by Greg Oguss
|Chapter 14: All the Boys Wanna Be Mo Getty|
“Good girls are bad girls that don’t get caught.” — Betty Boop
On the day after Christmas, Marcus drove down to Baja to head back to work. Monica, her mom and Jessica went out on their shopping spree as planned, mostly splurging on Jessica at Bloomingdale’s, Saks, and assorted haute couture boutiques in Beverly Hills.
They stopped for lunch at the Ivy, and Monica kept her cellphone turned off the whole day, which, in retrospect, was probably a mistake. But there is no such thing as ‘trospect, as someone very smart once remarked, and so it was all water under the bridge.
So much water under this bridge no cars’ll ever pass.
They finished up the shopping expedition with a stop especially for Monica, Amoeba Records on Sunset. Where Monica picked up a mess of new and old CDs: the new Black Lips, plus a disc by another new punk band she’d heard about called the Dogmatiks. Jess also grabbed a copy of that one.
Monica picked up the first album by the Runaways ‘cause she’d always liked Joan Jett, who was more punk than Patti Smith and probably more influential. Her two favorite Joan Jett solo songs she already owned, the duets Joan did with Paul Westerberg in the mid-90s, “Let’s Do It” and “Backlash.”
Those songs were part of a Westerberg comp CD that her oldest girlfriend, Meredith had made for her a million years ago which was now one of the “most played” set-lists in her iPod. She’d recently gotten in touch with Meredith less than a week ago randomly. Via Facebook, of course. They’d been emailing.
Meredith had just graduated from high school at nineteen after a prolonged absence. “Europe, babe,” was all she would say about that. Now she was enrolled in a pretty prestigious art school on Raymond Avenue in Pasadena. She’d also moved out of the ‘rents house in Bel Air and taken a pretty modest two-bedroom apartment in South Pass.
Mer was finally off everything but Lucky Strikes and red wine, she’d revealed. The one phone conversation they’d had was Mer calling to invite Monica to a New Year’s bash she was throwing at a small club in Pasadena. A few bands, fifty or sixty people, pretty chill.
“...Anyway, you’re way too busy, I know, Mon. But whatever, we’ll have a drink or something in ‘08, that’s cool,” Mer had told her, in the same laid-back Cali drawl she’d had since Monica first met her when they both attended the Buckley School together starting at age six. Which was the most exclusive private academy in Los Angeles. And if you wanted to make sure your kids turned out seriously messed up, there was no better way than to send them to Buckley.
“Hell yeah, I’m coming. I’m bringing Marcus. I just... gotta juggle a few things. We’ll probably have to go to some lame studio thing first, but we’ll end up at yours. I promise.” Adding, “It’s so great to talk to you. And I am so proud of you.”
She could hear Meredith speaking through her grin on the other end of the phone, “Back atcha. So you’re hangin’ out with Jewel again?” That was rhetorical. “She still as crazy as ever?”
Monica laughed. “Well, not psycho-crazy.” She never was; that was a common misconception about the Infamous Party Girl Bijou Philips as people who didn’t know Jewel thought of her. “Jewel’s Jewel.” Changing topics, Monica asked Meredith, “Where did you meet the boyfriend?”
“Buck? In a class. He’s great. He’s a tattoo artist. Does graphic design. Paints. He’s got mad skills.” Laughing.
“I’m sensing a double-date,” Monica said, not joking.
“Yeah, we’ll do Fatburger.” Which was the site of a zillion double-dates they’d had back in the day.
“Fer sure,” Monica answered, lapsing easily into Valley-girl speak.
“Fer sure, dude,” Meredith replied, also in Valley-girl. Then announced, “You wanna hear the big scoop? He just popped the question, the son of a bitch,” Meredith revealed, laughing at the irony of how normal they were getting in their “old” age.
“And...?” Monica asked, knowing the answer.
“One guess for Mon.”
“Survey says... yes.”
“Ding! Ding! Ding! Number one answer,” Mer drawled, not making a very good Family Feud “ring” sound. The wedding wasn’t until the summer, or maybe the fall, Meredith said. But Monica and Marcus had just been added to the guest list, she promised. They said their goodbyes and hung up, both eagerly anticipating the face-to-face reunion on New Year’s Eve.
* * *
In Amoeba, Celeste picked up a new Nina Simone two-disc compilation and a Jimmy Scott disc for herself. Monica, Jessica and Celeste all paid for their purchases separately and then departed. Monica seemed to be the focus of a lot of creepy eye-popping stares while they were in Amoeba — particularly while she was browsing through the punk section — but she was getting used to that stuff. And just brushed it off as the price of fame. Whatcha need you have to borrow...
Well, she liked David Bowie fine. But that wasn’t the price of fame. And she knew that A-lad-in-sane had been snorting a whole lotta white powder back when he wrote those famous songs in the early 1970s that made up Changesonebowie, his greatest hits collection. Which she was sick to death of just ’cause she’d heard it so many times cruising around Los Angeles with her friends since the first one of them was old enough to drive. And the price of fame was a lot steeper than that song suggested.
Is it any wonder, I reject your touch?
The first sign that something was rotten in the kingdom of Monica Getty was the sound of a punk song blaring out of black 1965 Ford Mustang convertible as Monica pulled her SUV out of the parking lot behind Amoeba. In the Mustang, a guy and girl were laughing, sharing a pack of Luckys, looking like dead ringers for Nick Cage and Laura Dern in David Lynch’s Palme d’Or winning Wild at Heart.
Monica felt like she was totally tripping, except she was stone sober. The lyrics to the lighting-fast Bo Diddley beat-style punk tune — sorta like Siouxie and the Banshee’s “I Want Candy” if Suze and the boys had stayed up all night snortin’ meth — came at her in a rush like a bad acid-trip freak-out: “Well, I hope I die before I get old, ’cause Mo Getty put the ROCK in rock ”n roll!/Said, I don’t know but I been told, Mo Getty put the ROCK in rock ’n roll/C’mon, hey, Mo Geee-tttty...”
“Did you guys hear that song?” she asked, glancing at her mom in the passenger seat, and Jess in back. The windows were rolled down and there was no way they could’ve missed it. They were now at the light up on Sunset. She was waiting to make a left. Monica was fighting the urge to make a U-turn and try to find that couple in the Mustang, ask them What the hell was that song about me you were listening to?
“What song, in the store?” Jess asked, confused.
“I don’t know, honey. I wasn’t paying attention, I’m sorry,” Celeste apologized.
This was totally messed up. Both cars had had their windows down. Only one had music blaring. Monica hadn’t turned on the stereo yet. There was no way her mom or Jess could’ve not heard the song coming from the Mustang. Unless Monica had imagined the whole incident. Which she hadn’t. But that would’ve been preferable, she guessed. So that’s where she left it.
In Baja, Marcus was hard at work.
This meant he was getting make-up and hair done for the Clit Magazine cover article interview he was sitting down for today with a young guy blonde guy who hadn’t yet taken off his shades but still looked maybe halfway too smart to be freelancing for Clit Mag.
While getting prepped for the pics, Marcus flipped through the last issue which the interviewer had brought along: a beautiful naked teenage blonde girl on the cover back to the camera, head half-turned to the camera over her left shoulder. All bedroom eyes and smoldering sensuality. Snake tattoo just above her perfect heart-shaped ass. Pretty much pro forma.
The articles ranged from “How to Make Your Boyfriend Multi-Orgasmic Just Like You!” to the “Re-Invention of Alyssa Milano” from one-time Maxim cover girl to ‘respectable’ sports journalist — ahem — whose weekly show on TBS, Hot Corner, had debuted during the baseball playoffs in October and featured interviews with Alyssa’s favorite baseball stars-slash-studs. The pull-out quote from Alyssa on the cover was: “Well, I haven’t had the chance to assume that position with anyone I’ve interviewed yet, but I’m looking forward to it...”
The final article on the cover of last month’s Clit was about the g-spot enlargement process that Monica and Michelle Borth had just gotten, which had just been FDA-approved or something. Buy on the rumor, sell on the news, Marcus thought, the oldest adage in any market.
He immediately began wondering if there was any company who made some sort of medical device used in the procedure that was listed on any of the exchanges, ’cause they were about to get a very serious bump in their share price over the next few weeks. He’d call Mike Shearin to find out. If possible, they’d juice Monica’s portfolio and flip the shares by the end of the first week of January. Which would also happen to be tremendously advantageous tax-wise.
Once the photos were shot, Marcus and Phil Leonard, who was not the guy who’d interviewed Alyssa Milano, went out into the garden and sat at a table in the courtyard where they sipped ice tea and chatted.
Phil was cool. He’d written short stories for Playboy, Esquire, the L.A.Weekly Literary Supplement and music journalism in The Village Voice and Britain’s NME. He was one of the “good guys” if you asked Marcus. Before the tape rolled, Marcus did ask, “Jesus Christ, what’re you doin’ writing for a rag like Clit?”
Answer: “They send the royalty checks on time. They send me out to talk to guys like you and women who look like your girlfriend.” Marcus laughed. “If I get my novel published I might quit this kind of stuff. Or not. It’s fun.”
Phil: “What’s it like to lose $30 million dollars and go to prison for something people do every day in your former profession?” was the first on-the-record question after some informal pleasantries were exchanged.
Marcus: “Phil, the cash value of what I lost was $40 mill. If you add on the value of property I had seized, I was raped for over $150 million. Maybe two hundred mill.”
There was a pause.
Phil: “You’re kidding, right?”
Marcus: “I’ve been told I have a decent sense of humor. I don’t joke about money. Not mine, anyway.” Pause. “Well, that’s a lie. But what the hell, there’s always another hundred mill to be made.”
Phil: “This philosophy came out of your time in prison?”
Marcus: “I’d tell ya that if it were true. Prison didn’t change me. Most guys in prison get crazy, or they get philosophical. Or both. I had a great cellmate. A guy named Eric. He was Native American, into all kinds of mystical crap. He had explanations for why stuff happens to you. I never went there. I just moved on. I should’ve kept in touch with him. But that’s how I am, ya know. I don’t make the effort. Prison didn’t calm me down. Losing most of what I’d earned was something new. But I didn’t lose Monica, so it was all good.”
Phil: “What’s it like living with Monica Getty?”
Marcus (laughing): “Okay, I brought it up, so that’s on me. Yeah, we’re not living together right now, as you can see. Which sucks. I’m down here at vineyard in Baja. Getting everything ready for the roll-out of our first three wines in January. It’s going great.
But I’m a perfectionist. So there’s no way I’m could live in L.A. and commute down here. I just couldn’t stay in touch like that. And Monica’s a little busy up north with all the films she’s got in development, plus Can’t Keep My Eyes on You is still shooting. Which she’s been heavily involved with since developing the concept.
So the past few months I’ve hardly seen her. But I think a few guys, and girls, would trade places with me, as far as sleeping in her bed.” Pause. “That is not going to happen by the way.”
Phil laughed. He had two more “Monica questions.”
Phil: “What do you think of the new underground hit ‘All the Boys Wanna Be Mo Getty’?” Marcus had no idea what Phil was talking about. But before he could reveal this, there was a follow-up: “What does Monica think about it?”
Marcus (making a “cut” sign across his neck): Meaning,“Off-the-record.”
Phil nodded. Pressed “pause” on the tape recorder resting on the table.
Marcus: “What the hell are you talking about?”
Phil pulled out his iPhone, which contained the song and the video, recently downloaded from YouTube. Which Marcus needed to see.
* * *
December 27th. Monica was sitting at her desk in her office at Precious Productions in Century City, the indie production company of which she was the 20 year-old CEO. Her email and her internet were down currently so there wasn’t a hell of a lot she could do except glance at the thirty-thousand phone messages she was expected to return, dreading all of them. Cursing herself for taking an extra day off for the long weekend and turning off her cell on the same day. Wondering but not wondering why three different people had greeted her that morning with some variation of “Hey, Mo,” when she’d entered the building and what it boiled down to was this: it was shaping up to being a very crappy day and it was only 9:15 a.m.
She buzzed Tammy, one of her two regular assistants who had also returned from vacation, and thank god.
“Hey, Tammy, is Rene in yet?”
“Uh-uh,” Tammy answered. She knew without having to check, which was why she was Monica’s assistant.
Monica asked, as casually as she could, “Are you a fan of punk?”
“More problems on the Eyes soundtrack?” Tammy guessed, incorrectly. Then, “You don’t want my opinion. I like Journey.” Pause. “Am I in trouble?”
Monica wasn’t in the mood to banter, but she did anyway, ‘cause it was in her blood.
“Well, that wasn’t why I asked. But let’s just say you’re lucky the holiday bonuses went out already... it’s okay, forget I asked. Just let me know when Rene gets here. And when the tech support people arrive.”
“Will do.” They hung up.
She looked over the messages again like they were clues to a pulp fiction story. Shelly from Paramount had called. Some VP from Dreamworks. Another one from Fox. One from Miramax. One from Lion’s Gate. A pair of TV execs from HBO, Showtime, AMC, FX, TNT and Bravo. CNN, MSNBC, and FOX News had called. Anna Wintour’s assistant from Vogue had called. Every print and online mag worth a damn had called, including:
Variety, the Hollywood Reporter, Entertainment Weekly, TMZ.com, the Village Voice, Los Angeles Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, L.A. Weekly, Time, Newsweek, the San Francisco Chronicle, the New York Times, the New York Post, Newsday, USA Today, US Weekly, People, the Chicago Reader, the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Washington Post, the Washington Times, Forbes, The Street.com, AdAge, Playboy, Playgirl, Hustler, Rolling Stone, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, the Baltimore Sun, the Miami Herald, the New Orleans Picayune, Britain’s The Daily Sun, and France’s Le Monde, among others.
This was nuts. Maybe she could do a Skype worldwide teleconference hookup and give everybody a simultaneous interview to deny the latest rumor out of NYC that the dick-less wonder Pete Doherty was spreading about her. Or deny whatever the hell this was about. Well, the phone still worked, so she might as well try to nip this in the bud. She called up Michael Musto at The Village Voice.
“Hello, Michael? It’s Monica... Getty.”
“Hello, Monica... Getty,” an effeminate sounding voice mimicked eerily. But this one didn’t belong to the middle-aged Musto. Maybe his assistant?
“Hi, um, it really is Monica Getty. Could you put your boss on the line, whoever this is? He’ll wanna talk to me, I’m pretty sure.”
There was a long-ish pause.
“That would be... difficult, Mo.”
Here we go.
“Yeah, it’s Monica, actually. I’m a chick, like you. Only I actually have a pussy.” Pause. “And I know how to use it. So how ’bout you put him in on the line. Or do we have to bargain, like I offer you a guest spot as a panelist on America’s Smartest Young Model? Whaddya say?” Sarcastic as hell.
“I... would... like that,” the voice said, uncertainly, dropping a few octaves. Sounding totally unstable. “But I’m sorry. Mr. Musto is... indisposed at the moment.”
Monica counted to ten. Then asked, “How indisposed?”
“Well, there was a lot of blood in the bathroom this morning,” was the ominous answer from the faggy voice on the other end of the line in Manhattan.
“Can I speak to Ward?” Monica asked quickly, meaning Ward Harvavy, the editor of The Voice. It was slowly dawning that she had no idea who in the hell she was talking to and she probably should say nothing to this mentally unbalanced person. Or better yet, less than nothing.
“Okay, I’ll transfer you,” the voice said, suddenly very cheerful.
“Wait,” Monica said quickly. “What’s your name?” Expecting another non-answer.
“Kilodney,” was the answer. Going all effeminate again. Which probably meant it was a pseudonym, Monica assumed. It wasn’t, by the way.
“First or last,” Monica shot back, interrogation-style. She’d seen a few cop flicks.
“What’s your first?”
He sighed. Dropping back down in his normal masculine range, he answered, “Arturo.”
Monica felt like laughing at that, but didn’t. “Like hell it is. How ’bout your real one?”
“What do you do for living, Arthur? Besides screwing gossip columnists and possibly murdering them?” was Monica’s follow-up.
The interrogation came to an abrupt halt when Arthur “Arturo” Kilodney told her softly, “I co-produce and promote certain downtown ‘happenings’.”
Monica, who fairly rarely found herself speechless, had no comeback for that one. Filling the silence, in a disarmingly brusque and confident tone of voice, Kilodney assured her, “Hold on just a sec, Monica. I’ll get Ward for you.”
Then the line went dead.
Copyright © 2008 by Greg Oguss