A tale of two Garths. Chapter 37. Sisters before Misters.
With Garth’s new job he was going out of town more and more frequently, working on this commercial or that one. I increasingly spent more and more time with Ashley and Becky. They had become my closest friends and partners in crime. Practically every weekend was spent at their house smoking and drinking away all the knowledge I had accumulated in college. Dude, I know all about the Oedipus Complex. It’s that big building just off the 101 freeway.
During this time my dream of getting some of my acting on film was starting to come to fruition. Garth’s stepfather Peter had written a script. It was actually a pretty good one, too.
“We’re going to make this movie ourselves,” Peter informed us one afternoon while we were over having lunch. This man has lost his mind.
“Garth, Adam, and I are going to build the sets in the garage, Heidi (Garth’s mom) is going to do sound and edit it, and you two are going to be the stars of the film,” he said while pointing to Garth and I. He’s actually serious.
“We don’t have any permits to shoot and we can’t afford them so we will have to steal all location shots, and I will need you guys to help me find the other actors in the film. Okay?”
“Yea, sure,” I said half scared. Peter had always been a really mellow guy. If I hadn’t known better I would have always thought he was stoned. But on this particular day he was so pumped up I had to wonder if he had been dipping into Garth’s coke stash.
I called up my acting friends and had them audition for the roles. My good friend Cherokee got the part of the nurse. And Eric, my friend from acting class, got the third lead. All the other parts were small and we could fill people in when we needed to. This film was a labor of love. Peter and Heidi had cleaned out their house. They moved all of the furniture out to shoot scenes, they rebuilt their garage, and they sunk their savings into the production. We shot every weekend. If Garth was out of town, we shot other scenes. We stole locations and shot illegally all over the city of Los Angeles. We even managed to take a wheelchair right out of a hospital and shoot a scene right in front of the emergency room without being caught. We would wake up at the crack of dawn and go shoot at restaurants using their patios before they opened. We even brought our own condiments to add to the ambience. We shot in parks and ran from security guards. We were Indy film Pirates. We were our very own little production company.
Peter wrote, directed, and shot every scene. In his down time he was busy building sets for the next day’s scenes. Garth’s mother’s full time job was a film editor for Disney; she would spend 60 hours a week doing that, and then spend her nights editing what we shot that day. They were dynamos. After the first few months of shooting Heidi called us into the spare bedroom of their home that they had turned into a full editing room.
“Come here you two, I want you to see something,” she said to Garth and me as we arrived for yet another Saturday of shooting. Heidi led us back into the editing room and sat down at the desk. In front of her was a small screen. Garth and I stood behind her as she pressed the magic button on the editing machine. What I finally saw after all our work was at least two to three full minutes of film. I was officially on film. Not a video camera, but real life movie film. It brought a huge smile to both of our faces. Garth put his hand in mine as we looked on.
“You two look good on film,” his mother said to us. “I’ll have more soon. I’m still piecing some scenes together.”
From there on out it was like someone had lit a candle under our asses. We worked day and night. Night and day. There was no rest for the weary. I even learned to do sound.
“PLANE!” I would yell from outside as Cherokee and Eric shot the hospital scenes inside the converted garage.”
“LAWNMOWER!” And we would wait. And wait. And wait. Until whatever noise would stop so we could get sound again. And months and months went on like this. Hell, this thing went on so long that we all watched as Eric and Cherokee started a love affair, and then ended it. Did they get to stop acting together? Hell no. Why? Because, dammit! We were Indy Pirates. Arrrgghhh!
Garth’s job took him away for two weeks in the middle of shooting, so we did our best to shoot without him. During the course of filming this movie, he and I had really grown closer. That’s what happens when you play love interests. I missed him terribly. I worked, auditioned, and shot the movie on the weekends. He and I spoke on the phone as often as we could which was pretty much every day. I knew he was getting tired of being away from home but also enjoying the comradery that comes with working on a production company.
It had been a little over two weeks and he was finally coming home. I was so excited! It was my friend Jen’s birthday and everyone was going to be there. Ashley, Becky, Sam, and just about everyone else from Stanley’s who wasn’t working. I had driven into Hollywood to a very trendy restaurant to help Jen celebrate all the while jumping up and down in my seat in anticipation of seeing Garth. We all sat at a huge table and ate great food and drank great wine. It really was a good party.
“Hey, we should all go to a club after this!” Jen exclaimed. Everyone was for it. I was torn. I really wanted to go with my friends but I hadn’t seen Garth in weeks and I really wanted to be at home when he got there.
“You guys, I think I’m going to go home and wait for Garth,” I told them.
“No, you have to come with us!” Jen said grabbing my hand.
“I want to, I really do. But I’m dying to see Garth.” Everyone understood and gave me hugs and kisses goodbye and I took my usual scenic route through Laurel Canyon back up over the hill and down into the valley.
Once home I changed into my PJ’s, grabbed a glass of wine, and sat back to wait for my boyfriend. And wait. I was on my second glass when the phone rang.
“Hey babe!” Garth yelled through the phone over music and loud conversation.
“Where are you?”
“I’m at Jen’s party,” he told me.
“I left Jen’s party and came all the way home for you. Are you coming home?”
“No, I think I’m going to stay here and party for a while,” he told me. Is this really happening?
“Why don’t you come back over here?” he asked me.
“I’ve been drinking! I’m not going to drive all the way back to Hollywood.”
“How about if I come get you?”
“Yeah babe, that would be great,” I told him.
“Alright. I’ll be there soon,” he yelled back into the phone. It wasn’t exactly the night I expected, but I could work with it. I got all purtied up again and sat down to wait for Garth to come back and get me. Again, I waited. And I waited. I’m sure he’ll be here any minute, I told myself after 45 minutes. Maybe he’s driving one of the big trucks and it’s taking him longer than usual, I tried to tell myself. But still no Garth. So I paged him. About a half hour after the page the phone rang.
“Hello,” I answered.
“Hey babe!” he yelled back trying to be heard over the fucking music and the fucking loud conversation.
“I take it you haven’t left yet!”
“No, I’m still here.”
“Are you planning to come get me?”
“Why don’t you just take a cab?” he stammered. At this point I was so angry that I had lost the power of speech. I was afraid that my head might explode off my body.
“No. I don’t think that’s going to work for me.” And then he said something else. I think it was something like “I’m a shit head and you can do so much better than me. You’re WAAAAAAAY out of my league and why you stay with me is beyond me. But hey, you sure are good at doing dishes!”
Actually, I have no idea what he said. When the AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! in my head got too loud, I just hung up on him.
After I smoked a bowl and talked to myself for a good twenty minutes, I called Cherokee. She was the only friend I had who wasn’t at the party and she lived just down the street.
“Hello,” she said into the phone.
“Cherokee, can I come over and spend the night?” I asked her. I told her that Garth had just let me sit there at home for roughly two hours thinking he was actually on his way to pick me up when in fact he wasn’t, and that to teach him a lesson I didn’t want to be home when he got there.
“Oh Stacy, any other night you know I would, but tonight I have a date over.” What? Is she fucking kidding me? Every girl knows that it’s “Sisters before Misters.” I just sat there rubbing my temples. What was going on? Was every one going insane?
“Fine,” I told her.
“Are you going to be okay?” she asked.
“Yeah. I’m fine.” I lied as I hung up. And then I did what any self-respecting woman would do. I cried. And then I cried some more. And cried some more. I cried so much I would have given Alice in Wonderland a run for her money.
“Two weeks away, and he just leaves me sitting here with you?” I whimpered to my third glass of wine.
When Garth came home at almost 3 am I cried some more and told him how much he had hurt me, but I don’t think he really cared.
“I really wanted to go to Jen’s party,” was all he kept saying. The next morning I had to be over at his parent’s house because Cherokee, Eric, and I had a scene to shoot.
“Are you okay?” Garth’s very sweet mom Heidi asked me as she looked at my swollen blood shot eyes.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” I told her. “Just fine.” What was I going to do? Tell her that her son broke my heart? Made me feel like a total ass? Had no respect for me? This was her son we were talking about here. And I was stuck with him. It didn’t matter now. I was invested in this project and yes I could have walked away. But Heidi and Peter had invested their hearts, souls, and savings into what we were doing, and Peter’s dream was to get some recognition at Independent Film Festivals. Even though I hated Garth, I was still going to have to act with him. So I did what any good actress would do. I put my makeup on, I got into character, and I didn’t shed another tear. I had a movie to film. And to be honest, it was nice to lose myself in the character and not be me for a couple of hours. Because my character… well, she wouldn’t have put up with that shit.
To be continued…
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