By A.J. Llewellyn
Any author will tell you that we love what we do. Some lucky ones get to completely support themselves on their earnings, the rest of us either have full-time jobs on top of writing or, we take part-time work to supplement our incomes.
To be honest, I enjoy working. Being in the grip of the Protestant work ethic was ingrained in me from the time I had my first paper route at the age of nine in Bondi Beach, Sydney.
I don't mind juggling. I really don't. The busier I am, the more I like it. I get a huge satisfaction out of paying bills out of money earned from writing, but I also get a lot of fodder from my day jobs.
A few months ago, a friend of mine got me in with a celebrity assistant's club. I've picked up work here and there and have had the terrible misfortune of working a few times with an actress whose career is on the slide. I say on the slide because she recently lost her home to foreclosure due to her shopping addiction and...diminished income.
I accompanied her to bankruptcy court and small claims courts - all of these incidents will no doubt show up in my books some time soon - and I was even there when she went to a salon to get her asshole bleached.I swear.
This last one I did already use in The Book and the Rose.
Anyway, the Actress was pissed about moving from her oceanside digs in Malibu to -shudder- The Valley. Now, I happen to live in the valley and bitterly resent the constant jibes people from the other side of the hill make about my home town.
I've worked for Z-list Actress now for a few months and off and it has never been pleasant.
A couple od days ago, I helped take her dogs to the vet.We have a saying in my birth country of Australia. When someone is taken advantage of, we say, they saw her coming.Well this vet saw The Actress coming.
A routine office check-up for three small dogs turned into a $2,000 vet bill. It would have been more if I hadn't argued the point about unnecessary tests and phantom illnesses.Yesterday, her credit card must have been burning a hole in her pocket. We dropped the dogs home and traipsed along Ventura Boulevard where she shopped her heart out.
She dropped another $2,000 on an electric blanket, bought a new lap top at the Apple Store, some bling for her iPhone. Then she remembered she'd lost her iPhone and we bought a replacement.We stopped by my goddaughter's house where I deputized her to bling the new iPhone. I'm all thumbs when it comes to crafty crap.
My goddaughter however, was born to bling.The Actress and I drove off. I kept wondering how somebody who'd just been through bankruptcy and foreclosure was still able to spend this way.
She bought French underwear - a snip at $500 for two panties and a push-up bra - blinged dog collars for the pooches, new shoes - for her, not them. They all got tutus [I swear] - and then she insisted on having lunch.
I didn't want to have lunch. I had fresh bread and peanut butter at home. I was happy to go home and have that.
But oh no. She wanted a lavish lunch. Unfortunately, I know her well and have had terrible experiences with her before.In spite of her lavish public declarations that she would buy me lunch, I knew she would make my life miserable if I picked anything she deemed expensive. I ordered a cup of soup and an iced tea. I knew I could afford these should she gripe. And I just knew she would.
She berated the poor waiter and I begged her not to. I am always nice to people who handle my food. They could spit in it. Or worse.The Actress hauled out her laptop in the middle of this swanky restaurant as she tore through spinach salad, char-broiled salmon, apple pie and several cappuccinos. She shopped for more crap online - a lanyard holder for her new iPhone and new sunglasses.
She argued with her mother on the phone and didn't seem to notice how aggravated our nearest neighbors and the entire restaurant staff were.After being sniped at for four and a half hours, something came over me when she griped about the $7.00 for my soup and tea (tax and tip included).
I told her I couldn't take it anymore. I think I actually said I hate you. She looked shocked. I don't think she hears those words too often, except from her ex husbands.
She owed me $67.50 for the time I'd been her whipping post and dangled this over my head.I said I didn't care.
"You don't care?"
"No, I don't," I said.
I got up and walked out.
"Can't you take her with you?" the waiter begged.
My dear friend Kelly has quoted me from Benjamin Franklin who once said never to keep friends who are not like yourself. Somebody else once said - maybe it was Heidi Fleiss - we are guilty by association.
I didn't want to associate with an asshole boss. I don't care that money is involved. It's too painful dealing with such insanity. I drove home feeling both bad and good. It's hard to walk away from an income.
She apparently collected her cell phone from my goddaughter and was very sweet with her, paying her $20.
Then she drove to my place and somehow got into my building and showed up at my front door. She put on a marvelous performance.
I accepted her check for $67.50 and then said goodbye.
She hasn't stopped calling since. This morning, I found a pink diamante in my socks. My little ode to bling. And to her.
I dropped the bling off my balcony and deleted all her messages.
Maybe I am being foolish, but I think not. What about you? Would you put up with Miss Bling? I'd really like to know.