Teaser 011: An Insanity Born of Frivolity


After a month of hard labor the phone rang and Erin answered. “Hello? Who? Gregory? Greg. Hold on.” She walked to the door and yelled, “Greg! Phone!”

Having descended several hundred feet into the salt mine, it took me a while to reach the surface and trudge back to the house. I took the receiver Erin offered. “Who is it?”

She shrugged her shoulders. Erin would make a great border cop.

“Hello.”

“Gregory? Greg?” the male voice on the other end inquired. “Which one?”

“Who is this?”

“It's John Drury. Which one?”

“Gregory, Greg. It's a label. You can call me shithead if you want but not on a crowded street. There's an abundance of shitheads on a crowded street so I ignore that label.” Silence. “I prefer Gregory.”

“Huh, shithead, well...I read your screenplay.” A momentary pause and I could hear the excitement rise in his tone. “It's a great screenplay, one of the best I've ever read. I've showed it or talked about it with some people and they all love it.”

“It's that good, huh?”

“It's great! I'm glad I didn't break your nose!” He laughed. I didn't. “I was joking.”

“Ha-ha-ha.”

“Back to the screenplay, I talked about it with the Mexican actress...”

My interest now became fully heightened and fearful. “She didn't like it?”

“No,” John Drury said apologetically and my heart sank into my entrails. “She loved it! I made a copy for her. Hope you don't mind. She hasn't read all of it but what she has read, she loves, Gregory! She loves it! And! She wants to make the movie!”

“No way!”

“Yes way!” John Drury laughed again. “And! She wants to meet you. She wants to talk with you about her character and the story and, as she told me, 'I want to meet the man who can write a story like this.' And! She wants to meet you as soon as possible!”

“Where is this meeting to take place, John?”

“Los Angeles! At her place, though her place is well outside Los Angeles, but there's several people already there who also want to meet you, and I'll be there to introduce you as the man who saved me from a 'potentially embarrassing lawsuit.' Ha!”

“And it would have been, since I would have written the legal brief personally!”

“Ha-ha. That would have been embarrassing, so when can you get here?”

I considered travel options. I could force my hand and demand a plane ticket, chauffeur pick-up at the airport, all expenses paid, including the anticipated airport parking fee and gas to drive the one hundred and twenty some miles round trip from the Umpqua wilderness to the Eugene, Oregon airport. Forcing my hand could also pose a hesitancy, a reluctance from John Drury, which might ultimately result in my big break exploding in my face. Walking or riding by horse were so first century current era, rendering “as soon as possible” to “the next year or something like that.” I'll drive the distance to Los Angeles, the city of Lost Anglos, and it'll take two days, but it will be worth it. I'm meeting crazed movie people, the operative term being “crazed,” and I have made them this way. It's what I do. I make people crazy, not as crazy as me because I have decades of practice, but crazy nevertheless. And who knows what might take place with crazed movie people? I might have to make a hasty getaway, and with my trusty Sentra—gotta love Nissan, the Japanese motorhead car manufacturer—I could make a hasty getaway, blowing away any stock Toyota Corolla, maybe even Lexus. And a Mercedes? Maybe? Probably not. Wait! John Drury drives a Mercedes. Ah, fuck it! Go with the drive option. “I can drive down there in two days.”

“Two days!” John Drury's astonishment shook me a little. “Where are you?”

“Oregon.”

“You can fly down here and be at her place tomorrow afternoon. They have airports in Oregon. I know. We could buy your ticket, you'd fly down, someone would meet you at the airport here, drive you in style to Serena's place and we could all get started. Hell, Gregory, I'd pay you cash for any parking fee at your airport, gas money, all your expenses would be covered. Cumon!”

You may not have noticed but once I have decided on an option when confronted with several it is exceedingly difficult to persuade me to choose another. For the next few moments John Drury was going to learn how difficult it is.

“I'll drive down there in two days, John.”

“Take the plane, Gregory! We're all kind of waiting on you, in case you didn't know.”

“Waiting is not a bad thing, especially when it's for someone who just now got the news,” I countered, smugly. I was smug. “Patience is a virtue, John.”

“All right,” John Drury exhaled audibly. “You can still be down here tomorrow when you leave today. I'll see you then. Okay?”

“I'll leave tomorrow morning, early, and be there the day after.”

“Why can't you leave today?” John Drury's exasperation was audible.

“Because I have worked most of the day and I'm bushed. I'm not going to get behind the wheel to drive four, five hundred miles already bushed. I'll leave tomorrow.”

“It's why you should take the plane, Gregory!”

“Tell Senora Dominguez that, for having to wait an extra day to meet me, she can slap me. I'll be expecting it.”

What? Slap you?

“Of course. She can slap me. In fact, should we have conversations of any considerable length, she'll probably want to slap me often.”

“What are you talking about now?”

“Tell her, John, she can slap me for making her wait and she'll probably want to slap me frequently in the future.”

“I'm not going to tell her that! You're insane.”

“You were already starting to get it at the rest stop, John. You've read the screenplay, which is not exactly the shining light of sanity, but you have no idea how deep it goes.”

“You're crazy, Gregory.”

“We're in agreement, something we share. We have created a bond, John Drury!”

“Yeah, you are definitely crazy.”

“I'll need directions, John.”

“Okay. Just remember to pull up her drive to the gate across it, where there's a speaker and when you hear a voice ask who you are, say 'Gregory Hess.' Okay?”

“You mean she wouldn't get the humor if I said, 'Senora Dominguez? Can little Serena come out and play? She's not grounded, is she?'”

“I'm beginning to grasp the depth of your insanity, Gregory.”

“You're only at scuba level. You'll need a deep see submersible to reach maximum.”

John Drury laughed. He liked it. “You are crazy, Gregory, in a good way. I didn't think it was possible.”

“It's an insanity born of frivolity, but when it comes time to get down to business, I get the work done.”

“That's no shit,” Erin commented. Erin had stood no further than six feet away the entire time, making countless faces, but with her mouth shut until then. For her it's a gargantuan accomplishment.

“Is that your wife?” John Drury asked innocently.

“No. I'm not married.”

“Your girlfriend?”

“I haven't had a girlfriend since high school. Boyfriends and girlfriends belong in high school.”

“Your mate, then.”

“She already has a first mate.”

“Jeez, you make it like pulling teeth. Who is she? I'm curious.”

“I perform slave labor for her,” I calmly said as Erin ferociously shook her head, “and, in return, I am the bane of her existence.”

“That's no shit either!”

“You're probably the bane of a lot of people's existence.”

“I don't discriminate.”

“Got a pen and paper? Here's the directions.”

I wrote them out, read them back and advised John Drury I would call the day after tomorrow when I reached Grapevine. “But, seriously, I want you to tell Serena about the slapping stuff. Let her think about that for two days! 'What kind of man am I letting inside my house?' Indeed, what kind?”

“You know what, Gregory? I am going to tell her. I want to see you wiggle out of it.”

“Ah, yes, perform my Houdini act. Another gift.”


- Just Desserts, Segment One “Welcome to Lost Anglos” by Gregory R. Schussele, © 2021

contact me, as always: schussprose@gmail.com