Inside The Standard I’m greeted by a tight European blonde in half-assed yodal-ay-hee-ho attire, who for some reason already knows my name and escorts me to what looks like a spacious eight-seater where I find Kris slumped thumbing through his I-Phone. Upon seeing me arrive he quickly springs into animation, embracing me in a bear-like grip, patting me three times on the back, “Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule bro. Whadda ya think?” And before I have a chance to answer a new hostess had has dropped down a bottle of Tequila and two bottles of some German craft beer I don’t recognise and is just as quickly dismissed with a casual wink from Kris.
“Nice.” I say briefly taking in the downtown skyscrapers and electric hum of a million lights before I’m distracted by the girls in the eerie green-lit pool over by the other side of the bar. The type of pool that wouldn’t look out of place in a swingers party targeted by The Manson family.
“I heard Eddie hooked you up with a part in that new Bradley Cooper heist movie?”
“Yeah one of the precinct cops in training, even got a couple of lines.” which Kris simply brushes off the peak of his purple LA Lakers cap.
“Didn’t I tell you I’d take care of it bro?” and with that we clink beers.
“Thanks Kris I really appreciate the hook up,” I say taking a thirsty swig before adding, “especially for having my back with the whole Cassidy thing. “Speaking of which did she give you the run down from our meeting today?” He says while pouring a couple of shots of Tequila.
“No, I had to leave before she got back.”
“Good because I wanted to tell you this in person,” He says with an air of officiousness which juxtaposed with his Vans hoodie and smooth baby face makes him look like a spoilt moody teen, “we’re having problems with production.”
“Fuck,” I say downing my Tequila for effect, “what kind of problems?”
“MTV’s parent company Viacom wanna cancel the show,” He says pouring us each a shot for good measure, “they say that reality TV’s dead and that we’re too far behind the crest of the wave.”
“Crest of a wave!? Fuck does that even mean?” Just my luck – the only time I’m invited to a roof top terrace and it’s to top myself.
“Comic books bro. People aren’t watching TV or film anymore to be entertained, they’re watching to escape. Market research says their focus groups are overwhelmed with the reality of everyday life; student loans, spiraling rents and the perpetual fear of another terrorist attack. People wanna be on the winning side, live vicariously through some miscellaneous childlike hero who makes the boo boos go away.”
Fuckin’ comic books and all I can think of is Kyle finally extracting his revenge after all these years for pounding his lard ass with his own Turtle nunchucks in the 6th grade.
“But I’m not gonna let that happen Bro,” Kris says removing his cap for added gravitas.
“So what are you gonna do?”
“Shock the system.”
“Shock the system?”
Kris then proceeds to tell me about how his personal trainer insists the only way to progress is by “shocking the system”, which judging by his flabby physique could do with an electric chair size jolt.
“Basically after a while your muscles begin to learn your routine and as a result the workouts become less effective.” Kris says pausing like a TV sermon for added effect, “ultimately the only way you improve is by keeping your body in a state of total suspense and surprise so it has no idea what’s going to happen next.” Suddenly I’m very self-conscious we’re in a packed bar filled with crooked smiles and sideways conversions, the jazzy euro EPMD mirroring my anxiety through the base speaker and I just wish he’d get to the point.
“So this got me thinking – what could be more exciting than a real-life action series?” He says pausing until I catch up and applaud his brilliance.
“I’m not with you.” I say draining the last of my beer along with any will to indulge this conversation.
“Basically a real-life thriller a la Orsen Welles.” He says giggly referencing Tom Cruise’s War of the Worlds and shocking the system and I’ve no idea what the fuck aliens or workouts have to do with one another.
He then proceeds to lay out his great master plan in lazy half-finished sentences and words devoid of any real context; ‘fourth wall’ and ‘Lars Von Trier’ until he finally spits out “Cass and Jorge” and suddenly everything is so blindly obvious I’m embarrassed for missing the whole point of the meeting in the first place.
“But why fuckin’ Jorge?” It’s only when he starts to explain his decision process that I realize I’ve actually said this out loud.
“Mexicans are the station’s key target audience,” and I’m about to protest before Kris finishes, “because they’re the only demographic who can’t afford Tivo to skip past all the ads.” He says with such a deadpan delivery that I can’t help myself high five the man and laugh.
By the time I get back all of the housemates are already in bed so one of the camera crew has to let me in because I was so drunk I kept trying to stick my old apartment key in the new front door. Upstairs Cass is sleeping with her eye mask on and I try to stop the spinning amongst all the tequila infused chaos, focusing in on her movie starlet beauty as my dick begins to grow in hot, clammy anticipation until I remember what she’ll be doing with that sleazebag tomorrow and I don’t know whether to jerkoff or cry, “I fuckin’ loved you you whore.” I announce collapsing into the bed and after a minute or so everything is pitch black and there’s a muffled sobbing and I’m unsure if it’s coming from her or me.