I shrugged, then turned around and ignored her. She could try, but nobody really knew me anyway. Even my short stint as Hand Solo was all but gone. I’d disappeared back into Kellan’s gargantuan shadow, where I was forever destined to stay. Fuck my life.
Numerous regulars went home, but I stayed. I was closing the place down tonight; hadn’t done that in a long time. And I was sloppy drunk too. As the night wore on, my phone buzzed more and more often, but I ignored it. I didn’t want to deal with obligations right now, I just wanted to get fucked up.
Hours later, I was alone at my table, teetering on the edge of vomiting or passing out, when a guy I didn’t know sat across from me. He was wearing a suit, complete with a tie, and looked really out of place here. I tried to tell him to fuck off, but all that came out of my mouth was a weird grunting sound. Maybe if I chucked on his shoes he’d get the message.
With a smile that was way too bright for this late at night, he stretched his hand across the table. “Hi, my name is Harold Berk. You’re Griffin Hancock, correct?”
I stared at his fingers but didn’t touch him. When he realized I wasn’t the handshaking type, he pulled his arm back. “Yeah, that’s me. Who wants to know?”
His brows drew together in concentration, and I knew my speech was coming out so slurred it was like I was speaking another language. I didn’t repeat myself though. Let him figure it out. “Um, like I said, my name is Harold Berk. I represent Iris Production Studios.”
I didn’t know what this guy was talking about, but the instant the word “production” hit my ears, Kellan’s solo offer flashed through my mind. Pointing at the guy, I snarled, “You tell those lamebrain fuckers that you work for that they are…lame…and they don’t know what they’re missing. Kellan has the talent…ha! Kellan has the herpes, that’s what he has! Well, the odds are good anyway…Dude’s a whore.” Wiping some spittle off my lips, I finished with “Battle Robots suck anyway. Thirty-foot-tall robots fighting monsters in the streets…fucking awesome.” I shook my head, making the world dance. “I mean…fucking ridiculous.”
Whatever his name was across from me looked even more confused by my ramblings. “Battle Robots? No, no I’m not talking about that. Or Kellan. I’m here to talk to you.”
Curiosity reached through my hazy brain to flip on a light switch of intrigue. “Who are you again?”
The man sighed. “My name is Harold Berk, for the third time, and I represent Iris Production Studios. I’m here to proposition you.”
I immediately held both of my hands up, accidently hitting my glass and spilling some whiskey on the table. “I don’t do dudes, so you can save the proposition.”
The guy…Arnold or something…closed his eyes. “I’m not…that’s not…” With a strained expression, he reopened his eyes. “Iris Studios is currently producing a pilot for a TV show. It’s about an up-and-coming rock star, struggling to navigate the dark and seedy side of show business as he attempts to make a name for himself. Think Sopranos meets The Partridge Family. Naturally, we need a musically gifted actor to play the lead. We’ve searched the world over, Mr. Hancock, auditioned dozens of musicians, but no one else will do, because no one else is you…”
By the way he said it, it was clear he was expecting some sort of response from me. I had no idea what he was droning on about though.
“What?” I said to Arnold Berkanator. “I’m sorry, I wasn’t listening. Could you repeat that?”
He looked at my glass, then back up to my face. “Maybe we should talk later, when you’re sober.”
He handed me a business card, but I swished my hand at him instead of taking it. “Nah, now is good. I remember crap better when I’m plastered. Ask the guys. I learned all our songs shit-faced.”
Arnold brought his hands to his head and started rubbing circles into his skull. Ah, he must’ve suffered from the not-enough-sex headaches that Kellan had. I’d sympathize, but I never had that problem. “Like I said, we want you to film a TV show about an up-and-coming musician. You would be the focal point of the show—the star.”
The fuzziness in my head instantly evaporated at his magic words—You would be…the star. The rock star, star. I slapped my hand down on the table. “I’m in! Where do I sign up?”
Arnold didn’t look any less confused by my pronouncement. “Do you want to hear any more details about the show, about your role in it, about our vision, about the steps we’ll need to go through to get the show on the air?”
I took a long gulp of my whiskey. It went down as smooth as apple juice now. “Nope. Don’t care. You had me at star.”
Shaking his head, Arnold said, “Well, all right…I’m glad to hear you’re on board. If you give me your number, I’ll call you tomorrow with details about the pilot.” I instantly reached into my pocket and handed him my phone. He stared at it, blinking, then he finally picked it up. “Getting a show on the air these days is a complicated process, and even great shows sometimes fail. Because of the riskiness involved, I’m obligated to tell you that we’re only filming the pilot right now. There is no guarantee the series will be picked up, or that it will remain on the air if it does get picked up. The market is very competitive, but with your high-profile status, I have no doubt that the show will be a smashing success.”
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