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Because The Night – Patti Smith

Chapter 19

First. Ever. Shhh…

Did I ever tell you I’m a fan of the crust? The heel. You know, the start and end parts of a loaf of bread. Whichever name you want to call that rose. Lot of folk don’t like it at all. But I’m a fan. Particularly when it’s toasted. Tasty. As. Funk!

So when I went to prepare a celebratory meal for myself last night, I did not mind that all I had left was one slice of bread crust. Horsed it into the toaster. Checked the fridge. What else do I have for this fine meal? Hmm. Fridge. Bare. Naked. Tut. Although, I do have two baby tomatoes left. Wonderful. Anything else? Sniff. Balls. Toast. Burning. Burnt. Ah Jiminy. Not to worry, I shall make do. Nothing can sour this mighty celebration!

In the end, I had: One burnt slice of toast. Two sliced tomatoes. And. A glass of gin, to wash it all down. Mmhmmm. Tasty. Horsed it into me. Two bites. Two chugs. Gone. Quite the feast. Quite the celebrations. Standing in my kitchen. Alone. In my underwear. Betsy. Momentous occasion! Rejoice! Could’ve been a burnt sock for all I care. Especially as moments earlier I had finally finished a full draft of my first ever book. Wuu huu!

Rambling. Boney. Skeleton. The first draft.

According to Hemingway: The shit one.

Or as a clown might say: The brown sugar one.

Thanks to a mighty shower epiphany, the last sentence had been bouncing around my head for a while now. Gist at least. Problem was filling out all the bits in between that and the first sentence. About 80,000 words or so. The closer I got to writing that last sentence, the slower I found myself writing. End is in sight. So obviously I need to sabotage myself somehow. Not really knowing if I’d make it until I actually got there. My mind fighting itself. As if the marsh man part of my brain, Marshall – another dope – had been woken from his slumber while I was busy getting the bulk written. Oh Jesus, what happened? You’re almost done?! My alarm never went off!!! Nooo! Can’t let you finish! Must. Funk. You. Up!

Marshall tried his best to pull up the reins. Yank me back by my wild mane of hair.

Too late.
Dancing over the first hurdle.
Wrote out the last sentence.
Instantly a cloud disappeared.
Fog lifted.
All the clutter dispersed.

Buddy Doubt. Funked out. Along with all the other dudes. Just left.

Shoulders.
Relaxed.
Face.
Smiling.

Willie Beaming. Like a delighted clown. Go on the baby steps! Learning by numbers. All worth it. Because now, technically, I’ve a draft of my book. Happy day!

Not to worry, I’m sure Doubt, Marshall, and all the other apes have just gone out for a pint. They’ll try to get back. I also know how good the draft isn’t. Yet. Which is good, I think. Big list of things that need changing. Big list. Big. List. Biiiiiiiig list. You get the drift. I have a chunk of work left to do. Still though, I’ve figured out it’s far easier to go back and re-write and tweak, than just write something for the first time. Obvious enough. Obviously. Just maybe not so much when you are writing and wading through the marsh at the same time. Wriding, as some like to call it. Speaking of wriding, the past few weeks I’ve been asked by various Irish newspapers and magazines to write articles for them,

“Tell us about your life in L.A. Give us some juicy stuff. What’s been going on lately?”

Hmmm.

“Want to hear about me being down a writing well?”

“Ehh no. We want celebrity stories. Famous people. Drop lots of names. Gossip. Be our Irish Perez Hilton!”

I think these requests flare up my narcissism to an almighty high,

“Why do you want to hear about what they do? My trivial life is waaay more interesting. Especially when I tell you about what’s been going on at the laundry place lately – Cra-zy!”

To which I get the response,

“We don’t care about that. And by that I mean you. We just want celebrity name-droppings. You’ve met famous people there, right? Tell us about them. Otherwise we’ll leave it off.”

Tut. Bastards. Need the money. Need the exposure. Like a cheap whure hunting down a grubby dollar, I cave,

“OK so, I’ll sort something out.”

Thankfully, Friday supplied some ammunition for me to meet them halfway. Finished my burnt toast and tomatoes. Washed down a glass or two of gin. Did some laundry. Sent out a few texts to see what was going on, who’s out tonight? Chowder and a few of his buddies going to a pub nearby, The Den. Charlotte too. Sounds good. I’m in!

Back out into the real world. Time to reacquaint myself with life. What is it one does again? Oh yeah, get dressed. Realised I had no clean socks or underwear. Put on a wash. Slight incident in the laundry place. So, par for the course, I’m late. Balls. Scuttling along. Up the street. Head down. Skipping along. Around the corner from the bar, two girls stop me. By screaming. Inform me that,

“You’re Russell Brand!”

“Ha. No. Not the first time. But sorry, wrong guy.”

I wonder if he gets that he’s me, a lot? I’d say so.

“All right girls, I’m late. Ciao ciao.”

See that the girls have no clue what I just said. Only that they hear I have a weird accent. Which makes them think that they’re right about who I am.

“YOU ARE RUSSELL BRAND! We just heard you were closeby and now you’re here!!!”

“Well isn’t that a nice story. However. He’s not me. I’m not him. Please leave me be. I’m late. OK so – Quick photo.

Smile. Flash. One more. Again. Flash. They SQUEAL with delight,

“THANK YOU RUSSELL!!!”

“No worries, always a pleasure to meet my fans.”

Brand out. Off on my merry way again. Get to The Den. Cool spot. Across the road from the Chateau Marmont. Chateau is pretentious, posing and too cool. The Den is chilled, up for a laugh and feels like a proper pub. Den on! See Chowder, Charlotte and a gang of Chowder’s buddies. All boozed up already. Time to catch up. Chowder greets me with a hug,

“Wuu huu! First draft finished!”

“I know, mighty, booze on!”

“My round mate, I’ll get us some shots!”

“Cheers boss! I’ll be back in two, quick bathroom stop.”

Walk into a full bathroom. Stalls. All taken. Cubicle? As I go to push open the door and walk in, a guy walks out at the same time. Both on the front foot. Walk into each other. BUMP. Noses. Literally. Eskimos.

“Sorry mate.”

“No worries boss.”

Look up. See who it is: Russell Brand. Ha. No way. So that’s why those two girls were insisting earlier

“It’s you.”

“It’s me.”

Realise I’m standing in his way.

“My bad.”

Step aside. He passes over the cubicle baton to me by making a joke about the smell.

“Wasn’t me mate, but do enjoy…”

So that was nice. The warning. Not the smell. It reeked. Head back up to Chowder. Shot. Chug. Up for a stroll? Place is buzzing. And packed. Baby steps strolling around. Decide to go outside to the beer garden for some air.

See Russell Brand again. Give him the old ‘Phew, what a smell’ action. Looks away. Doesn’t see me. One of the two. Chowder is pretty drunk and telling me there’s a load of people here I should talk to. Yeah, there are a lot of people here. What are you on about?

While Chowder is twirling his head around, I start chatting with a girl next to me. Compliment her funky nerd glasses. Asks me what do I do. Chowder jumps in,

“He just wrote an amazing book. You must check it out.”

Good work by the Chowaduu. Some man for a prop. She feigns interest,

“Oh that’s great, can’t wait to read it.”

Spoof. Good actress in fairness. Actually, I recognise her now. She was in The Office for a couple of seasons. Quincy Jones’s daughter!

“How’s it going? Your Dad produced Michael Jackon’s Thriller album. Just thought I’d remind you… How mighty is that?!”

Laughs. Me away? No no, she’s laughing. Asks,

“Where you from?”

“Ireland.”

“Oh my Gawd I love Ireland.”

Guy next to her joins the conversation. Asks me,

“What part are you from?”

He’s been. Tells me about his road trip around Ireland. Big fan of the place. Or else the accent. Not too sure. Mid-some-tale-about-the-Ring-of-Kerry he’s interrupted by people asking for a photo with them. Odd. Turn to the girl,

“Rashida…, who’s he?”

“Ever hear of Doogie Howser?”

“No. Sorry. I’m from Ireland. What’s that?”

Took another look… Oh, I know who it is now. Neil Patrick Harris. He’s in that show How I Met Your Mother.

“Are ye friends?”

Before she could answer, a birthday cake appears next to us. Everyone bursts into song. Automatically join in, obviously…,

“Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday dear…”

Turn again to Rashida,

“Who is the you?”

Points over to a big smiling guy…,

“Oh, that’s Jason Segel…”

“Happy birthday to you! Yay!”

Blow out the candles.

“Speech. Speeeeech. SPPPEEEEECCHHH!”

I said that last one too loud. People turning around to see what clown was bellowing at them. Looked behind me too as if it was someone else.

“Chowder, pipe down!”

It was then when I took a proper look around. Place full to the brim with actors and comedians. Cast of Knocked Up. Andy Samberg and the likes from Saturday Night Live. Few folk from The Office. Main people from 30 Rock. Parks and Recreation. How I Met Your Mother. Now I see what drunken Chowder was telling me. Jesus, if you wanted to write an article for a celebrity obsessed country, this was the perfect spot! Chowder comes back over,

“Mate, you should tell these people about your book. Get an in with them.”

“Hmm. Don’t think so. Doesn’t make sense to me.”

Points to Anziz Asari next to us.

“Go, tell him. He’ll love it. You’ll never know what happens.”

No. Not up for that plan. How is that meant to work? I wrote a book that isn’t even out yet but maybe you could hook me up with a sitcom or a starring role on the one you’re in?

“Nay. I’m going back inside. I’ve no business out here.”

Not sure why, but I got in a mental huff. Jealous of their success? Perhaps. Gin? Probably. Dumb? Yes. As I’m making my way back in towards the bar, I get stopped by Doogie Howser. Introduces me to the guy next to him. Presume it’s his brother.

“So you’re from Ireland. How amazing!”

“Yeah, it’s a mighty place. Ever been?”

“Of course, we did a tour together.”

“Oh right. Family trip? Did your parents go too or which?”

Gives me a confused look.

“Family trip? What do you mean by “parents”? You’re funny.”

“I mean you’re brothers, right? You look alike.”

Cue a SQUEAL of laughter. Endless. My turn to be confused. Until they inform me they’re married.

“Oh right. You’re a couple. Ha. My bad.”

Although for married men they both seem to be big fans of the Irish accent. To change the topic, when asked about my book, I start rambling on about this other book they must both read: The Road Less Traveled. Deep conversation. Mighty book. Pimping it out big time. Instead of my own unreleased one. So that was dumb. Might’ve been the guys who could’ve hooked me up with my own sitcom too. After that, the night petered out. Went home. Alone. Drank some gin. Recapped the night. Basically I was in a pub with a lot of other people, the majority of whom happened to be well-known actors and comedians. I kind of spent a long time chatting to a gay couple about their passion for Ireland and my passion for a book. I also think they invited me back to a pool party at theirs. Not sure if they meant what I thought.  Think I chose to be dumb and act clueless. Dodged on. Just like I’m not sure if Quincy Jones’ daughter was in fact chatting me up. Or if I shot that all down with my high-pitched squeals of Thriller.

Oh and some girls screamed at me for being Russell Brand. And then ironically Russell Brand warmed up the toilet bowl seat for me in the pub. All in all: Good old night? Not sure. Depressing hangover the next day says: Nay. Personally, I prefer the story of why I was late in the first place. Not every day you get locked into a laundry place with a guy who looks like Meatloaf and another guy whose favourite band was definitely Queen. Automatic door of the Laundromat locked. Imprisoned. Three amigos. How do we get out? Oh Jesus. Panic. Handbags.

Flailing.
Freaking.
Yelping.
Worlds.
Crashing.

Thankfully I had a bag of Guinness cans with me that I had bought for drinking at home. Offered them around. Calmed everybody down. Finally Meatloaf figured out that the automatic lock might not have even been locked all along. Thinks that the door was actually just a bit stuck? Perplexed. Who knows? Who cares? Freedom. Balls, I’m late for The Den… Crap story really. Far more interesting is how I got to find out that celebrities don’t smell of roses. Amazing! Who would’ve thought? At least I got an article out of it. And also realized how much work I still need to do, to get where I want to be. Wonderful.

Now then, time to sort out this pile of sh… Brown sugar. Ahem. Wride off. Tweak on!

Perfect Situation – Weezer

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