This isn’t exactly La Traviata is my initial thought as we pull up outside The Rack, and once inside I’m left to rue my ignorance. The place is nothing more than a glorified Hooters with giant sports screens and pool tables as far as the eye can see. And to think I actually thought the reason I didn’t know the place was because it was a secret of the Hollywood elite. The signs inform us that it’s “Twisted Thursday” which is like telling a nine-month pregnant girl she’s expecting, as drunken jocks stagger about the place. In fact, it’s probably the place pregnant women come to drink.
“Why would he possibly bring us here?”
Ricki shrugs and tells me to relax. Relax? That’s easy for him to say. He’s not the one dressed up to the nines in a Diane Von Fusternburg v-neck dress. I’m now seriously regretting the decision to leave my jacket in the car as I can feel the entire place staring at me, at my chest.
“I think that’s him over there.”
No it can’t be. He’s like ten years old.”
Well he’s waving at us.”
We make our way over to the kid amidst a backdrop of cheering baboons roaring about something irrelevant-no doubt a touchdown, basket, goal, or topless waitress. The kid introduces himself with a hand slap and a lowered shoulder to Ricki, and informs me with a head nod that he’s Chris. I have a quick look over my shoulder to check for cameras because I can’t help feel we’re being punked. Not only is Chris wearing a nameless hoodie, baggy jeans, and high top Nike air force ones, but standing next to him/over him I’m like an older slutty aunt.
“You want something to eat or drink? The baby back ribs are kick-ass.”
“Cool I’ll go with that,” Rick says adding, “Nice place bro.”
Oh my god it’s only a matter of time before they’re playing Playstation and smoking cones.
“I’ll just have a margarita.”

The margaritas keep flowing but nowhere near fast enough to drown out the night. I officially relegated myself to passenger when Chris (with a K incidentally) told us that he aspired to be like his business hero Jay-Z.
“I mean why limit yourself to just TV you know?”
Indeed why not be a failure across a whole range of disciplines.
“So how did you get to where you are today?” Which I guess came out more as an insult than a question, causing Ricki to raise his Ray Bans for the first time tonight.
“Well I hustled my way through college, and established some important contacts…,” and he continues to waffle on until finally revealing, “…my Dad knew some people.”
Chris excuses himself and heads to the toilet most likely to throw up as it’s probably his first time drinking.
Well what do you think?”
“I think it’s past his bedtime.”
“Don’t be so pissy. Kris seems a cool guy and I’ve got a good feeling about this.”
“We haven’t even discussed the project.”
“Chillax babe all in good time.”
It’s still another twenty minutes before we get to business, with Rick and Kris discussing the finer points of a Killers album, A$AP Rocky, Katy Perry and King shaving cream.
“So what exactly will the show involve?” I say unable to take any more of their bromance.
“Well in a nutshell Cassidy we (Madhouse productions) are looking to fill the void left by the Hills but at a more real-life level. Jersey Shore is MTV’s highest-rated program of all time. Why? Because it’s real people doing real life things, not spoilt rich kids rolling around on yoga mats, or Daddy’s girls maxing out credit cards.”
“So where do we fit in?” Rick asks because I’m too busy choking on my Margarita.
He continues to drag out what Josh already told us and I find my eyes wandering to the bar where some slutty cheerleader types down some shooters. The blondest of the group downs her shot and then slams her tongue down the throat of the girl next to her. Their lips haven’t even unlocked before they’re surrounded by jocks, and an older guy in a suit who really should know better. Even though I’m repulsed I can’t turn away and find myself staring. Rick asks about the new housemates and I feel engulfed by something which makes me very uncomfortable in myself without really knowing why-like a weird sense of déjà vu despite the fact I’ve never been in this place in my life.
“The housemates are totally ace and I’m sure you’ll really like them.”
“How many will there be?” I ask.
“Hopefully eight if we get you guys. The rest of the crew is already signed up-three girls and three guys. I’m sorry but I can’t really say anything more though because I need your reactions fresh for the cameras.”
Oh and will we receive writer credits?”
“I’m not quite with you Rick?”
“For the show. I mean a lot of the dialogue is unscripted so we’ll have to make it up ourselves.”
“But you won’t actually be writing anything and besides as far as the general public’s concerned the whole thing is real.”

“I think this whole thing has success written all over it. This really could be our time to shine babe.”
“Do you think maybe we’re rushing too fast? I mean we don’t even know the name of the show.”
“What are you talking about? Kris must have mentioned it about a hundred times-its LA Lights.”
Oh I thought he was talking about cigarettes or those sneakers.”
“Yeah well maybe if you came up for air from your cocktail every once in a while you would have heard him.”
“You know you’re right maybe I have had too much to drink. Do you want me to pull up at the next stop so you can catch a taxi ride back home safely?”
“I’m just saying.”
“Well don’t. My head’s spinning enough without you playing Christopher Columbo.”
“What the hell have I got to do with discovering America?”
“The detective in the wheelchair dumbass.”
“That’s Ironside.”
“Whatever.” She says and flips me the finger causing her to veer onto the other side of the road before just as quickly swaying back in.
“Now look what you made me do asshole.”
“Jesus Christ Cass we could have been killed.”
“Why is the glass always half empty with you? Shouldn’t you be happy we’re alive?” She says laughing at her own private joke.
Mascara slowly begins to trickle down her face reminding me of my hatred of clowns. I’m not sure if she’s having an episode or not but I suppose she’s smiling so it can’t be all that bad.
“Have you said anything to your father about the show?”
“And why would I do that?”
Why indeed? I’m sure having his daughter break down on worldwide television will really help strengthen his campaign slogan of “Family first”.
“Besides once people get to know me through the show I’m sure I’ll have voters running to the polling stations.”
And for once I totally agree.

Next chapter.

Previous chapter.

From the beginning.

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