the short story project


Linor Katz | from:English

Tumbling Towards Absurdity

I have nothing against fame except for the misguided notion—which people who achieve it often have—that they can remain the same doe-eyed individuals, freely roaming the earth. The only one I have ever met who managed to overcome this rule of nature did so solely by the fact he was kind of an asshole to begin with. When I first started working for GRIND agency, obviously I wasn’t very familiar with the dos and don’ts of celebrity handling. I may have made a few minor mistakes, like that time I forgot to include this big shot rabbi in a dinner party list, and ended up promising that Larry would hold his grandson at his circumcision. I had made a faux-pas, Larry said with an uneven shattered tone to his voice.

“A faux-pas?” I asked.

“Yes, yes, a big faux-pas, huge faux-pas,” he said while shaking his bony finger up and down at me.

I don’t know what it was that seemed to spike the fuzz on my buttocks, but at that moment something happened to me, and all I felt like doing was screwing up Larry’s social life through poorly managed bureaucracy, so he would continue to shake his finger at me, hopefully while spewing exotic old world language too.

My new favorite night-time obsession was slowly slipping into anemic-fueled dreams where Larry was the leading man. I don’t think my boyfriend minded it; he was probably just happy he could obsess over his own little star – a barista dude that served his coffee with hearts drawn in it. At some point in our relationship they proceeded to have an affair.

Somehow it seemed to me that all relationships in L.A were some version of what we had – some version of mutual utilization. Then one night coffee lover asked me “What’s up with the Seinfeld repeats?” I got mad and told him it’s no secret he’s gay, and we should probably break up. He said he honestly thought I would say something sooner. Then he said he didn’t say anything himself because despite his homosexual tendencies we had a good thing going. I found myself unable to dispute his logic; bleak as it was, I had the same indifferent yet comfortable feelings.

But some disturbing questions nibbled at my confidence – had I become so jaded? What happened to all my dreams, my child-like enthusiasm for life, for love? As all those depressing thoughts threatened to derail my still, taut, dummy-like expression, to a furrowed eggplant one, there was Larry’s face emerging in the midst of this existential crap storm.

I could’ve glided through the next year feeding purely on my imagination. However, the old saying is true: appetite comes with eating. My mind went a little crazy searching for new tantalizing scenarios, like maybe I’m placing my glass too close to the edge of the table, and it breaks, and I sweep the broken pieces of glass under the table so no one would see, and Larry holds an investigation to find the culprit, and he finds me. Yes, the pool of exotic ideas was drying out on me. I owed it to myself to create a zone within reality where tepid orgasms can roam free.

My gay better half displayed contradicting emotions, offering to assist with a ruse I had come up with, yet judging my choice of target the whole time. The plan was simple: introduce an odd yet interesting individual to Larry, someone who would serve as a muse for his show; gradually infiltrate the inner circle of writers/comedians/people who work on the show; and thus create a legitimate opportunity for coitus. Or at least be able to inspect that option without looking like a creep.

We came up with an alias. My boyfriend thought the name should be Larry too, that it would instantly be a conversation starter. But in the long run, I knew Larry would think having two Larrys on set would be distracting. We compromised on David Lawrence. With coffee lover also being an aspiring actor, he nudged himself comfortably into my desperate cry for help.

The big day came knocking at an unfortunate moment. David Lawrence was called for duty on the same day the person who was supposed to embody his curious personality lost his grandmother. I wasn’t game for this kind of sickly exploitation, though I must’ve missed coffee lover’s sudden drive to make a name for himself in La La Land. He was set on going through with it, said he would immerse himself deep within the character so it would be like someone else is grieving. It started to feel like I misplaced the mischief in foreplay with morbidity.

My boss called me up and instructed me to be at Larry’s disposal. He had some sort of staff meltdown on set and needed an errands person to assist him. “Well”, I said, “that’s why you pay me the big bucks.” Boss hung up. He didn’t appreciate the worn-out use of irony. As we approached Larry, I could spot his engaged stare right away. Maybe he thought the kilt David Lawrence, a.k.a coffee lover, was wearing didn’t suit his slim legs. Whatever it was, it was working. I introduced David to Larry, then straight away some high-strung woman who was associated with production dropped a pile of clothes into my fragile hands, and told me they needed to be ironed for a carolers group. “What’s the idea?” I asked, and she rolled her eyes at me like I was not there to be inquiring about the plot.

I was standing in line at the dry cleaners zoning out when a distant memory of my first grade teacher asking me what I wanted to be when I grew up slapped the crazy out of me, and I realized that what I wanted was to get laid! As assertive as one marching with a load of folded laundry in hands could be, I was. I tripped and the clothes went flying all over the set as they were in the middle of shooting. I picked up the clothes and apologized profusely. Larry was surprisingly calm about it though. He softly motioned it’s ok it’s ok, and even helped me pick up a few garments.

At lunch I sat by myself. I was about to call my boyfriend when he emerged with a group of kilt-wearing men. Apparently it had been decided to switch the carolers with Saint Patrick’s Day enthusiasts, who would have a dispute over the appropriate length of their kilts. “Are you sure you want to do this now?” I asked my boyfriend, “I mean, are you up for it and all considering the circumstances?”  “What circumstances?” he asked. I got a little worried about him. But then I thought maybe he wasn’t that close to his grandmother after all.

Getting a small part playing an Irish dude on the show wasn’t all the exciting news; another interesting nugget was revealed to me. “I got you a whole day with him!” said coffee lover. I was a little confused,”what do you mean a day with him? With who, with Larry?” 

“Yeah, obviously”, he said like I had asked if we were currently on earth.  

“What? Like a ‘make a wish foundation’ sort of thing?”

“Well…” he said, “David Lawrence told Larry you were a professional golf instructor… so… you’re supposed to go to the country club with him and give him a few pointers”.

Slowly but surely the lines separating an honest desire from a personality disorder started to blur. For both me and my boyfriend, who began to refer to himself as David Lawrence. However, the scene that was about to give him his big break challenged his Methodist way. The merry group of Saint Patrick’s Day enthusiasts knocked on the door of an elderly woman, and when she opened it, coffee lover started wailing. They replaced him with a member of the crew that fit into his kilt.

Larry David and I stood on the pastoral grounds of his country club, golf clubs in hand. I was somewhat convincing after reading about golf from various websites, but probably not enough to pass as a pro golf instructor. Or a golf instructor. Or someone who played golf before. Even though it seemed Larry was on to me when the club flew away from my hand, he didn’t say anything about it. We set down for a brunch thing, and ate an assortment of mini-sized foods that got on Larry’s nerves.  He picked up a mini-quiche with his index finger and his thumb. “Look at this,” he said, “you think the manager in this place eats mini-quiches? I’ll bet he gets the regular-sized quiche. It’s like they’re trying to use food to condescend to us now”.
I nodded. I wanted to be the person he confided in with these small insignificant mundane grievances, but I was suspicious as to why he was even sitting with me, and kept waiting for the reason to reveal itself.

Nothing. We just sat there chewing tiny dishes. Then he stared at me. “You know, you’re really not committed to your outfit”.

“My outfit?”

“You have a nice buttoned shirt, is it buttoned?” 

“It’s buttoned,” I replied.

“You have a nice buttoned shirt on and a small scarf tied around your neck. But you’re wearing chafed denim pants, and sneakers”.

“That means I’m not committed?”                                                                                         

“Well no, not in general, although I don’t really know you enough to determine if you’re the kind of person who goes about their lives the way they do about their clothes,” he chuckled “I mean it’s a little confusing, are you a flight attendant, are you going to a rock concert? You’re throwing me in a lot of different directions”.            

“I guess I didn’t see it like that”.

“Then start seeing. You don’t even look comfortable in these clothes”.

“That’s weird…” I pondered out loud.                                                                            

“What’s weird?” he asked.

“I don’t know what I would’ve worn differently”.

“That is weird. I can think of any number of items that would look less like a wardrobe malfunction”.

I went into a deep zoning out mode again. I was truly baffled for a minute, because in a way that callous remark about my outfit was an accurate reflection on the way I was conducting my life. I was just doing stuff, not making choices, not paving the way to anything clear, which is probably why I concocted this elaborate scheme to get Larry David in the sack. That was my strange little way of gaining back control, of shutting out the chaos. Yet all I had gained so far was chaos.

Larry was busy trying to figure out a quail to notice my grand enlightenment.

“You know, it’s really not a great accomplishment serving people quail. I mean, these poor birds, they don’t even have a tail, they can’t fly much. You think back in the day hunters would come home to their wives saying – honey, I caught some quail! –? Let me tell you something, if a hunter came home with a bunch of quails instead of an enormous dead animal, his wife would’ve been disappointed in him, and all of his hunter buddies would’ve made fun of him over the bonfire.”

“Why are we here?” I asked abruptly, whilst executing the very essence of charm and wit that inspired me to get there in the first place.  Despite being provided with this rejuvenating verbal wind, I had to know.”Why are you doing this with me?”

“Doing what?”

“You know… sitting with me, eating, sharing your unique perspective on the world?”

“Well, if I should be so bold, that Scottish guy said you have some good golf moves, and that you have the hots for me. It’s kind of a…” he was looking for the right words it seemed. His voice stretched in a high-pitched throaty tone, until he continued to say, “a win-win situation. Though as far as the golf is concerned, I think it’s safe to say that guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about. But as for the other thing… well…” he cracked a little smile, and one of his eyebrows went up a little. So I decided to give chaos a chance.

I had some quail, made unnecessary observations about people, things, the weather. We had the sex. Larry kept his shirt on. I, my noncommittal flight attendant scarf.
I completely forgot about the circumstances that made it all possible, i.e. I still had a job to do, I was, first and foremost, a GRIND employee. Larry was searching for his glasses when I casually mentioned a tiny obligation of his to speak at a “proud for Scotland” convention. His search for the glasses took a back seat as he froze for a second, then popped his head from under the bed. His grayish, once glorious hair, like the Roman ruins, disheveled. “Excuse me? What Scotland convention?”

“It’s nothing really, just a minor mistake involving a permission slip to use their traditional garment on your show”.

“We need permission to use a kilt on the show? That’s ridiculous!”

“Yes, well, nonetheless, it is needed, and the thing is…”

“What, what’s the thing?”

“When their representative said they can forgo the slip if you would speak at their convention, I thought it would be simpler somehow.” In truth I was supposed to give Larry the papers she faxed over to sign, and that would’ve been it. But they had been sitting on my desk for about a month, and the episode with the Saint Patrick’s Day enthusiasts was already shot in full.
“You know, this is all very peculiar, who is this representative of kilts? Where is she seated? When you call up Scotland, is there a woman that answers the phone who says – Hi, you’ve reached Scotland, you can’t wear our kilts?”

“Umm…”was all I could muster. I mean, he had a valid point.


“For reasons unbeknownst to me, you’re not telling me the whole story,” he said suspiciously. Then he got real close to my face and tilted his head. His eyes squinted a bit, and his mouth narrowed like he was sizing up a lie.

“I don’t know what it is, but there’s something…something is fishy.”

“No, there’s nothing fishy. No fishy.”

“There’s some fishiness.”


Larry drove me home, and it wasn’t long before he started up again.  

“What am I even supposed to talk about over there?”

“It doesn’t matter, you’re an honorary guest.”

“Honorary gest…” he echoed.

“Anything else I need to know about? Do the people of Sweden resent us for using an IKEA couch? Do I need to go to a ‘proud for Sweden’ convention, wearing clogs?” 

“Don’t be absurd,” I said, “but it is required that you would wear a kilt for the other thing.”
He sneered. But I was serious. So I shrugged my shoulders apologetically and said,


To which Larry replied: “Huge faux-pas!”                                                                                                  

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