggy, Heather, Debbie, Lenny, the whole mob, and his cellphone vibrated in his pocket. He took it out, didn’t recognize the number, but then --
He excused himself and went out into the outer office.
“Hello,” he said.
“It’s me,” she said.
“I got the part. I got the lead.”
“You’re kidding me.”
There was good old Marlene sitting there at her desk, with her eagle eye.
“Hold on,” said Buddy.
He went into his office and shut the door.
“So,” he said, “get the fuck outa here.”
“No, I have it if I want it. Well, it’s not really the lead, Christophe is the lead, but I have the lead female. But I told weirdo Joe I needed to make a phone call before saying yes.”
“A phone call?”
“To you, you big dummy.”
“Oh, right. So -- you’re still there, where, at Paramount?”
“Uh-huh. I’m at this place called Stage 18 and I’m using one of their phones.”
“Okay. So, what’s he offering you?”
She told him, and to be honest it was a hell of a lot more than Buddy would have paid her.
“Take it,” he said.
“Yeah. Take it. I mean, if you had an agent maybe you could get more --”
“But I don’t have an agent, and this way I’m not giving the agent a percentage.”
“That’s true. So go for it.”
“Okay then. Now I’m a movie star.”
“Yeah, you sure are. So. How’d you like Christopher, I mean Christophe?”
“Oh, he was nice.”
“Great. Did you tell him you know me?”
“Oh, well --”
“Buddy, let’s have lunch. I mean if you’re free.”
“I thought we weren’t supposed to see each other any more.”
“It’s just lunch. I mean for-real lunch, to celebrate. And I’m buying.”
“Well, I’d love to have you buy me lunch, but unfortunately I’ve got this supposedly important business lunch I gotta go to, and after that we’re showing these people a cut of our movie -- anyway, I’m tied up all afternoon. But look, let’s have dinner, and you can buy.”
“I can’t, Buddy, I have to go to Canada tonight if I say yes.”
“Yeah. Shooting starts Monday and I’ll have to go up for costume fittings and stuff over the weekend. He wants me on a seven-twenty flight, and, you know, you’re supposed to get there early at the airport. Plus I have to go back to Stephanie’s and get my things. And I have to stop by the coffee shop and tell them I’m not working there anymore, and --”
“Well, what the hell,” said Buddy. “Where you going exactly, Vancouver?”
“Yeah, we’ll be shooting there and out in the country in different places.”
A moment’s silence.
“How long you up there for?”
“Six weeks. Well, six weeks starting Monday.”
“Wow, that’s real Hollywood. We usually shoot our shit in four weeks, tops.”
“Yeah. Well, I guess I better get off. They’re waiting for me.”
“I’ll call you,” she said. “Can I call you?”
“Uh, bring some warm clothes.”
“Call me from there, okay?
“Of course I will, dumdum.”
“All right --”
She’d hung up.
Buddy folded up his phone.
He stood there for a minute, then he went back in to his job.
(Continued here, and until there’s not a dry eye in the house.)
(Kindly go to the right hand column of this page for an up-to-date listing of links to all other published chapters of Uncle Buddy’s House™, as featured on The Schlitz Playhouse, Tuesdays at 9PM (EST) on the Dumont Television Channel. “Schlitz -- the beer that made Milwaukee famous!”)