The agent told me he was ‘astonished by the s—yness’ of a screenplay I wrote. So I entered it in a festival. It did well. Now, he told me I’d misunderstood. He loved it.
He asked me if I was going to the party at the festival. I said I didn’t know about the party. He said he’d put me on the list.
We did dinner first. The guests included a producer and his girlfriend: an exquisite actress recently divorced from a very rich man. A Svengali thing, I was told. He’d made her famous. She was suing him.
Dinner was fun. The agent was pleased with himself. He was pitching a reality series for the actress.
We proceeded to the party in different cars. Private house. I gave my name and ID at the door and was indeed on the list. I’d been worried. You often can’t take the agent at his word.
The Festival Party
The entrance is through a garage or basement. Dimly dark (or darkly dim). DJ.
Round pillars three feet high with smoke pouring out. Atop each pillar is a dancer. They are, if not actually naked, at least supposed to look that way. The smoke obscures.
Upstairs is quieter. People drinking and talking. I grab a drink and spot the agent. He’s in a small circle, talking to the actress and her producer boyfriend, among others.
I stroll over to find the conversation circle closed. (We’ve all been there.) I ease a gentle shoulder in, trying to make my presence known.
The Actress sees me. I smile, friendly-like.
Actress: What are you doing here? Get outa here!
The Agent wheels around. He sees me but says nothing.
David: Are you talking to me?
Actress: It’s a private party!
From the wings, a Large Man starts coming my way. Laker jersey. Biceps.
David: I was on the list.
I look at the Agent for corroboration but get nothing. If I’m not mistaken (and I’m not), he’s enjoying this. Partygoers take notice. They circle round, attracted to the spectacle that is me.
I wonder if the Agent set me up.
Actress: Get outa here!
David: It’s me. David. We just went to dinner together…
I feel the Large Man’s hand on my shoulder. I’m going to be thrown out of the party. The Actress squints, steps a little closer.
Actress: Oh, David! I didn’t recognize you in your glasses. Why didn’t you say something?
The Actress hugs me. She’s taller than I thought and smells like apples. The Large Man walks away, his ‘World Peace’ jersey disappearing within the partygoers.
Actress: I’m sorry, David. I have to be so careful these days.
She kisses me on the cheek and hooks an arm around me. The conversation picks up again. The crowd disperses.
Later, the Agent catches me alone. He’s got a smirk on his face.
Agent: You’re good.
David: At what?
Agent: Getting a kiss and a hug like that. The center of the party. You planned that whole thing out, didn’t you?
David: Are you kidding me? You think-
Agent: -You shrewd f—ing bastard. I’m going to give that s— screenplay of yours a big push when I get back.
The Agent did indeed push the script when he got back.
The Actress didn’t get the reality series but eventually got a hefty settlement from her former husband.
The Agent still thinks I planned it out.