Darrell Vickers – Chapter Fifteen: We’re Here. We’re Here. You Lucky, Lucky People

Farting Nylon cover final

I’d been doing a little shopping myself.  After lunch, Alchemy walked into her office to find a ‘50s-style leather jacket and motorcycle cap hanging on an antique coat rack.  Next to her phone, I placed the evilest pair of sunglasses I could find.  And in her chair, I put a big poster of Marlon Brando from The Wild One.  Except, I cut out a picture of Alchemy’s face and pasted it over Marlon’s.

When I have a woman in my sights, there are no half steps.

Punjab didn’t cotton to half steps either.  It was time for his big powwow with Angela Cartwright and Billy Mumy.  Dinner and deals were being served up at the Grammercy Tavern.  The two thespians hung on every word and movement of their eccentric benefactor as he stirred his squash custard.  He had the restaurant pianist play that highly annoying theme song again but this time Punjab had seriously upped the Lost in Space ante.  All the waiters were dressed in those stupid silver Jupiter II uniforms.

Billy was very anxious to talk shop. “Well, it cost almost a quarter of a million, but we now have the exclusive television rights.”

“That is indeed most excellent news!”  Punjab turned to the waiter. “We’ll be having a bottle of your finest Perignon, if you please.  And perhaps several bottles of your Grand Echezeaux, Domaine de la Romanee-Conti with our sea bass in walnuts and sherry.”

“But the thing is Punjie,” Angela added nervously, “That pretty well tapped out all the cash from the check you gave me.  So, it looks like we’re going to need a teensy bit more seed money.”

“Just a little,” added Billy.

They anxiously awaited his answer.  How many eggs could they squeeze out of their Ganges golden goose?

They needn’t have worried.  Punjab happily whipped out his check book and started scribbling zeroes.

“Would $100,000 each be sufficient to keep seeding things upon a pace?”

Billy was unable to control himself. “Mother-fucker!”

Angela was slightly more tactful.  “That’s so great and generous of you, Punjie.”

“Yeah.  When I said ‘Motherfucker’?  I meant thanks.”

“Billy and I have got three of the most talented writers in Hollywood working on concepts and modern-day angles into the series.”

“Also, most excellent.  How much are we paying these people?”

Angela and Billy looked at each other a little bewildered and then turned to Punjab.

“Nothing, man, they’re writers.”

Punjab was a little confused. “Is it some sort of arrangement where they benefit greatly from the ensuing profits at the behind of the deal should it be a hit?”

Now it was Angela and Billy’s turn to be confused. “That’s not how Hollywood works, Punjie.  We allow the writer to create, through the blood and sweat of their unique talent, a world on celluloid that will be loved for generations in over two hundred languages.”

Billy finished her sentence, just like people do on all those annoying cop dramas.  “And if they’re lucky we give them a tiny paycheck months after we promised it to them.”

“That is it?”

“And then we bring in some other asshole to completely tear apart what he or she has written and go another way with it.”

“But why?”

They both shrugged.  “That’s just the way it works,” offered Billy.

“If this was animation they wouldn’t even get health and pension or residuals.”

Punjie’s future co-stars clinked their champagne glasses and raised them to their lips.  He was still trying to figure the Hollywood system out.

“But surely on the DVD and internet streaming sales…”

Angela and Billy both did spit takes.  Apparently, if you know anything about show business, this was a real gut-splitter.

The next day, we all got called into Randy’s office.  This could mean only one thing.  He’d gone out and bought something that he thought would impress and belittle all people of all races.

And there it was.  His newest and assholiest acquisition yet.  Punjab, Alchemy and I stood just staring in sheer amazement (Alchemy was wearing the leather jacket and cap I bought her.  Yum!  It was all I could do to keep my Rip Van Winky asleep.).  But back to what we were staring at.  On a very large perch/faux branch, in the corner of the room, was a real live, I shit you not, vulture wearing a Dartmouth T-shirt.

There followed a period of contemplative quietude.  It’s hard to know exactly what to say at a moment like that.  Finally, I thought I’d take a shot at breaking through the agonizing silence. “What do you feed it?”

Randy chortled dismissively or perhaps he snarkily guffawed. “I don’t feed the fucking thing.  Some broad comes in once a day and throws it some chopped up steak and shit.”

“But why ever would you want such a very large bird?  In a business office, no less?”

Randy was fully prepared to counter Punjab’s initial skepticism.  “Cause I’m not just another pussy pet owner who goes out and buys a parakeet or some fucking little snake.”  He tried to breathe in through his nose.  It sounded like somebody sucking on a bong filled with Vicks VapoRub.  “This is a real man’s pet.  Name me one other shithead who owns a vulture.”

“No, you’re the only one,” Alchemy agreed.

“Is it even, like, legal to own a vulture?” I asked.

“What the fuck are you talking about?  You’ve got to realize, we’re in a different league now.  There is one law for the stinking rich and another one for all those other fucking losers out there who earn less than a million dollars a year.  How many people went to jail in the sub-prime scandal, limp dick?”

“You mean in total?”

“Not one of those fuckers even got charged.  Laws don’t mean shit if you’ve got mountains and mountains of cash.”

“Did you get another advance on your bonus money?” Alchemy asked with a smile.

As a matter of fact, Mr. Cash Mountain was in Harve’s office that very morning, having his hairline massaged down into his cheekbones in the pursuit of vulture purchasing spondulicks.

“I may have gotten a small one,” he muttered weakly as his pet swiveled its elongated neck around and tried to bite off his pinky finger.


It was 11:40 and breakfast time for our two actors in the Ty Warner Penthouse, back at the Four Seasons.  Even in their heyday, life had never been this good.  The place was fucking staggering.  Even the bathroom had a balcony.  I guess that’s in case you needed to puke, like right away, and someone was on the toilet?  The views were breathtaking.  Unless you were scared of heights, then you’d never come out of the closet.  We’re talking the 52nd storey and floor to ceiling windows everywhere.  Everything was slathered in gold (the furniture, the walls, the fixtures) because it’s been proven to be the ultimate color of supremely sumptuous opulence.

At those prices, you don’t want anything in your sightline to fall short of obscenely luxurious.  But the very best part about being surrounded by so much unconscionable magnificence is the knowledge that you’re not paying for any of it.

Angela and Billy sat on the bed perusing the morning menu.  Most people would have to take out a second mortgage just to afford the continental breakfast in this place, but nothing is too good for you when it’s all free.

“I’m thinking of getting a Wellness Breakfast plus a European Breakfast,” said Angela trying to decide what nationality of coffee would go best with her selection… selections.

“It’s the ‘Farm and Stream’ for me.”

“Which one?  There are five of them.”

Billy stretched out lazily.  “I just figured I’d get one of each and sample.” He looked over at Angela’s ever-so-inviting bosom.      “Say, I don’t suppose while we’re waiting for room service….”

“No, Billy.”

Oh well.  You can’t blame a guy for tryin’.

Speaking of food, I had dropped by Dorothy’s desk to build up my appetite for lunch.  I believe Mexicali Blues was playing on the boombox as I took a huge hit from the blunt that Dorothy had rolled.

“This is ‘Big Bud’.  It has sativa overtones and packs one hell of a head stone,” I was informed.  The next thing I remember was trying to have sex with the palm tree in my office.

After a $700 breakfast and another four “Absolutely not, Billys”, it was time to take a trip down to the bank.  There could be no real celebration until that little piece of paper had “Paid” stamped on the back of it.  Any asshole can write a big check.  Especially in an industry that’s as infinitely shallow as showbiz.  Would it clear like the last one or would the dream end right there in front of that wicket?  Would they have to hitchhike back to California?  Oh, the relief when the teller returned from the manager’s office with an unctuous smile instead of security guards.        High fives!  Angela was so happy she almost hugged her past and future co-star.  Then she remembered what happened during the 1998 reunion show.

Perhaps a little shopping and a bite of lunch at the Blue Hill.

Back at work, Harvey had asked us all to gather in the conference room.  The level of fear was palpable.  Was it all over?  Had he finally seen the financial folly of his ways?  Anyone could do this job.  It was surely only a matter of time before Harvey twigged to the fact that he could save absolute gobs of green by hiring a much cheaper workforce.  That’s the way capitalism works.  You screw your workers as much as possible so you can keep all the money for yourself.  Had our excessively benevolent boss come to his capitalist, penny-pinching senses?  It was with anxious and heavy hearts that we trudged into that room.

We sat and just stared at one another as the agonizing minutes ticked by.  I don’t know about everyone else, but I was thinking about my mortgage.  That Greek-National-Debt-sized mortgage.  What was I going to do?

But a house was really only a place where you lived.  More importantly, how much sex could I get out of the girls before they found out I was broke and procured a transfer to someone else’s gravy train?

Harve entered the room.  All eyes turned.  It was so quiet you could hear all the Patek Philippes ticking.  Harvey was not his usual jocund self.  He looked like he had some real unwelcome news to disseminate.  We braced ourselves for penury.  If only I could have held Alchemy’s hand.  Finally, the “I’m going to shit myself, if you don’t say something” silence was broken.

“I’m so sorry I had to drag you away from your work,” he began ominously, “Especially to listen to a fuckheaded, fart-drinking moron like me.”

This sounded like the old Harvey.  Was there hope?  “I just wanted to tell you that you’re the best dang staff a guy ever had and I’d be so grateful if you’d let me give you all a month off with double the pay, right after you get your bonuses.”  He wiped a sentimental tear from his rosy cheek.

We were saved.  He still liked us!  He still really, really liked us!  Everyone burst into applause and hoots and cheers…with the exception of one unmitigated pus bucket.

“But what about our commissions for a whole month?  We’re talking about losing out on some major dough, here” complained Mr. Dartmouth ‘Pus Bucket’ Esquire.

Many people voiced their opinion on the subject.

“Shut up!/Fuck you!/Asshole!” were some of the politer assessments.

Harvey held up his hands to quiet the riled assemblage.  “No. No.  Be fair. Randy is quite right.  If you’re not working, you’re not making your commissions.  So I will take an average of what you have made in sales from the last few months and I will recompense you for that as well.”

The man was a saint.  I would have fired the fucker.  Hell, I would have set the fucker on fire but Harve wasn’t like that.  No matter how obnoxious and unappreciative Randy was, it didn’t faze him.  I was truly impressed.

There was another round of applause-bursting.

Randy, typically took this as an affirmation.  “You see.  If I hadn’t stood up for you fucking idiots, we would have all gotten ripped off.”

It was right about this time that a dress shoe hit Ran’ in the forehead at a considerable velocity.  He picked it up and shook it furiously at the crowd, but they were too busy giving him the finger and telling him to “suck it” to be concerned.

“Okay, who’s wearing 700 dollar, Facri Alligator Slip-On Loafers?”

Seven or eight people held up their hands.


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DBAWIS_ButtonDarrell Vickers started out as one half of Toronto area band, Nobby Clegg.  CFNY fans may remember the cheery song “Me Dad” which still gets airplay.  From there, he valiantly ventured to L.A. and eventually became head writer for The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.  Since then, he’s created numerous sitcoms and animation shows in Canada and the U.S.  He still writes music and has an internet band called Death of the Author Brigade (members in Croatia, Canada and the U.S.)   Mr. Vickers also had a private music mailing-list where he features new and pre-loved music.  Anyone who would like to be added to his daily mailing list, just write him at Radiovickers1@gmail.com

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