The alarm sounded violently, and automatically I rolled over and tapped the snooze button to get my ten minutes extra but . . . it went off again and I hit the snoozer again, only harder this time.
Through one bleary eye I saw two o’clock on the digital and couldn’t figure out why the alarm was going off. The damned thing rang again so I gave it a solid right that knocked it off the nightstand and into the wall.
I felt Trudy’s arm reach across my head as she said, It’s the phone you moron.” She picked up the receiver and the cord whipped across the bridge of my nose as she rolled back onto her side of the bed.
“Hello,” she said anxiously and then covering the mouthpiece she said nothing, was actually dumbstruck for thirty seconds but finally managed to stage whisper, “Marty, its Steven Spielberg.”
“Ask him how Amy is,” I said.
Through clenched teeth Trudy let me know they were no longer married. “He wants to talk to you.”
“Tell him to stop bothering me. I don’t want to be in his next movie and that’s final.”
Trudy was so gullible. Why she didn’t just hang up on this crank call and go back to sleep was beyond me. Instead she gave me her look that could curdle milk and holding her palm over the speaker thrust the phone towards me.
I am not one to give a lot of advice but listen to me this one time. Never, never, ever marry a woman named Trudy. No matter if she is rich, beautiful or pregnant, don’t do it. You will live to regret it with every waking breath and in every nightmare. Trudy, Gertrude, Gerty . . . they hate the name. They hate writing it, listening to it and no matter how it is said; it can never be said sexily. Men who are married to Trudys are doomed to live forever because every day is like a year.
Trust me. Believe me. It is one of my only three basic rules of survival in this harsh world. The other two—don’t pick your dentist from an advertising sign on a bench and never trust a person who tells you to trust him.
Finally taking the phone, I said, “It’s two a.m.”
“Hi. It’s only eleven where I am out on the coast.”
“Well on this coast it’s two a.m. Who are you and what do you want?’
“Steven Spielberg and I’ll get right to the point. Do you remember your English final in eighth grade?”
“Listen—did my brother Myron put you up to this? Tell that worm I’ll get him back triple for this. He’s pulled a lot of idiotic stunts but . . .”
“I don’t know your brother Myron and I am Steven Spielberg and if you give me your agent’s name I’ll have my agent call him directly.”
“Yes. Your agent.”
“Listen, Mr. Spielberg . . .”
“Call me Stevo."
“Listen Stevo—I’m the produce manager at the local supermarket. Produce guys don’t need agents.”
“Getting back to your eight grade English final. Do you remember it?’
“Your assignment was to write a story.”
“You got an 89.”
“It should’ve been higher.”
“I don’t want to discuss my punctuation. What’s the point?”
“I want to buy it.”
“I don’t have it.”
“I know. Your teacher does.”
“Yes. Helen Ferstrom.”
“She wants to sell you my eighth grade story?”
“No. Yes. She let me read your story and I want to buy it from you.”
“I like the plot and think that it’ll make a good movie. A new Indiana Jones.”
“Wait a minute. My story was about an eighth grade boy, some stolen athletic supporters and an exploding locker.”
“Right. Perfect. Indiana in eighth grade getting his start. Think about it. I’ll have my girl call your girl in a couple of days.”
“What does my daughter have to do with this?”
“Marty, you’re a funny man. I’m going to enjoy working on the screenplay with you.”
“Wait. How did you and Mrs. Fernstrom get together?”
“She knocked on my door one morning after seeing my last movie and said if you don’t do this you are making one big mistake.”
“And you listened to her?”
“I’ve always been intimidated by teachers.” She told me that she would take a finder’s fee.”
I hung up and rolled over, ready to go back to sleep. Tomorrow was the day set for me to do the Comice pear display and
I had to be at my best. Trudy would have none of it. “What’s going on? What did Steven Spielberg want?”
“Trudy, I’m tired. I’ll tell you in the morning at breakfast.”
“You’ll tell me now or you won’t live to see breakfast,” my bride said. So I told Trudy the story and in her Trudy style she said, Okay, we’ll get my Uncle Morton to draw up the papers. If your pal Stevo thinks he’s getting our story without paying points he’s got another thing coming . . . and there better be a part in there for my mom—you know how much she loves movies and always wanted to be in one and are you getting screen writing credits and if not why not? Just because he’s Steven Spielberg doesn’t mean we have to let him walk all over us.”
I covered my head with my pillow and finally fell back asleep to the muffled sounds of Trudy yakking on about billing, credits and multi-picture deals.
Just before waking in the morning after a fitful sleep I had a dream. I don’t usually dream; but in this one Stallone (call me Sly) came by my store and saw the Comice pear display and wanted to not only put the display in his next movie, but he offered to make me Head of Production/Produce for him. Sly offered me points, a three picture deal and the standard credits plus artistic control over all fruits and vegetables.
When you’re hot, you’re hot.