Teaser 029: Meet Jasper T. Roseberry
Drake started to the kitchen and I followed. “I can get the beer, Drake.”
“Okay.” He added without looking back, “Lord Pacifico? Is that some kind of alter ego?”
“No. That would be Jasper.”
“Jasper T. Roseberry, president, CEO and chairman of the board of Celebrities, L.A. That's L.A. as in Look-Alike not Los Angeles.”
We reached the kitchen and Drake turned around walking slowly backwards toward the small wine stand on the opposite wall. He had his eyes pinned on me as he asked, “Jasper T. Roseberry?”
I moved to the small refrigerator and pulled three beers. “I travel the world over to find the one person who looks exactly like the celebrity I need, and I know what I'm doing and who and what I'm looking for. 'It's understandable, Jane, you would think you just met Drake Matthews. Why, the man before you does look like Drake Matthews, but, I'm sorry, Jane, you're mistaken. Meet Bernard Martin, former accountant from Tulsa, Oklahoma. When I met Bernard a while back in the cowboy bar out by the interstate, Bernard fancied himself a cowboy, even had a small ranch and a couple horses, but his day job was working as an accountant for a large independent firm in Tulsa. Of course, now, he makes more money than he ever did in his life, and you've added a few more horses on your ranch, haven't you, Bernard?' Then, it would go to you, so what would you say?”
Drake pulled two bottles of wine from the rack, found the wine bottle opener, turned to me and said, with a nice cowboy drawl, “Just a few so far, Jasper, but I don't get back to the ranch much lately, what with all the work you have for me.”
“Perfect. Let's see, where did Serena have that bottle opener?”
“There's one right here on the end.” Drake showed me the wine bottle opener.
“You would give details, though. 'Three more, Jasper, fine fillies all of 'em. I'd start breeding but you've got so much work.' 'That's because you're the best in the business, Bernard,' I'd say, and we build on it.” We started walking back to the Great Room. “'All the members of my stable are the best in the business, because I know who I'm looking for, and because they're the best, they don't come cheap.' They'd say, 'Well, how much would it be?' I'd say, 'For Bernard, if you wanted Drake Mathews at a party or gathering, it's five hundred an hour, minimum two hours, so a thousand, and if it's out of town, you pay all expenses, round-trip flight, night or nights in a first-class hotel and all meals, so, no, Bernard Martin as Drake Matthews doesn't come cheap. Course, you could get Drake Matthews himself, and I imagine his starting price would be upward of five million. Compared to that, Bernard's a steal, and everyone at your gathering would think he's Drake Matthews. He even talks like him, because Bernard's the best Drake Matthews impersonator in the business.'” We reached the indoor pool area, where everyone was gathered along the left side.
Will and Katherine, sitting side by side, were the closest. As I walked past them to a refrigerator I spied in the corner, with Drake moving to the left to put the wine bottles on a table, Will said, “What were you talking about? ‘Best Drake Matthews impersonator in the business?’”
Drake looked to Will, pointing toward me, and replied, “Meet Jasper. What was that again?”
Opening the refrigerator, I placed two in it, closed it, and walked toward Drake and the bottle opener with the last beer in my hand. “Jasper T. Roseberry, president, CEO and chairman of the board of Celebrities, L.A. That's L.A. as in Look-Alike not Los Angeles. And this fine gentleman,” I had reached the table so I placed my hand on Drake's shoulder, “whom you mistakenly considered as Drake Matthews, well, meet Bernard Martin, from Tulsa, Oklahoma.” I removed my hand and reached for the opener, turning to lean against the table as I popped off the cap.
“I used to be an accountant,” Drake explained, “used to work for a large independent firm in downtown Tulsa, but I work exclusively for Celebrities, L.A. and Jasper here. That was after I met you in the cowboy bar, the one near the interstate?”
“Indeed it was.”
Will and Katherine shook their heads when Will commented, “Where do you come up with this stuff?” He turned to Drake, “And you're helping him?”
“We're only having fun, Will.”
“I have an over-active imagination, Will,” I dead-panned. “I have given you a few clues today.”
“No, that's not it,” Serena declared. “You're insane.”
“And incorrigible,” Will added.
I looked over to Drake. “We could have fun with it, Drake, if you ever want to do it.” His smile was encouraging. “I imagine you don't do much of that any more, get up and go out for a drink or a meal like a normal person, so I'm up for trying it, sort of a test run, if you are. And if we stick to the script and improvise when necessary, those first few who mistake you for Drake Matthews will start telling the others, when they hear them say, 'Hey, that's Drake Matthews.' 'That's what I thought but nope it's not. What's his name? I think Bernard Martin, he's a celebrity look-alike.' 'Yeah, I'll say. He looks just like Drake Matthews.' People will actually stop bothering us, and those who don't, well, we can actually talk to them and they can talk to us like real people, instead of going ape shit. That's what John told me when I met him at the rest stop. 'Thanks for not going ape shit on me.' I don't do that. I only wish everybody could keep their shit together.”
“Where did Bernard Martin come from?” Serena asked me, with a smile which was inviting.
“Out of my head.”
“And who would I be?”
“Consuela Alvarez, whom I met as she stood behind a taco stand one block from the beach in Zihuatanejo, and I was struck. I needed a Serena Dominguez in my stable and there I was looking right at her and I thought, what in the hell is Serena Dominguez doing behind a taco stand in Zihuatanejo? She doesn't even like going back to Mexico any more. So I asked her, 'What's your name?' But Consuela speaks little English, and that's the key I give you, 'little,' because I know a few words in Spanish and poco is one of them, and depending on the location, I could embellish it by adding, she knew some profanity, for example, she knew what 'fuck' meant. So she looked at me like I was crazy because she speaks little English, and I had to find an interpreter from another stand. I said, 'Ask her what her name is' and she replied, 'Consuela Alvarez.' I knew I had to have her. I turn to you and ask, 'Habla ingles, Consuela?' and what do you say?”
“Perfect. And you get one of the best roles because you don't have to say much, you only keep a look on your face which reads, 'I will cut open your chest and rip your heart out if you don't leave me alone.' I do the rest.”
“Why don't I get to say much?” she asked with a pouting expression.
“If we were to go out to try to pull this off, I have to think of all the possibilities. I could convince a guy who thinks you're Serena Dominguez and wants to know more about you, it's his big opportunity, I can convince him you're not Serena, you're Consuela Alvarez. I can convince any man. What I will never be able to convince him is you're not a beautiful woman. If he can engage you in a conversation, he'll start to think he might take you home tonight, but not if he can't engage you in a conversation.”
“I don't think it would work at all,” Serena scoffed dismissively.
- Just Desserts, Segment Four “Didn’t See That Coming” by Gregory R. Schussele, © 2021
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