Monday, October 29, 2007


For a little while there, it looked as if things were getting back to normal at home.

With the editing of Bridal Fever going as smoothly as I’d predicted – I mean, honestly, it’s a romantic comedy with attractive leads and a very funny script, how hard could it have possibly been? --

-- I was able to get the hell out of Toronto several days earlier than planned, much to the palpable relief of my boyfriend and, it can reasonably be assumed, most of the population of Toronto. I’m sure they were as tired of listening to me gripe about the overpriced restaurants, the lousy customer service and the dour citizenry as I was having to experience them.

A highlight of my stay had to have been a meal at the Hottest New Five Star Hotel Resto In Town where I actually dined on an 18 dollar bowl of pasta which consisted of 9 – I counted them! – strands of spaghetti in a pesto that wouldn’t have been out of place in a Nursing Home Cafeteria. The Celebrity Chef who runs the joint is clearly a shameless, self promoting griddle whore, but one certainly can't fault the man's nerve.

With the miracle of modern technology whisking me through US immigration in the blink of an eye – literally, given the retinal identification system in which I’m enrolled at the airport (which I HIGHLY recommend by the way; it’s the best 80 bucks you will ever spend on travel!) -

-- making me feel VERY James Bond as I zoom past the track pants-wearing hoi polloi lumbering along with their overstuffed ‘carry on’ bags and whining infants, any of whom could possibly be terrorists intent on nothing less than the complete and utter destruction of Our Sacred Way Of Life – I was safely belted into my first class seat and two drinks along on my journey before the ink was dry on my boarding pass.

Needless to say, the Best Laid Plans etc., and my connecting flight was late, which caused me to miss my NEXT connecting flight and so forth, thereby allowing me the dubious pleasure of enjoying the roasted macadamia nuts of First Class Lounges in Chicago, Dallas and Las Vegas before finally touching down in Palm Springs only 7 and a half hours later than planned. God bless Alaska Airlines.

At least the plane didn’t end up smeared against the side of some snowy mountain, stranding us like a team of Uruguayan soccer players and forcing us to resort to cannibalism.

However, given the girth of several of my flight mates, I’m sure some of us would’ve survived well into next spring.

After wading through two months worth of quite useless postal correspondence – I was raised to believe that a gentleman doesn’t discuss his finances in public, so I’m not exactly sure why these direct mail idiots think I’m just dying to talk about refinancing my mortgage with them “at my earliest convenience” – I turned my attention toward a few of my more pressing social engagements, including an exquisite evening of cater waiters al fresco, nestled amongst the ancient canyons of our local Native Indian Tribe Inc., called “Dinner In The Canyons”.

Presented as a fundraiser for a local aboriginal museum, the Boyfriend and I arrived to the event fashionably late, dressed in relatively casual Hugo Boss suits, and promptly elicited a comment from one distaff attendee that “ties are not allowed”. But before I could volley back a critique of her own ensemble – apparently selected from the Frederick’s of Hollywood’s “Cross Dressing Cowboy Prostitute” line –

-- the bartender poured me a bucket of Jack Daniels on ice, immediately defusing what could have been a rather nasty fashion confrontation. After a brief chat with our good friend The Mayor of Palm Springs--

-- we took our seats at a table with half a dozen of the Boyfriend’s business associates and the small talk progressed without incident. That is, until one of our more inebriated tablemates began inquiring as to what my fee would be to direct the low budget action movie she and her husband, an acclaimed television documentarian, were planning to produce. This, as you may have guessed, is just NOT DONE.

I attempted some light, silly retort along the lines of “oh, I’m far too handsome to talk about money”, but still she persevered much to the discomfort of everyone at the table. Why on earth this otherwise delightful woman should think I would make idle chit chat about my professional fees while wolfing down a bowl of mass produced pasta in the middle of a pile of rocks is beyond me, but she continued to pry well into the dessert course until her utterly mortified husband took her firmly by the back of the neck and whispered what must have been a rather stern command into her ear. This seemed to mollify her and I was able to finish my dinner unmolested, much to the relief of my Boyfriend whom, I am sure, was terrified that at any moment the ticking time bomb which is my tongue was about to go off.

After a brief speech, wherein several members of a local Casino Owning Tribal Family – sort of “The Sopranos” with jade jewelry – announced their gracious gift of One Million Dollars to the aforementioned Museum, we were treated to a performance by a dazzling troupe of young interpretive dancers known as Moving Earth.

Those of you who are familiar with my complete disdain for live theater – excluding strippers--

-- and puppets –

-- must be wondering by now exactly what it was about these nimble entertainers that I found so remarkable. Suffice it to say that their footwork and rhythmic gyrations were so enrapturing that it wasn't until the third number of their repertoire that I noticed these muscular, well-oiled young men were practically bursting out of their loincloths.

Perhaps, I thought, the budget of the show didn’t allow for enough fabric to properly costume these poor boys and I rather magnimoniously (I thought) announced to those within earshot that if in fact these handsome, nearly naked lads were members of the Museum Staff, I too would donate a Million Dollars on the spot.

It was at that moment that The Boyfriend decided it was time to call it an evening and, and after a brief visit to our favorite Palm Springs nightspot, Melvyn’s at the Ingleside Inn --

-- we returned home and I was finally able to get down to the real business at hand which was, of course, finding out what the heck had happened to Panton.

Faithful readers will recall when last we saw my skittish Ecuadorian houseboy, he was heading to points south in order to report to his homeland for two years of compulsory military service.

Well, it turns out the entire situation was a False Alarm; Panton, it seems, is ineligible for army service in his native land as he has what is colloquially referred to as an Achilles Perineum. Discretion prevents me from going into detail, but suffice it to say this particular affliction, triggered by sudden shock or noise, would be rather awkward at the best of times, let alone on a battlefield where it would be a long and quite soggy march to the nearest clean rest room.

And so, Panton has returned home. Or, more to the point HAD, until Monday morning when the perfect stillness of the desert sunrise was shattered by the sudden rat-a-tat-tat of machine gun fire in the backyard. Startled from my sleep, I heard a girlish shriek and several indecipherable words in some Latin dialect shouted in terror from down the hall and before I could reassure him that everything was all right, the front door slammed open and Panton was once again "no en casa".

As I stood there looking out through the back patio doors, to where the construction crew I’d hired was decimating the pool with jack hammers –

-- each thrust sounding like an mortar attack, especially to the ears of a twenty year old houseboy with the misfortune to be raised in a war torn banana republic – I realized that sooner or later, I was going to have to do something about Panton.

But for now, that will have to wait as I'm currently in Vancouver, preparing to shoot yet another film – actually TWO, this time, back to back installments of my wildly successful Donald Strachey Mystery Series -

-- starring the wonderful Chad Allen.

Meanwhile the pool resurfacing, the cause of Panton’s worry, is already finished and we don’t expect him back for at least another week.

In fact, last we heard, he was still running and had recently been spotted in Indio, trying to buy ammunition and a flak jacket.

Macarthur was right. War IS hell.

But so is finding good help.


Anonymous Elena said...

Good for people to know.

4:57 PM  

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