Sunday, October 30, 2016
Seal Of Approval
That summer the big-internal-to-do (other than Ixtlan prepping to suspend operations) was the 'Intern Lunch'. Oliver would bite the bullet and for an hour play hostage to a rogues gallery of wet behind the ears sycophants.
Monaghan entrusted Travis and I with roping in supplies for the feast. Other than reminding us of the number of bellies likely to be present, no strict instructions were given. Napkins, utensils, paper cups, paper plates, it was just rudimentary arming up for the merry mastication in the offing.
Memory slips. The overflowing abundance of the party supply store shelves sources from hardware stores I visited with my dad. Also the orange-tinted lighting and the cracked cement floors. And I swear it was curbside parking even though the store was located in Santa Monica, not some downtown Los Angeles retailer bereft a parking lot. I remember the lunch was held in the conference room, but how many combined Illusion and Ixtlan interns? How long did the lunch last? Did it smell like unwashed armpits? Were any interns high on cocaine? Did Oliver actually make eye contact? With any one of us? And why should he have?
An appearance of interest in an intern, no matter how modest or simply polite, could blow-up. An Imagine-employed roommate of the company receptionist had provided specifics of a recent Ron Howard-experience. Ron slipped into the Men's Room. An Imagine intern followed Ron to the urinals. Now, did the intern actually produce a stream or did he fake it? - probably irrelevant. The salient fact remained that this mover-and-shaker pitched a project to Opie while Opie was attempting to drain his bladder. If interns shared this sort of thing with their pack, producers and writers and directors likely did the same. Oliver had every right to be wary.
Stunningly, I was verification of his unease. When it came to paper plates, what I secured from the party supply store Monaghan made me turn around and take right back.
They were teddy bear plates. They came with teddy bear napkins.
Monaghan couldn't voice specific reluctances. Pedobear was just a kernel buried in the consciousness of some future meme-creator. Back in the Nineties, a cartoon forest creature was a cartoon forest creature, not some cyber-agent mocking the dark persuasions of sewer-ridden souls.
Ixtlan/Illusion wasn't even wired for the Internet. It was a hard copy environment: the office closet shelves were jam-packed with screenplays and the filing cabinets bulged from internal memos and business files. When interns turned in coverage on screenplays, it was a printed out document. Paid professional script readers had to come to the office to pick up screenplays, and then would return their synopsis by courier or make the trip themself all over again.
My thought process at paper plate purchasing moment simply was this: Oliver would be stressed out thrown into a pack of 20-something jackals. He wouldn't prepare his own food. Someone else would do it for him. And when he got to the bottom of his plate, all the satiation from the grub would gain further heft from the image of some plump, stuffed, fuzzy little bear, mayhaps an instant new favorite playfriend more than ready to co-habitate a chamber in Oliver's memory palace. His unfettered joy might go so far as requesting knowledge of the plate purchaser, and who knows, I might've shot to the top of the intern horde (which I sometimes still imagine as a single-creature, a meat-Voltron, like the dueling communal creatures in Clive Barker's "In The Hills, The Cities").
Chastened, I returned to the party supplier and swapped out the teddy bear plates for the plain, white kind. The intern lunch went off free of any kind of obvious hitch. I retained my spot in the intern-horde, and far as I know, no one followed Oliver into the bathroom for a pitch-pee.