Nash Ridley writes what he calls 'startled fiction.' He lives
in Bedford, Ohio.
Welcome to Hollywood
The interview starts out like any other conversation between
an actor and a journalist, except for the 200-lb. lady in the
corner of the room, the 20 jars of Import World pitted garlic
jalapeno olives and a pervading sense of melancholy and rage.
I never comment about anyone's personal habits, mainly because
at this stage of my life, I carry a two-foot-long machete, a
gallon of single-malt scotch whiskey, a Nazi helmet, a picture
of my great grandmother and the collected works of Thomas Jefferson
into every interview. "I demand a sense of your character,"
I tell the actor. At this point, I know full well he will be
playing the vicious albino dwarf shoeshine boy of a certain banana
republic dictator in the upcoming film by famed Argentine director
Lopez de Carlos. I need graphic displays! I want to see him act
out the beheading of despicable spider monkeys. I crave a taste
of the scene where he squeezes a 55-gallon drum of coconut oil
in a death grip. "Well, i see this role as a serious intellectual
challenge," says the actor, fresh off of his success playing
Oscar the benevolent doorman in a revival of Stan Fishman's classic
broadway play "And Silent Walks The Donkey." Bored,
I swig scotch right from the bottle and thumb the edge of my
machete. "And the part," the actor continues, "truly
challenges me in my first film role, because i will have to,
for the first time, actually become an albino dwarf shoeshine
boy." I have interviewed actors before and this one strikes
me as mercilessly obtuse. Maybe it's the 200-lb. lady eyeing
me from the corner with all the delicacy of a piano being dropped
on my head from the 14th story. Or maybe it's the way the actor
looks at the jars of garlic jalapeno olives without pouring a
handful into his mouth and chomping on them. "Don't give
me any more of this sensitive actor crap," I scream at him.
"You've got all the sensitivity of a toilet seat!"
And before I know it, I tear open the covers of a Thomas Jefferson
book and begin quoting passages about the sovereignty of the
Mississippi River and the plight of the Kaskaskia Indians. At
this point, the 200-lb. lady makes her move, but I'm ready for
her. I hold up the picture of my great granbdmother and taunt
her with words about depression-era America and nuclear implosion
of the American Dream. The actor tries to restore peace, but
I slam the Nazi helmet on his head and holler instructions to
him like the director he'll never have. "Not like that!
Albino dwarf shoeshine boys crawl on all fours like this when
searching for lost shoe polish!" I get on all fours and
root around, and the 200-lb. lady looks on in dismay and the
actor is terrified beyond his wildest imagination. "Welcome
to Hollywood!" I scream.