A Tale Of Two Garths. Chapter 6. Tourett’s and Indecent Proposal’s.
As I drove down to Diego, AGAIN I could feel myself literally being pulled in two different directions. It was like a trip back to the past every time my car crossed into Oceanside. This isn’t my life anymore, I thought to myself. Everything I had known so well in San Diego was now gone and replaced with a whole bunch of things I didn’t know crap about. It was like going from a house you grew up in where you knew where everything was and how everything worked, to moving into a new house and being blindfolded. I had been acting all my life. But in Hollywood I was a rookie and it showed.
As I pulled up to Chalcedony Street in Pacific Beach I just felt all the stress leave my body; I was home. Sort of. I parked my car and walked up to the apartment I used to share with Garth. When I walked in the door everything seemed so different. The apartment was full of people I didn’t know, Garth had cut his hair in a close shave, and I was introduced to the new neighbors. It was official; this was no longer my home. It was Garth’s, and I was just a visitor.
We spent that weekend barbecuing, catching up, and even managed to stumble upon a rave on the beach one night. We were just walking on the beach when we ran into a huge group of people dancing to techno music with lights spinning around the walls of the cliff that lined the beach. It just seemed stupid not to join in. There really is no place like San Diego. But this was just an excursion for me. I had a life to get back to. So I kissed my boyfriend goodbye, and cried as I drove out of town.
Once I got back to LA I had to jump back into my routine. Taking a weekend off of work meant I lost money so now I had to pick up extra shifts to recoup. I started working doubles and would spend up to twelve hours there sometimes. Because of this I would not only make money but also I started to accumulate regular customers. There was Rodney who was a very, very nice man who loved jury duty and movies. He was also one of these people that had a smell to them. You know what I’m talking about. One of those smells that is so strong and so foul that you can’t help but wonder to yourself, If I can smell that, why can’t he? But smell or no smell, he was always one of my favorites, and we would spend a good portion of my shifts discussing the latest films. Then there was The Candy Man. I don’t remember his real name. It’s probably because I blocked it out. He always seemed to come in right at the beginning of my shift. It was as if he just sat outside and waited for me to go in because his timing was always impeccable. He was a small man with peppered gray hair who had a smile like the joker in the Batman movies. He was always handing me fistfuls of candy and smiling at me like he was doing me some sort of huge favor. The candy was always followed by a litany of personal questions. Man, I just want to know what you want to eat. Why does it have to be so hard? He was usually not the highlight of my day. Also on the list was Frank. Oh, Frank. Frank would just watch me the entire time he sat there. Even if my station was full and he ended up in someone else’s station Frank would watch my every move. If I didn’t know better I would think he was working for the restaurant itself critiquing my serving skills.
But one night I found out exactly what Frank’s motives were. Frank usually only came in during the day shifts but one time he was there during the evening. I was sitting at the bar talking to the bartender, Kirk, who had become a very good friend. That’s when Frank decided he was also going to sit at the bar and offered to buy me a drink. Not one to turn down free booze I accepted and Frank and I proceeded to have a couple of cocktails. Well Frank was not exactly up to the Stacy level of drinking and he got drunk pretty quickly.
“I really like you Stacy,” he said with just a touch of a slur.
“I like you too Frank.” And I did. Let’s be honest, he was buying my friendship with Kir Royals. How could I not like him?
“No, I mean I like you, like you,” he told me looking me directly in the eyes.
“Aren’t you married?”
“Yes, but I’m not happy.” At this point Kirk was now standing at our end of the bar pouring draft beers and pretending not to listen to our conversation.
“Oh, that’s too bad,” I said completely at a loss for words. I was all of a sudden really uncomfortable and little did I know my comfort level was about to worsen by the minute.
“I would like to make an arrangement with you,” he said. Well at this point my curiosity was peaked and I could tell Kirk’s was too so I just had to ask.
“What kind of arrangement?”
“Well I would like to set you up in an apartment. You wouldn’t have to work and I would take care of you.”
“In exchange for…” I said. I already knew what he wanted but I wanted to hear him say it.
“You know. You would be there for me when I wanted. And only me.”
“So let me get this straight. You would go golfing, and hang out with your wife and I would more or less be on call for you? And in exchange, you would house me and take care of me?”
“Yes.” Considering I was broke this probably would have seemed like a good deal and if I was a different person I may have taken him up on it. But I was me, and not only did I have a boyfriend I loved, but hell would have to freeze over before I would ever become property. Not to mention how would I explain this to my dad? I could already hear my dad’s questions. “Does your new arrangement have a dental and 401K plan? If not then I don’t think you should take it.” At this point in the conversation I was so blown away I was actually looking around for cameras because I was pretty sure this was some sort of joke. But sure enough Frank wasn’t kidding and he was waiting for an answer. I just sat there for a moment and watched him watching me.
“I don’t think that would be a good idea,” I told him.
“You wouldn’t have to wait tables anymore and would be completely free to pursue acting,” he said trying to persuade me. “Think about it,” he said in utter drunken confidence as he got up from his bar stool and made his way towards the bathroom. As soon as he was safely out of sight Kirk came running over to me.
“I can’t believe he said that to you!”
“Holy delusional whack job!” I said half laughing. “I need to get out of here while he’s in the bathroom,” I told Kirk.
“Do you want me to walk you to your car?” Kirk asked me.
“No, I’m just on the other side of the street. Will you stand outside and watch me walk to my car?” So I grabbed my stuff and ran out before Frank could write me a check and hand me a set of keys. Our relationship was never the same after that. Whenever I served him he was quiet and sullen. I actually liked him better that way. He never brought up his “arrangement” again and I just pretended the arrangement conversation never happened. Now if I could just get the Candy Man to proposition me maybe I could get him to shut up too.
But the customers kept coming in and I kept meeting some very interesting people. There was the Italian man with Tourette’s who would sit at the bar and eat drumsticks while cussing and shooting ranch dressing out of mouth with every “asshole” he would utter. Then there was the night his nephews came into the bar dressed like old school gangsters with giant wads of cash and giant gold rings on their fingers. I still remember the fight they got into with one of the customers. I ran into the kitchen to tell Kirk who was getting his food at the time that his customers had gone crazy and were beating each other up. I shouldn’t have done this because all it did was ensure that Kirk stayed away from the bar until they had fully killed one another. After the fight was eventually broken up by one of our mangers there was a trail of blood left right at the front door as a warning to all that Tourette’s, gold rings, and booze don’t mix well.
I don’t want to paint the wrong picture of Stanleys. It is actually a really nice restaurant with food I still crave today. But like any other restaurant it has its fair share of characters. Especially in LA. A city where everyone wants to be someone and everyone is constantly trying to prove it. There was one manager who had it right. He would take both of his index fingers and draw a large circle in the air and say “Universe,” then with one index finger make a tiny invisible dot in the center of the giant circle and say, “You.” And then go back wards. “You,” tiny dot. “Universe,” big circle. That was his way of letting you know that you actually meant nothing in the whole scheme of things. He was bitchy, but he was right.
Even with all the chaos and all the entertainment our restaurant had a lot of successful customers and industry people who made it a great place to work. And a great place to network. And that’s when I met David Beaird. He was an acting couch in Los Angeles and had his class off of Sunset Blvd in a small underground theater. He’s best known for writing the 1986 hit movie My Chauffeur. You know, the one that stars the chick that was the lead in Valley Girl. Yeah, you know My Chauffeur. It’s that movie you’ve probably never seen. But I had seen it and was happy to make his acquaintance.
“So you’re an actress right?” he asked me one day after I had served him a number of times.
“I am,” I said as I cleared the plates off the table where he and his much younger girlfriend sat.
“Are you taking any acting classes?” Acting classes? I am classically trained. I don’t need acting classes! (That thought I had right there is a common mistake for rookies going into the acting business in Hollywood. You do in fact need acting classes, and you also need a very think skin so buckle up. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.)
“I teach a class on Wednesday nights if you would like to come,” he continued. I did want to go, I seriously couldn’t afford to part with even one dime at this point. Hummm, maybe I could get Frank to pay for it.
“I would love to but I can’t afford it right now,” I told him.
“Look I understand, so why don’t you come for free and then pay me what you can, when you can.”
“Are you sure?” I asked him.
“Yeah, we need more women in the class anyway. It will work out for the both of us.”
I accepted his offer because for one he didn’t seem creepy, and secondly he made the offer in front of his girlfriend. But then again this was LA and as you know, anything can happen…
To be continued…
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