Another older annecdote I forgot to share...
Several times a year, all the abs in Los Angeles gather for their semi-annual Ab Fest.
This abdominal caucus convenes on one man's midsection, and that man's name is (for the purposes of this blog,) XXXX.
(bahhh gotta look out for the guy's privacy an all. Dammit. It's SUCH a stupid name, too. I wish I could say it.)
He's bronze, he's blonde, he's beautiful, and his So-Cal Valley drawl is hotter than a sizzling fajita platter at the Saddle Ranch he works at.
Reader's note: this concludes the nice things I have to say about XXXX.
I met XXXX at that very same Saddle Ranch, on Sunset, when I made the classic mistake of showing up on time for a co-worker's birthday party. The invite said 10:30, so naturally, the punishment for my ignorance was to sit at the bar, alone, for about 45 minutes.
At this place...
During that time, I joked around with the hot chatty barback, who, I assumed, considered it a job requirement to flirt with me. His name is XXXX.
Let me say that again, and allow it to really sink in:
His name is XXXX. That is his actual name, and he seems oblivious to how stupid that is.
That is a name for a caveman, or maybe Kristin Bell's husband. But really? XXXX?" Come on. I stifle a grin and focus on my drink.
XXXX asks me what I do, and I tell him I'm a writer. His eyes light up.
"Really?" he asks. "I'm looking for a writer!"
"Really." I'm skeptical, but then he launches into a pitch he's got - he wants to create a new spin on Alice in Wonderland, where Alice is a hitman. Apparently he's got a whole story bible mapped out, and knows exactly how he wants the plot to go, he just needs someone who can crank it out in the proper format for him. He's got a list of characters, and descriptions of each scene. I'm actually impressed - the idea is cool, and it's a job I wouldn't mind taking on, provided the price was right.
He asks if he can get my number so we can discuss it a little further.
"Cool," I say, and hand him my card, nonchalantly. I get up to go pee, and he swears he'll text me. He's absolutely never, ever going to text me.
He texts me. While I'm peeing. "Careful in there," XXXX writes. "We had to clean up some nasty things after last night's bathroom orgy."
I smile. How can I not.
"Way to keep it classy," I fire back.
I'm busy with my friends for the rest of the night. (The FINALLY showed up.) But XXXX texts me again the next morning.
"Good morning beautiful."
Wait, what? Weren't we talking about a script job? Like, work stuff?
Confused, I agree to meet him when he asks me out to coffee. Is it a date? I have no idea. I wear writer clothes, just in case.
He talks with me a little bit about his script idea over lattes, and it still sounds pretty good, albeit slightly less organized than he'd made it out to be at the bar. There was no actual "bible," per se, but he had a list of characters. And he knew how he wanted it to begin.
I arch a brow at him. This is starting to seem like more work than I'd thought, but still, a gig's a gig.
He was a barback at one of the most lucrative bars on Sunset Boulevard. He could probably afford to make it worth my time.
I had to go, but as I'm standing up, he takes my hand suddenly.
"Hey, thanks, for just chilling with me, too," he says. "I don't get to talk to girls like you a lot."
That eyebrow shoots back up.
"And what kind of girl am I, XXXX?" I somehow manage to pronounce his name without it sounding comical.
"You know." He looks bashfully at the remains of his muffin. "Smart."
Oh! A compliment! ...wait, or was it?
Was he calling me fat?
I wasn't sure. But I knew it was NOT a date.
"I'll email you my consultation rates," I tell him as I get in my car.
He smiles and waves from the curbside table.
What just happened?
That night he sends me a text thanking me for my time that afternoon and letting me know he was thinking about me. A lot. Winky face.
Dear lord. What have I gotten myself into?
He texts me again the next morning, "good morning beautiful," and I begin to assume I'm on some sort of mass-text roster.
I mean, a guy this gorgeous, with access to scattered ass left and right at "Straddle Ranch," surely has better options than me.
But then he asks if I want to hang out with him that afternoon, in the park.
I actually had to get a stilt workout in, since some stiltwalking auditions were coming up, so I agree.
Shit. Wait. Is THIS a date?
UGHHHH I NEVER KNOW.
I wear workout clothes. It's not a date.
And yet he meets me at the park, opens my car door for me, compliments my ass while I stretch (he clearly knows the way to my heart) and seems genuinely impresseed as I strut around on my drywalls, practicing my turns and skips. We chat a little, and, true to his form, most of it is about him. There's a little more commentary about my ass, but mainly him.
Then he took his shirt off for no reason. LADIES AVERT YOUR EYES because dear god. Dear. GOD. I just... really? On a real person?
The semiannual Los Angeles Ab-Fest, 2013. And there is was. Every ab in the world. Like, all the abs, ever. I think somehow he'd planned to remove his shirt where a sunbeam would fall, because at that exact moment a ray of light shot from the heavens and dazzled the very air around his glistening 19-or-20 pack.
I'm pretty sure a choir started singing.
Yep. More like these.
He starts his workout, and I feel like a perv just hanging around like the beads of sweat rolling down his body, towards his GAHHH FOCUS WOMAN. I avert my gaze as much as possible and WHERE IS THAT SINGING COMING FROM.
He tells me that basically, rather than a bad-ass female Alice, HE wants to be Alice.
He wants this to be a vehicle for his acting and stunt career.
Ah, of course.
Oh, and that "character list" he has? It's in his head. He rattles off a few ideas, but really everything sounds pretty half-baked and weak, in the clear light of day. But damn that light's reflecting off his golden, tawny-sorry. It was so weird trying to talk shop with this guy.
I pin him down (only verbally, sorry ladies) and get him to confirm: really, he just wants me to make up a story where he's a hitman and there's an evil queen and there's chess and drug references and stuff. But make it gritty and cool.
Pretty sure this is how the script for "The Unsual Suspects" was created. In between pull-up reps.
I took my confusion and drove home to consult my roommate for advice.
"Sounds like some serious abs," she says, when I tell her.
We then make a verbal list of how he's blowing hot one minute, then treating me like a business partner the next. I honestly can't tell if he's flirting or he's just naturally that flirty with everyone, even writers he'd like to hire.
Eager to eliminate him as a potential suitor, so I don't create any unnecessary confusion, I begin to list the serious red flags which had come up during our brief chat in the park:
Red Flag #1: He has yet to respond to the consultation rates I sent him, or mention money at all.
Red Flag #2: He doesn't have a car. Shallow, I know, but how could he come to my rescue if I'm ever a damsel in distress?
Red Flag #3: He lives with roommates. FOUR roommates. He doesn't have his own room, he's the guy on the couch. Ick.
Red Flag #4: Those abs tho. Anyone who spends that much time on themselves is probably a narcissist.
Red Flag #5: He's into pot. Like, a lot. No wonder he can't seem to finish (or start) a script, he's stoned, like, 24/7.
Red Flag #6: His name is XXXXX. COME THE FUCK ON.
Thus, Six Flags: Fun for a ride or two maybe, but not somewhere I wanna spend a lot of time. Plus, dirty, dirty, dirty.
The man works at STRADDLE RANCH. He's beautiful, but probabbly riddled with the herp. At the least. With a heavy sigh, I know what I must do.
I gotta cut those abs loose.
The next day, I send XXXX an email suggesting he's got enough material (maybe) for a short film, which would be between 15 to 30 pages. I send him my page rate, my day rate, and what my hourly consultation rate would be for any future story development meetings.
I then text him that I was looking forward to getting started on his project.
XXXX texts me back asking if that's ALL I'm eager to start doing.
I do not respond.
He texts me a winky, tongue out face.
I show my roommate.
We're fairly certain that a herpetic dick-pic is in our immediate future if I do not clarify, so I let him know that I accept paypal and cashier's checks.
There is a long pause, and a series of three dots. For a long, long time.
Then, XXXX texts me:
"I was hoping we could work something ELSE out, if u no what I mean."
I do not respond.
He sends me another goddamn winky face.
"Like i give u pleasure n u write."
I mean wow really??? I can write for this guy, NOT get paid, AND contract several STDs? WHERE DO I SIGN UP???
...What happened to the gentleman who'd texted me so eloquently in the bathroom? Sigh. At least my confusion had totally cleared up.
Unlike whatever rash I suspect Six Flags struggles with daily.
"Thanks for the offer but I'm really only looking for paid professional writing work," I finally reply.
He texts back:
"I wanna go down on u so bad."
I only saw him one other time, when he texted me to let me know he was at Universal, and wanted a photo with me on my stilts. (The practice had paid off; I got the stilt job.) We snapped an awkward photo together, and he sent me a copy of the photo.
I really don't recognize him with his shirt on, so I deleted it.