A tale of two Garths. Chapter 43. “Somebody call 911!”
A couple more days went by before Garth came home from being on location, and things pretty much returned to normal. I continued to work double shifts to get by, and he and I got back to making the movie we had been shooting for months and months now. The movie had been a long haul but we were getting closer to an end. Finally.
But before we could celebrate we still had some work to do. It was time to shoot my character’s driving scene. Yippee! I know, I know. What’s the big deal about a driving scene? Well, let me tell you. My character was taking shots of tequila throughout the whole scene. Driving and doing shots you say? Oooohhhh yea baby. Cause that’s how my character rolls.
So there we all were in some park in the Valley. Garth, Garth’s step-dad, Peter, Garth’s mom, Heidi, and Moi. Peter was working the camera, and Heidi was doing sound. Me? I was drinking REAL tequila and driving all over the child filled park. This is probably not a wise decision, I thought to myself. I’m just kidding, of course I didn’t think that. But what I did think was, please tell me that was a speed bump and not some girl scout trying to earn her ‘directing traffic’ merit badge. And that’s about the time I noticed the Po Po cruising the park. He looked at me with authority, and I pretended I wasn’t drunk and silently prayed that I didn’t get arrested. Hell I’d pretty much do anything for my art, but getting a DUI was not on that list.
After we got done at the park we all went back to Garth’s house for a nice big lunch. Which I seriously needed. I shoved a huge sandwich down my pie hole hoping it might sober me up a bit. I did. But not by much. And just as I was thinking, oh my God I can’t wait to go home and sleep this off, Garth’s dad informed us we were going to continue shooting on into the night. Please kill me.
And that’s when the search for the perfect lighting and scenery came in. I’m not sure if you remember me telling you that we didn’t have any permits to legally shoot this movie. So we had to make do in places where we had a better chance of not getting caught. In this case, it was the ghetto. That’s when one of the guys from my acting class showed up. He played the part of ‘Best Friend.’ As all five of us stood on a street lined with trashcans and debris, people started popping their heads out of their homes to see if they were going to get the opportunity to be the leading role on this weeks episode of ‘Cops.’
“We need to clear the background a bit,” Peter told us. So Heidi, Garth, ‘Best Friend’ Eric and drunkie Mc Slutty started pulling trashcans and trash around. Now I’m not sure it was such a great idea for us to be drawing so much attention to ourselves. Especially considering Peter had a very expensive, very borrowed movie camera on him. Not to mention the sound equipment. And then there was the barely there top I was wearing. Let’s just say if we actually were shooting an episode of Cops, they may have had to blur out the top half of me.
Eventually the residents of skid row decided that watching a bunch of stupid white people cleaning up all their trash wasn’t as entertaining as they thought it would be, and they went back inside their homes to do something more fulfilling. Like sleeping. It was either that, or the fact that the sun had set and it was now very, very dark, and we were well on our way to winning the dumbest white people of the year award. We were in the hood, after dark, with some very expensive shit. At what point was someone going to say, “This might not be the best idea.” But it never happened. No one was smart enough, or sober enough to say it. So we set up our lights and commenced shooting.
Let me break the scene down for you. The main character ‘Bob’ (played by Garth) is driving with his crazy ass girlfriend (me) back to his place, when they happen across a terrible accident. That’s when ‘Bob’ sees that his best friend’s car is one of the cars in the accident. ‘Bob’ and I rush from the car to find his best friend thrown from the car and lying on the pavement in a pool of blood. This is where ‘Bob’ starts screaming “Someone call 911!” Which in this particular neighborhood isn’t even close to being funny. That’s when I kneel down to Bob’s best friend, cradle him in my lap and look up into the perfect lighting with a look of agony on my face and a slight welling of tears in my eyes. For me, it was my money shot. If I could do an entire movie of just that shot playing over and over again I would be famous right now. But I had to share the spotlight. Life is so unfair!
But the movie continued…and continued…and continued….for months, and months, and years, and years until we were finally so old we had to be put in homes because we could no longer clean ourselves. But that’s probably a slight exaggeration. Let’s get back to the story shall we?
A couple of weeks later we had a new cast member join our happy little group. His name was Johnny. I would like to say that Johnny was hideous, but that would be a lie. Johnny was the tattooed friend of my no tooth pot dealer Jimmy. Jimmy wasn’t really “toothless;” he was just missing the front two. I’m assuming they got knocked out. I never really asked him. There’s never really a nice way to ask someone, “Yo, how did you lose your two front teeth? Did you get knocked out or something?” That’s like someone asking me, “Hey, how did your ass get so fat? Did you eat a lot of cake or something?” Sometimes it’s just better if you don’t say anything at all.
Because of our lack of permits and resources we didn’t shoot the script in the sequence that it was written. We might shoot scene 24 one day, scene 3 the next day, and scene 15 the day after that. At times it was frustrating, but it kept us on our toes. So on this particular day, we were shooting the scene where my character leaves her boyfriend, played by Johnny. We shot in the apartment I shared with Garth. The scene went something like this. My character went home to grab some of her things when her big, burly, sexy, hot, steamy…wait, I’m going to need a moment to compose myself here……………………………Okay, I’m good. *Deep Breath* When her big, Bohunk of an ex boyfriend chases her out of the apartment and down the street. How does she escape his warm, tender, soft, seductive, enticing…oh shit I’m doing it again…clutches? But let’s be honest, the guy was pretty damn yummy. And so, so nice. He was much nicer to me than my own stupid boyfriend was, that’s for sure.
After acting with Johnny for a while we actually ended up being pretty good friends. Very good, very platonic friends. You see, I’m about 40% man. Not in the “I’ve had to go see a specialist for a gender reassignment” kind of way. But in a “Just one of the guys’ kind of way. I burp like a man, I cuss like a sailor, and I fight like…well I’m a dirty fighter. But hey, somebody’s gotta win; it might as well be me.
So Johnny and I started hanging out together. I would go by Jimmy’s to score some weed and stick around and shoot the shit with the guys for a while. But that’s when I started noticing that Garth was also taking note of Johnny and our newfound friendship. This was about the time my dad called me to let me know he and my step mom had just bought a new refrigerator, and asked me if I wanted his old one.
“YES we want the old one!” I told him on the phone. It may have been old to him, but to us it was brand new. The one we had at that time was a dorm size fridge. It didn’t even make ice it was that pathetic.
“Okay, but you have to come get it,” my dad told me.
The only problem was, we didn’t have a big enough vehicle. I was still driving Garth’s beat up old Volvo and he was still driving my fairly new, air-conditioned, great stereo, Firebird. Asshole! But we did have one friend who had a perfect car for the job. Johnny. Johnny owned a gigantic black flat bed truck of some kind. This truck was shiny, new, black, and it purred when you turned it on. And now it was going to drive to Long Beach to get a refrigerator for me.
Garth and Johnny came back from Long Beach with my new ice-making refrigerator and placed it gently in our hideously small kitchen. Garth gave Johnny some money for helping us out, as I was just about to reach second base with my new refrigerator.
“I’ll catch you guys later,” Johnny said on the way out of our apartment. But we never did catch him later. He had already shot all the scenes he was in for the movie, but something changed. I don’t know if something happened in the truck on the drive back home. Maybe my dad sent off a vibe he liked Johnny better, I didn’t know exactly what it was but there was a whole new energy to Garth. I wouldn’t find out for almost two years after exactly what that energy was. But it was a darkness that Garth emitted. A darkness he made sure I never saw, but made sure other men were well aware of. There were so many things I didn’t know about him. So many things I would eventually find out. Not only was my heart going to be broken into tiny little pieces. But what was left of my innocence would start to seep from my body like a tiny leak. A leak I didn’t see and couldn’t stop. Until finally, the dam would break clean open.
To be continued….
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