Friday, April 20, 2012


This weekend's challenge: A re-telling of the classic Goldilocks and the Three Bears story.

With Apologies to Robert and Danny and Gary

Oh, he was messed up all right. Here he was, predawn, wandering through Beverly Hills, and he had no idea why. Or how he got the beer in his hand. He remembered puffing some white widow before going to the club. Then he had a Courvoisier courtesy of his favorite bartender. A fan who remembered him from The Fillmore Family palmed him a pill of some sort, which he downed with Schnapps’. He needed a smoke and went outside. He bummed a cig from a stranger who knew him as “Buddy” and … somehow ended up on Burton Way with a light beer in his hand. He took a swig and wondered how people drank this shit.

Years ago, when he still had a career, he lived on Burton. Maybe that’s why he’s here. Maybe it’s time to go home and get some sleep.

When he lived here with his mom, he was the most popular child in America. TV Guide called him, “The Kid Who Saved NBC.” Tow-headed, smart aleck Buddy Fillmore, the precocious middle son of The Fillmore Family. Then his voice changed, his hair got darker and he sprouted up like a weed. He was 16 when the show was cancelled. Drinking went from his hobby to his avocation.

Somehow it didn’t make sense to finish high school. Not when you can have a gig with an entertainment news show, interviewing celebs at red carpet events. But that ended when leered down a starlet’s dress and copped an on-camera feel.

Then he did midmornings on local radio for a while. He liked that. Cigarettes and puberty gave his voice a great sound. But there was that controversy when he made fun of a sponsor during a live read and she sued. Hey! Who knew that Lebanese pastry chefs, not to mention the GLBT community, would be so sensitive?

So right now he was, as they say, “between engagements.” He felt sick. It would be nice to lie down. Good thing he was nearly home in his luxury apartment on Burton Way.

What they hey … Why doesn’t the key work in the front door? Oh, looks like he needs a key card of some sort now. Wonder when that changed. Was it like this in the morning? He couldn’t remember this morning. He really needed to lie down.

Fortunately he knew how to get in without a key. When his mother tried to get him to rehab the first time, she used “tough love” and locked him out of their Beverly Hills apartment. The one he paid for with the $100,000 per episode he made as that rascal, Buddy.

So with a jaunty wave at the lobby security camera, he went around to the back of the building. Since this would require both hands, he finished the light beer in greedy gulps, belched, and proceeded to remove the slats of one of the laundry room’s louver windows. He climbed in, bounced off a dryer and landed on the cement floor. He couldn’t stop laughing. Until he threw up in the wastebasket. Or maybe near the wastebasket.

Now how to get into his apartment? He stumbled into the hall and pressed his cheek against the cool wood of the first door he came upon. He knocked but there was no answer. Maybe Mom isn’t home. He tried his key and it didn’t work! Shit, he really needed to lie down. He went back to the laundry room, opened a supply cabinet and got out the janitor’s toolbox. You’d think the old fool would have moved it after the stink his mom made about him using the flat blade screwdriver. “Breaking and entering,” she called it. His mom always made such a big hairy deal out of everything.

It was so easy to get in with the screwdriver. “Mommy?” he whispered in to the darkness. He didn’t want to startle her. He’d just lie down on the sofa and catch a few winks. Except the sofa was different somehow. So soft! So many stupid pillows! What was his mother thinking, changing the sofa like this?

He stumbled up the short hall and hung a right. The master bedroom. His bedroom. Only fitting because he got the big bucks. He threw himself across the bed and lay face down a moment but the mattress was uncomfortably firm. What all had his mom changed since this morning?

He felt his way down the hall to the smaller bedroom. He burrowed under the comforter and pulled the pillow to him. Ah, just right! The last thought before he closed his eyes: Why does my mom have a Kung Fu Panda pillowcase?

The next day the grainy security camera footage and his mug shot made their way across the Internet and cable news: “Former sitcom star found unconscious in child’s bedroom.”


Both my best friend and I are thinking about changing jobs. And this makes me sad because if I make the move I'm considering it will be hard to ever see him again. If he makes the one he's considering it will be impossible.

We each have to do what we have to do. I understand all of it.

But the thing of it is, some of my most relaxed and genuine moments have been with him. It makes me sad to think they may be coming to an end.