Yesterday the studio executive phoned Supportive to say I had indeed "delivered a movie." The producer reported that I was in fact adorable but he’d like to have lunch with me privately just to be sure I hold up well under harsh lighting conditions. Oh, and he’s got to hear one more “courtesy take” next week—either from his lover, his nephew or the brother-sister team of Sofia and Roman Coppola would be my guess—before making the final decision.
This time it’s not a one in three chance, or even two in three. It’s ninety percent, Supportive estimates. We’re relying on the executive who is trying to set up my spec script and senses I can’t wait as long as that might take. While Supportive feels I should avoid begging, fawning or crying in the meeting room, just for laughs I may have intimated how I only have three weeks left on my unemployment claim and plan to either sell my car to pay next month’s rent or give up my house and move into my car. Supportive isn’t sure of the exact pay on the ten-week re-write, but the ballpark figure is more than I’ve managed to scratch together over the last four years combined.
Surviving this kind of wait requires many hours of re-arranging my sock drawer, polishing what I haven’t pawned off of the family silver and scrubbing the bathroom grout with an old toothbrush. I sorted through an old music box filled with jewelry I never wear and thought about throwing out the box along with the J.Lo hoop earrings the size of shower curtain rings that seemed fabulous at the time. Then I remembered my grandmother had given me the box one Christmas. I doubt it was very expensive, just something she picked up on sale at J.C. Penney’s while passing the last of her Golden Years mall walking for exercise.
I never knew her very well until I was in my twenties and she bought a condo near my first apartment. She’d raised my mother alone and never felt obligated to say exactly why. It seemed to me she hadn’t answered to much of anyone in her life at a time when a girl could get arrested for that. She worked two jobs to put my mother through Catholic school, private college and even grad school. Beginning the day my mom gave up her teaching career to marry a struggling law student, Grandma referred to my father as “Whatshisname.” Though she didn’t drink often, she didn’t do it well. Even a glass or two of dessert wine on Christmas Eve fostered some paranoid delusion that Frank Sinatra was trying to kill her. I never did get the details, but frankly it seemed perfectly plausible. She died when I was twenty-six, of natural causes. Later appearing to me in a dream, young again and dressed in fox furs in front of some swank, pre-War hotel, she'd never looked happier.
I couldn’t remember the song the music box played, so I wound it up, expecting the usual "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies" or "Moonlight Sonata." It was "Fly Me To The Moon," made famous by Frank Sinatra.
Fly me to the moonand let me play among the stars.Let me see what spring is likeon Jupiter and Mars…
With that, she'd managed to deliver another message from beyond that there was never a thing to fear, that the future most certainly holds something truly magical for me if I can only hang on long enough to let it. I gave myself exactly five minutes to cry before getting up to clean the bathroom.
Note: In response to a student's request for specifics of my Hollywood journey, I've re-published this piece from January 7, 2006. And yes, I did get the job. Stay tuned for tomorrow's post, "Be Careful What You Wish For, My Little Hollywood Hopeful."