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.“And we need a one-time membership fee of seven hundred fifty dollars.”Grant felt as if Kris had kicked him in his crotch.Involuntarily, his hands cradled his knees.If he had heard correctly, then his head was about to spin upon his neck just like Linda Blair’s in The Exorcist.Had Kris really said that it would cost him seven hundred and fifty big ones for the privilege of working unpaid? Yes, she had.Rendered temporarily speechless, Grant was thrilled that she continued extolling the privileges of membership.At last, Kris concluded.“Of course, we accept cash, checks, debit and credit cards.But if you pay by personal check, membership privileges don’t begin until after it has cleared the bank.”This is total bullshit! A scam.Finally regaining his voice, he mumbled, “I’ll have to think about it.”“I wouldn’t think too long,” Kris warned, trying to scare him into making a quick decision.“Someone else will take your role.”Grant felt violated – drained of all energy.His dreams for Salome evaporated like the San Joaquin Valley frost before the morning sun.Slowly, tentatively, Grant rose to his feet.“I’ll let you know, later.”Is this how Shirley MacLaine felt in Sweet Charity after her boyfriend, Charlie, pushed her into Central Park Lake and ran off with her purse? Slowly, and feeling sad and violated, he made his way back into the auditorium.“You’re up,” he told Jim Butler in a weak, shaky voice.Before exiting to the lobby, the actor slipped a piece of paper into Grant’s shirt pocket.Moments later, seeing no reason to stay any longer, Grant left the theater.Feeling flattened and foolish, he questioned himself.Why did I tell everyone that I’d been cast? Because the director told me I’d been cast! Now I’ll look ridiculous.I should have known that this was too good to be true – too easy to be for real.Driving home, Grant wondered how many young actors, desperate for their first break, had succumbed to Casey Wagner’s scam, plunging themselves into debt in order to join.Of this, Grant was certain.He wouldn’t be among their number.He would never set foot in the Onyx Theatre again – and he would never again have anything to do with Casey Wagner, either.Back home, still agitated and appalled, Grant didn’t remember to read the note that Jim Butler had stuffed into his shirt until he was undressing for bed.Then he pulled it from his pocket.It read, “Grant, please call.Jim Butler: 310-652-2904.” He smiled knowingly.Grant hadn’t heard from Kevin and Curt since their threesome, nor had he seen either of them at Whackers.He was definitely ready for something more than a back room blow job.He most certainly would call Jim Butler.For the first time since speaking with Kris Roberts in the Onyx Theater lobby, Grant was feeling good about something; he was excited about the prospect of hot sex with Jim Butler.CHAPTER NINEWednesday, November 13, 20028:58 a.m.Grant had a frightening, restless sleep, full of nightmares.In the first nocturnal horror, he was center stage at the Onyx, wearing the Baptist’s loincloth, and it was stuffed with paper money, much like a stripper’s G-string.Suddenly, Kris Roberts jumped onto the stage and took all of the bills from his loincloth.He struggled to retrieve the loot, but Kris’s grip was tight.He had awakened soaked with sweat, and feeling somewhat feverish.Grant had barely fallen asleep again when a second nightmare began.This time, Casey Wagner was on stage, at the Onyx, illuminated by a pin spot.The theatre was packed.From the wings, Grant saw his mother, Rosemary, Fred Halston, and several El Coyote co-workers in front row seats.Over the public address system, the director announced, “Tonight, the role of The Baptist will be played by Greg Rockvam because Grant Jackson was too cheap to join my Players.”This time, when Grant awakened, he was cold and embarrassed, but not sweaty.He wondered how and why he had cast Greg, his Selma best friend, into this Hollywood horror.After that, Grant had simply given up trying to sleep.At 9:00 a.m., there came a persistent knocking on his door.Grant slipped into a pair of boxer shorts and went to see who was there.Opening it, he saw Rosemary.To Grant’s surprise, she was modestly dressed, wearing little makeup, her hair pulled back into a chignon.This was quite a change.Most commonly, Rho didn’t rise until ten or so, and she was rarely dressed and groomed before lunch time.And he had never seen her luxurious mane of red head when it was not cascading down to her shoulders.Perhaps this was Rho’s idea of preparation for the discipline and regimentation of ashram living.“Come in,” Grant said, still hazy from the horrible night.Rosemary looked him over and wolf-whistled.“Somebody’s been working overtime on his stomach,” she told Grant, staring pointedly at his bare six-pack.“Well, I’m all about the abs,” Grant replied, chiding himself even as he accepted the compliment.“Besides….” he started to add then stopped himself.He had been about to say, “I’ve got to look good in that loincloth.” But just in time, he remembered that he would not be playing the Baptist; and so he wouldn’t be donning a loincloth.Changing the subject, he asked, “What are you up to, Rho?”Sounding more purposeful and organized than normal, Rosemary explained, “I’m off to the ashram.I’m putting my unsold stuff into their storage facility.How was the Read Through, Golden Guy? I’m dying to know.”Flushing with embarrassment, Grant came clean.“I was scammed,” he stammered.“The director wanted a seven hundred and fifty dollar fee from me in order to play The Baptist.”“Shit!” Rosemary exclaimed.She threw her arms around Grant’s neck and hugged him.“I’m so sorry.What a bastard! I know how much it meant to you.”Grant clung to her.“I feel like a fool.I guess you were right.I am still shaking the Selma raisins out of my boots!”“Tell me about it,” Rosemary said.“I’d only been in town for a month when a modeling agency offered to sign me.Then I learned the contract was contingent upon a thousand dollar portfolio shoot with the agency’s photographer.I felt violated.”Empathetically, Grant acknowledged her tale of woe and disillusionment.He hugged her.Releasing his pent-up tears, as well as his exhaustion and frustration, Grant cried, “Oh, Rho, what am I going to do without you, next door?” For as long as he could remember, Grant had always had a best friend, nearby.Greg Rockvam had been within easy walking distance, and then Rho was just next door.Having his best Southern California bud twenty-five miles, or so, away, was a lonely and scary prospect.Rosemary shot back, “Enough about you, Golden Guy.What will I do?”CHAPTER TENWednesday, November 13, 20023:23 p.m.When Jim Butler opened the front door of his Sweetzer Avenue apartment, Grant simply fell into his arms.They didn’t say a word.They “made out” in the living room.The actor’s kisses were sweet, warm and wonderful – Grant tingled with his touch.It just felt right, perfect.Or, as a New Ager might say, “It was meant to be.”To Grant, being with Jim Butler smacked of inevitability – the organic outcome of their flirtatious meeting before the Salome read-through, before Kris lowered the boom.Their kissing and touching were intense and urgent [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]

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