Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Don't F*#! With Me!
Rita, my husband's sister, was an ever flowing fountain of tall tales about herself and her soon to be famous career as a singer and actress. The woman definitely has talent, but instead of going about planning a career path in a rational manner, she creates these fantasies to sell to whoever will listen and then melts down in an alcohol and dope fueled abusive crash when exposed.
For years she told me countless stories about her numerous offers: Estee Lauder wanted her to replace Elizabeth Hurley, Tommy Mottola has offered her a three album contract plus a new wardrobe, car and cosmetic dentistry, Angelina Jolie has begged her to write and perform the musical score to her next film, and on and on and on. And then came her latest – she had sent a demo tape to a someone in New York for inclusion in a local women's music event, when lo and behold, it was accidentally delivered to the head of Warner Brother's Records. They kindly returned it to her, and would you believe it happened again! Only the people at Warner couldn't resist listening and begged her to come in and sign on that dotted line.
One thing I can not abide is being lied to, and it was time to make Rita come clean, come up with an album, movie or contract, or just shut her pie hole once and for all. Enlisting the aid of my brilliant pal, Nicole, we hatched our ingenious plot. Nicole called Rita and . . .
“This is Amanda Jones with SPIN magazine.”
“Oh, we can't afford no more magazines.”
Suppressing a laugh, “Oh, I assure you, I am not in telemarketing. I am a staff writer and my contacts at Warner Brothers say you are about to sign with them.”
Now, gentle readers, this is where most of us would say “Okay, you got me.” But not our Rita, she kept on with the story.
“They tell me that your package was delivered to them twice by mistake? How fortuitous for you.”
“Oh, no. It was a good thing.”
“What? Well anyway, they offered us the chance to be first magazine to do a feature on you. We'll be in Atlanta in two weeks and contact you for a meeting.”
We waited for the news, and it was fast. The first call came within 20 minutes asking me if I could help her get ready for a major magazine interview. Of course, I would! The next day it had become a ten page spread with cover, plus television and concert tour. Nicole swore she hadn't added any of that, and we ruled out the possibility of a loose cannon infringing on our operation. It just grew from Rita's imagination, like all the other grandiose fibs. When it came time for the interview Nicole couldn't make it so we had another pal, Mark, call to reschedule. Now we were all together, Mark had his script and made the call with Nicole and I standing by. He simply said that he was Nicole's administrative assistant, and was calling to reschedule the interview.
Of course, when Rita relayed it to us just fifteen minutes later the call had come from the top man at SPIN, advising her that Richard Branson had planted spies at Warner Bros to steal her demo so Virgin could sign her. She would be leaving for London soon. At that point Lana, Rita's sister, called to say that they appreciated my help, but at this point they needed a professional manager. I was kicked to the curb! The collateral damage of stardom.
Even though she was taking each thread and making whole tapestries, she must have had suspicions. Rita called an ex-beau and asked if he was f*#king with her. All of Rita's lovers, and I don't care if I never know how this happens, follow a specific, cookie-cutter pattern. Two years of intense love/hate, talk of marriage, suicide, accusations of cheating, drunken bar fights, car accidents, and then these pathetic males are so emotionally castrated and wrung out they can never live a normal life again. They suffer from alcoholism and drug abuse, are never able to hold jobs, their social lives are ended and they live the remainder of their days in the basements or attics of their childhood homes, cared for by their mothers.
The ex starts screaming “I'm not f*#king with you! You're f*#king with me!” And back and forth it went. He even changed his answering machine message so all callers heard a paranoid drunk screaming “Quit f*#king with me and don't call here anymore!”
Rita continues broadcasting her latest success and folks that know her well just nod, congratulate her and forget it. But a couple of smalltime local club promoters decide to get in on the deal and ride her coattails to the stars. They start fighting over managing her career. Jake, an abrasive weasel-like character, managed a rock club on the skids. Rob, tall, balding with the requisite gray ponytail, claimed to be a tour manager for a major superstar, and wore the tour jacket daily as proof.
Both men campaigned for the right to guide her career. Meanwhile, Nicole and I soon had other projects on our agenda. Eventually Rita decided that this story could have been a hoax, and if so, she knew who the perp was – a jealous ex-lover.
A year later I run into Rob at a concert. He was saying what a shame it was that Rita lost her great once in a lifetime record deal.
“I don't know, Rob,” I said, “Honestly, I don't believe there ever was such a deal.”
“Oh, no. It was real. I saw it.”
Now how was I going to answer without self-incrimination?
“Rob, let me tell you, there never was a contract, or a record deal, nothing.”
“Oh yes there was! I saw it. Richard Branson met with me to look it over. Then Jake butts in and ruined it. But it was real.”
I felt like the writer in that episode of The Outer Limits where his characters come to life, and then take over while he tries to explain to his wife that the sexy woman in his office isn't real.
Just. . . don’t f* with me!