Notes from a Hollywood Dream

Act One:

Scene 1:

The dream begins with me, fresh out of college, wandering around Hollywood and getting my bearings before I show up at a major studio for my job. [It never becomes clear what that job is supposed to be, but I assume it to be as some sort of writer.] As I walk down a street, I arrive at a location shoot for a reality show called "Celebrity Gardeners", where teams of celebrities compete to raise vegetables on community plots in a vacant lot. The stars try to pretend I'm not there, while I'm tempted to ask how they keep their garden plots from being raided or vandalized.

Scene 2:

I'm wandering around inside the studio lot itself, which appears to have a gigantic hangar-like structure enclosing the entire complex. I notice a great deal of hustle and bustle which echoes throughout the area. I'm looking for Paddy Chayefsky, though it's not clear whether I'm to work with him or just want to see him because I'm a big fan. Finally I meet up with him, and notice that he appears very young for his age (and clean-shaven but long-haired). [In reality, he's dead before I'm as old as I am in the dream.] He's depressed, and starts telling me, half in Russian, about how he's reduced to writing for reality shows such as "Celebrity Gardeners".

Scene 3:

I finally meet my co-worker [hereinafter CW], who shows me around the studio. He looks pretty clean-cut and barely older than I am. At one point, he pauses to discuss something with one of the guards at the security desk. Suddenly, a tall, grizzled, moustached actor, resembling a cross between Nick Nolte and James Arness, confronts CW and begins railing incoherently about one of his roles. I intervene, and, as he senses a sympathetic ear, he begins rambling to me about how he gave the best years of his life to the studio, only to wind up playing bit roles. Finally, seemingly mollified, he wanders off. One of the security guards apologizes to me, saying that he was once the star of "Knight Rider"*. I reply that, after having been in Hollywood for two weeks, I'm quite used to it.

*A TV show that I never actually saw.

Scene 4:

After lunch, CW takes me for a walk through one of the fancy surrounding neighborhoods, pauses at a hillside park, and stretches himself out on the grass. He tells me not to let the stars and has-beens get me down: that life here is pretty sweet as long as I don't try to make a name for myself. I can even live in a fancy mansion as long as I don't try to own it. Then he mentions that he's engaged to marry a Kennedy girl. He explains that an off-shoot of the Kennedy clan lives here, that they're fascinated by studio workers, and wish to infuse the clan with new blood. He says that he can think of at least two girls who would be willing to go out with me, though one of them is more into East Coast intellectual types, and I might want to cultivate that image.

Act Two:

Scene 1:

CW, three Kennedy girls (one of them his fiancÚ), and I are shopping in a street bazaar. Apparently the East Coast intellectual image wasn't necessary, for not only are both girls hitting on me, CW's fiancÚ is as well. CW gets morose and wanders down the street. I catch up with him and apologize, hoping that his own relationship isn't in danger. He replies that it doesn't really matter: at this point, if I want to be in, I'm in. He adds that one thing he failed to mention is that, in the end, they choose whom you actually marry.

Scene 2:

I'm in the back of a pickup truck, with the two Kennedy girls, the third driving. They are whooping it up, chugging from handles of Jack Daniels, while the truck zooms and weaves down the highway. I'm saying to myself: "please don't crash, please don't crash". The three huntresses are returning home with their trophy.

Scene 3:

I'm at the Kennedy family table. CW and I are the only guys who are not dressed to the nines. I feel nervous about this, and one of the girls tells me not to worry: I'm not expected to dress up until I'm actually a member of the family. Once I'm married, I must dress for dinner and appear in family photos, but aside from fathering children, that's all that's expected of me. As I sit there pondering my situation, the dream ends.

February 18, 2012


The Circular File