This story is PG.
o o o
“What’ll it be, Mr. Wahl?”
“I’ll take a Harvey Wallbanger. Just wrapped up the last round of auditions for ‘Kiss the Gun.’ Got some great talent lined up.”
“Great. One Banger, coming right up. Looks like you’re on a winning streak. I hope this one turns out as successful as your last movie.”
“Yep, all we need is an unknown to play ‘victim number one.’ A pretty-boy type. Memorable. To set the pace for the rest of the movie.”
“Good luck with that. Here’s your Banger.”
“Thank you. And I’ll let you in on something. My first name is Harvey.” He winces and rubs his forehead.
“Ha! Is that so? A Harvey Wallbanger for Mr. Harvey Wahl.”
Harvey grabs the drink and takes a long swig.
“What’s that name on your tag there?” He leans over the bar and squints. “I can’t see too well in this light.”
“My name is Jehan Ridgemont.” He offers his hand, and they shake.
“Jehan- is that French?”
“Yes sir. My mother was French.”
“Well that certainly is a pretty name. Pretty name for a pretty face- speaking as an agent. I bet you’re bartending just until you get your first big break in show business. Am I right?”
“Well, I wouldn’t turn down a role in a movie, but I really moved to L. A. to model. I started bartending when my savings ran out. Tough market for male models.”
“A model. I knew it. And of course, you’re gay.”
“Not that it’s any of my business. But gay pretty-boys naturally gravitate toward modeling. It’s in their genes. Posing like fucking precious peacocks. A bunch of tail-fanners. And it helps in acting too, ‘cause most casting agents are men. And that’s the difference between males and females- male agents like to get to know their talent. Female agents don’t care. They’re just interested in their next pill.” Harvey winces and takes another long swig of his drink. “But I care,” he continues. “Now I ain’t a fag, don’t get me wrong. I’m a real man- no offense. I just care about my talent.”
Jehan wipes the far end of the bar with a towel.
“So you say you wouldn’t turn down a role?”
Jehan clenches his teeth and nods.
“I tell you what. My wife is producing ‘Kiss the Gun.’ She has the final say, but you’re a shoo-in. Ten grand up front, plus royalties. Mornings only. One month. You mind working with guns?”
Jehan works the towel down the length of the bar.
“I don’t mind guns. As long as they’re not loaded.” He glances at Harvey and smiles, then folds the towel into a neat square.
Harvey reaches into his jacket and pulls out his cell phone.
“I’ll call her now.” He rubs his forehead and dials. “Hey babe, I just found victim number one. Down at the Spector Bar and Grill. How late you gonna be up? . . No. . I forgot. . Don’t worry about it. . C’mon, babe, I feel fine.”
He slips his phone back into his pocket and giggles. “Women are good at one thing- rackin’ your balls. You’re lucky you’re queer, Jehan.” He fiddles with his watch. “You get off soon? We need to do this tonight to keep on schedule.”
“I’ll ask Sean to cover for me. He’s in the back.”
o o o
Harvey sprawls on the sofa, drinking a Screwdriver. “Prolly went for a walk. She’ll be back soon.”
“At this hour?” Jehan perches on the edge of his seat.
Harvey pulls out his cell phone.
“I’ll call her cell.” He rubs his forehead and giggles.
“You alright, Mr. Wahl?”
“ . . Huh. No answer.”
“That’s okay, it’s late anyway. We can do this tomorrow, maybe?” Jehan stands and walks to the door. Harvey follows.
“Tell you what. We’ll go over the scene so you can audition right away when she gets here. We’ll use this.”
Harvey reaches into his jacket. He pulls out a Smith & Wesson Model 37, a Model 60, and a Model 36, one at a time, and lays them on the foyer table.
Jehan steps back. “You know, it’s really getting late. And I have a go-see in the morning. I’d rather do this later. I’m exhausted. I’m sorry. I really have to leave now.”
Harvey steps in front of the door, picks up the Model 36, and waves it at Jehan. “You nervous, pretty boy? No need. Take a look at this. My pride and joy. S and W revolver, a thirty-six. Revolvers are more reliable than semi-automatics. See, with a revolver, there’s no safety. Just put your finger on the trigger and bam! Always ready to fire. The hammer’s exposed, so you can fire in single or double action. Great for auditions. You understand?”
“Yes. I mean no. Please, may I leave now? I don’t think I’m a good fit for your movie. I’m sorry.”
“Not a good fit? What the hell you talkin’ ’bout? I took a chance on you because I care. I care about all my talent.” He squeezes his eyes shut, lowers his head, and yelps.
“Mr. Wahl, I think you need help.”
Tears drip from Harvey’s nose. “Don’t need help. Don’t need shit. Just haven’t fired my gun in a long time, that’s all.” He shakes his head and lets out a sob. “On your knees, pretty boy.”
o o o
Mrs. Wahl pulls her BMW into the driveway. Harvey turns, opens the door, and steps outside.
“I had to drive all the way to Tarzana to find an open pharmacy. Take a pill- now.”
“I told you not to worry about it, babe. I’m fine. I even auditioned victim number one.”
“Here? At this hour?”
“Yes. And we went ahead and shot the scene.”
“Oh. Okay. Did you use the surveillance cameras for the shot? You know, like we talked about- P. O. V?”
“Yep. But there’s one little technicality- he failed the audition. But don’t worry, babe. I got the shot.”
o o o