Thursday, April 05, 2007

"The Liquid Life" (installment twenty)


I started shivering, went through a withdrawal, but kept finally firm. I sent Whitey’s message by courier. The speed of delivery proved to be pointless because it was some two months before I heard from her.

“Dominique? What’s up? Hope everything’s good. Listen, tell that businessman McEntee that I’m too involved with other projects to get my hands dirty working for him,” she peppered me. I’m just too busy, but I hope everything’s good with you.”

Sure. Just fabulous. And her?

“Cassius says I’m on the verge of landing so many roles. He says I can get plenty of commercials soon, too. He’s helping me meet all the right people.”

"Is that right?"

“Yeah, there are about eight of them. The rest are full of it. Anyway, Cassius has gotten me out of politics altogether,” went her litany for me.

She had beauty to mine and Cassius said there wasn’t much time. “Let my world devour itself,” was her new program. Cassius gave her three years or even less. “Three years can go very fast,” did she cliché me, “and then the first blush fades.”

The only predictable things about Elendele were those that had to with acting. Like so many of her kind, she was slave to the idea of being screened.

“What’s wrong with you,” I rang her bell, “is that you run around talking about youth being in the soul or the spirit, but you cower before each New Year’s Eve.” It was a rare lecture. “You’re all hung up on it.”

She said that we were not connecting and that the topic should be dropped right there. Elendele asked if we could meet for coffee sometime and had to sweeten the deal by offering to pay for cappuccino and vanilla stick and Maria. With those words she flushed recent nostalgia straight through me. There were daydreams of winter afternoons between my shees and their summer sheets.

There were nightmares featuring the appearance of Cassius. Cassius who was stout, who was quick in the mouth, and fearless upon entering a room of fresh faces. He’d ended up with her; that was the sum total of all events involving him.

Cortez and I were fighting off libel and slander charges against a magazine from our mutual past when she called again. It didn’t have much to do with me, really.

Cassius had learned you can’t do anything, commercials, or movies with epic sweep, without getting into the Actors Guild. And you couldn’t get into the Actors Guild without having done a commercial or something with an epic sweep, or at least without knowing someone. She should have known that. Whitey McEntee – someone to know – certainly did.

When she called she caught me drunk and I agreed to set up a meeting between them and I agreed to be there to help them work it out; to bring Whitey’s enterprise to fruition; to hang around the salon again.

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