Thursday, December 15, 2005
Leather Nuggets / Secret Sauce
"Steve, I need a favor."
"Sorry, but I'm fresh out of bullets."
"No, something work related."
"I don't like that look. Don't give me that look."
"Tonight. Ten o'clock. Crystal Lake. Go to the McD's there. They're making a commercial, and they're showing some of our stuff. I was asked to go, but you know how I feel about that PR shit. Take this promo packet and some of your business cards. Shave. Don't show up bedraggled and homeless looking like you do here at work. Wear one of the company polo shirts we gave out earlier this year. Smile. Be nice. Answer questions. Real easy. I'll pay you until you get home, you don't have to show until one o'clock tomorrow, and I'll pay you for the whole day tomorrow. Deal?"
"Yes. With trepidation, but yes."
I went west, I went north, I went west some more. I landed in Crystal Lake just after nine. I was early. None of the film fucks had arrived yet. There was just a McDonald's manager named Andy, some wilted lettuce, and some spongy buns. The usual fast food sludge.
"Hi, I'm Steve. I'm here for the filming. Looks like I'm the first arrival. Am I in the right place?"
"Like, hello sweetheart! You must be the star. I'm Andy. I am soooo pleased to meet you!"
He shook my hand. Sort of. It was like shaking hands with a wet mop. Andy was definitely the gayest burger boy I'd ever encountered, complete with a dodgy mustache. He offered me free dinner. I was starving and broke, so I accepted.
As I sat in a leather chair, (this is a luxury McDonald's, you see) he sauntered over to quiz me about life in the film industry. I dashed his expectations by explaining that I was not going before the lens.
"I'm here to hand out business cards. The company I work for sells organizer kits for the cables above the prep table. Corporate loves it. I don't even know what we're doing here tonight. I think it's a promo video to sell stainless steel kitchen modifications to franchise owners. Strictly small-time."
Less than an hour later several paunchy middle-aged men arrived with camera equipment, microphones, and loud voices. I introduced myself to a silver-haired obese man in a leather jacket. "I'm Steve."
"I'm Roy. I'm from the steel company. That's Bill. He's our film guy."
Bill opened several briefcases. He handed me a clip-on microphone and bade me to run the wire under my shirt.
"Clip this on here. Put this in your pocket. It's the signal booster. We'll be ready in a couple minutes."
"Wait, what? Why am I getting a mike?"
"You're the narrator. We'll probably have some action scenes for you, too." He winked. I was beginning to worry. Bill mounted a camera to something that looked like a steering wheel. I raised my eyebrows in query.
"It's a steadicam. Cuts down on shaky video, blur, stuff like that. Totally needed for this kind of thing."
What kind of thing, I wondered? We were here to film a grimy McDonald's kitchen, right? Why was everybody so giddy? All of them were acting like pigs at a shit convention.
My boss would want me to go in front of the camera to hawk our products. He'd do the same in my position, as painful as it would be for him. I prepared myself by clearing my throat and stretching my arms. I could do this. I've imitated infomercial spokesmen in jest all my life. I could sell pentagrams to Baptists if need be. I had the potential to be a giant in sales spiel circles. I was a king. Oh yes.
My name was called. I stood next to the warmer trays. Deep breaths. Confidence.
"What you see beside me is our custom upgrade kit. With this custom manufactured nylon sock material, all of your cables are in one tube, eliminating messy obstructions hanging over the sandwich boxes and bacon trays. The jack plates in the ceiling allow for cheap easy cable replacement. No longer will you need to thread cables through your ceiling when one fails. Furthermore-"
"Cut! Stop!" Bill looked exasperated. "This just isn't sexy enough. We need to spice things up a bit, really grab their attention. When I start filming again, I want you to swivel your hips while you talk. Make double entendres, wink at the camera, you know, be vivacious."
"You're kidding." I turned to Roy. "He's kidding, right?" Roy just smiled.
I turned back to Bill. "We're selling spatula holders and cable management, Bill. Why in the blue fuck do I need to wag my ass for that?"
"Oh, you know. I was thinking we could do two videos. One for the franchisees, one for Hollywood. I was thinking you could suck off that ketchup nozzle. That would be hot. You could also pull the trigger on the mayo gun. Cum humor yeah! Oh, and maybe squeeze a burger! One of those double entendres I mentioned! Meat grabbing, get it?"
"Am I on candid camera?"
"I wouldn't call it candid, honey."
"Okay, that's it. I don't get paid enough for this. I am not going anywhere near that ketchup nozzle. Not only do I find that obscene, I fucking hate ketchup."
I removed the audio gear and tossed it to Roy. "You guys are on your own. I'm leaving."
Bill blocked my way. From somewhere he procured a leather whip, which he pointed at me. No doubt masks, chains, and dildos were hidden nearby, too.
"Bill, move. Move now. If you don't, I'm gonna dunk your head in the deep fryer until your eyeballs sizzle. I'm freakin out here. I can't handle this, it's too weird, so don't try me. I will harm you."
"You're missing a big opportunity, studly!"
I fled to the door. As I walked out, I heard Andy, the gay manager, exclaim, "I'll do it! I'll suck off the ketchup nozzle!" 3:52 PM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
Four AM Smear
Snowstorm Jubilee 2005
White Sky Black Street
No Outlet Yield
Addiction Fiction Part Four
Fetus Juggling 101