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Dom 23 Dic 2001 10:17:15 CET

         tinseltrash  / adj /  1. a person who's achieved great
         wealth, fame and/or power in the field(s) of film,
         television and/or music, who remains unable or unwilling
         to improve upon the bad conduct and/or low morals
         imparted upon them in their youth   2. something you
         throw away after Christmas


         Hello, my name is Jeff Abugov.  I have been a professional
    Hollywood writer for fourteen years -- you can check me out
    because my resume is all over the Internet.  I've written for
    "Cheers," "Golden Girls," and "My Two Dads."  I've written and
    produced "Roseanne," consulted on "Caroline in the City,"
    executive-produced "Roc" and "Grace Under Fire."  I wrote and
    directed an independent feature film called "The Mating Habits of
    the Earthbound Human" which you may have never seen, and you
    should, but that's not the point.  The point is I know what I'm
    talking about when it comes to show business.

         So, I'd like to tell you a story about a good friend of mine,
    one of the nicest guys I know, who simply got a bum rap in the
    press.  Yes, he deserved it, because he screwed us all, but as I
    see it, he had no choice.  You can decide for yourself when you
    hear his story.

         Today's portion of this internet soap opera is free.  If you
    like it, chapters 2 through 5 will be free as well.  After that,
    all I ask is a dollar a chapter because I have to make a living
    the same way you do.   It's just a buck, for crying out loud.  But
    don't worry about that now.   Just read, and enjoy.

                             by Jeff Abugov

                               Chapter One

                            "The Invitation"

         A very good friend of mine was the biggest star on TV about
    ten years ago.  I can't tell you his real name because the story
    that will follow is perverse and horrible, so to protect him and
    his family I'll call him "Robby Rockman."  I'll say Robby is
    six-foot tall with a slender build, blue eyes, reddish-brown hair
    and freckles, but I might be making that up.

         Robby was the kind of guy who would pick up homeless people
    and then treat them to dinner at an all-night diner.  With no
    fanfare or publicity, he'd pay their stay in a cheap motel until
    he found them a job, then he'd move on to his next project.
    Sometimes it was rescuing puppies from the pound, other times it
    was lending money to down-and-out actor friends, or simply
    coaching his little son's t-ball team.  When there was a problem
    on his sitcom set, it was Robby who smoothed over the wounded egos
    and got everyone back on track.  There wasn't a benefit he turned
    down, a charity he refused, or a secret he couldn't keep.  To know
    this guy was to have a lifelong friend you could trust forever.

         Robby received several Emmy nominations for his sitcom which
    I'll call "School, Sweet School," of which he won two.  He
    received four Golden Globe nominations and won one.  He should've
    won an Oscar because his film performance was brilliant even
    though the movie tanked.  It deserved to tank, it wasn't good, but
    that's not the point.

         You know who I'm talking about.  If you're young, you grew up
    with him as a role model.  If you're older, you watched him with
    your kids.  He brilliantly played a nice guy, I'll call the
    character "Mr. Bell," the loveable teacher at "School, Sweet
    School," even though he didn't really play a teacher and it wasn't
    really a show about a high school.  Everyone thought, including
    me, that the only reason Robby was so great at playing a nice guy
    was that he WAS such a nice guy.  The truth is, he was a brilliant
    actor who could play a jerk as well as anyone.  And that, my
    hopeful readers, is how he reached his legendary status.  He
    didn't do it on the big screen or the little screen, but in the
    press, the tabloids, and in his best performances, on the nightly

         This is the downfall, the comeback, and the personal
    destruction of the one we'll call Robby Rockman.


         There are many places to begin Robby's story, but I'll choose
    the night of his agent's annual Fourth of July bash because that
    was the night Robby decided to alter the entire course of his

         It had been eight years since Robby taped the final episode
    of "School, Sweet, School."  Six years since his brilliant
    performance in the dull-as-hell courtroom drama movie, five years
    since his big budget action picture flopped, four years since he
    worked at all, and roughly six months since his agent returned one
    of his phone calls.

         His agent, whom I'll call Artie Eichman, was
    five-foot-eight, with a muscular build due to a personal trainer
    and a full mane of sandy-brown hair due to cosmetic surgery.  He
    signed Robby when both of them were nothing, and took him from
    good reviews in an Off-Broadway flop to the lead in "School, Sweet
    School."  During the run of the show, Artie used the leverage from
    representing Robby to make himself one of the most powerful agents
    at his mammoth agency.  Let's call it "the Mammoth Agency."
    Today, Artie is among those who run this town, and he wouldn't
    have had any of it without Robby's talent and loyalty, but he
    still sees no reason to return his calls.

         So when Robby got Artie's invitation out of the mail, he
    didn't even have to open it to know that he was on his way back.
    Artie had been having these parties since the third year of
    "School, Sweet School," and he always invited only the top people
    in Hollywood, and only his working clients.  Robby was not working
    but clearly he was about to, and he had a pretty good idea of what
    the role would be.

         For weeks, Robby had been begging Artie - actually Artie's
    secretary because Artie wouldn't return his calls -- for an
    audition with a certain well-known director, let's call him
    Anthony dePaulo.  dePaulo, you know him, too, is one of America's
    greatest directors.  From the Spielberg-Lucas generation, his
    movies may never have made as much money as theirs did, but his
    were better.  That's my opinion and nothing more, but I'd bet you
    agree.   dePaulo had helped mediocre actors become great, and had
    helped great actors carve the character for which they'd be
    forever remembered.  He had made stars out of nothing, and turned
    has-beens into icons.  With an actor as brilliant as Robby, the
    sky was the limit, and everybody knew it.

         Robby knew that the invitation could only mean that Artie had
    somehow gotten him the part in dePaulo's new film.  The rest was
    up to him, and he knew he could pull it off.  Especially with a
    director as brilliant as dePaulo!

         Something you should know about Robby is that he always hated
    Hollywood parties.  At the peak of his popularity, he couldn't
    stand the sycophants sucking up to him so they could tell the
    other sycophants he was their pal.  Since his decline, these same
    sycophants ignored him like the plague, which Robby hated even

         Robby's wife, whom we'll call Trudy Rockman, was a beautiful
    yet petite waif of a woman with straight, jet black hair to her
    mid-back and zero streaks of red.  If you ask me, it would've
    looked better with a little bit of red, but Trudy didn't want to
    "go Hollywood."   Trudy was just one year younger than Robby, and
    they had been high school sweethearts.  She had stuck by Robby
    through the lean years in New York, the insanity of superstardom,
    and the dark years that followed.  Everyone who knew them agreed
    that their marriage was as good as one could get in Hollywood.

         Trudy knew how Robby felt about parties.  She also knew he
    shouldn't go to this one because Artie never meant for him to be
    invited.  Artie believed unemployed clients made him look bad, and
    Trudy could only deduce that Artie's secretary had sent out the
    invitation on her own.  Why the secretary had done that Trudy had
    no idea, and I'll get to it later.  Still, Trudy knew that Robby
    was not welcome at the party.  The reason she knew this was
    because she was secretly having an affair with Artie.

         No one was aware of it at the time of course, including me.
    Like I said, we all thought Robby and Trudy had the perfect
    marriage.  But after watching her husband grow sadder and sadder
    with each passing day for eight years of his vanishing career,
    Trudy finally couldn't take it anymore.  The least Artie could do
    is return one of her husband's calls, she felt.  So, a couple of
    months before the bash, she got into her red Cherokee and drove to
    the Mammoth Agency building in Beverly Hills to confront him.

         Artie greeted Trudy with warmth, humor, and friendliness.
    Instead of denying her accusations, he explained them away.

         "I serve him better by speaking to studio heads on his behalf
    than using the same time to tell him that I have nothing to tell
    him," was one of his defenses.

         "He already knows no one will hire him, but when I tell him
    he just gets more depressed," was another.

         "I'd be nothing without Robby," he'd begin my personal
    favorite with total sincerity.  "It pains me that you'd think I'd
    actually give up on him."

         Trudy pointed out the fallacies of each of Artie's defenses,
    and Artie countered brilliantly.  It wasn't that she believed
    anything he said, but the repartee, the give-and-take, the warmth
    and the smile was something she hadn't had for a very long time.

         Then Nicholson called, and Artie had to go.  He had been
    trying to steal Nicholson for months, he explained to Trudy as if
    it were a good thing, then told her he wanted to continue their
    conversation because he wanted to make sure Robby was happy.  If
    he was making matters worse, he went on, he wanted to know how to
    correct it.

         So he asked her out to dinner.  She, naive little thing that
    she was, suggested it would be best if Robby didn't know about it
    since it would embarrass him to learn that his wife had more
    impact on his agent than he did.  Artie made some vague comment
    about honesty, then quickly went along with the plan.

         Their first dinner was a great success and they spent the
    entire time talking about Robby.   No true solutions were reached,
    but Trudy had a wonderful time with the gregarious man, once again
    eating in an L.A. hotspot, once again being treated like Hollywood

         So they had another dinner, and another.  Conversations about
    Robby had long vanished, and Artie spent much of the time talking
    about how his first wife had taken half his money, and how his
    second wife was now trying to take the other half.  The rest of
    the time he spent telling Trudy how absolutely beautiful she was.

         Trudy kind of knew what Artie was after for she wasn't THAT
    naive.  They had known each other for a very long time by then and
    she had seen him talk his talk with many other women, married or
    not.  So the fact that he was now trying to woo the wife of the
    man to whom he owed so much may have repelled her, but it did not
    surprise her.

         On the other hand, Artie was not an unattractive man.  She
    had never been with a muscle-guy before, and had often secretly
    fantasized about being with him.  Of course, she had no intention
    of acting on it.

         Until he got her drunk.

         Because she let him.

         Trudy had never been with anyone other than Robby, and Artie
    was very well endowed.  It wasn't that he was better in bed than
    Robby that got her to climax.  It wasn't that she loved or even
    liked Artie.  She knew Artie for the sleaze he was, and it made it
    all the more exciting for her.  It was raw sex, it was wrong, and
    as the two sweated away on the rooftop veranda of Artie's
    Hollywood Hills home with the L.A. skyline twinkling in her
    half-opened eyes, she knew she would keep coming back for more.
    Trudy had never done a wrong thing in her life and, in her
    mid-thirties, the lifelong wife of her husband -- this was the
    only way she could see of being her own person.

         The truly sad part is that for years Robby had been attracted
    to Artie's second wife, Adona Eichman, young, beautiful, thin with
    large, expensive breasts -- the trophy Artie received for
    representing Robby.  Adona had had a crush on Robby since she was
    a kid, and would've given herself to him in a second.  She had
    given him all the signals, but Robby simply wouldn't go for it.
    It wasn't because of Artie and it was barely because of Trudy.
    As far as Robby was concerned, he was a married man and that was

         So when Robby got the invitation from Artie's assistant,
    Trudy knew some kind of slip-up had occurred because Artie had
    already told her Robby wasn't on the list.  But Robby was so
    excited thinking that he got the part in a Tony dePaulo film that
    Trudy didn't know what to say.

         "Be realistic, he wouldn't invite YOU," she knew she couldn't

         "He only invites his working clients, and you haven't worked
    in years," she also knew was wrong.  So, instead, she dropped
    casual hints.

         "Don't you just hate these full-of-it parties?" she asked

         "Sure, but I'm in no position to turn it down," he replied.

         "I'm sure whatever Artie has going for you will hold if we
    don't go to this party."

         "He wants me there," Robby answered.  "I'm sure he has his

         "Why don't you call him and find out what the reasons are?
    Maybe they're not as important as you think."

         "Even if they're not, it doesn't matter.  He wants me to come
    and I've always been a team player.  I can't change now."

         In the end, Trudy figured there wouldn't be any harm in
    attending.  They'd have a bad time, Robby would grow more
    depressed, but in the end it wouldn't change anything.

         She couldn't have been more wrong.  It was at that party that
    Robby made the very conscious, calculated decision that would
    ultimately cause his life to spiral completely out of control!
    And the drugs, sex and other scandals in which he'd be involved
    were nothing but a by-product of that one vice-laden decision.

                  *** Up Next: "A Hollywood Bash"  ***

    The main characters in this e-novel are fictional and are not
    intended to portray or resemble any actual individuals, whether
    living or dead (except for Jeff Abugov who is a real screenwriter,
    director and producer.)   Although certain real people and
    companies are mentioned in this e-novel, all of the events are
    fictional and are not intended to portray or resemble any actual

    Copyright 2001 Tinseltrash, Inc.


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