March 5, 2019 – Hollywood, California
She was born one Miss Betsy Lou Tucker of West Cowlick, Nebraska, but was far too beautiful to remain hidden on a farm. After high school, she hitchhiked to Tinsel Town, waited tables whilst working in time for auditions and maintaining her intense beauty regimen and grueling exercise schedule. Indeed, she had been graced with impeccable genes, but one could not discount her hard work and sacrifice. It all came together to create a flawless specimen of femininity, a vision of loveliness than men wanted to be with and women wanted to be.
As she rode in the back of a stretch limousine, she checked her face in a compact mirror. Her hair was blonder than the cornfields back home, her lips redder than the lust that all straight men felt for her, and greener than the envy of all aspiring actresses who wanted to be her.
Life, one might say, was good for this young woman but then again, as she stared in the small mirror, she realized she was beginning to lose track of who she was. It had been years since she’d spoken to her family. She couldn’t name a single friend or romantic partner she’d ever had who loved her for her, whoever that was. She didn’t even go by her original name anymore.
“I can see it now. Your name in big lights on movie theater marquis across the country. ‘Jordan Tessier’ in ‘Chop It Off: The Lorena Bobbitt Story.’”
Jordan closed her compact and placed it into her leather clutch. She glared at her stereotypically sleazy manager, Lorenzo D’agostino, or “Dag” as he went by. Dag was tall and in relatively good shape for a man in his early fifties. His designer suit was hand tailored to perfection, his watch was a solid gold rolex, and his hairline was perfect, perhaps a little too perfect as if it had been enhanced with the benefit of follicular restoration surgery.
“Really, Dag?” Jordan asked. “A movie based on a Broadway musical about a woman who cut her husband’s penis off in the early 1990s? Come on.”
Dag chomped on the end of a mammoth sized Cuban cigar. “Jordan baby…have I ever steered you wrong?”
The actress raised a quizzical eyebrow. “The Vapist.”
The manager rolled his eyes. “Jumpin’ Jesus H. Christ on a pogo stick. Hold that over my head forever, why don’t you? Shirley, will you help me out here?”
Dag was referring to Shirley Reed, his trusty personal assistant, who, at the moment, had her face glued to her Schmuck Phone. “Huh?”
“Will you get off that thing and tell Jordan The Vapist wasn’t so bad?” Dag asked.
Shirley was barely over five feet tall and wore a pair of black framed glasses that matched her business attire. She was prone to speaking in short declarative bursts. “Can’t boss. Flick was universally panned.”
The manager sighed as he raised his right hand as though he was about to take an oath. “Fine. As God as my witness, I swear I thought that movie was about a guy with a penchant for e-cigarettes.”
Jordan’s piercing blue eyes grew wide. “It was about a vampire rapist!”
“Look,” Dag said. “Mea culpa, OK? How was I supposed to know that a major motion picture studio would actually release a film about a fella who schtups the undead against their will?”
“The vampire was the rapist,” Shirley said without looking up from her phone.
“What?” Dag inquired.
“It wasn’t about a man who rapes vampires,” Shirley said. “It was about a vampire who rapes humans and occasionally other vampires.”
Dag appeared baffled. “You’re shitting me.”
“Nope,” Shirley said.
Jordan was livid. “You didn’t even see the movie?!”
The manager struggled for an answer. “I…um…Shirl! Why the hell didn’t I see this thing? I always attend all of Jordan’s premieres.”
“Went straight to streaming,” Shirley said.
“Straight to streaming?” Dag asked. “Why in the name of Gina Lollobrigida’s left bra strap did you let me OK our girl to get anywhere this stinker?”
Shirley punched a few buttons on her phone. “I told you to pass.”
“You did?” Dag asked.
“I did,” Shirley said. “Shoddy writing. Gratuitous nudity…”
Jordan sneered at her agent and interjected. “You made me get naked for a movie that wasn’t even ranked shelf-worthy on bookshelfbattle.com!”
“I have no idea what that is,” Dag said as he turned to Shirley. “What is that?”
“Some movie review blog run by some asshole in his underwear writing out of his basement,” Shirley said. “But the consensus of all movie reviewers was that The Vapist sucked and blew at the same time. Between the non-stop flashbacks, the flash forwards, the constant switching between live action and anime, the boom mic that was left in a scene for over ten minutes and heavy Funky Cola product placement…”
“I was bitten by a vampire who said, and I quote, ‘Your blood will never taste better than Funky Cola,” Jordan said.
Dag chewed nervously on his cigar. “Why am I not aware of any of this?”
“You’ve got to check your e-mails, boss,” Shirley said.
“Check my e-mails?” Dag asked incredulously as he glared at Shirley. “I have an assistant to do that for me!”
Dag and Shirley locked eyes in an epic staring contest until the agent realized the lack of logic in his statement and backed down.
“Look,” Dag said. “The movie business isn’t an easy racket. You win some, you lose some. OK. So, you made a flick about a broad who gets porked by a bloodsucking fiend against her will. Who hasn’t? The point is it’s time to forget about that stinkburger because I’m telling you, ‘Chop It Off’ is going to make you a household name, baby. I’m talking awards. I’m talking superstardom. I’m talking write your own ticket. You’ll own this town, kid, and I’m not just blowing steam out of my ass this time.”
Jordan turned her agent’s administrative assistant. “Shirley?”
The tiny woman held up a finger as if to silently say, “One second.” She tapped away on her phone, then looked up. “What’s up?”
“What did you write about ‘Chop It Off’ in the e-mail you sent to Dag that he most assuredly did not read?” Jordan asked.
Shirley did not hesitate. She was firm in her answer. “It’s a winner.”
“Get out,” Jordan said.
“It’s gold,” Shirley said.
“See?” Dag said.
Jordan shook her head in the negative. “No…but how…why?”
“Have you checked Lifebox lately?” Shirley asked.
“Not since the screenshot of my butt from a movie about a vampire rapist launched a thousand memes,” Jordan said.
Dag chomped on his cigar. “Oh, for the love of…will you let it go already?”
“I got naked for a movie everyone hated, Dag!” Jordan shouted.
“No one made you take your clothes off,” Dag replied. “You didn’t have to.”
“I had to,” Jordan said.
Dag turned to his right-hand woman. “She had to?”
“She had to,” Shirley said. “It was in her contract. She was required to be naked for the entire 17-minute long scene in which she was repeatedly raped by a vampire who stopped periodically to drink Funky Cola and remark on its great taste.”
Dag’s face turned ghostly white. “Shirl…you’ve got to tell me these things.”
“E-mail,” Shirley said.
“Bah!” Dag barked. “You kids and your gizmos and doodads!”
Shirley looked at Jordan. “But back to the point. Dag’s right this time. Chop It Off is your ticket to the big time.”
Jordan sat back in her seat. “Explain.”
“The #MeToo movement is all that anyone is talking about on Lifebox,” Shirley said. “Once social media technology grew to the point that women were able to bypass the old guard media and bravely shout their experiences with sexual harassment, the world began taking notice. Strong, powerful women are kicking ass and taking names, ready to punish their abusers with righteous justice.”
Dag nodded. “What she said.”
“If ever there was a time when the public were clamoring for a film about a woman who chops off her husband’s penis, this is it,” Shirley said. “Lorena Bobbitt wasn’t a criminal. She was just ahead of her time.”
Jordan gazed out the window, getting lost watching people. “But a musical?”
“That show was a hit,” Dag said. “My wife dragged me to see it twice and the joint was packed…absolutely packed. How does that little ditty go?”
Shirley cleared her throat. She wasn’t a trained singer, but she did her best. “Chop it off, it’s what I was born to do!”
“Oh, right,” Dag said as he joined in. He and his assistant brought the tune home. “I’ll chop it off for me…and I’ll chop it off for you!”
Shirley sniffed as she wiped a tear from her eye. “Lorena was a martyr. She was an inspiration for every woman who ever dreamed of dismembering her husband’s member.”
Dag waved his cigar about. “Jordan baby. Here’s the deal. We’re doing sound tests. The producers want to hear you warble. They’ve got a stage all set up with lights, cameras, backup singers, the works.”
“I’ve never professionally sung a note my entire life,” Jordan said.
A puzzled Dag turned to his Girl Friday. “Does that matter?”
“It doesn’t matter,” Shirley said.
Dag turned to Jordan. “It doesn’t matter,” he repeated.
“Auto-tune,” Shirley said.
“Exactly,” Dag said. “They’re working magic with computers these days, kiddo. Don’t ask me how they do it. I have no idea. All I know is I could fart into a steel drum and these eggheads can run it through a gizmo that’ll make it sound like Mitzi Gaynor.”
“Guy Kincaid is playing the male lead and he can’t carry a tune in a bucket,” Shirley said. “You’ll be fine.”
Jordan sat up. “The Guy Kincaid?”
“The same,” Dag said.
“From the Zombie Cop movies?” Jordan asked. “They’re trash.”
“Don’t knock those movies,” Dag said. “Each film went over like gangbusters at the box office.”
“Major moolah,” Shirley added.
“Tell her our intel, Shirl,” Dag said.
“I have it on good authority from Guy’s ex-wife’s sister’s dentist’s lawyer’s third-cousin’s yoga instructor’s podiatrist’s uncle’s pool-boy that Guy has been booked for the lead in a movie that’s guaranteed to rake in the little gold statues come award season.”
“That’s impressive,” Jordan said. “What picture?”
“Gazi,” Dag said.
Jordan furrowed her brow. “Gazi?”
“Gay Nazi,” Shirley said.
“Picture it,” Dag said. “The year? 1940. The character? A gay, high ranking member of the SS. So incensed is he when he learns that the Nazis will not tolerate his gay lifestyle that he travels through time to the 1950s on the false assumption that gay-straight relations will improve within a mere decade. Obviously, they do not, so he hunkers down, marries a random broad as a beard to disguise his gayness. They have a baby. The baby grows up to become a gay man. He finds his father’s time machine and yadda, yadda, yadda, I don’t know, there’s some science bullshit. Spoiler alert. The kid is his own father and he stops himself from ever becoming a Nazi. Don’t ask me how. I never read more than five pages of any script.”
“That sounds like red hot garbage,” Jordan said.
Dag and Shirley looked at each other, then broke out into hysterics.
“Oh, get a load of this kid,” Dag said as he slapped his knee.
“They’re all red hot garbage,” Shirley said.
“Jordan,” Dag said. “Honey. Sweetie. Baby doll. All movies are garbage. They’re all garbage because that’s all the people who watch them have time for is garbage. It’s just that there are varying degrees of garbage and…”
“Some garbage is more preferred by the award givers than others,” Shirley said.
“Bottomline,” Dag said. “Whoever stars as the gay, time traveling Nazi’s beard will be bringing home a shit ton of awards and…”
Dag leaned over and took the starlet’s dainty hand. “I want you so badly to be that gay, time traveling Nazi beard, Jordan. You nail this audition and snag this Lorena Bobbitt role and I swear to you, I will use all the daily access I get on the set off Chop It Off to whisper in Guy Kincaid’s ear that he needs, nay, he MUST have you as his gay, time traveling Nazi beard. What do you say?”
Jordan took a deep breath, held it, then exhaled. “OK. I’m in.”