Gone Lawn
a journal of literature
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Gone Lawn 13
Winter, 2013

Featured Novel Excerpt
New Works

Paul Handley

Glam / Smut

My career was launched after an impulsive move to Hollywood from the 'burbs of Pocatello, Idaho. I managed to get a number of roles in various serial killer porn TV series such as Criminal Minds and Hannibal that are so popular. A casting director said, "You have an innocent look that is perfect for the murderer's blissfully ignorant acquaintance."
My agent replied, "Amen!" when I told him what the casting director had said. "You are an excellent character actor for one particular character. You will never be the savior. Never the killer. You were made to always be the neighbor, co-worker or childhood friend who has inexplicably forgotten the intricate series of caverns that you built together in the killer's backyard when the two of you were kids."
"Do you recall anything out of the ordinary?" a detective would ask me. I had. I recalled the sound of evening chainsaws for what I thought was gathering firewood to warm the hearth. I regaled the dicks with tales of our days filled with carefree spelunking. Unfortunately, avid viewers of serial killer porn began to recognize my face. They complained on network message boards that I was a dead giveaway for the identifying the Unsub (They knew the lingo.). Roles began to disappear like stoned hitchhikers on the shows.
My agent counseled me "A memoir would be a good career move. The right note to hit in the memoir is glam/smut. "It's all the rage!" Apparently, debasing myself and my subsequent ascent out of the sewer are what people wanted to read. I wasn't that happy. I was waiting tables at the Pier 1 café. Although bumping into international, suburban chic all day made me downbeat about my residence; it was far from Sundance film miserable.
My agent told me to embellish my smut descent like I was writing a script for a serial killer. True serial killers had double digit IQs and all the awareness of a barge knocking up against a pier. As imagined by the creative class, they were mad geniuses who loved to create a complex pattern of misleading tips to fuck with the dim witted cops. The savants fiddled with a Rubik's Cube in one hand while driving. They thought nothing of spending graduate student hours in the library perusing the latest in law enforcement investigatory methods.
My downward spiral started, as in so many tales, with a lack of transportation. I couldn't afford a car and walked everywhere. In the street I met buskers. We commiserated about our career impasses. One of buskers had two monkeys, but couldn't afford to feed both anymore, so he gave me the one that wouldn't do meth with him. I felt like a Nazi in Sophie's Choice.
Part of the act was the monkey smoking. It had a prosthetic arm that the busker had spray painted gold out of a sense of showmanship and so the monkey would be proud of it. That monkey was immediately jonesing for a smoke. I wasn't going to support that habit.
My roommates threw me out because the monkey was shitting everywhere. They didn't even care when I explained it was excitable from nicotine withdrawal due to the speciesism of the manufacturer. The Nicorette patches wouldn't stay stuck to the fur. I had to start tying my evolutionary brother in a stand of plastic cactus with big purple flowers outside of Pier 1 while working.
For extra cash I tried donating plasma, but I kept fainting. I had to start taking the monkey to the veterinarian blood clinic. I had no idea those establishments existed. I was going through caffeine withdrawal at the same time the monkey was going cold turkey. There had always been plenty of coffee on sets and auditions waiting rooms, but no java in the writers' room of blues.
While monkey was getting his precious plasma drained, I would fall asleep face down on the glass coffee table in the lobby, my noggin framed by US and Glamour. After they were done draining the monkey's fluids, the vet staff would yell, "Monkey up!" I would wake up forgetting where I was. Looking through the glass at the floor stained with a variety of animal pee was like staring at another galaxy.
My life seemed sufficiently sucky at this point. The first sentence of my memoir was "The monkey on my back with the golden arm is jonesing for a butt and will engage in debased sex for the promise of a hit." After completing my tome of miserabalism I hit the circuit dates set up by my agent.
The G.D. monkey took to it like a chanteuse. She started wearing wayfarers at the readings. The crowd would aah when I set her up on a stool while I talked about her sordid life on the streets that had dragged me down even farther. The crowd consisted mainly of freaks that identified with serial killers seeking my friendship.
I had to keep an eye on the serial killer porn groupies. The audience members started deliberately bypassing me and placing a pen in the monkey's hand to sign the inside covers while slipping her a clove cigarette. "Who's he making it out to?" I would try to joke and was usually rewarded with a scornful look. Then they would bestow a fond smile on the monkey then rush off. These people loved mutant serial killers, so naturally they loved an animal that was notches beneath me on the primate scale.
As word got around, the crowd expanded from serial killer fanatics to very vocal PETA members. The weak-kneed book store managers would never have been able to handle the career stagnation I had suffered or being saddled with a physically impaired, degenerate simian, but saw fit to downgrade my circumstances. They banned our tour and we took to the streets, which really depressed the monkey who was hooked on the clove butts.

Paul Handley says: Recent work has appeared in Monkeybicycle, The Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review and Treehouse