Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Official Whisky of the NHL

BREAKING NEWS: The world is full of hypocrites...I'm watching a liquor commercial on Hockey Night in Canada right now.  Why does the National Hockey League need an "official" liquor sponsor? And why is hard liquor advertising allowed on television anyway?  Oops, I forgot - it's on a cable/satellite TV channel, so the federal regulations against liquor advertising don't apply! I won't give the whisky brand any free advertising on this blog (let's called it "Clown Loyal", which trumpets the fact that it is "The Official Whisky Partner of the NHL"). Don't forget, kiddies, while you watch your sports heroes: Cigarettes are horrible, but booze isn't so bad, after all. In fact, a cigarette taste so good after a few belts of Clown Loyal!

Monday, April 07, 2014

The Last Link to Old Hollywood is Gone

With the recent deaths of Mickey Rooney and Shirley Temple, the last of the old time Hollywood stars are gone forever. Being so young during their heyday, virtually all of the people associated with their movies died long ago, including their child-star contemporaries like Freddie Bartholemew, Elizabeth Taylor and Judy Garland. Other child performers from that era undoubtedly are still living, but the only conceivable "star" still alive from back then is Margaret O'Brien, who was born in 1937 and began her movie career in 1941. She's best known as Judy Garland's little sister in Meet Me in St. Louis. When she was seven years old, she won the Academy Juvenile Award as the best child actor of 1944.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Aphrodite Shuddered - Chapter 46





Chapter 46
Open Secrets

Early August 1992
In the two weeks since the National Security Council and White House had disowned me, Angie and I managed to ramp-up our voter registration operation in Carson City with the assistance of Jane Hartwell, with whom Angie had finally kissed-and-made-up. Angie had been resentful of Jane's using us as a stepping-stone to a position on Cliff Williamson's presidential campaign. For days after Jane quit working for us, Angie had seethed in anger over it. Finally I had told her, “You know, if it hadn't been for Jane, and Tim, we wouldn't have met Cliff in the first place - and you'd still be trying to graduate from cosmetology school, instead of making a thousand bucks a week running the committee. Quit taking everything so personally.”

“I can't believe you're defending that traitor! Ever since we met that fuckin' whore, it's been so obvious that you're hot for her ass!”

Admittedly, Angie was right, as the long limbed, big breasted Jane was truly delectable. “That's bullshit,” I had fibbed in reply. Her accusations fizzled-out then, as Angie had suddenly lost interest in further pursuing the potentially redounding question of who-wanted-to-fuck-whom.

But ever since meeting-up with her in Carson City recently, Angie, slowly morphing into a real politician, softened her attitude once she realized that Jane possessed useful political connections within the State Capitol. Jane, who was in-charge of Cliff Williamson's fund raising efforts in the Reno/Carson City area, gladly helped to get our registration drive off the ground, especially since Angie offered to share with her all of the new registrants' names and addresses. Then, with the prospect of landing a few thousand additional contributors to the Williamson campaign, she re-doubled the favor by helping us set-up an operation in Reno, as well.

Thanks to the flow of generous unsolicited donations to our America Votes For Freedom Committee, we were able to offer substantially higher wages to prospective “volunteers” and staffers than most of the other political committees in the region. Thus we had little difficulty finding enough qualified people to run the offices and to register new voters.
* * *

Although the NSC had recently severed all ties to me, I remained tethered to my bothersome little CIA-designed cell phone. However, that device had been rendered virtually unusable for now, until such time that my new Intelligence Community contact (code-named TRITON) phoned me on it. But until that call came, I was, as far as the federal government was concerned, just another overpaid computer consultant working under contract for the United States Department of Agriculture.

I spent hours wondering what my next intelligence assignment would be, since Gall had informed me that I had no immediate Need-to-Know what it was. Curious, I tried to tease-out a possible hidden meaning embedded in my contact's code-name. I did have a vague recollection of the word “Triton” from my teenage readings of Greek mythology. From what little I remembered, Triton was the name of an androgynous minor deity who, together with his/her father Lord Poseidon and the rest of Poseidon's gender-neutral offspring, resided in a golden palace at the bottom of the sea. I couldn't resist considering the unlikely possibility that TRITON was an obscure reference to the alien undersea base in the Caribbean that I had helped to discover, during the search for the missing attack-submarine Silverfish, almost exactly one year ago. If my speculation proved to be correct, I would soon be taking a trip to the bottom of the Caribbean in a nuclear sub, as Gall had once hinted to me months ago. (Incidentally, the secret of the existence of that alien base was revealed [along with other secret matters I have written about] in 2010 by Australian computer hacker Julius Assuage, founder of the politically dissident website LeakyWicks, with the internet publication of millions of digital pages of classified US government documents. In fact, LeakyWicks exposed so MANY secret documents that a huge percentage of them have remained, as yet, unknown to the general public)

Copyright 2014 by K.D. Bishop 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Aphrodite Shuddered - Chapter 45



Chapter 45
Kitty Litter


Next day:
Angie and I were all set to fly up to Carson City to visit a real estate agency about taking out a lease on some local office space. But at Las Vegas' McCarren Airport, my encrypted cell buzzed right before our scheduled departure time - John Gall wanted to have a face-to-face meeting with me immediately, at the Federal Building. Considering the timing of his call, I immediately assumed that Tina's recent travails was the reason for the meeting, so I attempted to ask him, “Does this have anything to do with, uh - ”

“I'll give you all the details when you arrive,” he said, cutting me off in mid-sentence. "Get down here as soon as possible, if you would,” he added peremptorily, then hanging-up without waiting for a response. Judging from his uncharacteristically abrupt manner, I sensed that the meeting was going to be about as enjoyable as undergoing dental surgery.

Pocketing my accursed phone, I told Angie, “I won't be able to go with you - something important's come up at work.”

“I almost forgot that you still have a job,” she joshed, in reference to my apparently cushy work schedule of late. She sighed and said, “Well, have fun, then.” With self-assurance she added, “I think I can handle it by myself.”

When the flight was announced over the PA seconds later, I kissed her goodbye and said, “I still remember what happened the last time you went to Carson City, so behave yourself.”

“What the hell are you talkin' about! Deke was the one who needed to behave himself, not me.” Last spring, cops busted-in on the hotel suite she was sharing with Senator Dodder's son Deke, who minutes before had been arrested for drug possession, near the State Capitol building. They searched the suite in the expectation of discovering more drugs, but according to Angie who happened to be there, Deke earlier had stolen the last of her crack cocaine while she was out of the room, hence nothing incriminating was found. In the back of my mind, I still wondered if she had gone to bed with him on that occasion, in spite of her furious denial of it back then.

Eyes downcast, Angie then pouted as she was prone to do under the mildest criticism, and I replied, “That's debatable but we can discuss it some other time. See you tonight...okay?” But by now she had turned away from me and began marching petulantly toward the departure ramp. On that sour note, I left the terminal and headed to the parking garage.

I was tailed by at least one vehicle all the way from the airport to downtown, but I hardly took notice of physical surveillance any longer, accepting it as a matter of course. During the drive to the office, I heard this on a local radio talk show. “...My first guest today is Kelly Kitty, author of a brand-new unauthorized biography of former president Roland Regulus and his wife Nancy. In her book, which hits retail bookstores this week, one of her sources claims that during his presidency, Regulus secretly consulted with his very own psychic adviser. That's a little frightening, if true - now here's a guy who had his finger poised on the nuclear button for eight years - The World's Most Powerful Man - and he's taking advice from some gypsy fortune teller gazing into a crystal ball?” That revelation made my face tingle in nervous response, as President Hedges himself once told me that Regulus had indeed employed a psychic adviser.

The talk show host continued: “Another source claims that Nancy Regulus, during her tenure as First Lady, received sage advise from her personal staff of astrologers. We'll also discuss the book's startling allegation that Nancy had a long-standing affair with movie star Lance Steele - while she was married. This is pretty amazing stuff, folks! I'll be back with Kelly Kitty right after the next commercial break, so don't go away...”
 
But before I could catch that sensationalistic interview, I arrived at the Federal Building. Up on the 10th floor, I unlocked my crummy little office, where Gall was already waiting for me. Plopping down into my desk chair, I greeted him with, “Hi, John, you won't believe what I just heard on the radio. Roland Regulus supposedly consulted with a psychic - while he was in office.”

“Since you've heard about that, you should have an inkling as to why this meeting was necessary. Some on the White House Staff were already disturbed by the fact that you had direct access to the President, and now there's this stupid book about Regulus coming out.”

I replied gloomily, “And this just happens to be an election year, right?”

“Exactly. Whether that book is a crock of shit or not, it really doesn't matter – the media could get it in their heads that President Hedges is taking advice from a psychic too. The President hates losing your services on behalf of the NSC, but he would hate losing the election even more.”

Fishing blindly for information, I asked, “Is there any other reason why I'm suddenly being kicked to the curb?”

“I don't know, Denny.” Then he did a little fishing of his own: “Should there be?”

There were several possible reasons why the White House Staff would consider me persona non grata, but some possibilities were too dangerous for me to talk about, pertaining to political secrets that I had psychically blundered into. In dealing with anyone who was aware of my psychic abilities, I always had to walk a tightrope of pretended ignorance without having the appearance of being evasive. “Well, aside from the craziness of my personal life these days - which you must be well aware of - there's the small matter of my helping the Democrats raise campaign money.”

“The president wasn't bothered by your campaign work for the Democrats, in fact I think he found it mildly amusing. But if his Chief of Staff ever found out about it, it certainly wouldn't help your position.” Now I started to wonder what else his Chief of Staff - Jake Sononno - might know about me. Evidently trying to catch me off-guard, Gall asked, “Hey, what was that threatening phone call all about? - the one you received at your committee office the other day.” Seeing the stunned look on my face, he chuckled and said, “Don't tell me you're surprised that I know about it.”

Sheepishly I replied, “Ha – no, I'm not surprised.”

“So far, I don't have a clue who that guy was. His phone number was a dead-end, of course – he called from a local pay-phone. You got any ideas?”

Avoiding the topic of Tina's role in Donna's death, I told him somewhat disingenuously, “Hell, I don't know who that was. DISC, maybe? Williamson operatives? White House plumbers? Take your pick, John.”

“Denny, I seriously doubt that anybody in government would want to put a bullet in your brain – you're too valuable an asset, as I've told you many times. Even though the NSC will have to break all ties with you for the foreseeable future, you'll still be under protective surveillance by other agencies.”

“It's so nice to be wanted,” I grumbled. “Who'll be watching over me this time – the CIA? FBI?”

“That's classified.”

“So, who or what do I work for now?”

“For the time being, that's classified too.”

Feeling more relaxed, I sat back and clasped my fingers behind my head. “Not that I really care, since I only got four months left on my contract anyway.”

“As for when your contract expires, I wouldn't plan too far into the future, if I were you. For reason of National Security, your contract may be extended by Executive Order at the end of the year, like it was last year.”

“Ah shit, I hope not,” I said with a groan.

“Face it, Denny – for the rest of your life, with the secrets you know and the things you're capable of, the government will always have a keen interest in you. But look on the bright side – you won't have to worry about being unemployed ever again.”
.


Copyright 2014 by K.D. Bishop

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Aphrodite Shuddered - Chapter 44


Chapter 44
Temper, Temper!


The 1992 Democratic National Convention, held in New York City, turned-out to be a stage-managed anti-climax. Before the convention had even begun, Burt Gort inexplicably dropped out of the race in order to accept Cliff Williamson's offer to be his vice-presidential running mate (12 hours after Donna died, incidentally). With Gort's sizable chunk of delegates now in his pocket, Williamson's nomination was nearly a forgone conclusion. Topping it all off, his powerful friends in the Democratic National Committee (including DNC Chairwoman Amy Richardson) controlled the convention's most important committees, thereby deciding who would be allowed on the floor and who would be allowed to speak, as well as stifling any organized effort by wayward delegates to deny Williamson the nomination on the first ballot. As it became obvious, early on, that Williamson possessed a clear majority of delegates, all of the remaining candidates (except for California Governor Jeremy Brownstone) suddenly swung their support to him, so as not to be left out in the cold should he actually become president. An impressive 80% of the delegates (over 3,000) opted for the Williamson/Gort ticket on the first ballot. President Hedges and Republican power-brokers had to have been disturbed by this rare display of Democratic Party unity.
 
Like most political observers, I had been bewildered by Gort's announcement, on the eve of the convention, that he was throwing his support to Williamson. At the time, the melodramatic part of my mind feverishly imagined that Donna's death had emboldened Williamson to strong-arm Gort - by means fair or foul - into quitting the race, without the threat of Gort (or his many supporters) using his relationship with a transsexual as political leverage. One less noisy skeleton rattling in the closet. I had scolded myself then, Forget it - don't even THINK about that shit! It was more probable that Gort had knuckled-under because he realized he was doomed to fail, what with Williamson's supporters pulling the strings at the convention.
 
Angie had been floating on Cloud 9 ever since Williamson clinched the nomination, even after having been unceremoniously dumped from his campaign. Dreaming of reaping political rewards should Willamson win the presidency, she immediately redoubled her effort to register new voters. And very soon after the convention ended, she got further energized when couriers dropped-off at the committee office two $20,000 checks from wealthy liberal contributors, to fund the Democrats' all-out national effort to expand the voter rolls. But she was none too pleased when I reminded her (yet again) that we, in turn, were legally compelled to donate all monies in excess of legitimate expenses to other Political Action Committees. In response to that, she replied with political astuteness, “In that case, we should open more offices to eat-up more expense money. I've been thinking we should do that anyway - have branches in Reno and Carson City. We can afford it, now.” At least this latest scheme of hers fell within the range of legality. And I liked the idea that it might keep her too busy to backslide into the habit of smoking crack.
 
“It's your decision, babe. I just work here.” She then plopped down into my lap and gave me several stimulating kisses. “Mmmm – feel like playing around with the help? We can duck into the janitor closet or something.”
 
She giggled indulgently and slipped out of my grasp. “Don't be silly, Den. We've got to get busy! There's a hundred phone calls to make if we want to open those new offices before it's too late - the election's less than four months away!”

* * *
Next day at the committee office, Angie answered a phone call and then hollered from within her small private office, “Denny, this guy specifically asked to talk to you! He didn't mention a name - he's waiting on line two.”
 
Glad to break-up the monotony of verifying the signatures and addresses on voter registration forms, I replied, “All right, I got it.” A moment later I said into the phone, “Denny speaking. What can I do for you today?”
 
An unfamiliar male voice rasped, “Listen, shithead, you've meddled in our affairs once too often. You've managed to seriously annoy some very important people – you understand? You think we don't know what you were doing in Atlanta and who you were talking to? If you don't want to end-up in the middle of the desert with a bullet in your brain, then I advise you to mind your own fucking business from now on - and that goes for that loony black bitch you run around with, too. Think about it.”
 
Both fearful and furious, I could see nothing but the color of blood before my eyes, and wanted nothing more than to reach through the phone line and throttle his neck – so much for my recent vow to keep a tight rein on my temper. “HEY, you fucker! Who is this?” But he had already hung-up. I was about to slam the phone receiver down into its cradle, but stopped short when I noticed its suddenly decrepit condition. Unconsciously, my right hand, now throbbing in pain, had cracked it open, breaking the thick plastic component nearly in two while the guy was threatening me.
 
Angie came out of her office and asked, “What the hell was that all about, Den? Who were you yelling at?” Then she jokingly asked, “An angry husband, perhaps?”
 
“Yeah, right. I have no idea who that was. Whoever the creep is, he called me a shithead and warned me to mind my own business, among other things.”
 
“Hey, do you suppose it has anything to do with our wanting to expand the committee into northern Nevada? The last thing those goddam Republicans want is more people registered to vote.”
 
“True enough, but that call had nothing to do with the committee. It's just some government-related crap I can't talk about – it's nothing, really.”
 
She wasn't convinced, as she rolled her big blue eyes. “You always say it's 'government-related' when you don't want to discuss something. I bet the Republicans are tapping our phones - again!” Glancing down at my desk, she then exclaimed, ”Holy shit, Den! What happened to your phone?”
 
Putting on an act, I waved a hand dismissively. “Aw, it's cheap imported junk like everything else they sell these days. Tsk - you can't even slam down the phone anymore without it flying apart.” But in reality, one would need the strength of a gorilla or The Incredible Hulk to inflict so much damage to the nearly indestructible receiver, yet somehow I had managed it almost as easily as crushing an empty beer can (my aching hand notwithstanding). This was the third such incident I had experienced in the past 30 days - the second incident since only last week. It now appeared that In addition to my on-again-off-again psychic powers, I was developing into some sort of third-rate superhero, possessing physical powers that only emerged on occasions when my anger boiled out of control.
 
Considering the implications of that harassing phone call, it must have been the fact of Donna's death that had gotten those very important people so annoyed with me. I could scarcely believe it, but “They” appeared to suspect Tina and myself of having been part of a sinister political plot to murder him. On the surface, their suspicion about us almost made logical sense, owing to our personal connection to Williamson, my curious phone call to Donna's mother in Atlanta and meeting with Grant Hawthorne immediately afterward, and, obviously, Tina's role in putting Donna in the hospital. Moreover, if this mysterious “They” were also aware of my psychic capabilities, then their suspicion suddenly made a whole lot of sense.

Copyright 2014 by K.D. Bishop

Friday, January 03, 2014

Aphrodite Shuddered - Chapter 43


Chapter 43
That's Show Biz!


One hour later:
When I met-up with Angie in Malibu shortly after midnight, she gave me the rundown on what was happening with Tina. She was telling me: “...Then Jimmy called back and said she's gonna be held overnight at the downtown jail until her bail hearing, sometime tomorrow morning. The lawyer tried to get her released immediately, but I guess the cops can keep her in jail until she sees a judge if they feel like it. She's charged with second-degree murder, Den!”
 
Trying hard to downplay it, I replied with more assurance than I felt. “Don't worry about it, this'll all blow over soon. Hell, they don't even know the exact cause of his death yet!” Grasping at straws, I speculated wildly, “The District Attorney probably wants to turn this into a carnival sideshow for all the publicity the case'll generate, so, they slap a murder charge on her to grab some cheap headlines. This is LAyou know how it is here.” With false cheer, I laughed, “Ha! You should've seen those cops acting as if nutty shit like that happens all the time.”
 
“In Hollywood, it probably does happen all the time. Those ex-child actors are always getting busted for drugs or shoplifting.”
 
“Or homicide,” I said ruefully. “LA cops seem to enjoy media exposure - they could've snuck her out through the parking garage or a side door, but they'd get no face-time on the news if they did that.”
 
During the wee hours of that morning, the all-night TV news programs repeatedly ran video clips of the crazy goings-on coinciding with the handcuffed Tina being escorted out of the Hollywood police station. Shown particularly often were clips of the flaming protest signs and of several protesters and curious bystanders being pepper-sprayed by the cops. Thanks to me (apparently), three people needed immediate medical attention for burns, and 10 others were arrested. In the aftermath of that public spectacle, Reverend Matthew Powers, during an interview, made the outlandish accusation that the LAPD had set his followers' signs on fire with a secret microwave weapon. I could only wish that, for once, he had spoken the truth.
 
If actually possessing the ability to start fires merely by willing it, I hoped that nobody found out about this dubious new skill of mine – especially nobody in the US government Of course, the evil side of my personality reveled in the implications: after slinking away from that bizarre scene I had felt a selfish thrill of power, oddly similar to sexual lust, surging through me before banishing it to the dark recesses of my medula oblongata from whence it came. You'd have to be Jesus Christ or a Major Saint to resist the pride and smugness - and perhaps delusions of grandeur - that come with having personal power of that sort. From this time forward, I vowed to maintain a much tighter control on my temper, which until recently had never been an issue for me.
 
It took two more days to get Tina out of jail, upon the results of Donna's autopsy being submitted to the court. The Medical Examiner had determined that his death was caused by a pulmonary embolism, likely due to past chronic intravenous drug abuse, and thus his death was not a direct result of Tina beating him up. To our vast relief, the judge ruled that the homicide charge be dismissed. However, the DA then turned around and filed a 1st Degree Assault & Battery charge against her, conviction of which carried a maximum sentence of one year in the county slammer. Pleading not guilty to that charge, she was then released on her own recognizance, to the vast relief of my bank account balance.
 
Learning the cause of Donna's death stirred in me a half-forgotten memory from around 1978. At the time, a co-worker at Air Force Intelligence, during a pot-smoking session with me, had confided a reliable rumor that in the 1960s the CIA had developed a pill, jokingly referred to as a “PEP” pill, which biochemically induces a fatal pulmonary embolism in targets designated for assassination. Now recalling what my colleague had told me, I presumed that such a drug would be ideal to use against targets who were undergoing medical treatment at a hospital. Another way to induce a PE is to inject particulate matter (either deliberately or through carelessness from using a dirty needle) into a major vein in the leg. From there, these foreign particles are carried by the bloodstream directly into the lungs, becoming lodged there and wreaking havoc with breathing and heart rate, killing the victim if not diagnosed and treated quickly. It later sickened me to learn that Donna, with his jaws wired shut, had had much difficulty communicating his symptoms - shortness of breath and runaway heart palpitations - to the unsuspecting medical staff. If not for that unfortunate delay, he probably would have survived and recovered fully.
 
After the release of the Medical Examiner's report, I half-believed that his death had been an accident after all. However, my suspicion that he was murdered was not going to fade any time soon, since his intravenous drug use would be perfect cover by which to kill him with a so-called PEP pill or by needle injection.
 
* * *
The Hollywood Station Riot, as it was to become known in Tinseltown lore, (and which I inadvertently incited), served to increase exponentially Tina's already high level of notoriety. Although the court was allowing her to reside in Las Vegas between court hearings, she nevertheless had to stay in LA at least three more weeks so she could finish her scenes in Blow Like the Wind. To evade bothersome papparazzi and tabloid reporters in the meantime, Tina accepted Marta's and Alex's invitation to stay at their mansion, located near LA within the wealthy gated community of Rolling Hills Estates. Before finally driving back to Las Vegas, Angie and I spent Tina's first night of freedom there with her. The three of us gave the enormous bed in her guest room a hard workout late into the night (at least until Lamar had his inevitable screaming fit). Next morning after breakfast, while Angie was trying to sweet-talk Alex into donating a large contribution to her America Votes For Freedom committee, Tina and I took a leisurely walk on a winding path through the estate's immaculately manicured Japanese gardens. Looking out at the slate-blue, gently rolling Pacific Ocean far below us, I glumly told her, “I'm really sorry I got you into this mess, Amazon - and all of the other messes, for that matter.”
 
She snickered and replied, “Mama always said you'd ruin my life.” Then she took my hand in hers while we strolled and said, a little more seriously: “We've had this discussion before, Herc. It wasn't your fault. If I got a lotta problems right now, it's only 'cause I brought 'em on myself. Y'know, every time somethin' bad would happen, you always told me, 'if only we'd stayed in Seattle, everything would be cool', but how do you know that? No regrets, Herc - if we had stayed there, we might be dead by now, who knows.” Her mood plunging suddenly, she said with quavering voice, “Lord, I still can't believe he's dead, dead! I ain't never been as drunk as I was that night.” She slowly shook her head. “Tsk - man, I flipped-out over fuckin' nothin'. And with a baby to take care of - what a rotten mother I am! She then surprised me by leaning into me, weeping on my chest. I doubted she had ever cried more than a few times in her adult life.
 
I held her tightly and tried to soothe her. “It was just an accident, honey,” (although it hadn't been entirely accidental). “Donna liked to shoot heroin into his leg veins – that's what really killed him.” I had nearly managed to convince myself with that very plausible explanation. “I'm gonna do everything possible to make sure you don't spend another day in jail. You've never been in trouble with the law before, so the judge'll probably go easy on you and give you probation.“
 
With a heavy sigh, she said, “I always swore I'd never fall for all this Hollywood bool-shit – what a joke that statement is, now.”
 
“I know exactly what you mean, Amazon - I swore to myself that I'd never take a government job.”
 
She giggled in spite of misty tears. “Oh, shut-up, Hercules. You an' yer corny-ass humor.”
 
“Well? Do you still want to make movies?”
 
“Maybe. The way things are goin' for me, I won't ever be able to get a normal job anymore, or even good modeling gigs. But I ain't gonna sign any more movie contracts unless I get paid a lotta money in a short time – before I get the fuck out completely. I already told Jimmy that.”
 
I glanced at my cheap digital watch. “I wonder if Jim's gonna show before we have to leave. Angie and I need to get back to Vegas this afternoon.” Although having promised Jim to discuss my investing in his next movie today, I now hoped to slip away rather than sit through another one of his sales spiels.
 
Right after we returned to the main house, a triumphant Angie waved a $20,000 personal check under my nose. She gleefully announced, “Success!” After a quick kiss, she told me, “Hey, Jimmy called while you were outside. He's on his way over.”
 
I turned to Tina and said, “Your contract is up for renegotiation soon, so when the discussion turns to the subject of money, I'm gonna try to take him to the cleaners this time – assuming we make a deal at all.”
 
Evidently, she lacked confidence in my ability to negotiate a contract. “Herc, if you don't get me a big-ass payday outta this, yer fired.”
 
Ten minutes later, Jim Walters in his black, 1941 Lincoln Continental convertible rolled up to the front of the ivy-covered mansion. He appeared to be in a better humor than the last time I saw him, on the day after Donna died. On that occasion, he was having a panic attack because he now had to write Donna's role out of the movie or hire a replacement, and either choice entailed the expensive re-shooting of many scenes. But now he seemed back to his usual dapper, pencil-thin mustached self, dressed as he was in a canary-yellow suit with matching patent leather loafers, plus a purple ascot and scarlet beret, looking like a gay Hollywood directors from the 1930s – not unexpectedly, as he was gay.
 
Marta's maid Serena opened the front door and Jim made his usual grand, gesticulating entrance. Tina greeted him with, “Looking stylish as always, sweet boy.”
 
Jim hugged her and said, “Kiss-kiss, baby girl. What's my jailbird superstar up to today?”
 
Tina grumbled contritely, “Stayin' outta trouble – for good.”
 
“Tut-tut! Now don't go to extremes, Amazon Woman. A little bad publicity never hurt anybody. So, are you ready to go back to work?” Tina nodded and Jim then said, “Wonderful! We're way behind schedule so I need everybody at the studio by 6am tomorrow.” After a minute of small-talk, he draped an arm around my shoulders and whispered, “Big Fella, could we have a little private discussion for a minute?”
 
“Yeah, let's go into Alex's study.”
 
As we settled into leather armchairs in the book-filled study, Jim chuckled and said, “Oh my God, that was the greatest unintentional publicity stunt ever when those protesters' set their signs on fire! Every time those goons show up, my movies get tons of media exposure - the TV news must have mentioned Blow Like the Wind a hundred times in the past three days! It's a perfect time to invest - “
 
I held up the palms of my hands. “Whoa, wait, Jimmy. Before I agree to put any money in, I need to know a few things: What are you gonna do about replacing Donna?”
 
“Well, at first I thought losing him was a catastrophe, of course, but after considering the situation I've come to the conclusion that we can use the 20 minutes of footage of him we've already shot, dub-over his voice and use a female stand-in for missing scenes– filming his character from behind and so forth. That will save about a million in cost overruns due to delays and having to re-shoot scenes. As an added benefit, keeping Donna in the movie will generate a huge amount of media buzz!”
 
I was stunned. “Wow – really? Isn't that going to create a big stink with the public? Using a dead guy to promote the movie?”
 
“Did the producers of Giant have any compunction about doing the same thing when James Dean died? Heavens, no! And remember when Vic Morrow got his head sliced off by a helicopter during the filming of The Twilight Zone movie? The show must go on, Barrymore.” 

Copyright 2014 by K.D. Bishop 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Aphrodite Shuddered - Chapter 42


Chapter 42
Go to Hell!


Two seconds later:

Nearly struck dumb by what Tina had told me over the phone right then, I let out an anguished groan and then replied, “Jail! I knew it! I've been worrying about that all damned day.”
 
After a sigh of resignation or perhaps regret, Tina said, “Yeah, I might have to spend at least one night in jail, til I'm bailed-out.”
 
“I, I got the money on me, no problem. We can be there by midnight - ”
 
“That's good, Herc, but Jimmy already offered to get me a good lawyer and put up my bail - he found out that I'm wanted by Hollywood police detectives for questionin' - on suspicion of second-degree battery, I think – what a crock-a-shit! He arranged for me to turn myself in tonight, just in time for the late-night news, of course. Every reporter in town'll be at the police station when we get there – Jimmy'll make sure of that.”
 
“My God, he's turning it into a media event?”
 
“Might as well make the most out of a fucked-up situation,” she said dolefully. “Ya told me yerself that the publicity is worth millions.” As if in response to her latter statement, Jim Walters' shrill, enthusiasm-filled voice suddenly erupted in the background. Then Tina told me, “Here, Jimmy wants to talk to ya.”
 
Jim cheerfully did his best to reassure me: “Barrymore, baby! Now don't you worry about a thing – if they dare to put my star behind bars I'll have her sprung before you can say Erich Von Stroheim! But isn't it marvelous! I couldn't buy this kind of media exposure!” Not unexpectedly, he then launched into a sales pitch: “Say, before I forget in all this excitement – you'd be a totally awesome stud and all-around good guy if you would invest a few stacks of Benjamins in my latest masterpiece – just kick-in 200 Big Ones, and I can almost guarantee you a 10 percent annual return for two years and in addition, of course, you'll receive a two-and-a-half percent royalty on all future video sales just like last time and - “
 
“Uh Jim, maybe we can discuss this later, all right? I'm leaving for LA in a few minutes.” Out of politeness, I awkwardly proposed, “While I'm there, let's do lunch or something?”
 
Jim exclaimed in earnest, “That would be super-duper!”

* * *
After a tedious road trip across the Mojave Desert, Angie and I arrived in Los Angeles a few minutes before 11pm. Not long before we got there, we had heard the news reports about Tina's “surrender” to police, which had taken place an hour earlier. At that time, a radio reporter live on the scene had said that a horde of papparazzi and curiosity seekers was congregating near the Hollywood Community Police Station, all in hopeful anticipation of getting a glimpse of Tina. In a seemingly unrelated story, the news had also reported that a group of concrete-brained followers of the extreme-Fundamentalist preacher Matthew Powers was staging a loud demonstration in front of Our Lady of Agony Hospital, just a few miles away from us, in protest of the mere fact of Donna having been admitted there as a patient.
 
This police station was located on Wilcox Avenue in Hollywood, not far from the intersection of Sunset & Vine. As we headed there, Angie said with an undertone of petulance, “I'm still don't understand why we were in such a rush to drive all the way out here tonight. What can we hope to accomplish at this hour?” I sensed that she was getting perversely jealous of all the attention Tina was receiving.
 
“I dunno, it just seemed the right thing to do. If she's in trouble, we ought to be here for her as soon as possible. We'd do the same thing for you.”
 
“Well I should think so,” she muttered defensively before quietly dropping the subject. Then, while she fiddled with the car radio's tuner, a sudden wave of nausea swept over me, reminiscent of how I had felt seconds before witnessing Russell Overton trying to murder Donna onstage, although that association didn't occur to me immediately. As the rotten feeling in my gut began to fade, I said, “Besides, if for some reason she can't get out right away, we'll need to pick-up the baby at Marta's and take him back to Vegas.”
 
“What makes you they won't let her go right away? I thought Jim had it all set-up.”

“Yes, but it still might take a few days to get her out, you never know. This being the middle of Hollywood, it's best to be prepared for some drama.“ Then a few fleeting words on the radio made me jumpy as Angie idly tuned from station to station. “Wait, go back a few stations – I thought I heard something about her.” I said, uncertain I hadn't imagined hearing the name “Kincaid”. I reached over and tuned the radio myself, and then heard a report that had my bowels doing somersaults again: “...At the top of the hour, this just in to KSUX Newsradio 880: Popular Las Vegas entertainer Donna Springs has just died at Our Lady of Agony Hospital. His alleged assailant, actress Tina Kincaid, is in police custody at this hour...”
 
This so unnerved me that my hands trembled uncontrollably on the steering wheel - I had to pull over to the curb to compose myself. Admittedly, I was less upset by Donna's demise than by what might happen to Tina because of it - presumably she faced a charge of involuntary manslaughter, at the least, which the on-scene radio reporter at the Hollywood police station was speculating on at that moment. I looked over at Angie, whose face had gone ashen, eyes glazed and expressionless. Then she cried out, in parallel to my own disturbing thoughts, “Oh my God, Denny, they'll never let her out, now!”
 
Mind reeling in anxiety, I stared aimlessly through the windshield before finally saying, as if not having heard her, “I can't see how somebody Tina's size could kill a big dude like Donna with just a few punches to the jaw.” I had had my own experiences of feeling the wrath of her fists on occasion. “Oh, this can't be true!” I scoffed for no good reason. “It sure didn't sound like he was dying earlier today – even with a broken jaw, he was able to do an interview for that garbage TV show Inside Scoop.” Trying to make myself feel better, I said, “If the radio wasn't bullshitting and he actually is dead, somebody at the hospital probably screwed-up royally – a nurse could have accidentally given him the wrong meds or something.” Lacking conviction, I declared hopefully, “Yes, that must be it - happens all the time.”
 
Less agitated now, I eased the car back into traffic. Angie worriedly asked, “What now, Den?”
 
“Just what we set out to do – check the police station to see if they're booking her into jail or cutting her loose. It doesn't look good at this point.” After a right turn onto Wilcox Avenue, we saw a crowd of at least 100 people milling around the public plaza which fronted the police station, as well as remote-broadcast trucks of three local TV stations.
 
Vehicles in front of us slowed to a near-standstill as police barricades in the street forced traffic to take a detour away from the station. In typical Southern California fashion, one of the curious gawkers hanging around the police department was dressed like some sort of sado-masochistic leather-clad circus clown, and another was an old man wearing tight, pink, rhinestone-studded shorts while dancing around on roller skates . Here and there were black youths wearing parachute pants strapped below their asses. Exasperated, I grumbled, “What a collection of morons! It's like Chesty's funeral all over again - we can't even get within a block of the damned place, and nowhere to park, either.” Getting snarled in honking traffic again, I said, “Slide over and take the wheel, babe. I'm getting out here, okay?” Pointing in the direction of the local beaches, I said, “Just drive over to Marta's beach house like we planned. Go westbound on Santa Monica Boulevard and hang a right at the ocean – Malibu's only a few miles up the Coast Highway. After I find out what's going-on with Tina, I'll grab a taxi and meet you there - hopefully she'll be coming back with me.” Before exiting the car, I kissed her goodbye and asked, “Why the forlorn look, babe? Everything's gonna be fine.”
 
However, as I mulled-over all the implications of Donna's death, I began to doubt that much of anything was gonna to be fine for the foreseeable future, no matter how things turned out for Tina. As far as I was concerned, it was virtually a no-win scenario for me, personally: if she had not caused Donna's death, as I confidently believed, it could mean that he had been murdered - inside the hospital, where homicide could be accomplished by, for instance, an “accidental” replacement of the patient's prescribed medication with a lethal drug, a not uncommon kind of error committed at hospitals.
 
The idea of it being a politically motivated crime frightened me almost as much as did the strong possibility of Tina getting imprisoned for manslaughter. If it should turn out to be a political killing, the only logical suspects in my mind were those who were connected with Cliff Williamson or with his presidential campaign, a realization that literally made my hair stand on end and my flesh creepy-crawly. The ugly fact was that Williamson and his cronies were the only ones who stood to gain by Donna's rather convenient passing, occurring as it did less than three days before the start of the Democratic National Convention.
 
A living Donna would have been tremendously valuable as the President's tool for political blackmail, but with his death, I sensed that an allegation of his affair with Williamson carried little weight now, and that only conspiratorial radio talk shows would take such a “scurrilous” accusation seriously. Even with him dead, however, there still remained at least one item of physical evidence linking Williamson to Donna: the Atlanta hotel security video showing them entering Williamson's penthouse. Fortunately for Williamson, though, there appeared to be no record of either one of them being registered at that hotel. In addition, the grainy black-and-white images captured by the security camera weren't clear enough to conclusively prove the identity of that “mystery woman” accompanying Williamson that night. In fact, many in the tabloid media had already alleged (wrongheadedly) that the mysterious female on that tape had been none other than Tina. I tried to force those concerns to the back of my mind, at least until more details came to light. And I didn't yet want to consider how the Hedges Administration might view my involvement, however indirectly, in the loss of one of its best political weapons.
After crossing the congested avenue, I joined the surreal happening at the Hollywood Community Police Station's capacious plaza. About thirty feet from the main public entrance of the station, LAPD officers had established a crowd-control perimeter. Two other officers were busily checking the identification of those who, for one reason or another, wanted to go inside. Under these chaotic circumstances, it looked futile to attempt any inquiries with the police at this particular moment, so I cooled my heels outside and smoked a cigarette while gathering my thoughts.
 
Despite the plethora of bizarrely dressed gluttons-for-attention who were making nuisances of themselves, the cops appeared to be taking everything in stride, as if this kind of celebrity-under-arrest hoopla was a routine matter. Nearby, meanwhile, eager papparazzi, TV crews and amateur celebrity stalkers were jockeying and jostling for the best camera angles, getting ready for whenever Tina finally emerged - being either led away in handcuffs or released from custody.
 
Weaving my way through the crowd, which appeared to be growing larger, I heard snippets of hushed conversations: “Did you hear? He died, just a few minutes ago.”... “Oh wow man, that Donna Springs dude croaked - no shit, man.” Then, from the street, beyond the police barricade, came a growing cacophony of tambourines, cymbals and bongo drums. I looked in the direction of this approaching group, most members of which were carrying picket signs and placards. Soon they got close enough for me to hear their obnoxious chant of “God Hates Queers! God Hates Queers!...” They were the demented followers of Reverend Matthew Powers, of course, whose religious cult turned up like a bad penny seemingly every time I visited Los Angeles. Evidently, with the announcement of Donna's death, they had decided to move their protest the short distance from the hospital to the police station. The cops outside the station wouldn't allow the demonstrators inside the barricades, so I moved closer to them in order to read their always-ridiculous signs. Here are a few choice examples
:
GOD HATES FAGS AND OTHER FILTHY PERVERTS!
ROAST IN HELL FOREVER, TINA KINCAID!
THE ETERNAL LAKE OF FIRE FOR TINA KINCAID!
SODOMY – THE PATH TO ETERNAL DAMNATION!

It appeared that Tina's name on the signs had been pasted over the names of previous targets for harassment. Already stressed-out by events, I started to get pissed-off and had the sudden desire to torch their signs - obsessed by fire as they seemed to be. Some of the more offended onlookers began yelling at the picketers (“Fuck you, assholes!”, etc). Then a police sergeant got on his bullhorn and informed the cult members: “Public demonstration without a permit is a violation of the Los Angeles Municipal Code, Section 334-68, Paragraph 1: Unlawful Assembly. Demonstrators picketing without a valid permit shall be liable for arrest unless they disperse from public property immediately. You have one minute to disperse or you will be arrested.”
 
A man waving a sign bellowed above the racket of thumping tambourines, “BOOOO!! RELIGIOUS OPPRESSION!” A woman next to him screeched, “Persecution! The First Amendment guarantees us the right to exercise our religious beliefs!”
 
My attention was suddenly drawn to the entrance of the police station, 50 yards from where I was standing. Blinding TV lights came on, flashbulbs strobed in a frenzy, and everyone waiting at the entrance began screaming “TINA! LOOK THIS WAY! OVER HERE!” By the looks of the number of police officers escorting her out of the building, Tina appeared to be still under arrest. While the police forced everyone back, an unmarked car rolled up to the entrance. I caught a glimpse of Tina's Afro hairdo as she got into the backseat of it. The woman who had just vociferously demanded her religious rights now raged, “BURN THE WHORE! BURN THE WHORE!” Fed-up and losing my temper, I shot an angry glance in her direction, and then five stupid protest signs within my line of vision simultaneously burst into flames, seemingly without cause. My anger instantly evaporated and I harkened back to the occasion when I had somehow blown-out the tires of Webb's Mercedes: Oh my fucking God, did I start those fires somehow? Holy shit, what's next?”
 
Further chaos ensued as protesters dropped to their knees in evident epistemological terror, gibbering in unknown tongues as if possessed by the Holy Ghost. A startled cry of “AHHHHH!” went up from many on the scene, like spectators at a fireworks display. Within a minute or so, helmeted riot police, armed with pepper spray, emerged from the station and began trotting in our direction. As people laughed at and taunted the disorientated and frightened protesters, I walked away from it all with outward calm (but feeling like an arsonist making good his escape) and proceeded up Wilcox Avenue in order to flag down a taxi.

Copyright 2013 by K.D. Bishop

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Aphrodite Shuddered - Chapter 41


Chapter 41
Gender Bender



July 10, 1992: Seven days before the Democratic National Convention
Yesterday, when R. Jasper Periwinkle announced that he had dropped out of the presidential race, the major Democratic candidates for president must have been very disappointed about it. Analysis of the latest polls showed that Periwinkle tended to siphon-off the president's more middle-of-the-road Republican supporters, which in the November election could only serve to help the Democrats because curmudgeonly old Periwinkle had no realistic chance to win the Presidency. The Democrats were still hoping that Periwinkle's fanatical supporters would vote for him instead of the Republican Hedges, even though he had (formally) quit the campaign. To that end, the Democratic National Committee instantly released an unusual political TV-ad featuring three top Democratic contenders, Bert Gort, Jeremy Brownstone and Cliff Williamson. Their message was simple, and under the circumstances, a tad disingenuous: “No matter what your political affiliation is, be sure to get out and vote for the candidates of your choice this November 6th – it's the American Way!”
 
In the wee hours of the next morning, I vaguely heard my encrypted phone chirping annoyingly on the nightstand. As I was drugged with sleep, Tina, lying next to me, kicked me in the ass and grumbled, “Answer the fucker or turn it off or I'm throwin' it out the window.” Then Lamar, awakened in the crib next to the bed, began winding-up for a siren-like wail. I opened my eyes just in time to see Tina snatch up the phone and answer it. After she barked, “Hello!” there apparently was no response. “Hey, is anybody there! Shit, it's four in the fuckin' mornin' and ya woke up the baby!” A moment later she admonished, “Yeah, you'd better be terribly sorry, mister!”

I yanked the phone out her hand and hustled to the bathroom. After giving my code name to who I assumed was John Gall, I was stunned to hear the President's voice as he drawled his code name: “Texas Yankee.”

Feeling blood draining from my face, I laughed nervously and said, “Um, I apologize for Tina, sir. I shouldn't leave my phone laying around like that.”

“Not to worry. I sure do remember how cranky the First Lady was after Junior was born – heh-heh,” the president chuckled drily. “Now, I know it's the middle of the night there, but I had a free minute so I thought I'd call.”

“Yes, sir. What can I do for you?”

“Well, you've done plenty for me already this week - 'nuff said - heh-heh. I just called to tell ya to keep up the good work, son.” He could only have been referring to my recent psychic report on Periwinkle, in which I had unintentionally characterized him as being emotionally unstable, anti-Semitic and slightly senile. His goofy and almost incoherent press conference two days ago appeared to have proven me right.

Before I could even thank the president, he hung up. Somewhat pleased with myself (and not a little relieved), I muttered to my reflection in the bathroom mirror, “Guess we still have a job, eh.”
Then I got back into bed with Tina, who was rocking the intently sucking Lamar against her breast. She looked back at me and drowsily said, “I've heard that man's voice before but I just can't place him.”
* * *
With less than a week to go before the convention, Cliff Williamson's extra-marital sexual antics during the campaign appeared to be finally catching up with him, to wit:

A blurb from the new issue of Timely magazine:

More Williamson Delegates to Defect?
Only days after receiving a clean bill of health from his doctors, Cliff Williamson suddenly has another problem to deal with: morally conservative Williamson delegates from four states have now declared themselves to be independents. Most of these turncoat delegates represent states whose primaries were held prior to the personal scandals that have dogged Williamson's presidential campaign for the past several months. As one convention delegate from Iowa put it, “My state's voters are starting to feel hoodwinked. We all want a president whose behavior reflects good old-fashioned Midwestern family values.” And Williamson is in danger of losing many non-committed delegates and even committed ones, thanks to quirks in the various primary methods of each state. Look for a credentials fight at the Democratic National Convention next week, as Williamson sympathizers on the Credentials Committee may refuse to seat these renegade delegations, having them replaced by others more amenable to a Williamson presidency. If the hundreds of Democratic Super-delegates who currently support Williamson begin to have second thoughts, the convention will be the most exciting one in decades, harking back to the “smoke-filled room” conventions of a bygone era...

* * *
For all the political excitement that summer, life at home was even more exciting, for both good and ill. The good part: For the first time in months, Tina, Angie and myself were again occupying the same bed on occasion. But not long after the development of that blissful situation, there came the “ill” part: Tina was now on the warpath because Jim Walters had recently signed Donna Springs (whom Tina loathed intensely) to a contract to appear in his next movie, a silly and raunchy American Civil War spoof called Blow Like the Wind, with production to begin tomorrow. Tina ranted, “I spent the last six months tryin' to avoid that muthafuckin' freak an' now I gotta work with her.” It was easy to forget that Donna was a man.

Tired of being subjected to her temper tantrum for the past five minutes, I said, “What's the real reason you hate him? Are you afraid that he's going to supplant you as Queen of the Studio or something?”

“Yer really cruisin' for a bruisin' tonight, Herc! Ya better not go there.”

“Oh, quit acting like a diva.” Then I baited her even further: “If the movie's a success, who cares if you don't get top billing?”

“Now who the hell said anything about me not gettin' top billin'? I swear, yer beggin' for a knuckle sandwich tonight. If that bitch even looks at me cross-eyed on the set, she's had it.”

“Um, by the way, Donna's a he.”

“Well he's still a bitch!” At that, our five-month old son Lamar was startled out of his sleep and began squalling in the nursery across the hall. As I turned to go into the living room, she asked, “Hey, where the hell are you goin?”

“Angie and I are gonna watch the Dodgers game on TV.”

“Not til ya get in here change this shitty diaper!”
* * *

July 17, 1992 – Three days prior to the Democratic National Convention

The phone woke me up at dawn that day – it was Tina, who was now in Los Angeles acting in Blow Like the Wind. She slurred, “Hey Herc, whazzup?”

 I glanced at the alarm clock on the nightstand and groaned, “Holy crap, it's 4:30, Amazon. Have a heart. Where the hell are you? You almost sound like you're drunk.”

“Thass very possible – heh-heh. I was out partyin' lass night with Marta – we just got back-ta her house.”

“Well, go get some sleep, so I can sleep too.”

“Naw, I got an early makeup call at the studio in about two hours. Lord, I am such a mess right now, too – heh-heh. Anyways, I called to tell ya about somethin' that happened at this club we were at lass night.”

I yawned, “Ahhh God, can't this wait?”

“Shuddup an' lissen, big mouth! I wanna tell ya before ya hear about it on TV tonight.”

“You probably shouldn't talk about it on the phone, then.”

“Fuck it - everybody in the country's gonna know all about it by tonight anyhow.” Now I sat up in bed, while Angie stirred beside me and groggily moaned, “hmm?”. Tina then told me, “We were havin' a good ol' time there until he showed up.”

Who showed-up?”

“Your boyfriend - that bitch-boy, Donna. Lance was there with us an' that fuckin' freak sashayed in and started comin'-onto him.”

“Who was coming-on to whom, now?” I asked, my mind still full of cobwebs.

Donna was, you idiot! Anyway, to make a long story short, we got in a fight.”

I automatically assumed that Tina had mopped the floor with Donna, as she could do to most people, be it woman, man or anyone in-between. I replied in alarm, “Oh, no! Did you hurt him much?”

“I thought ya didn't wanna talk about it on the telephone – I'll tell ya the dirty details later.” Glumly she said, “But Jim's gonna be pissed when he finds out. I'll be lucky if I still have a contract, after this bool-shit.” Seemingly for the benefit of any eavesdroppers on the line, she added, “No matter whose fault it was.”

Trying to reassure her, I said, “Now, now - don't be hasty. Your movie'll get millions of bucks worth of free publicity from all this.”

When Angie and I returned from the committee office later that day, our phone was ringing off the hook, and the answering machine full of recorded messages from reporters who had somehow obtained Tina's home number and wanted to locate her. Both the insistently jangling phone and the taped messages went unanswered.

When the TV tabloid shows hit the airwaves a few hours later, their leading story was the fight between Tina and Donna. Inside Scoop screamed, “Transgender actor/nightclub singer Donna Springs is recovering in a Los Angeles hospital after an altercation last night with actress Tina Kincaid at an exclusive West Hollywood nightclub!”

A shocked Angie yelled, “Oh my God, he's in the hospital! What the fuck did she do to him?”

“Just listen, Angie,” I said.
 
“...Donna Springs, who was born Donald Springer, suffered a broken jaw in the melee, from a punch allegedly thrown by firebrand actress Tina Kincaid. Both are the stars of director Jim Walter's upcoming film, Blow Like the Wind, currently in production in Hollywood! Although Kincaid is well-known in show biz circles for her hot temper and willingness to engage in fisticuffs, it's uncertain at this time who started the disturbance or the extent of the injuries - if any - to Kincaid, who could not be reached for comment!” The show's leering host, Jerry Kravitz, then asked the viewing audience with a pretended air of indignation, “Is Miss Kincaid in hiding? If so, Inside Scoop wants to know where, and why!” Kravitz then announced, “Now here's Crystal Schwartz with more on the story, in a live report from Our Lady of Agony Hospital in Burbank, California - “
 
Crystal Schwartz did her stand-up report from in front of the hospital. “Thanks, Jerry! I've just come from an exclusive interview with Donna Springs in his private room here at Our Lady of Agony, and although he declined to appear on camera, he did consent to answer several questions. But due to having his jaws wired shut because of a fracture, he had to reply to my questions in writing! Donna tells me he's feeling fine. However, he's been informed by his doctor that he'll remain here overnight for routine observation - he's expected to be released from the hospital some time tomorrow morning. When I asked what had provoked the fight, which occurred early this morning at Dante's Inferno nightclub in West Hollywood, he claimed that that the trouble started after he struck up a friendly conversation at the club with movie star Lance Steele, who happens to be Tina Kincaid's former fiance! Donna was rather non-committal as to who threw the first punch, first claiming that Miss Kincaid definitely was both the instigator and initial aggressor, and then declining to answer when asked if he would press charges against her...”
 
At this point, the answering machine began to tape yet another message, this time from a frantic-sounding Tina: “Pick-up, dammit! Answer the fuckin' phone!”

I leaped to the phone and grabbed the receiver. “I'm here – what's going on, Amazon?”

“Oh, nothin'. I'm just goin' to jail, that's all!”

Copyright 2013 by K.D. Bishop