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Eight AM and Wayne stared at his IMDb page. One credit: his appearance in the action adventure film “Plants Are People Too 2,” not the original bio-friendly theatrical tale. His was the straight to video sequel with none of the actors from the first film, except for Dustin Diamond who reprised his role of Dr. Screech.

Wayne didn’t have a scene with Diamond, but saw him on set, when the actor was grabbing a burger at the craft service table. Wayne was too nervous to even say hello, and Diamond brushed past him as he went to get a bottle of beer before rushing back to the safety of his trailer.


Wayne dreamed of a career like Diamond’s. Creating an enduring character that people knew and recognized instantly, using that to gain parts in other projects. Fans probably saw him at restaurants and wanted to buy him dinner! The fame and the glory of it all!

How was he going to get hired? PAPT2 was seven, no! Eight years ago. Nothing since then… just a string of telemarketing jobs, a brief stint in retail sales and the requisite year as a server for a popular eatery.

He did get a callback for an AT&T commercial but no contract. That was four, no… five years ago. He probably shouldn’t have gushed quite so much over Lily, the AT&T spokeslady, during the audition.

Wayne frowned at his headshot. It needed a serious update.

After scouring the internet for hours, Wayne settled on the mononymous Kallistra to shoot a new set of eight by tens.

“What are you looking to do?” Kallistra breathed as she spoke to Wayne on her wireless headset.

“I thought a really good quality set of photos…”

“No, no, no!” Kallistra giggled. “What sorts of jobs are you looking to do?’

“Film or television, maybe some commercials…”

“I think we don’t communicate.” Kallistra said flatly. “I don’t think we can work.”

Wayne practically panicked. “Wait! I… I like your photos and I want you to shoot me.”

A long pause on the other end of the line.

“I work with professionals,” Kallistra said, patiently. “If we aren’t speaking the same language, this won’t work out.”

“Oh I leak the spanguage. Speak the language!” Wayne was hoping she could hear him smiling over the phone.

Another very long pause.

“Five hundred dollars, half up front, and other half when you receive the shots.”

“Five hundred?” Wayne asked.

“Goodbye.”

“No! Wait! That’s great, that’s super great.”

“You’re penciled in for Friday, January sixth at 5pm. You are allowed one cancellation. After this, if you miss the appointment, you forfeit the fee. Are we clear?”

“Crystal.” Wayne nodded.

“See you in two days, then.”

Now it was just a matter of raising two hundred and fifty dollars in the next two days.

Who could he hit up for a loan? Most of his peers were busy trying to get prepared for pilot season in a month, so they were out to spend their money on acting lessons and new photos too.

Mr. Sinise was his landlord, so he definitely had money. But asking for money from a landlord was like asking a pit boss for money to gamble in a casino.

Mr. Busey was his former employer at the restaurant. But when Wayne called, the phone was disconnected. Sure enough, Yelp displayed the words “permanently closed” over a photo of the dining room, amid the mostly good reviews.

He finally settled on Mr. Oldman, who was an adviser and his mentor from acting class. He dialed the number.

“Mr. Oldman! It’s your old student, Wayne!”

“Wayne? Wayne?”

“Yes! I was hoping you remembered me! I was thinking of stopping by to talk to you for a few minutes, if you have a chance!”

“Oh! Wayne!” the sound of recognition coming through in his voice, “Yes, of course! Of course!”

“I can come by later today!” Wayne said with a sigh of relief. “Would 4pm be alright?”

“Well, it’s dinner time, but for you, that’s just dandy.”

“Fantastic!”

Mr. Oldman sounded so delighted, maybe he could even get the whole five hundred!

Meanwhile, Wayne wanted to make another change: his name. It was time for a name that would win awards.

Johnny Deep.

The idea was to play off an already successful actor. While that might get more IMDb views when people made typos, it didn’t help that this particular name was used by at least a dozen porn actors.

Paul Newman.

While the person famous for that name was no longer using it, it was still on a lot of popcorn, spaghetti sauce, cookies and lemonade packages. That wouldn’t help.

No, Wayne wanted a name that would feel familiar and dynamic all at once. Maybe combining the first and last names of great actors would do it. Robert, like Robert Redford. And Smith like Will Smith?

Robert Smith? Bob Smith?

In a word, no. Maybe Smith’s “Men In Black” co-star, Tommy Lee Jones.

Robert Jones? Bob Jones?

No, wait. Robert LEE Jones. Yes! That could work!

Wayne was liking the name so much, he was ready to legally change it on the spot!

But the cost of that was over four-hundred dollars as Wayne discovered, so maybe that part should wait.

Soon enough, he pulled up at Mr. Oldman’s apartment in Westwood. Wayne parked across the street and walked over to the office door, entering and taking a seat in the waiting area.

After a few minutes, Mr. Oldman came out, barely noticed Wayne before taking a peek through the venetian blinds turning and walking away.

Wayne was puzzled, so he started to look around the office. Old copies of Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, scattered on coffee tables. Several acting accolades were prominently displayed, including Keri Russell’s Golden Globe award for “Felicity,” a signed, framed photo of Jon Hamm holding an Emmy for “Mad Men.” That’s when Wayne saw the money.

Sitting in an ash tray was a bankroll of bills. There had to be about two thousand dollars in hundreds and twenties there!

It seemed like destiny. He took the whole bankroll and quickly slipped it into his pants pocket.

That’s when Mr. Oldman came back.

Shaking his head, he turned to Wayne who rushed over to him, and away from the fireplace.

“Why are you there?” Mr. Oldman asked. “Did you have an appointment?”

“Mr. Oldman! We talked on the phone earlier. I’m… I’m Wayne!”

“You? You’re not Wayne.”

“No, sir, I am! You told me you eat dinner about now?”

“I’m waiting for Wayne!” He insisted. That’s when Wayne noticed the book in his hand: a memoir by Wayne Brady.

“I see Wayne every morning on ‘Let’s Make A Deal,’” Mr. Oldman sniffed. “Are you here with him?”

“Yes sir.” Wayne began backing toward the exit. “And we have never met.”

“I know!” Mr. Oldman yelled “Now send Wayne in so I can eat my dinner in peace!”

As Wayne backed up he tripped and the bankroll came out of his pocket. Mr. Oldman looked.

“Say. You’re robbing me! Help! Help!”

Wayne grabbed the money, stuffed it back into his pocket and dashed for the door.

He got it open and closed before Mr. Oldman could get there. Oldman crashed hard into it and collapsed in a heap on the floor.

He hoped Mr. Oldman would be okay, but there were things to do! He'd get some great pictures from this photo shoot and be able to pay him back in no time.

First stop, Barney’s on Wilshire in Beverly Hills, to get some new clothing, a quick visit to a psychic who promised a change of scenery was just around the corner! He dropped off the full payment of five hundred at Kallistra's studio. Finally, filling up the car's gas tank and a good meal at a great restaurant before coming home.

Wayne was surprised to see police at his door.

“You’re Wayne Lodestone,” aren’t you?” One officer said to him.

“Yes?”

“We got a report that you visited with an acting coach named Oldman late this afternoon?”

“What’s this about?” Wayne asked.

“Mr. Oldman died from a fall in his home office today.”

“Oh, my God, that’s terrible.”

“Were you with him when that happened?” another cop asked.

“No! I was not.”

Just then, a third officer came out, carrying Wayne’s laptop.

“Look what we got here.”

“So! It seems like you were in the process of changing your name!”

“I’m an actor.”

“Unfortunately, you’re not a very good one.” Replied the officer. “We have your latest performance on Mr. Oldman’s security cam. Take him away.”

Wayne got cuffed and tossed in the back of the police cruiser.

“When will these crooks learn? You have to plan your moves in advance.”

“Come on, Joe,” nodded his partner, “It’s my turn to buy the doughnuts.”

//

This story was written for LJ Idol X using the prompt: "I don't skate to where the puck is. I skate to where the puck is going to be."

Comments

( 29 comments — Leave a comment )
adoptedwriter
Jan. 5th, 2017 12:59 pm (UTC)
Loved it! Hilarious!
penpusher
Jan. 10th, 2017 02:26 am (UTC)
Thanks so much for reading and a great compliment!
my_name_is_jenn
Jan. 5th, 2017 09:12 pm (UTC)
Haha! Fantastic.
penpusher
Jan. 10th, 2017 02:26 am (UTC)
Thanks for reading along and responding!
marlawentmad
Jan. 6th, 2017 11:05 pm (UTC)

This is great. Wayne seems manic, it was fun keeping up with him!

penpusher
Jan. 10th, 2017 02:27 am (UTC)
Thanks... another hustling LA area actor!
rayaso
Jan. 7th, 2017 12:13 am (UTC)
Oh, the life of an unemployed (and luckless) actor! This was great fun to read. It was a good idea to use the names of famous actors, especially with Wayne Gretzky also being the source of the quote as well as John Wayne, the actor. Bonus points! I loved the irony of Wayne finally appearing on camera, only to be caught committing a crime. Great way to use the prompt.
penpusher
Jan. 10th, 2017 02:28 am (UTC)
Thanks very much! It was fun sneaking in some extra stuff into the storyline to make it a little more spicy.
i_17bingo
Jan. 7th, 2017 12:29 pm (UTC)
If there was one thing I admired about Wayne, it was his optimism. Up until the point when he got cuffed he was so sure it was going to turn around. I really feel for the guy.
penpusher
Jan. 10th, 2017 02:29 am (UTC)
LA psychics are rarely wrong! Thanks for coming along and I'll pass along your sympathies to Wayne on visiting day!
morettaallstar
Jan. 8th, 2017 06:11 pm (UTC)
A fun one, a great take on the prompt, very different! :D
penpusher
Jan. 10th, 2017 02:31 am (UTC)
Thank you! I needed something fun this week and it just jumped out of the prompt at me! Glad you liked it!
bleodswean
Jan. 8th, 2017 08:17 pm (UTC)
Hahahaha! That was fantastic! You pulled me in completely with the impressively snappy dialogue and back-and-forth with the photographer. Great form here.
penpusher
Jan. 10th, 2017 02:41 am (UTC)
Thanks! That was one of the more fun parts of the piece Thanks for commenting!!
halfshellvenus
Jan. 9th, 2017 10:13 pm (UTC)
Haha-- Dr. Screech! That sounds like a movie I do not need to see. :D

Karma caught up to poor Wayne. One little series of weaknesses, and bam! He's doomed himself forever now.
penpusher
Jan. 10th, 2017 03:04 am (UTC)
Thanks very much! It is amazing how once you push that first domino, everything can fall down!
mamas_minion
Jan. 10th, 2017 02:17 am (UTC)
Very Humorous, I like the name dropping through out piece and to have "Joe" be one of the cops at the end I thought was fantastic.( i loved that show)
penpusher
Jan. 10th, 2017 03:05 am (UTC)
I appreciate you getting the references and the humor in this. I definitely wanted to go with something a little bit less serious this time.
sinnamongirl
Jan. 10th, 2017 09:05 am (UTC)
I felt bad for Wayne but also he's a jerk. Good job!
penpusher
Jan. 10th, 2017 09:09 pm (UTC)
Thanks for a very fine compliment!!
eternal_ot
Jan. 10th, 2017 11:06 am (UTC)
Brilliant take!FUNtastic! I enjoyed it thoroughly. The dialogues are pretty good :) Kudos!
penpusher
Jan. 10th, 2017 09:09 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for reading, and I'm glad you liked it!
uselesstinrelic
Jan. 10th, 2017 09:01 pm (UTC)
You know, I really think I figured out Wayne wasn't going to be the sharpest crayon when he lamented about how much he wished he could have a career like Dustin Diamond. Yikes. :3
penpusher
Jan. 10th, 2017 09:11 pm (UTC)
Not everyone is as aware of the acting talents of Mr. Diamond as you, so I'm quite impressed! In fact, I think you're the only person to catch that reference! Thanks!
uselesstinrelic
Jan. 11th, 2017 08:06 am (UTC)
Maybe others did and they just blocked it out to save themselves the pain. : )
kajel
Jan. 10th, 2017 09:28 pm (UTC)
Oh, I couldn't stop laughing at the end. Great job.
penpusher
Jan. 10th, 2017 09:57 pm (UTC)
Thanks very much!!
dee_aar2
Jan. 10th, 2017 09:33 pm (UTC)
I was a bit worried about the length at first ... but as I got reading the chuckling kept me going on. Well done with the prompt. Oh just well worth the time !!!
penpusher
Jan. 10th, 2017 09:59 pm (UTC)
I was concerned about the length too, but it's the pacing that mattered and it read quickly when I gave it a read-through. Very glad you liked!
( 29 comments — Leave a comment )

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