I’m moving from Birmingham, AL to Los Angeles this month. I’ve been searching for a new job. After a spin through the “regular” section of Craigslist I went to the cool cat section that hangs out in the bottom right just hanging back, smoking a cigarette, eyes half-open, judging your Itunes. That’s right, the “Gigs” session. I got three days deep in writing partners, grant proposal help, and entry-level (re: free) blogging before I saw an ad that piqued my interest (or more appropriately given what was to follow, “peaked my passionate professionatry”.
The ad read: WANTED: COPY EDITOR FOR UP AND COMING SINGER/ACTRESS/MODEL/WRITER; KNOWLEDGE OF MLA STYLE BOOK/ASSOCIATED PRESS STYLEBOOK A MUST. PAY DOE. MUST HAVE CLEAN RECORD; NO SEX OFFENDERS
The post threw me off. It wasn’t the provision against sex offenders (presumptuous as it may be, I assume all employers expect an applicant sans criminal sexual history). And for those scoring at home. That’s a big check mark for Himbo. And not a check because I’m a sex offender. It’s a check because I am not a sex offender. You hear that skeezers? I respect the skirts. Remember: Seduction not Sedation. Just to be clear.
Pay is DOE. I’m down with DOE. I’m a DOE kind of motherfucker. Knowledge of MLA style guide? Check. Who the hell cares about this on Twitter anyway? Twitter is against everything a style guide sets out to do. There is no uniformity or formatting in tweets (with the exception of the big wall marked 140 and guarded by dogs). Just look at this fucking noob I started following the other day:
Missing spaces, misspelled words, bizarre wording, blowing 22 characters on one word. C’mon Ruprette! The kiddies don’t want to hear anti-establishmentarian! The kiddies want to hear that alexsalmond lets the haterz hate. Because why Ruprette? Because haterz gone hate. That’s why. And did you stroke out at the end there with the equal very good and bs! Is it good or is it bullstein? Is it supposed to be the plural form of b? If so, put down the AquaNet and the Ziploc. You high enough, playboy.
But we aren’t here to talk about hairspray huffing burn outs that won’t amount to shit. We’re here to talk about my new “gig”. I contacted the poster who turned out to be the aforementioned renaissance actress’ agent. After some back and forth about our philosophies on DOE (I contended that it was a negotiation based on my skill set; he said it was inversely proportional to the amount of time we spent talking about pay). He then shared his philosophy on what an English degree translates into per hour (I’m thinking mid level managerial, the agent more mid-level dishwasher). We agreed on $10/hr. A quick background check and then he gave me the address of the “up and coming singer/actress/model/writer” and left me with this bit of cryptic advice: “Meet with them one time and that’s it. I’d recommend not giving them your telephone number either. Just an email address. It’s best to keep your distance.”
I expected the house to be smaller and less pink. Or if it was going to be pink, it should be more than 36% pink, that 36% constituting a one front panel and a ring around the front door. The house is that certain type of Spanish colonial that makes up much of the almost ritzy neighborhoods in western Los Angeles. It looks like it was all white stucco at one point and then somebody started painting it a light pink or maybe salmon but then got bored and stopped when they’d done just the front wall. As I walk up, I notice something on the wall. It’s whip cream. And then fucking Horace Goodspeed comes barreling out the door except it’s he’s not dressed like the dude from Lost. No sweet Dharma jumpsuit. No long 70′s counter-cultural hair. If anything he looks like that 47-year-old LA guy who made enough money to dump the old schlumpy wife he met in acting class; buy a leather jacket; get a man facial (a macial?) so he looks 44.8; spike his thinning hair; and start picking up some hot young strange. He looks something like this:
So the goddamn Dharma guy is coming at me. He’s wearing sweat pants and a leather jacket and a t-shirt that says “Haterz Gone Hate” which is a total mindfuck because I just used that joke three paragraphs ago and then this hideous dog that must have escaped from the same circus in TJ where they paint Zonkies comes running up and yipping for all it’s worth. And it’s fucking hair is painted pink. But just the ends. Like the same person who started on house got distracted and moved on to the dog. This glum fucking thing. What kind of savage paints a dog? What kind of savage only does half the job? And then I see her. The only person that could have done this to a dog. The one who (inexplicably) must have done this to the house. The one who must have put the frosting on the side of a house. The Child Bride, Courtney Stodden. The dog runs back to her and jumps into her arms. In slurred Valley girl drawl she says:
Yes, it’s her. Courtney Stodden. The 16-year-old that married the 51-year-old actor best known for being really creepy on The X Files and The Green Mile and for being fucking Horace Goodspeed. I just can’t get over Horace doing this. He was on Lost for shit’s sake! I mean when I said pick up some hot young strange the emphasis was on strange not young. Jesus Christ buddy, she’s still a year off from getting a full on license in California. She was born in the MID 90′s. She was born after you became qualified to be president of the United States. Oh and that presidential ship? It sailed, hit a bad storm, got lost, run aground, started on fire, the crew evacuated to an abandoned island killed and ate each other. You,sir, are what the pundits call “unelectable.”
I can’t take my eyes of the Child Bride. She’s hasn’t said anything other than variations on Meow and Mwar since her succinct description of her dog’s resemblance to a type of ball(s). She keeps making what I assume are sexy faces and licky faces intertwined with the full on Facebook duck face but I can’t tell from her glazed over eyes if she’s making the faces at me or if she has cataracts.
If you know nothing about Ms. Stodden then I urge you to read about her here, and here. If you want to see what appears to be a whole section of a website devoted to her, go here. I recommend avoiding her homepage. She has the only website created after 2005 that auto-plays music. There is no off button.
They invite me into this pink mad house. Or I should say Horace invites me in. Courtney just sort of slinks behind me puffing out her chest which is barely concealed beneath a bedazzled black tank top that reads “Official Designated Hottie” except the glittery “e” has fallen off. If ever anyone needed a copy editor, it is these two. Their goddamn clothes need spell check. Doug asks me to join him in “The Crow’s Nest” which apparently is the kitchen. It’s large and spacious and looks completely unused. There’s a large brown marble island in the middle. On her second try, Courtney manages to climb atop the island where she writhes around and runs her fingers through her hair and across her chest whilst coming dangerously close to rolling onto the floor. Horace gives me the Not-bad-huh? eyebrow wiggle.
“You want an ice blended mocha or something?” Horace asks.
“Do I?” I say. I’m doing everything I can to avoid Courtney’s blank stare. It’s like trying to take your eyes off Medusa.
“That’s the spirit!” The blender sounds in the background. Courtney finally does tumble off the table with a thud nearly squashing her dog in the process who yelps and disappears from The Crow’s Nest. I promise myself if I make it out of here alive I’m taking that dog with me. Amazeball hair or not, the dog deserves more dignity than being squashed by clumsy jail bait. Moments later, Horace and I are sitting around the island and I must say, he makes a delightful ice blended mocha.
“So you’re an editor?” He says.
“Well, I know how to edit. I’m not really an editor. I don’t actually have a job right now. I just moved to town. I do have a blog, though.”
“Really? What’s it called?” He sucks thoughtfully through a pink crazy straw that I notice he did not offer me.
“Something Authorly. It’s pretty small. I just started out.”
He shakes his head. “A blog? Not for me. Sounds elitist. Free bit of advice: People don’t like elitists. They think they are better than everybody.”
“Does Courtney always purr and make sounds like that?” I ask. He holds eye contact way too fucking long. I can feel his eyes on the back of my skull. My armpits are wet and I’m sweating even though the house frigid. My fingers are going numb on the ice mocha.
“What’s wrong with a little meowing? I think its sexy. Besides, she’s meowing at the cat. You don’t talk to your pets?”
“That cat is made of plastic. And it’s a clock.” I shiver.
“See, that’s the elitist. I can help you fix that problem. It’s probably why nobody goes to your blog. You cold?” He grabs my hand and intertwines his hot dog sized fingers in mine. It’s like holding hands with a frozen bunch of bananas. His hands are fucking huge. He’s got a crazy smile on his face.
“Honey come over here and show him why we keep it so cold in here.” He waves the Child Bride over. She pulls the Kit Kat clock off the wall and tucks it under her arm continuing to stroke it. She slinks back over to the kitchen island. She looks at me and twists her face into full duck and then thrusts her chest out towards me so that her spine forms a c. She nearly topples over backwards.
“Get a load of those nips, hoss!” He doesn’t let go of my hand. I feel like I’m having a heart attack.
Finally either the sedatives fully kick in or Horace produces a shiny ball that keeps her occupied but we go to his office (or “The Crab’s Claw” as he calls it) and he explains the job. She sits down and writes the tweets (there’s a long awkward pause where I try to discern if this is a joke or if he writes them and just wants me to think she does or what but Horace does not elaborate) and then emails them to me. I fix them or “whatever you elitists want to call it, copy editing or whatever” and then send them back to be approved by Horace and posted. He shoves his catcher’s mitt of hand in my face and asks if we have a deal. I look down to see the dog which now has strip of whipped cream down the center of it’s back like a racing stripe. It is flipping it’s head back and forth trying to get at it. Lumps of whip cream fall on the carpet. Where the fuck is all this whip cream coming from? I picture a fridge stacked with canisters of Redi Whip like the 40 fridge in Nuthin’ But A G-Thang. I shake his hand.
“You got a deal.” He tells me I start tomorrow.