issue thirty
art gallery
past issues
current issue
(6050 words)
Jeff Nazzaro
Shiny Decoys

       I only found three cents the day my current streak began, and the first of the pennies I had to dig out of the hibiscus bed near the leasing office of our apartment complex, the Barcelona Flats. But it's not about where, see, and it's not about how much. It's about momentum. That shitty little dirt-crusted penny ended two days of nothing and started this new streak I'm on that now sits at fifty days, and fifty days ain't nothing. If it were a hitting streak I'd be national news, reporters mobbing my locker every game -- before and after. Wee Willie Keeler in my rearview mirror, I'd be a well-aimed jet of tobacco juice within the great DiMaggio.

We were on our way to the pool.

"How did you even see that?" Becca said.

I could tell she was impressed. "It was sitting right there," I said.

"Same color as the dirt."

"Same color but round."

I didn't mention it to Becca, but it was definitely the two-day shutout. The longer it lasted the sharper my focus became and the more intently I looked: in parking lots, gutters, intersections, flower beds. Dirty penny in hand, I walked around the hibiscus shrub, took about four steps, and there sat another penny, this one in the wood chips ringing the palm tree in front of the leasing office. I stopped, then went for the penny, then stopped again. Becca kept going. I bent down and picked up the coin, and when I caught up to Becca poolside, you wouldn't believe it, but there shone a third penny, bright and coppery, under the umbrella table -- with no one around, either. That last part is key, too. Sometimes you have to be discreet. Or lucky.

A few weeks ago, this kid tossed a dime out of the pool and up onto the patio. I was in a lounge chair a few feet away, trying to read this book my acting teacher, Harold Archer, recommended called Keeping it Real: The Actor's Guide to Staying in the Moment, by some dude I'd never heard of, but who Harry insisted was a big deal. Harry was in a bunch of stuff himself back in the day. He has a couple of stories about old-timers like Mickey Rooney and Don Ameche, but he's really not a big name-dropper. I haven't booked anything myself, as yet, although I did get a callback once for a beer spot. Becca's uncle worked for the company that was producing the ad, so that may or may not have had something to do with it, but still, it was a callback, and it gave me some confidence and all-important momentum. When I told Harry after class one week that I haven't had any luck breaking through, even into something small, he started to give me some advice, then he just sort of shook his head and said, "That's tough." Maybe he thinks I don't have what it takes, and maybe I don't, but Harry's always positive. I suppose they have to be if they want you to keep coming back, writing checks.

About the dime at the pool, though, I was lying on one of the lounge chairs in my shorts and flip-flops reading the acting book about keeping it real, when all of a sudden I hear this little clink. More like a click, really, the click of a dime more than the clink of a quarter, and I looked in time to catch it roll and circle, spin and drop, FDR up, on the concrete. My first impulse was to jump up and slap my flip-flop down on it, then pinch it out from under the sole with a triumphant "Ha!" and, if necessary, "Finder's keepers, loser's weepers, kid," in case he hadn't heard that one yet. But I just laughed to myself and went back to the book.

Being a trained actor I can play those things off pretty well. I don't think the kid, or his mother sitting in the Jacuzzi across the pool from me, even noticed me notice the dime. What was a kid doing tossing a dime out of the pool, anyway? Did he find it in there, or in the pocket of his bathing suit? Did his bathing suit even have pockets? It did not. Was he diving for it after having tossed it into the pool? Why didn't he toss the dime towards his mother in the Jacuzzi? Why in my direction? Maybe he was throwing it away. I probably could have grabbed it, but I didn't want to take the chance. Imagine some kid hollering, "Hey, that man took my dime!" What then?        

When I went back later I couldn't find it. The kid probably got it when he was done swimming, or maybe someone else came along and scooped it up. I did find a dime by the vending machines on my way back to the apartment, though, snagging it even as some girl bopped out of the fitness center in her new pink running shoes just as I spied it, liberty torch blazing. I put on an excellent show of having just dropped the thing trying to buy a Coke, like: Push, push, What the? Where's my dime? Oh, there it is, then bending down and picking it up. Great improvisational theater, great acting practice.

That's what I tried to tell Becca, that it was for the acting practice, but sometimes I wonder why I tell her about these things at all. We only have the one car, which she drives to work, so I ride my bike to my acting classes, the supermarket, anywhere I have to go. Everything's pretty close, but she's worried I'm going to get killed stopping to pick up coins off the road. Those are some of the best pickings, though. Plus there are certain other advantages, like avoiding flat tires. She doesn't buy that one, but look, I might mistake a chunk of glass, let's say, for a dime, but I would never in a million years run my bicycle tires over a chunk of glass. I'd stop to pick up the dime. Right?

Becca refuses to get my logic, but therein lies the essence of the bigger danger, what I call the shiny decoys. The roads are littered with bottle caps, washers, pull tabs, slugs -- an endless spew of metal debris glinting in the Southern California sun. When you're stuck in a dry spell, or no, let's say you've enjoyed a run of luck, at those times even flattened chewing gum and spots of oil, blotches of paint and gobs of bird shit, shards of glass, when the sun hits them just right they all start to look like big fat quarters, sleek little dimes, thick-ass nickels, and you slow down or even stop every ten feet for nothing. I wear a helmet to protect my skull, but it doesn't do shit against the recurrent mind-fuck of all those shiny decoys.

The worst is actually just after you find something. You'd think then you could relax, let the law of averages reassert itself, but no, suddenly everything looks like a damn coin. That's why I hesitated before going for that penny in the woodchips back with Becca at the Barcelona Flats. I'd just found the one in the hibiscus bed and then I was like, wait, there's another coin, and as I got closer I thought, It's a penny, it's a penny, it's gum. The way the late afternoon sun hit it in those reddish-brown woodchips made it gleam a definite chewed Carefree sugarless bubblegum pink. That penny looked so much like a deflated wad of spit-out Carefree sugarless bubblegum that even as I bent to pick it up I thought, Aw, it's just gum. I picked it up anyway and put it in my pocket, thinking, good thing I didn't try to chew it.

But that was just a joke. The shiny decoys really aren't a big deal, except maybe when you're running late. Becca was all kinds of pissed off the day I missed the audition for the shampoo commercial. Harry had helped me find a rep, and she got me the audition. I thought there was no way they would call me in right on time, I tried to tell Becca, and I was only ten minutes late. I wouldn't have booked that gig, anyway, I know for an absolute fact, because the shampoo they were pitching was a dandruff shampoo, and I've never had a flake of dandruff in my life. But I did have fourteen cents in my coin holder that weren't there before. And I had a great idea for a screenplay. It came to me while I was picking up a penny at the corner of Lincoln and Venice.

"So now you're a writer?" Becca said.

"That's how Stallone did it."

"Picking up pennies in the street?"

"He wrote Rocky and insisted on playing the lead."

I gave Becca my elevator pitch about the struggling found-object sculptor who always has his head down looking for objects to find for his, sorry, objet trouvé sculptures, and one day finds a winning lottery ticket in the 7-11 parking lot, only he finds it at the same time as the homeless guy who hangs around and holds the door open for people and asks for change, and then the guy in the BMW who originally bought the ticket and threw it away, or, if you care to believe such a guy, accidentally dropped it, and the Iranian guy who runs the place with his nine brothers and cousins and gave the guy in the BMW the tip about which ticket to buy because he knew no one had won anything on that ticket in a long time, all try to cut themselves in on the winning lottery ticket, and of course madcap hilarity ensues, but, you know, with a heartwarming, feel-good ending.

"Since when do you drink Mr. Pibb?" Becca said.

"I found that."

"Now you're collecting cans?"

"Environmentally conscientious behavior."

"The many homeless have it covered, I think."

"You'd be surprised how many slip through the cracks."

"Do you have any idea where it's been?"

"Centinela and Short."

That was a lie. There was a smashed plastic Arrowhead water bottle on the corner of Centinela and Short I knew about and was meaning to pick up, but I grabbed the Mr. Pibb can in the 7-11 parking lot near our apartment. That's when Ronnie, the homeless guy in my screenplay, held out his hand and said, "Thank you, my man, thank you."

"I got it," I said.

"Man, you're fucking with me, right?" he said.

"If I wanted to fuck with you, I'd start taking them out of the dumpster," I said. I saw him rummaging through the dumpster, not to mention the garbage cans, at the Barcelona Flats almost every day. Old Ronnie, the hardest working man in LA.

"You leave that in there with the rest of them," he said, "and everything will be just fine."

"I drank this earlier, that's why, Ronnie. Personal responsibility."

I've never drunk a Mr. Pibb in my life, nor would I.

Before the two-day coin drought, I didn't keep track of how many days in a row I found something, but it went on for a few weeks, maybe nineteen days. The first day without finding anything didn't bother me too much, but after the second day I knew I had to either forget all about it or try harder. And I can't emphasize enough that I don't even know how much money I've found because it isn't about how much, it's about getting started and keeping going. Like acting. Of course, I have to break through first, start with one small role and go from there. But I haven't even been able to get a miserable little non-paying gig. And I've tried. Hell, I couldn't get hired at Medieval Times, forget as a knight or a squire, they didn't want me for manure wrangler or food server. Some days I get down on myself and think it must be because I have no talent or charisma or something. I know it's not my looks. One glance at Becca and my bank statements should prove that, though I did have a lot more money when I first met her, now that I think of it. I think casting directors just don't get me. I'm too offbeat, too original. Once I find my audience things will take off and the others will come around. I just have to get going, then keep it going, like with the coins. I'm doing it, it's just really hard to maintain. Like last week I resorted to snaking a couple of pennies off the counter at Jack in the Box, but only because my order came to a dollar thirty-seven and I was able to sort of nonchalantly act like I didn't have twenty-two pennies in this little coin holder I keep in my pocket, and count out loud to the kid at the register while picking through them: "Twenty-five, thirty-five, and, let's see, oh, I'll just borrow these two pennies off the counter here to make it come out nice and square."

He didn't care because he didn't have to make change, besides the fact he was a kid working at Jack in the Box. But then the next day, like retribution for having bent the rules -- really, taking them off the counter wasn't any different from snagging them out of the "If you have a penny, leave one, if you need a penny, take one" tray at the 7-11; in fact, it was kind of twice as bad -- I didn't find a fucking thing.

I was out and about, too. Finally, I resigned myself to the fact that the streak was over. So it was over, so what? I can't stress enough that it wasn't about the money. I mean, a few weeks back I stumbled upon a folded up ten-dollar bill on the floor of the laundry room. Ten bucks. I'd have to surpass the Yankee Clipper twice over and then some to sniff ten bucks in coin, like a hundred and twenty days. But there it was. And didn't I spend that chanced-upon sawbuck three times over? I admit, I did. Once for lunch I went to El Pollo Loco instead of Del Taco, and twice I took pints of craft ale at Father's Office. So I rode all the way home, missing even those pennies I'd previously passed up in intersection crevices, secretly squirreled away for a rainy day like this, the streak all but busted, and then, walking up the steps to my apartment in the dark, bike hoisted, there sat a pretty little penny on the next to the last step. It was as if someone had placed it there just for me. I bent and picked it up, wondering if Becca, knowing how important it was for me to keep the streak alive, had put it there, and if that invalidated the streak.

When she got home, though, she didn't say anything about coins at all, even when I fibbed and told her my streak was over. It gave me a good idea for the ending of my screenplay, though, where the found-object sculptor triumphs in the end by getting his millions from the lottery ticket and doesn't bother to look for coins anymore because now he's rich, but his wife, Berta, keeps placing random coins at the end of the driveway of their awesome new beach house in Playa Del Rey because she knows he secretly loves finding them and understands it never was about the money. He kisses her one sunny LA morning and says, "I'm just going for a little stroll, Honey," and she tells him she loves him and to be safe and everything, and he walks down the driveway and finds a penny sitting there and bends down and picks it up, beaming, so Berta can see, and she has this great big smile on her face as he puts the penny in his shirt pocket and walks down the street to meet his old friend Ronnie, who used to be homeless, digging through dumpsters for bottles and cans, but now has an awesome beach house in Playa Del Rey, too. Or maybe he smiles one of those self-satisfied, older-but-wiser, Hollywood-ending smiles and leaves the penny sitting there at the end of the driveway. I haven't decided yet.

In reality, I kind of blame Becca for fucking up the old streak, as silly as that sounds. The day before it ended she was off from work and drove us to the supermarket. On the way out, I found a penny in the parking lot. I knew I would. There is always, in any supermarket parking lot at any given time, anywhere across this great land of ours, at least one penny to be found somewhere, trust me. But then, leaving the parking lot, there's this four-way stop. When Becca stops, I look down, and sure enough, there was a second penny. "Wait, don't go," I said. She had just started to drive and she hit the brakes pretty hard. I unbuckled my seat belt and opened the door. And then she drove away anyway, fast, too. I couldn't believe it. I had to yank the door shut to avoid a shopping cart. "There was a penny," I said.

"You scared the shit out of me," she said.

There's the old expression, "Find a penny, pick it up, all day long you'll have good luck," but that's really just something to say when you're with your friend and you're embarrassed about bending down in a parking lot or wherever and picking up a penny. Then there's that business about heads up is lucky, tails unlucky. Bullshit. Why do you need an excuse or a saying? You're picking up litter as much as anything else. Does it matter if you put it in your pocket instead of the trash can? And finding a penny and picking it up doesn't bring good luck. It doesn't even really rhyme. No, it brings momentum. Focus. Not picking one up? Loss. Lack. That's what Becca brought me by speeding away from that second penny. The next day, and the day after that, I didn't find shit. Not even after riding my bike back to the supermarket to look.

It wasn't really her fault, though. I got tired. I went back to the supermarket because I'd forgotten to get bread the day before. Becca barely touches the stuff, but I eat a lot of sandwiches, especially when I eat alone, which happens to be quite often these days; so while she was picking up the rest of the stuff, I went for a loaf of bread. Only I was so preoccupied scanning the floor for dropped coins, I forgot to grab the bread. I don't know why Becca didn't say anything, but I guess she has her own concerns. When we got home, I was like, where's the bread? She didn't know, either. So I went back for bread the next day and kind of detoured over towards that four-way stop; only there were a lot of cars around and I didn't get a good look. There's no telling where an unescorted penny in a parking lot will bounce around to if you give it a day or so, but I was also like, screw it, there'll be another penny, if not something better, somewhere between here and home. Only there wasn't. Not that I saw. Maybe I didn't look hard enough. I was definitely getting sick of the whole coin-hunting business, though it was good research for my acting and screenwriting, I think, that feeling of getting further and further down.

I haven't gotten too deep into the screenplay, truthfully, but that penny in the hibiscus bed turned my luck around with the coins. With the luck comes a whole new set of problems, though. The worst is when you find something but it's so chewed up from being kicked around, flipped around, tread upon the road that no one wants anything to do with it anymore. Again, it's not about the money. I agonized over accepting that ten spot for the streak until a penny in the carport made it moot. But the scratched-up coins raise a couple of important questions: If you can't spend it, is it really a coin? And if it isn't really a coin does it still count towards extending the streak? When I was buying a gallon of milk and tried to include this badly scuffed nickel I'd rescued off of Sepulveda, the guy in the 7-11 didn't want to take it.

"This isn't a nickel," he said.

"You wouldn't say it wasn't a nickel if it wasn't a nickel," I said.

"Oh, that's logical."

"You would have said, 'What the hell is this?'"

"So what the hell is it?"

"It's a nickel."

"And you, sir, are a bum!" he said.

But he took the nickel. Took it and threw it in the trash. I asked if I could have it back, seeing as how he didn't want it, and then he threw me out of the store. That stung. I accepted getting called a bum, but getting ejected from the 7-11 was bad. They let Ronnie hang around, after all, and Ronnie is a bum. I internalized it, though. Didn't say a word about the guy's family, attire, accent, anything. Nor would I. Harry says that kind of internalization is great for acting. Store all that up inside, keep it there, let it fester, then tote it with you into the moment and let it soar.

I didn't tell Becca about that 7-11 scuffed-nickel business because she wasn't too sympathetic when I told her about the guy in the Lexus on Lincoln Boulevard who called me a fucking loser. Granted, she was concerned I was going to get myself killed in the street over a penny, but come on, whose side was she on here? She said she told her boss, Glenn, about how I was always stopping to pick up pennies on the side of the road. I couldn't believe it. It wasn't just pennies I picked up. Coins. Sometimes quarters. I was embarrassed, but she said she only told him that because he was telling her the day before about how he used to commute by bike until one morning when a guy talking on his phone in a parked car suddenly opened the door just as he got there, no chance to avoid it, smashes into the door, goes ass over teakettle off the bike and shatters his collarbone.

"This was completely different," I said.

"Yeah, much worse," Becca said.

"I was in the bike lane."

"Bent over in the middle of the street."

"Just because some asshole in a Lexus is trying to get to the right-turn lane doesn't mean he can run me down in the bike lane."

"Just because there's a quarter in the bike lane doesn't mean you can stop in the middle of a busy street to pick it up."

"That guy scared the shit out of me."


"How is that good?"

"You're bending down in the middle of the street. That's one of the main reasons cars have horns."

"I showed him the quarter."

"You showed him the quarter?"

"He had to wait to make his stupid right anyway."

"You showed him the quarter."

"'Dropped my quarter,' I said."

"You said that?"

"'Fucking loser,' he goes."

Internalized it. Had a great class that night. Arrived a little late, but had a great class. Acting is about discovery. Interaction through discovery. And vice-versa. That's what Harry says. That, and every time someone in the class brings up something some actor said about acting in an interview somewhere, he says, "Just because so-and-so is in some big Hollywood production, doesn't mean they're any good." I agree. And I know something's going to happen soon. It's like it was with the two-day coin drought. I just have to stay focused and something will come along. Maybe not a quarter sitting eagle up in the bike lane, but something.

The best part about all of this is that since I've been trying, really trying to find something every day, I've become more self-aware and my interactions have become more meaningful. That has to be what Harry means. When I first started picking up coins in the street, a parking lot, the aisle of a store, I only did it if I thought no one was looking. Later, when I started keeping track of how many days in a row I'd found something, I grew bolder. But in those moments when I knew someone was watching, or there was the potential for several people to be watching, I put myself in a sort of fog, like this couldn't really be me sifting through the blackened sand of a La Tijera pothole for a mangy penny. I even felt nervous and indecisive, the absolute worst things an actor can be, and half the time I'd pass coins up, especially pennies. Now I get them all, and during those human interactions -- at Jack in the Box or 7-11, with the douche bag in the Lexus -- I stayed in the moment, and I stayed calm.

Meanwhile, it's good to have a little income, even if it is symbolic. Token amounts, not tokens. That's the part of it Becca doesn't get. "They're all tokens," she said when I tried to explain it. She freaked when she spied the squashed, rusted bottle cap and chewed up, nickel-sized washer on the nightstand.

"Recyclable metal," I said. "Environmentally conscientious." I didn't tell her I was just sick of squeezing on the breaks for the damn things. There's a lot of stuff I don't tell Becca these days, like how all this is really just a way to remind myself to stay real, like Harry's acting book says. Pumping my legs alongside the traffic, people tootling by in their little glassed-in bubbles, I'm out there in the sun and wind picking through bits of metal trash. When the illusion of income, of wealth, is this pathetic, I know what I am. I know. It's important that the stray cans get recycled, any fool knows that, but I know it's just as important to get the lost nickels and dimes, the spurned pennies back into circulation. And I know it even as I pump unguarded through this fucked-up hyperreal simulation.

Fucked-up hyperreal simulation.

That's what Ronnie said one day as I watched him from the window pick through the dumpster: "Man, it's all just fucked-up hyperreal simulation."

He was talking to a squirrel, but for me, I just get this feeling like if I don't find something, it will mean the end of something; not some dumb streak I invented, but something real. If it gets towards the end of the day and I still haven't found even a penny, I start to feel weird in my head, and I don't want to eat or do anything until I stumble upon something. I started taking long walks whenever I had the time, whenever I could manage to drag myself out of the apartment. Further and further on sidewalks spanning busy streets, walking, looking, on the sidewalk, in the gutter.

One thing that has helped this streak along is the visualization technique I got out of Harry's acting book about keeping it real. This is where before the audition, or, if you're lucky, the scene, you picture in your mind exactly how it will go -- your best possible performance (and collecting your Oscar from your favorite movie star). This technique has rewarded me twice, not with Oscars, but twenty-six cents, which isn't bad.

The first time was in the carport, on our way to Becca's mom's on a Sunday morning. I said, "You can't tell me one of those obnoxious drunks who woke us up at two o'clock in the morning didn't drop at least a nickel somewhere down here," and, four steps later, there was a nickel. True story.

A couple of days later I was walking across the park near where we live, which happens to be very close to a Westside art college. I said, "You can't tell me some art dweeb trying to have the complete college experience wasn't out here flinging a Frisbee around and some loose change didn't flip out of the front pocket of his black plaid shorts." Next thing I knew, there lay a dime nestled in the grass. I said, "Who the fuck plays Frisbee with a single dime in his pocket?" Then I found a second dime, and a penny after that. There was a girl with blue hair and black tattoos leap-frogging solo around the park, climbing trees, simulating a viewfinder with her hands, and it occurred to me that maybe the coins had bounced out of her pocket and not some Frisbee dude's. That's when I developed my size-value-coin-lost-found theorem. I'm still working on the name, but discreetly depositing my twenty-one cents in my coin holder, I noticed I had a slew of pennies and some dimes. No quarters, and just the one nickel from the carport. The pennies I understood. People throw pennies away, and they refuse to pick them up after dropping them. But why shouldn't I have more nickels than dimes? Size matters. It has to. I should write a letter to the Secretary of the Treasury saying that if they really want those damn dollar coins they keep pushing on the American public to ever circulate -- and I'm not at all sure they do -- forget about which politically correct noggin to stamp into them and just make the things really fucking small. It probably won't help the Treasury, but it could be very lucrative for me.

Visualization will only take you so far, though. It really is more about momentum, and lately I've had some close calls. Last week I met Becca for dinner at our favorite little Mexican hole in the wall. I walked about a mile to meet her and didn't find anything along the way except for a cardboard Power Rangers Super Samurai disc. At first I thought it was a Hollywood Park Casino chip, but it was only a Power Rangers Super Samurai disc. I took it anyway, for momentum's sake, for the power. At the restaurant I looked everywhere, even around the gumball machines, but there was nothing but a dusty white gumball that must have slipped through some kid's fat fingers. After dinner we went to the discount store where Becca likes to get her protein bars and shampoo. I must have scoured every inch of floorspace over every aisle and didn't find a red cent. So while she was paying for her stuff, I ducked out to the parking lot. Nothing. When Becca found me she was livid.

"What the hell are you doing?" she said.

"Looking for coins. Why, are you upset?"

"You just left me in there."

"I figured you had it covered."

"The handle on the bag broke."

"But nothing spilled."

Her look told me not to mention the fact that the streak was in jeopardy, even though I was getting that anxious feeling I get when time and opportunity are running out. Still, strange as it might sound, I sort of secretly hoped that this would be the end. We went to Whole Foods next, though, and there in the entrance sat a pair of pennies. I bent down and picked them up.

"Happy now?" Becca said.

Was I? The longer the streak goes on, the longer I go without work, the more my savings decrease. Each rent payment, cell-phone bill, burrito lunch and cup of coffee sees to that. The more my savings decrease, the more I need actual money. Somewhere in the past fifty days, the streak shifted from harmless diversion to constant reminder of what I'm facing, and that's when, if I'm honest, I wished it would end. But I stayed positive. For Becca. "Amazing, isn't it," I said. "Just when it looked like it was finally over."

"I'm just glad you didn't take out that old lady."

"What old lady?"


But I had the pennies and the streak lived. It was a good thing, too, because I saw another one at the end of the checkout aisle, only it was right at the sacker's feet. What would I have done if the streak depended on that penny? Said "excuse me" and picked it up? Dropped some change as a ruse? Let it sit and gnaw? It was immaterial. The sacker finished with our groceries and moved to another aisle. I picked up the coin. But really, what would I have done? Becca's about had it as it is.

She's always at work, Becca, even though it's just a part-time job, or out with friends from college, or driving down to Oceanside to see her mom, spending the night because it's a hike there and back and they usually share a bottle of wine. I'm alone a lot, riding my bike, watching movies, or playing old video games. I bounce around in that pixelated world, all pipes and dreams, starlight and brick, scooping up those gold video coins spinning in the air.

About the last thing I mentioned to Becca about any of this real coin crap was when she talked about going to Disneyland with her friend Jeannie and how she said she knew I wouldn't be interested in going because I hate stuff like that and it's expensive and I'd miss all the good stuff anyway because all I'd be doing is looking down at the ground for loose change the whole time. I scoffed. I said I bet you'd find an odd quarter here and there that had slipped out of some moron's pocket, but my guess is that on and around the concourses, walkways, and people movers, the rides, restrooms, restaurants, and shops: slim pickings. Out in the parking lot? That's a different story. There would be some action out there.

A few months ago when our lease was up I tried to get Becca to look at a place in Inglewood. It's just a few miles down the road and about the same size for like half the price, but she wouldn't hear of it. My savings are holding out for the time being, and I know she'll start helping with the rent eventually, definitely after she moves to full-time hours. Glenn is taking her out to dinner this Friday night to discuss that very thing, in fact. I was a little worried about Glenn at first. She talks about him nonstop, how smart he is, how successful, how his business keeps growing and growing, but when I mentioned it, she said, "Glenn's married and I'm not a whore, so I guess you have nothing to worry about."

I take it at face value. I'm glad, really, because Becca loves to eat out but I've had to start cutting back on my spending, at least until an acting job comes along. Everything's fine, don't get me wrong. Didn't I find four fucking cents in the gutter along Manchester Avenue today? That's right, I found four pennies on my walk into Inglewood this afternoon. Don't I have my Power Rangers Super Samurai disc in my pocket and a page and a half of a screenplay on my laptop? Things are going to happen, I know. Fifty days. The streak lives. I just have to keep my head down, stay focused, stay real.


M  C  R

This work is copyrighted by the author, Jeff Nazzaro. All rights reserved.