A Tale of Truths Unraveled and Lies Come Undone
September 1978: A lowly businessman named Alfred Chakopi was working for a living and dying for the cause. His life revolved around doing the 'right thing,' no matter what that entailed. Truth be told, he didn't even know himself what the 'right thing' was. He just wanted to get out of this Godforsaken town and make it big – just like everyone else.
Now, Al's story is every other man's – you're born, grow old, and die, and maybe if you're lucky, you get shagged by a busty blonde along the way. All Al really wanted was to be successful. It didn't really matter to him what he was successful at – he just wanted respect.
So, Al moved to Beverly Hills. Yeah, nice place to move, buddy. About the only thing you can be successful at there is being a plastic surgeon or a professional drug dealer. Al didn't have the brains for medicine, and he didn't have the physique for drug dealing. He did, however, know how to deal with bitchy people. That's when he became a Hollywood acting agent.
Now, he might've been a scrawny dude with a bad haircut, but he was one hell of an agent. All the big stars wanted his representation – Burt Reynolds, Clint Eastwood, hell, even Woody Allen liked the guy. But Al charged a hefty fee, and it was quite the price to pay.
He wanted women. Lots and lots of women. And if he couldn't get women, he'd settle for men. He just liked sex. A lot. He didn't care how he got it; he just needed to get off.
A lot of stars related to him with the sex thing. Not the gay sex, but everything else was atypical in the life of a celebrity. And who could live in Hollywood without doing a little of the white stuff? Drugs, that is. Yeah, Al was a big fan of acid, crack, pot… among others too numerous to name. He was living the life of a star alright. That's how he ended up here. Flat on his ass in the middle of nowhere…
… "I'm telling you, Burt, I'll get you the role. Come on, it's me you're talking to. Would I let you down? No, I didn't think you did. Yeah, sure thing. Friday night. Ciao." Al hung up his phone and slumped back into his white leather desk chair. He had been on the phone for the past hour, arguing with Burt Reynolds.
He suddenly decided he needed a drink, and popped up out of his chair. He made his way to the bar, mumbling to himself, "Damn celebrities. Always gotta wipe their ass for them because they're afraid of getting shit on themselves. They don't care how dirty you get, just as long as they're clean."
He poured himself a glass of bourbon and added a dash of vodka for pure spite. After mixing it gently with a cocktail straw, he gulped half the glass down in one swig. "Damn, that's some scary shit. I think I'm gonna hafta take it easy there."
He walked over to the window, gazing upon the bustling city landscape. "What the fuck am I doing with my life? I came here to be somebody. I didn't come here to get hooked up with the powder and booze. I mean, shit, I could be living in a fucking house with a white-picket fence, living the American dream. But here I am, sitting on my ass, working for the slumlords and goddamn leaders of the silver screen. Is this really what I want for myself?"
He was knocked out of his thoughts by the sound of his intercom buzzing. "Yeah?"
"Mr. Chakopi, Woody Allen is here to see you," his receptionist squeaked over the line.
"Send him in."
The door opened and Woody Allen walked in timidly, slightly hunched as he always was.
"Mr. Allen, good to see you."
"Oh, uh, call me Woody. All of Hollywood does. I mean, all those important enough to know who I am. I mean, yeah, call me Woody," he stated in his trademark hesitating voice.
"So, Woody, what can I do for you?" Al asked, sitting down in his desk chair.
Woody sat in the chair affront of Al's desk, balancing on the edge. "Well, I have an idea for a new movie, and I was wondering if you could cast me some people. The movie is going to be about a young girl, maybe 16, who gets pregnant by her illegitimate father figure, who I would like to be played by someone along the lines of, say, well, I don't know exactly, but the twist of it is, the father is the elephant man at the circus."
Al attempted to interrupt Woody. "Now…"
But Woody kept rambling. "The girl doesn't want anyone to know she's having the baby of the elephant man, so she calls up this doctor she knows, and asks him if he'll give her an abortion. He says he won't, but he has ulterior motives, because he actually wants to take the secret inbred child and raise it with the girl because he's in love with her."
Once again, Al tried to stop the nonsense. "Woody, I think…"
" Now, the girl's mother is nowhere to be seen at this point – she's living in the Bronx with her live-in boyfriend, Julio, and she wants nothing to do with her daughter because her daughter is actually a low-profile porn star. And…"
He continued, leaving Al to look at him with a look of complete and utter mystification. Finally, he was done talking.
"Mr. Allen, Woody, that sounds like a very…interesting movie, but," Al struggled to make his words make sense and not be too harsh, "I don't know if I can really help you out with the casting at all. It's just, well, you see, it sounds like a very…specialized movie, and you would need…specialized actors and actresses for the roles. I just don't want anyone less than the best in the roles."
"If you didn't like it, well, you could've just said so. You didn't have to make me feel like a piece of crap."
"Oh, Woody, you've got me all wrong, buddy. I love ya, and I would never think of jeopardizing our friendship. I mean, come on, look at all the good times we've had."
"This is the first time I've met you."
Al shrugged his shoulders and rolled his eyes. "So what? Imagine all the good times we could have had. There's time for making movies after we go golfing."
"I don't like golf."
"Well, then, we'll just go camping or some shit. It doesn't really matter." He walked around to the other side of Woody's chair and put his arm around his shoulder, causing Woody to tense up. "The important thing is that we'll be spending time together. As friends."
"I – I don't think so, Mr. Chakopi," Woody stuttered. "I think I'll just go find another agent."
"Well, if it must be so," Al said sadly, standing up and clapping his hands. "I'll miss you, buddy."
"Uh, yeah, I have to get going," Woody said, stumbling out of the room.
Al shook his head. "Damn, and I was doing so good. Oh, well, at least I still have Burt Reynolds." He waltzed over to the bar, where he picked up his half-finished drink and poured the remainder down the drain of the stainless steel sink.
His intercom buzzed again, causing him to groan. He stomped over to his desk. "Who is it this time, JoAnn?"
"Mr. Reynolds is here to see you, sir. He says it's urgent."
"Fine. Send him in."
The door flung open and Burt Reynolds stormed in. "Burt, what can I do for you?"
"What the fuck are you doing, turning down Woody Allen's movie offer? That could've made me huge! I mean, it's Woody Allen. You have to be seriously fucked up to turn Woody Allen down."
"Whoa, whoa, buddy, now just keep your panties on. Where did you hear this from?"
"Who the hell do you think?" Burt fumed. "I just ran into Woody outside, and he was a nervous wreck."
"Since when is that any different than usual?" Al smirked, walking over to the bar and pouring himself another drink.
"This is serious," Burt stated. "I mean, come on, you hurt the guy's feelings. And you're the biggest agent in Hollywood. If Woody can't get approval from you, who will give him approval?"
"Now, Burt, I think you're over dramatizing this a bit. There's nothing to be worried about. It's not like the guy's going to marry his stepdaughter or anything, am I right? Come on, let's forget this conversation even happened. I'll see you on Friday, and I will get you that role. Capice?"
"Yeah, I guess you're right," Burt agreed, calming down some. "I mean, that would be totally crazy if he married his stepdaughter just because you turned him down. You're not that big of a guy."
"Hey," Al said, realizing he was being insulted, but Burt was just slipping out the door. "So he wants a role…I'll give him a role, alright." He laughed evilly to himself and slugged down the rest of his gin and tonic.
…THREE YEARS LATER…
Downtown San Francisco. A haggard man in his forties wandered the streets, hoping for a bit to eat, maybe getting enough cash to find a place to stay for the night. He walked past a movie theater, where he looked up at the marquee. 'Disco Fever' was playing, and Burt Reynolds was in the lead role. The man shook his head and continued his journey down East Street.
"Hey, man, you lookin' for something to eat?" a black street vendor asked him as he walked by his hot dog stand.
"Would you be willing to give me something?" the man asked, hope shining in his eyes.
"Well, I'm guessing you don't have any money," the vendor said. "I guess I could spare a couple of dogs to help a man in need."
"Thank you so much," the homeless man replied in gratitude. He watched the vendor grab two hot dogs with a pair of tongs and put them into buns.
He handed them to the homeless man, and watched as the man squirted ketchup and mustard on the dogs and ate them quickly. In between bites, he talked to the vendor.
"You know, I used to be this big Hollywood agent, and Burt Reynolds was one of my clients…"