Avenging Olimpia

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4-23-09 6:28 –– We left the diner without paying and now we’re back at the set. Apparently, Derek’s been running a tab––at least that’s what I like to think. Three beers barely makes me stop frowning, but he’s clearly had enough to forget.

We head into an office that’s several numeral exponents nicer than my place and he dives into a giant desk. I don’t sit because I don’t want to start getting sleepy. In fact, as I watch him tossing screenplays around like they were old issues of Swank I’m beginning to grow itchy for some whiskey. It’s precisely when he finds the one he’s looking for and tosses it to me that I know I’m going to be drunk as a priest on Monday before the sun hits noon.

“That’s the latest version,” he says, and plops into his cushy chair. “I cut some stuff, but none of it was important.”

“How do I know?”

“You want to read the old versions, be my guest. I’m warning you, though. They suck.”

I flip through a few pages looking for my name. There’s a character in there by the name of Robert Hesse but he doesn’t seem all that bright. More like the strong, silent, obedient type. Wait a sec…

“Find something?” he says, and I take a seat.

“No…nothing,” I say. “Who’s this Eleanor lady?”

“Ahh, Ellie…her I’ve met. She was Liam’s one and only true love, I think. He talked about her all the time.”

I shake my head and point to the script. “You sure? She just pulled a gun on him.”

Derek lets go a belly laugh that rocks the room. “Talk about sexual tension, huh? Yeah…they argued quite a bit. She actually shot him once. Right in the ass. It’s later on in the script.”

“He probably had it coming.”

“Want to know what happened next?”

“Sure.”

“He fucked her for three hours. In a car! Right outside the old movie theater on fifth.”

“Jesus,” I say, “why the hell didn’t he ever tell me about her?”

“So you did know him?”

I’m pissed at myself for saying anything, but I was a little hurt. Mr. O’Leary always treated me like a son. I might have even loved the sonofabitch if he hadn’t agreed to arrange to have me beat up. I know it was just business, but maybe he really did see me as some kind of disposable dimwit.

“Can I keep this?” I ask him.

“Yeah, sure,” he says, “I’ll have Jenn print me out a new one.”

I stand up and plan to read the whole thing from cover to cover. I figure it should take me about a bottle and a half to get through it. While I’m working out where to get one, a knock comes on the door.

“That’s probably her,” he says. I start to wonder if I’m going to be in a little trouble, but console myself with the fact that I didn’t rat her out. Hopefully she’ll stay mum until she catches on.

Another knock comes, and this one bashes the door open sending splinters into the air. Needless to say I’m wrong about Jenn. As wrong as a man can be.

4-23-09 6:57 –– I’m not a violent man. For some that’s hard to believe given my background. But when you’re inflicting pain on someone because they owe someone else money, you’re not doing it with vengeance in your heart or a bug up your ass. You’re doing it because it’s your job. My friend Kiki who works at a massage parlor uptown––someone I may need very shortly––puts her hands all over people and the only things going through her head are the same things going through everyone’s head when they’re at work: bills, reality TV, and whether the fucked-up person they love loves their fucked-up person back.

An unprovoked attack is a whole other animal. When I see that mongo moose from the parking lot charging at me, arms out in front of him like a pair of meat antlers, I’m insulted. Maybe I could have been nicer to him, but that’s not a sound reason to get physical. Although, my experience with the tragically stupid tells me they use their overdeveloped bodies to compensate for their underdeveloped brains. It doesn’t always lead to the best decisions. And this decision, like every decision he’s ever made that required an evolved brain stem, will be a wrong one.

Fighting is a chess game with fists where every second counts. You need to think fast and assess the situation, maximizing your advantage at every turn. To wit, I calmly hold my ground until his mitts are an arm’s length away and throw a straight, right jab at his left hand. It’s ridiculous to go for the face of a guy his size with the amount of inertia he’s creating. Even if you catch him good, a graze of his elbow can put you down. What you want to do is take out his weapons one by one and get the fuck out of the way, and luckily my knuckles land just below his. I can tell by the sound that I’ve broken at least three fingers. He’ll need to be one tough sonofabitch to use it for more than a hook.

I duck and step sharply to the right, slamming my hip against Derek’s desk. Still stunned by the intrusion, the desk slams into his gut and sends him wheeling back in his chair. “Stay out of it,” I say, and I see him nod as he works to catch his breath.

Moron comes back at me with an overhand right and I want to dodge it, but I can’t because of the desk behind me. So I do something I really don’t want to do and have a seat, kick my legs out, and use the edge of the heavy oak to propel me forward. It stops the hideous beast for a long second, but he’s back on me in a flash. Another weak right jab catches his chin, but I’m pinned under his forearm before I can roll away. I’m able to hold his free wrist, and work my hand up to the broken fingers, squeezing with everything I’ve got. He yelps like a booted St. Bernard and slides his elbow deeper into my neck. Before long, I’m taking in less air than Derek.

It’s at this point I see Jenn leaning in the doorway, a look of smug satisfaction on her face. As I begin to choke, I’m wondering if she called rape. Why she would, I have no idea. I decide to ask her with some intensity after I come very close to killing the man on top of me.

Before I go unconscious, I slam a boot heel into the rhino’s ribs with my “bad” leg. I may walk like a war vet, but my ankle––reconstructed with enough titanium to stop a subway car––has no problem busting a hole in his ribcage. The pressure on my throat abates, and I kick him again, this time with more power. Amazing what a little oxygen can do.

The troll roars, and I see an opening for an elbow to the face. I take it. The shower of blood that spills from this man’s head is unbelievable. It’s like he’s half empty in under three seconds, and I celebrate that fact by hitting him again, same place.

Blind and in considerable pain, he stands up and does this thing that lots of guys who work in films do: holds his hand out like he thinks I’m going to give him a break. See, if you learn how to fight from stunt coordinators, you’re used to the other guy cutting you slack. The problem is, the better you are at “movie fighting” the worse you are at the real thing. You begin to take for granted that the universe is operating under a predictable series of events. In the real world, where fighting is normally a matter of more than a paycheck, you don’t waste a single opportunity to roll the credits. So I slide off the desk, get low (careful to watch his hips––early indicators of a kick), and release a left jab followed by a quick right hook that creates a deep crater in his button fly.

Frankendick is down. Nothing left but negotiations.

I step on his collarbone and say, “Talk.” Instantly I realize he can barely breathe, let alone form words. I already know he’s not great with full sentences, and now I’m really fucking thirsty. I look to Jenn, who’s got both hands over her mouth in horror. “Okay, you then,” I say, “and don’t try for your blackberry. You won’t get two numbers in.”

She pulls her hands away, and I see tears. She says, “I didn’t know he was going to react like that. He found me crying and I told him you said something mean, but––”

“Save it,” I say. It was going nowhere but planet stupid. “Maybe you should find something to clean up Shrek, here, instead.”

I look over to Derek, who’s rubbing his temples. “Sorry,” I say, and he waves me off. “I’ll be in touch.”

On my way out, I pick my script off the floor and stop at Jenn. She looks at me with eyes that tell me I’ve ruined a part of her for life. No one ever had the balls to make the little brat feel like I did and no one ever will again. And even though she set up the revenge, she can’t stand the thought of that.

“Take care, Jenn,” I say. “Thanks for the cake.”

(continued)