A tale of two Garths. Chapter 38. Tale of the floating feet.
While the movie was continuing to get made I was growing more and more frustrated with my representation. I was now starting to get auditions on my own. When I told my manager about a TV audition I had landed, she told me she had seen that audition as well.
“Why didn’t you send me out for it?” I asked her completely blown away.
“I just didn’t think you were right for the role,” she told me. What the fuck? Look lady do you want to get paid here or not? Cause I know I sure as hell do. As I walked out of her office I just shook my head. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. SHE didn’t think I was right for the role, but the casting director clearly disagreed. And it’s the casting director who picks the actors to send on to the producers. I think I’m really getting type cast here, I thought to myself as I got in my car and drove back to my house. When my manager looked at me she saw soap opera. When I looked at myself I saw so many other things. The role I was about to audition for was that of an attractive computer nerd working for an intelligence agency. Kind of like a red headed Chloe minus the Jack Bauer. I was so frustrated.
I went to work that night completely irritated. I walked in the back kitchen door, clocked in, and made my way through the kitchen when I realized, Hey, it’s specials night! I love specials night! Once a week at Stanley’s the cooks would make the night crew all the specials and put them up in the window so we could all get a little taste. Thought being, that if we tasted them and liked them, we would be more inclined to encourage the customers to buy them. It usually worked. My mood had instantly turned around. There was nothing quite like free food to put a smile on my face. I quickly ran out and checked my station and it was empty. Sweet! No tables meant more time for me to get to know the tasty morsels. All six of us grabbed our little forks and one by one we dipped into cream sauce and herb incrusted Ahi. It was Heaven until HE came in. Steve. The normally nice, sweet, on-team-Stacy night manager was in a mood. And there is nothing worse than a gay man when he’s in mood.
“What’s going on in here? Are there any servers on the floor?” he barked.
Now I thought this was a pretty stupid question to begin with. He worked nights. He knew it was a six person wait staff, and as I looked around I counted six of us. So the answer to his question would be…no. We all just looked at him and some of us even snickered a bit. I think I may have been one of them. I mean come on, was he seriously freaking out this bad? And the answer to that question would be…yes.
“THAT’S IT!” he said as he began grabbing plates of food and forks out of our hands. “I want you all to stop eating right now and get back out to your customers!”
“But Steve, I don’t have any customers,” I tried to tell him. By the look on his face I could tell he wasn’t interested. And that’s when my friend Kirsten decided to take evasive action. She took all the ceramic plates out of Steve’s hand and out of the kitchen window and just started throwing them in the trash.
“NO FOOD FOR ANYONE! EVER!!!! She yelled as she threw away all our free yumminess. We all just stood there in shock and horror. Is everyone losing their minds? Even the cooks looked scared as their hard work hit the trash.
“GET OUUUUUUUTTTT!” Steve yelled at us frothing at the mouth. All we could do at this point was run for our lives. Run away he’s rabid! And we all scattered like roaches when the lights turn on.
Once out on the floor I felt much better. The kitchen was just too intense with Scary Steve in there. I checked my station to see if the hostesses were kind enough to seat me yet and I saw that they had graced my station with one customer. Wow, their generosity makes my heart just swell. I grabbed my lonely customer a glass of water and made my way towards her. Hey, I know her. It was my aunt.
“Hey, what’s up?” I said to her as we exchanged hugs.
“Nothing. I was just thinking about you and I wanted to make you an offer,” she told me. “Do you have a minute?”
“Yeah, I think I can spare a second or two,” I said looking around at my wasteland of a station.
“Well, I was talking to your cousin Jeff and he wants to take a stand up class at UCLA and I think you’re really funny, so I want to pay for you to take it too.”
“Wow, that’s really nice,” I told her. “Stand up, huh? That might be fun.” Jeff huh? That might be even more fun. My cousin Jeff wasn’t my cousin Jeff by blood. My cousin Jeff was also disturbingly beautiful. He was half Japanese and half Caucasian and women swooned when he walked by. I know cause I did it too when I was in 8th grade. That’s when I first met my “cousin” Jeff. He kept talking to me about basketball and I kept drooling on the couch until my dad told me to close my mouth and stop staring. And now he and I were going to be taking a stand up class together. I would just have to bring a dribble cup.
The first night of stand up class Jeff and I sat next to one another.
“I’m so nervous,” he told me.
“Me too.” But it’s because you’re sitting too close to me. We were all in this giant room with stage seating. Our stand up professor took the stage and gave us a run down on what was expected of us. We had eight weeks to write our own material, bring it to class so the class could help us polish it, and then our final was going to be at the Improv on Melrose in front of roughly 200 people.
“Have fun!” the professor told us enthusiastically. I gulped. Jeff looked like he was going to vomit.
“Are you okay?” I asked him.
“I don’t know about this,” he confessed.
“Don’t stress. We have eight weeks. And look at it this way, it’s not like this class is going to hurt you if you don’t finish.”
Week after week I wrote and then performed my stuff in front of my small audience. I would always bring a small hand held tape recorder to tape my performances. Then I would take the jokes that got the most laughs and began to weave them into a script. Most of us excelled. A few of us didn’t. Poor Jeff just wasn’t funny. He was super cute and watching him stand on stage made all us girls happy for his allotted two to three minutes. But he just didn’t have it and he was getting increasingly frustrated. And that’s when his dream came true. He landed a modeling gig in Italy. He’d been modeling for a while at this point but I think he was more excited by not having to be in class anymore than he was about the job.
In his absence I continued to plug on. I wrote about everything. Waiting tables, smoking pot, my dad wishing I were a boy, what people think when they pull my underwear out of the community dryer in the laundry room? I even made up a little song. And every week I would cut some material and keep the good stuff. I was really enjoying class and I was good at it. I had found something in LA that made me truly happy. A week before the final I was almost there. I had all my material in bits and pieces and now I just needed to put it all together for my six minutes on stage at the Improv when I got a call from my aunt.
“Your dad had a heart attack,” she told me over the phone.
“Is he okay?” I asked her feeling myself starting to break down.
“He’s in the hospital in Long Beach. He’s doing okay. He’s out of intensive care and they’re trying to find a bed for him,” she went on. Then she told me she was coming to pick me up and drive me down there. I’m so glad she did because I couldn’t focus the entire drive from LA to Orange County.
Once we got to the hospital we met up with my step mom who looked like she had the weight of the world on her shoulders. She had been all alone for hours and looked happy to finally have back up.
“How is he?” I asked her.
“They put five stints in his heart,” she told me. “He’s in the emergency room because they don’t have a bed for him,” she went on to explain. Apparently the hospital was full and my poor dad didn’t have a bed so he was stuck in the emergency room with the gun shot victims and hypochondriacs with the sniffles.
“Can we see him?” my aunt asked. My step mom led us through the hospital to the emergency area and we were told we could see him for a short time. Once inside the doors it didn’t take me very long to locate him as his feet were sticking way out of the curtain. All 6’5 of him apparently didn’t fit in one of their beds so they had to put his feet on one of the rolling food trays that they have in patient’s rooms. I knew this was a really bad time and things were really serious but I just couldn’t help myself when I started laughing.
“You’re dad is right down…” a nurse started saying to us as we walked in.
“No, I got it,” I interrupted her as I made my way to the floating feet. I pulled back the curtain and there was my dad smiling. I immediately felt so much better.
“You want to see where they put the stints in?” he said as he started to pull up his hospital gown to show me his inner thigh.
“No thanks. I’m good.”
“No, it’s really interesting. They put them in right here in my groin area and they go all the way up into my heart,” he went on like he was on the Discovery Channel and I was his only viewer. I was just so relieved to see his smile. We stayed with him for as long as we could before my aunt and I eventually got kicked out. Back out in the lobby we ran into my mom who rushed to Long beach as soon as she heard the news. There was only one person missing. I bet you can guess who that was.