Teaser 158: She Keeps Changing the Negotiating Terms


I think John has set some kind of record for marriage wariness.” I put my hand out to John. “Don't, don't, don't. I'm only teasing you. You had your reasons. Everyone does. Even Serena, with her marriage. It's a huge step for anyone and we all typically swim around in our heads thinking, do I really want to throw away my independence? How heavy is that ball and chain? And I know the answer. Ask Will.”

“Oh, no, Gregory,” Will protested. “Leave me out of this.”

“I do that. I pick on people, Oprah, randomly it seems, but in Will's case, not so, and all you have to do is look at Katherine. She's not in the business. She is Will's very convenient escape when the business so presses on him he can't stand it any more.” Will smiled and nodded slightly. “Everyone here, Oprah, including you, has at least one escape route, to escape from this business for a while. For Drake and Andrea, it's Montana. For John and Pamela, it's Europe and his two homes, although he won't tell me which one is his favorite. Is it the first one or the last?”

“Okay, stop it,” John warned, laughing.

“See? He's so predictable. Ken and Penelope, their bunker somewhere on the east coast. It's so secretive, I haven't even been there. Will and Katherine, same thing. Antonio and his beautiful wife can fly back to their place in Spain. Jennifer, her house,” I looked to Jennifer apologetically, “oh, excuse me, her villa, in Spain.” Jennifer poked me smiling. “You, Oprah, have your plantations, or resorts, or whatever you call them in Hawaii. Serena has her mansion out in the sticks of L.A. Even Jana has her escape, and she's not on the appearance end of this business. She's more in the background aspect, but when she's had enough, she can have her limo whisk her into the hills of north Hollywood and kick back. She has a great walk-in shower, by the way. Accommodates several.” More laughter.

“Gregory!” Jana warned.

“Even I have an escape. Everyone else calls it Germany. My point, dear lady, is we all have an escape route when the pressure from this business becomes like a vise squeezing our heads, so we flee from it all to get the vise removed before it makes our heads explode. I've only taken it one step further. I won't come back and plop down into the middle of it again. If I decide to do another movie, and it's becoming more and more likely since the huge gossip with the surname 'Washington' keeps blabbing away,” and laughter filled the room, “I knew looking at his face I was never going to hear the end of it.” I looked skyward. “If I do another movie, Oprah, it will be no-nonsense, I'll run the show, I'll put it all together with the help I recruit, we'll shoot it, I'll edit it, I'll market, distribute and promote it. I'll be so busy I won't be sitting around like a sitting duck waiting for the vise to tighten. I'll be in and out. And it's still quite possible I could do another one after that and another. Success or failure will have a lot to say about it. I won't be living the Hollywood, entertainment, movie biz lifestyle. When I'm done, it's back where I came from, maybe India, maybe I'll go to Japan, China, Australia, South America, wherever I want to go.

“Where is Serena in all of this?” I asked myself out loud. “Where does she fit in all of it? It's up to Serena. She knows she's always welcome no matter where I am or what I'm doing. If she shows up unannounced, I change my plans so she's included. I try to do it for everyone I know. When it comes to marriage, I can't do it now, but she's making it harder, Oprah, for me to keep saying, 'No.'”

“How so?” Oprah asked, wearing a sly smile.

“Because she keeps changing the negotiating terms!”


- Just Desserts, Segment NineteenAnother Show in Chicago” by Gregory R. Schussele, © 2021

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