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How I Learned To Love Drag
by Laurie S.
"How about doing a sports interview?" I suggested. "We could have hockey's dirtiest player doing a tell-all about how to inflict pain without taking a penalty."
"Yeah," agreed Ted. "The bad guy could demonstrate all his dirty moves on the interviewer. Like an elbow to the face."
"The slew foot move to knock a guy off his skates," added Mark.
"The ever popular crosscheck the guy into the goalpost maneuver," chipped in Dave.
"What about the can opener?" offered Mark. "You put your stick between the legs and catapult the guy into the boards or over the boards into the players' bench."
"How about the old hook the stick between the legs and jerk up trick," I added. "We could call that the contraceptive cuff."
"Why not the crotch kiss?" asked Dave. "Or the ball buster."
"Those names are great," said Ted, "but crotch kiss sounds cute."
"Yes, there are a lot of dirty hockey plays . . . I wonder why they don't teach these moves on Coaches Corner," said Scott.
"Well Coach Don Cherry might go for it, but the host, Ron McLean, wouldn't," commented Mark.
"Oh Hockey Night in Canada can't do intermission clinics on dirty tricks, there's enough violence in kids hockey as it is," said Aaron.
There was a brief pause.
I asked, "How about a fight between the interviewer and the player?"
"Ron McLean's a part time referee," added Mark. "He's all for eliminating fighting. That would be perfect."
"Yeah, plus our Canadian audience would eat it up," said Ted.
I guess I was a little apprehensive my first day on the job, but at the same time delighted and excited to be joining a successful show. In fact, as opportunities go, it was one of the best!
ECSTASY was a smash! It was a ratings hit and well liked by the critics too!
So why was I concerned? Well, for one, I had big shoes to fill. Steve Perry, the comedian I was replacing, had left for greener pastures in the US. MAD TV wanted him - and he jumped at the chance for even bigger exposure. After all, when one compares Canada's Comedy Network to America's Fox Network, you're talking about ten times the audience. Not to mention a whopping increase in salary.
My day had begun with my arrival at the Comedy Network's studio, located in an industrial area of Burnaby, a suburb of Vancouver. A place of perpetual rain in the winter, Noah saw less precipitation when it rained for forty days and forty nights.
An architectural eyesore, the television studio fit right in with the other 1960s vintage warehouses because that's what the studio was before it was converted a few years ago - a car parts warehouse.
So when I walked through the side entrance on a bright sunny July morning, I almost had the feeling I was in the wrong place.
But the Comedy Network office actually looked decent. It looked like a real place of business - high tech communications equipment, track lighting, solid oak furniture, and hardwood flooring. And thankfully, it was air-conditioned.
An attractive receptionist welcomed me. After exchanging greetings, she buzzed the producer on the intercom and then she led me down the hall to his office.
"Ah, Sean Davidson, good to see you."
"Hello Ted," I replied as we shook hands.
Ted Walters, fortyish, short, bespectacled, casually dressed, friendly and fatherly, kind of reminded me of Rick Moranis in Honey I Shrunk the Kids.
"You're looking good," he said. "You're looking fit and trim. And that big grin on your face tells me you can't wait to get started."
"Thank you. I am really looking forward to this."
"Well, let me introduce you to the other guys," said Ted as he looked at his watch. "We've got a bull session scheduled to start in a few minutes."
"A bull session?"
"Brainstorming meeting. We dream up skit ideas for the next show."
Ted took me into another part of the cavernous building.
In a large, well-appointed meeting room were the other core people. Director Aaron Spacek - they called him the Space Cadet. He was a thirty-something irreverent free spirit. He looked like Pee Wee Herman on steroids.
There was long, tall, dark, rugged looking, boy-next-door Mark Mitchell. Next to him was Dave Poole. He was a baby-faced blond, six feet tall, with a slender build. Then there was Scott Calvin: dark curly hair, kind of pudgy, a mischievous twinkle in his eye and a perpetual smile. All of the guys were in their twenties. And from what I'd seen of their first year of ECSTASY, they were bloody comic geniuses!
Kicking around ideas for the skits followed simple brainstorming rules. Create. Innovate. Contribute. Build. Don't reject anything.
I could see why Ted called this a bull session.
So far we had dreamed up a reality show parody, an Attack of the Clones doppelganger, a hockey player interview, and now we were exploring a teenage girl's sleepover party.
"The pajama party gets us to explore our feminine side," proclaimed Scott. "You know the women want men to be more sensitive."
"Besides the viewers want to see us in drag," added Mark.
"Well, we'll have to discuss boys," said Dave.
"You always do," teased Scott.
"What of it," shot back Dave.
"I love a forceful man," squealed Scott. "Especially real bruisers."
"Teenage girls talk about the four Ms - makeup, music, movies and men," offered Ted, trying to get the discussion back on track.
"Shopping too," I added.
With the look of a battle-hardened parent, Ted announced, "And they complain about the restraints put on them by their age, by parents, teachers, a limited allowance, and boys."
"Yeah like why shouldn't I be able to communicate on the internet with my girlfriend and talk to her on the phone at the same time?" whined Aaron.
"That's perfectly reasonable since we don't have video phones yet," replied Ted. "Girls have the right to hear and see their friends even if it ties up two phone lines."
"Yes. The rights of the child should supercede those of the oppressive adults," agreed Dave.
"Maybe we could have the girls play with their Barbie dolls while they strive for the same rights as adults," suggested Scott. "A good juxtaposition."
I finally saw my chance to speak. "That would be the new anatomically correct Barbie - and Ken too. The girls could play with the dolls and we could show the dolls copulating and the girls masturbating."
That brought a smile to their faces.
"Could we make the dolls bend properly?" asked Ted.
"It's too bad we couldn't have animation to perform that trick for us," complained Aaron.
"Claymation Barbie," suggested Dave.
"Did you know that some Canadian schools have senior students take care of baby dolls as part of their curriculum? It's to teach parenting. You know, the usual situation is if the student leaves the baby unattended, it starts to cry," said Ted.
"That's got some possibilities," I interjected. "A frustrated male student can't get the doll to stop crying, so he sticks it in his locker."
"Yeah. And he gets a failing mark because the doll dies," said Dave.
"How does the doll die?" asked Scott.
"It's a computerized doll," said Ted. "You know that Japanese technology. If you don't give the doll attention, and feed it some formula, it dies. The doll's computer chip senses movement and water."
"So if the doll doesn't stop crying, we could have the doll shaken to death by the frustrated student," said Dave.
"Or the doll could be kidnapped," suggested Mark.
"Wait a minute. Are we talking about the pajama party now, or are we talking about a whole other skit?" I asked.
"We can decide that later," said Ted. "We're still brainstorming."
"If we have the pajama party, I think we could get some adorable costumes," suggested Scott. "The cuteness quotient could be pretty high."
Mark spoke up. "Yeah, the girls could be painting each other's toenails."
"And tattoos," I suggested. "And maybe on the television, they could be watching videos of their favorite wrestlers."
"Yes, watching wrestling while painting on henna tattoos while they smoke crack cocaine," suggested Mark.
"While they have lesbian sex," added Scott. "That could be our big finish."
"Oh no, do I have to kiss Scott again?" deadpanned Dave.
"You wish," retorted Scott.
"Now girls, stop making those catty remarks," reminded Aaron. "Please kiss and make up."
Scott stood up and embraced Dave. Scott planted a big wet one right on Dave's lips.
"You guys kill me," I said with a shake of my head.
"Hmm, pajama parties just aren't the innocent sleepovers they used to be," observed Ted. "Parents used to get upset when their kids had a pillow fight."
Coming from standup comedy, I was used to performing on stage in front of a live audience. ECSTASY didn't for a number of reasons. We could tape at various locations. We could do as many takes as needed. There was less time pressure. Costume and makeup changes with a small cast became manageable.
Actually all the performers would have preferred a live audience's reaction. But the producer and director didn't need the extra pressure.
The outfits and sets or locations for the first show were pretty easy - a hockey rink, a girl's bedroom, a national park for the Survivor parody, and a school. The Attack of the Clones idea was put on hold. Due to budgetary considerations, the girl's bedroom was the only set constructed. The other skits were shot on location.
But the costumes and makeup were something I was not accustomed to as a stand up comedian.
For the pajama party, all the guys had to get into drag. I didn't know what to expect.
Daniel Roberts was the head makeup artist. Of medium height, slim, effeminate in demeanor, he was almost your stereotypical gay makeup artist. His long dirty blond hair was tied into a ponytail. He wore a light blue smock over faded khaki pants.
After shaking hands and the usual first meeting greetings, he directed me to what appeared to be a barber's chair.
"Honey," said Daniel, "the makeup for your character will be pretty light. We're going for the look of a young teenage girl. So we want a natural look. Lip-gloss maybe, longer lashes, a bit of contouring to give you a more girlish look, a medium length wig. With your skin coloring, we might as well go with your natural blonde hair color."
Daniel stood back for a moment. "Your eyebrows need to be thinned."
"Wait a minute," I interjected. "You're not really going to pluck my eyebrows, are you?"
"Oh no, heaven forbid! I'm just going to use a little glue and covering makeup to give the eyebrows a thin girlish arch. No plucking or waxing," said Daniel as he gave me a reassuring touch on the forearm.
"Hi Daniel, who's this?"
I turned to my side in the direction of the voice. An absolutely gorgeous young Asian girl walked toward us.
"Hi May," said Daniel cheerily. "This is our new cast member, Sean Davidson."
I stood up to meet her.
She surprised me by embracing me, giving me a nice warm hug. Wow! It was like a jolt of electricity! I tingled all over! Then she gave me those show business kisses on each cheek. I did my best to reciprocate.
She smelled nice the clean fresh scent of Ivory Snow. And she looked terrific! Lightly made up, with just lipstick and a touch of mascara, her skin was flawless. A gorgeous smile with a toothpaste ad gleam. She had that look of perfection that made you think of angelic beauty.
May stood about five foot seven. I'd guess her weight to be at perhaps 120 pounds. She was model thin, but she radiated vitality. May wore dark slacks, a pinstripe black shirt and a leather vest. I noted, like many Asian girls, she was not endowed with much of a bust.
"May Cheung is our wardrobe magician," praised Daniel.
"From what I saw of the show last season, you two did great work," I said.
"Thank you," said May. "You are most gracious, Sean."
"In fact, didn't you guys win Genie Awards for makeup and costume?"
"Yes, you're right," said Daniel proudly.
"I'm impressed," said May. "You really did your homework."
I smiled. Actually Ted Walters, our producer, had mentioned that fact when we were chatting earlier in the day. I thought it best if I kept my mouth shut at the moment.
May pulled out a tailor's tape and measured my neck, chest, waist, hips, sleeve length, and pant inseam. Again, there was her scent of Ivory Snow.
"So you have a 14 1/2 inch neck and a 33 inch sleeve length. You probably take pants with a 30 inch waist and a 32 inch inseam."
"That's right." I nodded in agreement.
"You've got a pretty good figure for a girl too," remarked May.
"You're 35-28-36. That's pretty good for doing the roles in drag. We'd hardly need corsets. And the padding for your boobs would round you out quite nicely," said May with an admiring look.
'Oh no,' I thought. 'I don't want to be teased about my girlish looks again.'
"That will be a great asset for this show because you'll probably be in drag every week," remarked May. "You've got real potential."
"And I can make her face look beautiful," added Daniel. "She's a natural."
My face must have expressed doubt.
"You'll see," assured Daniel, as he sat me back in the barber's chair. "When we're done, your parents will think they have a pretty teenaged daughter."
My parents - what would they think?
They'd probably disapprove.
After high school, instead of going to university like most of my classmates, I tried the tough world of stand up comedy.
I started hanging around The Laugh Resort on Portage in downtown Winnipeg when I was in my senior year.
After seeing some good comics, many middlin' to average, and some absolutely dreadful performers, I got up the courage to give it a shot. I worked hard at writing a monologue, gathering the best jokes I'd heard during my lifetime, rehearsed and memorized the whole routine. On a Monday open mike night, I took my shot.
Though really nervous, as skittish as a cute teen boy in a penitentiary, I told my well rehearsed opening lines.
I got some laughs.
I remember one of my jokes was, "How can you spot a blind man at a nudist colony?" Pause for a beat. "It's not hard."
And one of my old jokes was used recently by Mike Myers in Goldmember. "What's long and hard and full of semen?" Pause. "A submarine."
"We live in dangerous times. Why some people even fear you can catch AIDS from a mosquito. Those people are really sick. Who in their right mind would even think of having sex with a mosquito?"
"The difference between mononucleosis and herpes is all a matter of approach. You get mono from snatching kisses . . . "
In retrospect, I know they sounded juvenile, but it was my first time. And as an 18 year old, sexual humor still held my attention.
Gaining some confidence from an encouraging start, I seemed to hit my stride about midway through the monologue. Then I got a little too cocky. I tried a little interaction with the audience. When that fell flat, I got heckled. But, when I stuck to the planned routine, I recovered. And when I finished, I got a little better than polite applause.
Nevertheless, I was hooked! The adrenaline rush of performing it was addictive!
Two weeks later, with a revamped monologue, I tried again. The second time was much better! It was a true success! Intuitively I knew what to do! It was so good that the club manager offered to pay me to make my third appearance!
Within three months I was a regular comedian on the Southern Manitoba comedy circuit.
My parents were dead set against it, thinking I was a totally unrealistic dreamer. A career in show business?
To my parents, becoming a comedian was insane. Too risky! So few people became big stars in show business. On the other hand, getting a university education, getting into a profession such as law, medicine, engineering, or even teaching, was a real career - a guarantee of a comfortable lifestyle.
But they didn't understand my passion for comedy. The rush I felt when the audience loved me! How I fed on the applause!
Being a comedian was what I needed to do. It's what I lived for! I didn't have a choice. The pull was an overwhelming force!
When I announced I wasn't going to university, my parents thought I was Anakin Skywalker crossing over to the Dark Side. I became Darth Vader. My mother and father kicked me out of the house.
So, having little choice, I joined the evil Empire.
I spent five years on the fringes of the universe, traveling to the far-flung outposts of the Canadian comedy club circuit. Honing my craft, building a reputation, hoping for a break.
ECSTASY was my shot at stardom. And redemption.
Shooting the pajama party skit was incredible fun!
The pink nightie, the fake boobs, the painted fingernails and toes, the blonde wig and makeup put me into the character.
And Daniel was right. If my parents had seen me, they wouldn't have recognized me. They'd have thought I was a sweet teenage girl.
Aaron 'the Space Cadet' Spacek, our director, gave the guys room to innovate and create. There were key lines we had to do, but the other guys were masters of improvisation. When they went off on an unscripted tangent, you just had to go with the flow.
So if the script direction said 'feel yourself up' as you watch the wrestling video, what the hell would you do?
I let my comedic instincts guide me. I began by looking down toward my breasts. Then I reached up with my right hand and began to massage my breasts through the pink soft cotton nightie. The camera could see the tops of my fake boobs revealed by the medium neckline. Then I moaned lightly. With my left hand I reached down to my crotch and touched my faux girly parts. Actually, thankfully, I was wearing a tight gaff that would not allow my male member to spring to life.
Then I said, "Isn't the Rock a real hard body?"
"Yeah, he's the bomb! Wasn't he great in The Scorpion King?" asked Dave/Darla.
"It would be great to shoot a love scene with him," I added as I massaged myself more vigorously.
"Who cares if he takes steroids to get those incredible muscles?" asked Scott/Sue. "He looks perfect! What a hunk!" Even though the makeup, wig and pajamas gave Scott the look of a sweet angelic teenage girl, her spirit was possessed by a sex-obsessed devil.
"I wonder if steroids make you sterile?" I asked.
"Isn't that why they're called steroids?" asked Dave/Darla.
"You silly girl, they're not called steroids for that reason," remarked Scott/Sue.
"Then why are they called steroids?" asked Darla.
"I don't know," said Scott/Sue. "They just are."
"I wonder . . . Do they shrink the testicles?" asked Mark/Marlene.
"Ooohhh, gross!" squealed Sue.
"What a shame! What a sham!" screamed Darla! "Not the Rock."
"Is that what those commercials mean by erectile difficulties?" I asked. "It turns a guy to mush."
"A guy goes flaccid," whispered Darla.
"Oohhh, gross!" squealed Marlene.
"I wonder what it's like to hold a guy's erection in your hands," added Sue.
"I think it would be like holding a Popsicle, only it wouldn't be as cold," whispered Darla.
"Yeah, you'd lick and lick and lick," interjected Sue. "And eventually it would wear down."
"But I hear that Viagra makes you go all night!" I enthused.
"You mean a guy can keep erect all night," wondered Sue.
"Like the CN Tower," giggled Darla.
"Imagine stickin' that up your notch!" cried Sue.
We all laughed and giggled.
"I wonder how big can a guy's piece get?" I asked.
"There's a guy, Jim, at school. I heard he has a big one," said Sue matter of factly.
"How do you know that?" asked Marlene.
"His nickname is Stud 'cause he's built like a two-by-four," whispered Sue.
"A two four?" I asked. "I don't get it. Isn't that a case of twenty-four beer bottles?"
"You know a two by four, like one of those thick wooden beams used in construction," said Sue.
"That's true. He's big. I slow danced with him once. And I could feel it. He was so big! I felt like a vampire impaled on his wooden stake!" squealed Darla.
The other girls squealed too.
"No really, without the fake Buffy the Vampire stuff, how did it feel?" I asked.
Darla paused for a second. "Like really dreamy!" replied Darla. "Steamy!! Creamy!!! It seemed to fit perfectly like a round peg in a round hole."
All the girls screamed! I rolled over on the bed in laughter. 'A round peg in a round hole. Well duh!' I thought.
"Maybe he just stuck a cucumber down his shorts!" suggested Marlene.
"Guys don't do that!" said Sue. "Do they?"
"The guys on football teams do," I said. "They wear big shoulder pads and, in their pants, they wear plastic jocks."
"That's just so their little Jimmy's don't get hurt," assured Darla. "But there's no way Jim stuck anything in his pants!" insisted Darla.
"How do you know?" asked Marlene.
"I know 'cause I felt it. It was hard, but it wasn't a fake hard. Not like a dildo."
All the girls shrieked!
There was something surreal about the whole experience. Never had I had a conversation like this in my whole life. Here we were trying to top each other with outrageous comment after outrageous comment.
"Excuse me," I said. I ran in the direction of the bathroom. "I gotta go pee pee."
"Poor Sean, she must have got too excited," said Sue. "She must be all wet!"
Then they all laughed at my departing butt.
Then Aaron yelled cut.
We reassembled. And we tried to improv another take.
Later the best cuts would be aired.
It had been a long day of working.
From a morning script writing session for our version of the Survivor reality show to the afternoon in makeup and then shooting the pajama party skit, I had certainly earned my keep.
As I sat in the dressing room, May Cheung came over to give me a hand. Dressed in that amorphous blue smock, a long tan skirt and leather sandals, she looked absolutely delectable. It wasn't the clothes - it was her face. The kind of gorgeous visage you see on the cover of fashion magazines.
It wasn't hard for her to sense my interest in her.
"My oh my, don't you look scrumptious," said May in a breathy voice, as she gave me a gentle hug.
Again that exciting tingle shot through my body in response to her gentle touch.
When she stepped back, I examined the reflection in the mirror. Looking back at me was a pretty teenager. Framed by a pageboy 'do, my face had a fresh innocent angelic quality. The pink cotton nightie wasn't like Victoria's Secret lingerie, but it revealed enough of the shapely bust, slim waist, bubble butt and long shapely legs to look sexy. "Hey, I really do look convincing, don't I?"
"You do. But you'd better stop admiring yourself or you'll end up with an unladylike bulge in your nightie," she giggled.
"That would be embarrassing," I said, "although I could always claim that it was you who turned me on."
"Thank you . . . but you know, you really do have potential as a sexy female impersonator. Why I bet if we went to a lesbian nightclub, the girls would find you irresistible."
I laughed at that comment. "Yeah, until they found out my little secret. Or should I say big secret."
"Oh you guys," said May as she gave me a gentle slap on the upper arm. "You always claim to be well equipped. But remember, I'm the one who provided you with the gaff for this costume. You got the S/P size - for small/petit."
"Would you believe S/P for stupendous pecker?"
May giggled. "Dream on . . . Okay, enough macho posturing. C'mon, we have to get you out of this costume . . . Let's get the wig off first."
She reached up to my head, felt for the elasticized band under the hair, and lifted up. Then she disappeared into a storage room off my dressing room and placed the blonde wig on a long white Styrofoam wig stand.
I removed the nylon wig cap. It freed my trampled down blond hair and let it breathe. Objectively speaking, I'd say it looked like I was having the ultimate bad hair day.
"Okay, lift your arms high above your head. Let's get the nightie off."
I complied with her instructions, and then I remembered that I had nothing on but my flesh colored Jane belt and my false boobs.
As May patted my slender waist, she said, "With a little dieting and some exercise, we could really make you one of those Ab Tronic infomercial models," she joked.
"Fortunately I have one of those fast metabolisms. I can eat at buffet restaurants all week and not gain a pound."
"Well, you know if we give you a training corset and we exercise your gut, we could probably get you down to a twenty-four inch waist."
"Are you serious?"
"Sure. Why not? You'll be getting into drag all season . . . We might as well get you to look your best. And Daniel's not the only one who thinks you've got great potential. You're a natural. I think drag works best when the audience sees an absolutely stunning, sexy, drop dead gorgeous girl who they can't believe is really a guy."
"Thanks for the compliment." Wow! I looked at my reflection again. Could I be that kind of girl?
Even without a long blonde wig, I still looked attractively girlish. Of course the big boobies helped alter my self-image.
"You know Dave, Scott and Mark got into drag frequently last season," said May. "But I think you could always tell they were guys in dresses. Typically the guys' faces are a little too square, or their jaws are too strong, or their noses are too big. Their shoulders are broad and their legs are too muscular. But you don't have those flaws. You look real. Not just real. With the proper wig, makeup and clothing, you look stunning."
I angled my head and tried to strike a sexy pose. "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful," I purred.
May laughed. "Another week and you'll have diva attitude too."
Turning away from me for a moment, May quickly hooked the pink cotton nightie on a hangar and hung it on a clothes rack.
"You've given me something to work toward . . . But I'll have to talk about those slimming plans later. Right now I've got one concern. How do I get these damn things off?" I asked May as I looked down at my impressive bosom.
"Just grab them and rip," advised May with a smile. Then, with a playful pat on the arm she said, "I'm kidding. You're going to need an adhesive remover."
May opened a drawer beneath the makeup counter. Then she held up a plastic bottle that held a clear chemical solution.
"I hope you're not allergic to liquid crystal Kryptonite, Supergirl," she joked.
That comment out of left field caught me by surprise.
May took a few puffy cotton balls from a plastic bag on the top of the counter. After removing the cap to the adhesive remover, she soaked the cotton balls in the clear chemical solution. It didn't have a harsh or unpleasant scent. May squeezed the damp cotton balls around the edges of the false boobs.
"It will take a few minutes. Once the edges are saturated with the adhesive remover, we can peel back the edges of these false breasts. Then, as we gradually expose more and more of the backside of the boob to the chemical, we can pull a little more off a little at a time."
Again there was the scent of Ivory Snow. And her touch set off that tingling sensation again up and down my whole body. I'd have to reread those Laws of Thermodynamics from my high school Physics book to figure out what the hell was happening to me. Or Great Caesar's Ghost! Maybe I really was Linda Lee and maybe it was crystal Kryptonite!
"Please let me do that," I said as I tried to pull the false boobs off. The breast flesh below looked red and very sensitive. "I hope I'm not allergic to these chemicals."
"The redness is normal. Your skin hasn't been exposed to air for several hours. So far we haven't encountered any strong allergic reactions to these particular chemicals. But everyone is different. The redness should disappear by morning."
As we waited for a few moments before I could peel off the final vestiges of the adhesive, May disappeared for a minute.
When she reappeared, she had a corset in her hands.
"Oh, oh. I've got a bad feeling about this," I mumbled to myself.
"Here Sean," said May in a cheerful voice. "I want you to put this on right now. And, even when you go to bed tonight, I want you to keep this on."
"Besides causing me great discomfort, what good will this corset do?"
"Like we discussed before, the corset will train your waist. If you want to do some really incredible impersonations of those beautiful singers and actresses, this will help give you that to-die-for fabulous figure."
"Well, I guess you're the expert."
We hugged each other. She was so damned sexy. Her body seemed to fit my contours perfectly.
"You know May, I was just wondering." 'Ah, what the hell,' I thought to myself. 'Just go for it.' "How'd you like to go out on a date with me sometime? I mean, I know it's strange of me to ask right now, dressed as I am, but I think you're really sexy."
She answered with a sensual open mouthed kiss!
"How is it you get the glamorous drag role?" asked May.
"Well, Ted Walters said he hired me based on my performance at the Montreal Comedy Festival. There I was doing some impressions. Vocal impressions. A little Jim Carrey, Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump, Austin Powers, and some musical impressions like Bruce Springsteen, Britney Spears, Shakira, and, since I was in Quebec, Celine Dion."
"So that's why you're doing Britney Spears."
"Yeah. But I never got into drag before. In a one man comedy routine, you don't have time to switch costumes - never mind the makeup. At most, you can slip on a wig or a hat quickly to change characters . . . How about it? Can you and Daniel transform me into Britney?"
"Yes, certainly. The clothing shouldn't be a big problem. The makeup - you'll have to ask Daniel. I know he's the best damn makeup artist in the business. He'll get it to work. But how well can you do Britney Spears' voice?"
"It's not my best impersonation. But it's not bad."
"Which song will you do?" asked May. "I need to know so I can get the right costume together."
"I think we'll be doing Baby One More Time."
"Let's see. If I recall correctly, you'll need a gray sweater, a dark skirt, a white blouse that will be tied together to show some bare midriff, a dark red bra, knee sox, and tennis shoes. The hairdo should be pretty simple - blonde pigtails, pink ribbons and those puffy feathery light pink what-you-ma'call-its."
"Yes. You've got a pretty good recollection of the video. I'm impressed."
"Wardrobe's my vocation. I pay attention to costumes."
While the discussion with May went well, the script writing session didn't go quite as smoothly.
Back in the spacious meeting room, Ted Walters handed out copies of Baby One More Time. The lyrics had been downloaded from the internet. Also, he gave us a copy of a script from the TV series Alias.
First, everyone looked over the words to Britney's song.
There was a boom box in the room. Aaron opened a plastic CD case, then inserted the Baby One More Time disc into the compartment and pressed the Play button.
We all listened to the song intently.
I jotted down some ideas onto the lyrics page as the music played.
Dave tapped along with the beat while I hummed the melody.
"Hey!" said Scott. "This could be pretty funny. What do you think of this concept? The song is about child abuse. 'Hit me baby one more time.'"
"Perhaps," said Ted. "If we change the lyrics a little, it's got potential."
"Instead of child abuse, maybe we could have Britney addicted to gambling," suggested Dave. "She'd be asking the dealer to hit her hand with another card." He paused for a moment. "Nah. Forget I said that."
"How about Britney in a football helmet?" asked Mark. "It could be the new theme song for the WNFL."
I spoke up. "How about Britney with an abusive boyfriend?"
"That's probably the most obvious slant," agreed Ted.
"There are probably a lot of people out there who are a little sick of Britney's popularity and would like to smack her," said Scott.
"It's not that it's deserved," said Dave.
"It's deserved," countered Scott. "Her sexy outfits belie her virgin status. She's the ultimate cockteaser."
"Any immensely popular singer always goes through that kind of backlash," maintained Dave.
"Let's get back on track, guys," said Ted. "I think we should go with the abusive boyfriend angle. Who besides Sean wants to work on the lyrics?"
"I'll do it," said Dave, "since I actually listen to her music."
"You've got no ear for music," taunted Scott, "since all of Britney's songs sound the same."
"I'm not the only one who listens to her music," said Dave.
"Yeah all the young teen girls and preteen brainless 'droids do too."
"I'm in good company then. Children aren't as pretentious as some adults I know."
"You know Britney is the ultimate phony. At her concerts, she lip synchs the songs for heaven's sake."
"It's only because she does those energetic dance routines," claimed Dave.
"Okay, enough," said Ted. "Let's split up the other work. How about the Alias parody? Are you up for it Scott and Mark?"
"Sure. I'd be glad to work on it," agreed Mark.
Scott nodded his assent.
Dave and I got up and walked down the hallway to go work in Ted Walters' office. Unlike the classroom-sized meeting room, Ted's office was a quarter that size, but at least there was a window, even it was a skylight. Sunlight just seemed to help re-energize me.
Being under a tight time constraint, we didn't waste any time. We agreed on the abusive boyfriend concept. So we set about altering the lyrics to create a bad dude boyfriend.
We looked at the first verse and the chorus.
BABY ONE MORE TIME
Oh baby, baby
How was I supposed to know
That something wasn't right here
Oh baby, baby
I shouldn't have let you go
And now you're outta sight, yeah
Show me how you want it to be
Tell me baby 'cause I need to know now, oh because
My loneliness is killing me
I must confess I still believe
When I'm not with you I lose my mind
Give me a sign
Hit me baby one more time
We chipped away at the lyrics and came up with our own sick version.
Oh baby, baby
How was I supposed to know
That something wasn't right here
O baby, maybe
You shouldn't have called me a ho
And now I don't wanna fight, yeah
Know now I don't want you to be
The death of me 'cause I bleed tears of woe, oh because
Your beatings are killing me
I must confess I don't believe
How could I be so out of my mind
Deaf dumb and blind
Hit me baby one more time
I popped the karaoke version of the song into the CD drive of the stereo system in Ted's office. Then I tried out the phrasing in my best Britney singing voice.
As Dave listened with an expression of amusement on his face, I wondered about the incongruity of the whole situation.
It must have looked really strange to hear such a high voice coming out of a guy.
After singing the revised lyrics of the song, I thought it wasn't half bad.
But Dave came up with another idea. "How about we take Britney in her school girl uniform and have her dance with Michael Jackson!"
"In his Thriller leather," I suggested. "Michael Jackson could be Britney's bad dude boyfriend."
"Or maybe instead of Thriller we could use that Michael Jackson song I'm Bad. We could change it to I'm Sad, I'm Sad." Dave sang the 'I'm Sad' part to illustrate the switch. "Now wouldn't that be an odd couple Michael and Britney . . . Although both have done Pepsi commercials."
"Right. They both could sing 'We're the Pepsi degeneration.'"
"This pairing has a few possibilities."
"Gee, you know Dave, you were right about how every megastar singer goes through a period of backlash . . . You don't want to get into the child abuse theme with Britney's song, do you?" I asked.
"It's tempting," replied Dave. "But I don't think we should kick Michael Jackson when he's down. Besides, we don't want fantasy to mirror real life too closely. We want to go for some laughs not lawsuits."
"Too controversial, eh."
"I think so - even by our show's standards."
I kind of liked Dave's sense of right and wrong.
May lived in one of those high-rise apartments in Vancouver's West End.
When I drove up in my new silver Toyota Celica, she was waiting at the front door.
She wore a summery brilliant white cotton dress and sandals. It was appropriate for the hot humid weather.
As was our usual custom, we hugged and exchanged kisses on both cheeks. That little gesture put me in a confident mood. Was it just me or did all guys read a lot into an innocent little embrace or a kiss on the cheek?
I opened the car door for May and walked briskly around to the driver's side.
"I like your car," said May with a smile. "Is it new?"
"Yes. When I got the new gig with ECSTASY, I celebrated with a little shopping spree."
"So do you like fast sports cars?"
"It's no Ferrari, but this will do. She's got a 1.8 liter 4 cylinder engine putting out 180 horses, with a 6 speed manual transmission. And is it ever smooth!"
"Boys and their toys."
I thought about peeling out of the driveway, but somehow I sensed that May wouldn't have been impressed.
Spotting my CD storage case, May asked, "What kind of music do you like?"
"Well, right now I've been listening to Britney Spears and Michael Jackson because of that skit we just did. But Shakira and Shaggy and J Lo or whoever's popular or whatever comes on the radio. Anything that rocks."
"I love Shakira," said May. "When I hear Whenever, Wherever, I feel like getting up and dancing!"
"Her music video is absolutely incredible! And she's got a great look."
"I like the fact that she writes her own songs too. She is so talented."
May looked at me for a moment. "Have you ever thought of impersonating her?"
"Hmmm, I wonder if I could. I think I can do her voice pretty well."
"Don't worry about the look. Daniel can do wonders with the makeup and wigs."
Thinking about two amazing transformations, I said, "I know. He's the best."
A few minutes later, we were approaching Stanley Park from the Georgia Street entrance. To my right, across the calm waters of Coal Harbour, near Deadman's Island, we could catch a glimpse of totem poles of the First Nations. Then I could see hundreds of yachts moored at the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club.
Stanley Park, named after a former Governor General of Canada, claimed to be one of the largest urban parks in North America. An evergreen oasis, over a thousand acres in size, it was the crown jewel of Vancouver.
As it was about a quarter to five on a Sunday, some of the families that had spent an afternoon at the park had left. Finding a parking spot wasn't mission impossible.
I had chosen the Prospect Point Café on the recommendation of Dave. Located on a high promontory, it had an outdoor patio, with lots of shade trees. Straight ahead of us, dominating the vista, was the beautiful Lion's Gate Suspension Bridge, spanning the entrance to Burrard Inlet. Beyond that was scenic West Vancouver and Grouse Mountain. Below us was a bicycle/roller blade and pedestrian path. A magnificent stand of huge fir, cedar, and hemlock, stretching to the heavens, stood behind us. To the west was English Bay or the Georgia Strait, separating the mainland from Vancouver Island. The skyline of downtown Vancouver lay to the east, and in the distance, through the haze, were mountains such as snow-capped Mount Baker. The Pacific Ocean and the hot humid weather created an idyllic summer atmosphere.
We both ordered long tall ice teas. May opted for the Mandarin chicken salad. I tried the garden salad and a club sandwich.
"I loved that Britney Spears/Michael Jackson skit," said May. "You guys put so much energy into the dancing!"
"Thanks," I replied. "But your costumes and Daniel's amazing makeup really made it come alive!"
"What a concept! Michael Jackson and Britney Spears together."
"I'm so glad that Ted Walters called in that choreographer, Julien Allard, to help with the dance steps."
"It was funny. Right behind the camera was Julien doing those dance steps. And while the audience may believe you were looking at the camera, you were copying Julien's movements, step for step."
"I hope it will look like I knew what I was doing, although I think Dave had the harder dance routine to learn. Michael Jackson probably set the standard for music video choreography."
"And finishing with Michael Jackson wrecking that Pepsi vending machine. That was so funny!"
"I don't know how the set crew came up with that mock up so quickly. The work that everyone associated with the show does is just incredible. You guys really do earn your Genie Awards."
"Thanks . . . How did you guys ever come up with the idea? Was it because of the Pepsi commercials?" asked May.
"Sometimes I'm not really sure where the ideas spring from," I admitted. "I mean, I can't speak for Dave, but when an idea pops into my head, it's intuitive. It can come from anywhere. It's like a snippet from a music video, a scene from a commercial, a byte from an interview or a magazine article - there are all these different sources. It's like the ingredients to a cake. You combine many different elements. On their own they may be tasteless. But when the cake comes out of the oven all done, it tastes great! And it's like magic because the dough, the flour and the yeast and the baking soda don't taste good on their own, but when you combine them with nuts and cherries and chocolate, the whole thing is transformed. It's like alchemy. Lead gets turned into gold."
"And that rich chocolate cake gets turned into fat for most people. Except you."
"Oh, I've been trying to lose that weight to get my waist down."
"Have you been using the corset?" she whispered, aware that the people sitting nearby might think it odd.
"Yes. Every night I wear it to bed, faithfully. And I do those stomach toning exercises you showed me."
"You'd better if you want to do some of those other amazing girls."
"Yes. I've noticed that the female singers, like J Lo or Shakira, if they're going to be megastars these days, they have to look gorgeous. They have to have a to-die-for body, they need to produce a slick, energized music video with lots of eye candy, and they require a pure voice that can soar above the heavens. Oh, and it helps if the songs have a pounding beat, a great melody, and memorable lyrics."
"A piece of cake."
After dinner, we wandered down to the sea wall.
May suggested we wait for the Stanley Park Shuttle, a tram to transport visitors around this remarkable verdant ecosystem.
Fortunately, our timing was perfect. Within a minute, we boarded the public people mover and headed east and then south along the seawall.
The curious thing about the water on any side of Stanley Park, in spite of the heat and the humidity, was that the Pacific Ocean stayed relatively cold at this latitude.
Nevertheless some beach adventurers braved the waters.
The seawall pathway stretched for almost nine kilometers around the peninsula that was Stanley Park, although we were not going to ride or walk along the entire trail. After hugging the seawall along Burrard Inlet for a stretch, the shuttle dropped us near Lumberman's Arch.
I held May's hand as we strolled down a trail away from Burrard Inlet, Vancouver's Harbour. We passed by a wonderful, picturesque, miniature railway. I had had a fascination with railways when I was a kid growing up in Winnipeg, as our city was known as the Gateway to the West. I made a mental note to try this ride on the next visit.
Vancouver Aquarium, the home, until a few years ago, of Killer Whales, intrigued me. "Free Willie!" I joked as we passed the tank that once held these magnificent feeding machines. Beluga Whales were now the star attraction. All the present tenants of the aquarium were species native to the area.
As we strolled through the grounds, May and I talked about many things: our families, where we grew up, what we studied in school, what we enjoyed doing, and, incredible as it may seem, our philosophies on life. Yeah, spiritual stuff. Like Monty Python's The Meaning of Life plus Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. We avoided any more talk about work.
When we switched course and headed west across the heart of the park, we encountered the peaceful Lost Lagoon and its bird sanctuary. Later we passed by a pitch and putt par three golf facility, surrounded by a lush rhododendron garden. Some roller bladers played hockey in one of the parking lots. We drank in the summer fun atmosphere.
Clearly we both appreciated nature. And May, a Vancouver native, served as my guide.
A large expanse of sand surrounded a natural pool on English Bay. There were young athletic guys and girls playing beach volleyball in the white sand. We paused for a moment or two to admire some of these amazing specimens. They looked so fit and healthy and beautiful.
It's almost impossible for two people to cover a regulation volleyball court. You have to dive into the sand repeatedly to dig out the ball. Whoever made up the rules to this torturous game was a real sadomasochist.
There was a welcome cooling salt air breeze wafting off the Strait of Georgia, between the mainland and huge, distant Vancouver Island.
As the sun set below the horizon, it brought us closer together. It was a magnificent orange ball that sank slowly, almost imperceptibly, below sea level. We both sensed a need for intimacy.
All along the beachfront there was this seawall that had been built to hold back the sea during stormy weather to protect the shoreline and the pathway from erosion damage. For a moment, we sat on the edge of the seawall, but it didn't give us the privacy away from the occasional pedestrian or cyclist or blader. Perhaps if we could find a large rock to hide behind we could get a little boulder.
I helped May hop down to the bottom of the four-foot high seawall.
At the base of the seawall, we did manage to find a flat and dry stone face to sit down on. At least our fannies wouldn't get wet. We could hear the lap of the waves against the sand and rocks not more than twenty yards away.
The sun was below the horizon, but we could still sense light reflecting off some clouds above. In the fast fading twilight, we looked out onto the water. It was so calm and serene, nary a ship in sight.
I looked into her eyes. I put my arm around her shoulder. May put her hand on my upper thigh for a moment.
It was all the encouragement I needed. With a tap on my lap, I invited her to sit sidesaddle on top of me. She wrapped one arm around my neck and the other around my waist. We hugged. Then I held her tight as we kissed. I parted my lips slightly. She reciprocated. And I could taste a hint of the lemon ice tea we'd both had hours earlier.
We were joined as one.
The first two shows seemed to be unqualified successes. We had many solid skits that I thought were hilarious.
But an Attack of the Clones parody had been scrapped. It would take a lot of work to either find a suitable location or to create a futuristic set. And the costuming costs might put a strain on the show's weekly budget.
In the comedy clubs I had performed in, surprises were a regular happening. So getting accustomed to this bizarre cast and crew was something that didn't take long.
One thing I learned was that this group worked quickly. They were very pragmatic. And they weren't prima donnas. They didn't let their egos get in the way. For example, they gave me the role of the dirty player in the hockey skit. And I hope I didn't disappoint.
For the week three bull session, I found I could draw upon a few ideas I had come across in the comedy clubs.
I created a list of the top ten reasons why a woman should marry a beautiful, wealthy transvestite:
10. He'll fly you to Paris for lunch.
9. He'll enjoy shopping with you because SHE was born to shop!
8. He'll understand why you maxed out his credit card to buy new clothes.
7. You won't have to wear the same gown ever again. SHE will wear your hand-me-downs.
6. He knows a facial and a massage are an essential part of a healthy regimen.
5. You'll have a different color limousine for every day of the week.
4. You can go to dance clubs and pick up sexy guys together.
3. He'll always smell nice.
2. You can enjoy lesbian sex with your husband.
1. If you ever want a divorce, you can extort a generous settlement.
Perhaps we could make a Letterman parody out of it.
Eventually we settled on four ideas for the show. One was the security searches endured by passengers boarding planes at the airport. Another skit centered on kids learning finger painting in an art class. The third was about a family going to a pet store to buy a puppy for the children. And the fourth was a parody of the film When Harry Met Sally - the memorable scene where Sally fakes an orgasm in a restaurant.
This famous scene was a no-brainer as far as I was concerned. That is, until I was somehow ordained to play the Meg Ryan part.
This caused some self-doubt. Meg Ryan was quite beautiful. Could I be made up to resemble her?
The second fear was less worrisome. Could I fake orgasm in much the same manner as Meg Ryan? That would be a real challenge to my comedic acting skills. But I realized this was comedy. In a parody, exact replication of a scene wasn't necessary. In fact, it might be funnier if I couldn't fool anybody with my fake orgasm.
I'd have to do some homework. I'd have to get hold of Nora Ephron's script and watch the film sequence over and over again. Then I'd have to practice that faked orgasm over and over again to get it just right.
Early Friday morning, when I finally sat down in the makeup chair in front of Daniel Roberts, I relaxed a little. I realized that Daniel was one of the best in the business.
"Don't worry honey," confided Daniel, "when I'm through with you, Meg Ryan will wish she looked as good as you."
And then I remembered that Meg and Billy were much younger when they did When Harry Met Sally.
Daniel began by giving me a very close shave with a straight edged razor. I must admit to being a little afraid when the razor was placed on my neck and scraped over the delicate skin. For a moment I had visions of some Halloween horror film - with Daniel slitting my throat from ear to ear.
I was so nervous I began to sweat!
As Daniel drew the razor over the sensitive skin, I tried to think of something else. I tried to think of anything else, but the harder I tried, the more I thought about Daniel accidentally cutting my throat. Or purposely cutting my throat!
I was sure Daniel was a homicidal maniac!
But when the last of the shaving foam disappeared, the crisis passed, I relaxed a little and let Daniel do his magic.
To start, Daniel covered my thick hair under an elasticized wig cap. Next he spread moisturizing cream on my face to protect my skin from damage caused by makeup. Because of my natural blond hair and fair skin and very light beard growth, Daniel deftly applied a normal cake foundation makeup with a small triangular-shaped sponge, creating a blank palette for his artistic impression of Meg Ryan. He used a narrow glue-stick tube to flatten my eyebrows. Then he used a tattoo cover makeup to blot out the unwanted eyebrow areas. Next Daniel used a light brown, almost blond, eyebrow pencil to create tapered feminine arches for my eyebrows.
Daniel stood back for a moment, comparing my visage to Meg Ryan's photo.
Then he began using a darker foundation along the jaw line to emulate Meg Ryan's oval shaped face. A little rose blush was brushed onto the cheekbones to bring them out a little. Then a little more shading was applied below the cheekbones.
A tube of concealer was next. Daniel dabbed two white Nike swooshes below my eyes to cover the divots.
Daniel paused once more and compared my face to Meg's photo. "It's looking good," he said, "even if I say so myself."
He carefully painted on the brown eyeliner, then applied a little lash lengthening mascara in light brown-blond, and a dash of eye shadow - more for shaping purposes rather than for color.
Next he outlined my lips and carefully brushed on some rose lipstick and then a dab of a lighter shade of lip gloss.
I pressed my upper lip over my bottom lip as I had seen girls do.
Now I had those pouty Meg Ryan lips.
Daniel stepped over to the counter for a moment, then turned toward me. In his hands was an orangy-blonde wig.
As I leaned forward, he placed the tousled blonde shoulder length curls on my head. Then he adjusted it slightly to frame my face properly. A brush appeared in his hands, and he fluffed up the thick mane, then he combed it gently.
He stood back for a moment.
"Yes. That's it . . . Stand up. Have a look at yourself in the mirror."
I stood up. I took a few steps over to a full-length mirror. Looking at my reflection, I was very pleasantly surprised.
A young Meg Ryan looked back at me.
Even though she wore beige cotton pants and a blue smock, it was Meg Ryan. I couldn't believe it! It was magic!
"What do you think?" asked a very proud Daniel. "Are you Meg Ryan or are you Meg Ryan?"
"That's unbelievable. I'm that Sally Albright girl," I said.
I hugged Daniel and kissed him on both cheeks.
I couldn't believe I just did that. Show biz behavior was contagious.
At the doorway, as if on cue, appeared May.
"Wow! To quote Billy Crystal, 'You look mmm-mahvellous!'" gushed May. "And with the right clothes, you'll look exactly like Meg's identical twin."
To describe the way I felt would be rather difficult. To look like a beautiful movie star made me tingle all over. I felt reborn. It was a revelation! I kept looking at my reflection in the mirror. That couldn't be me. It just couldn't.
The camera panned across a busy diner.
Portraying Sally, dressed in a comfy blue sweater, a white blouse and a long dark blue skirt, I was talking with Harry, played by Dave Poole.
"What do you do with these women, you just get up out of bed and leave?" I asked in my best Meg Ryan effervescent tone.
"Sure," replied Harry/Dave, attired in blue jeans and a checkered blue, black and white sweater.
The makeup crew really did a superb job with the dark beard and the early forties receding hair/male pattern baldness effect. Dave was Billy Crystal or, at least, a reasonable facsimile.
"Well explain to me how you do it. What do you say?" I asked.
An elderly 'bus boy' cleared away some of our dishes.
"You'd say you have an early meeting, early haircut or a squash game."
Dave's rat-a-tat-tat delivery was Billy Crystal personified.
"You don't play squash."
"They don't know that. They just met me."
"I know. I feel terrible."
'What a smart ass!' I thought. "You know I'm so glad I never got involved with you," I said angrily, as I tore apart my sandwich and removed the limp lettuce. "I just would've ended up being some woman you had to get up out of bed and leave at three o'clock in the morning and clean your andirons, and you don't even have a fireplace," I said with emphasis as I plastered the turkey slices together one layer after another. "Not that I would know this."
"Why are you getting so upset? This is not about you."
"Yes it is. You are a human affront to all women and I am a woman!" I exclaimed with disgust.
"Hey I don't feel great about this but I don't hear anyone complaining."
"Of course not. You're out of the door too fast," I countered as I munched on the sandwich.
"I think they have an OK time."
"How do you know?"
"What do you mean how do I know? I know," said Harry/Billy/Dave quickly and confidently.
"Because they " I said gesturing with a roll of my hands.
"Yes because they " said Harry with a similar gesture with the hands.
"And how do you know that they really "
"What are you saying, that they fake orgasm?" asked Harry, signing like he was communicating with a deaf person.
"It's possible," I said, tossing my hands up to indicate doubt.
"Get outta here."
"Why? Most women at one time or another have faked it."
"Well they haven't faked it with me," assured Harry, as he chewed his kosher corned beef on rye.
"How do you know?"
"Because I know."
"Oh, right, that's right," I said as I wiped my fingers with a paper napkin. "I forgot. You're a man."
"What is that supposed to mean?"
"Nothing. It's just that all men are sure it never happened to them and that most women at one time or another have done it, so you do the math."
"You don't think that I could tell the difference?"
"No." I said shaking my head.
"Get outta here."
I tilted my head as I considered his reply for a moment. Then an impish smile crept into my expression.
"Mmm mmm," I closed my eyes and pouted for a moment. "Oh Oh," I moaned.
"Are you okay?" asked Harry quietly.
I reached up and primped my thick blonde hair, then brought my hand down over my B cup breasts. "Oh oh god Ooo Oh god," I moaned.
Louder and faster I grunted, "Oh Oh Oh Oh god," as I thrust my head back.
The camera cut to other people sitting near us. They turned their attention to our table as I built toward orgasm.
"Oh yeah right there Oh! Oh!" I panted faster and faster.
"Yes! Yes! Yes!" I screamed as I started banging on the tabletop in time to my screams of unbridled joy. "Yes! Yes! Yes Oh Oh!" I cried out, pounding on the table to emulate the sound of the headboard rocking up against the bedroom wall!
"Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!" I screamed as I banged the table to climax!
"Oh Oh Oh Oh God!" came the throes of ecstasy!
"Oh Oh Ah," whimpered the post orgasm denouement.
The quivering and mewing over, I smiled at Harry like the cat that had just swallowed the canary.
I picked up a long spoon and plopped a dollop of cherry ice cream into my mouth. Mmmm good!
Harry, awestruck, looked a little uneasy.
The camera panned to another table where a waiter was taking an order from a middle-aged woman, Scott Calvin in drag.
"I'll have what she's having."
There was a momentary pause.
"Cut!" yelled director Aaron Spacek. "That was great! Just perfect! It was exactly like the movie. Meg Ryan, you were wonderful! A real spunky sexy broad! And Billy Crystal, you were the ultimate male chauvinist pig!"
That felt so good - to be praised like that.
"Now, when the set crew gets the food set up again, I want you guys to do another take. This time I want you guys to make it funny. Do it your way instead of Meg's way," urged Aaron. "You know what I mean? For instance, at the climax, instead of banging your hand on the table the way Meg Ryan did, reach over and grab Dave with both hands. Then bang his head on the table! Over and over again! Until blood gushes out of his ears!"
When we stopped shooting to break for lunch, I hurried off to visit the men's room. Or rather, the washroom in my dressing room.
Walking into the spacious dressing room area, I could see that Daniel and Sean were still hard at work. Daniel, with brush in hand, was styling an auburn wig. It was long and curly and looked like it needed taming. May was busy altering a dress. Very few of the off the rack dresses fit the guys in the show properly.
"Hey Sean, how did it go?" asked Daniel.
"Didn't you see it?"
"Sorry, but no," replied Daniel. "May and I were getting things together for tomorrow's shoot."
"It went very well. But you know Aaron, he still wants to do a few more takes this afternoon. He's such a perfectionist."
"Yes," nodded Daniel in agreement. "Retake after retake."
"Hey Sean, would you like to join us for lunch?" asked May.
"I'd love to, May, but as you can see, I'm not dressed for it," I said. The blue sweater, white blouse, long dark skirt and leather boots were definitely out of season.
"Oh come on," urged Daniel. "You're wearing exactly what Meg Ryan wore in the restaurant."
I laughed. "Good point," I said. "But I really don't think I should go out in drag."
"Why not?" insisted Daniel. "You've got to eat sometime. And Dave will be joining us. He'll still be in his Billy Crystal hair, makeup and clothing. Why don't you come along?"
I paused for a moment. I was wearing girl's clothing and I looked exactly like Meg Ryan. Were they nuts? Probably. But I needed to get to know my co-workers a little better. May Cheung in particular. It would have been bad manners to turn down May's invitation since we had had our first date five days ago.
My daring nature got the better of me. "Okay. You convinced me. But we have to be back in one hour."
"No problem," insisted Daniel.
We took Dave's Mercedes to a nearby restaurant, about 5 minutes from our suburban Burnaby studio.
Being lunch hour, the White Spot was pretty busy.
Even while inside the restaurant, Dave wore a baseball hat and sunglasses to hide his resemblance to Billy Crystal. Dave was a little concerned that some of the patrons might recognize Billy.
I kept on the large white sunhat May had given me. And May's Serengetis fit pretty well.
Nevertheless, I had to admit, there seemed to be a lot of people staring at us while we stood in line. Sporting sunglasses indoors didn't exactly make a person inconspicuous. And since Dave and I were both wearing sweaters on a hot summer day, what was wrong with this picture?
In contrast, May looked lovely in a mint green sundress and Roots sandals. Daniel wore a white polo shirt and khaki pants. Very summery.
We tried to look nonchalant. I kept my mouth shut, nodded my head once in awhile, and let May, Dave and Daniel carry the conversation.
After a short wait, we were escorted to a table at the back. It was kind of in the open, surrounded by other tables, a row away from the windows.
The natural wood décor of the restaurant reflected British Columbia's resource heritage.
"You guys come here often?" I asked in my best Meg Ryan voice.
"Occasionally," replied Daniel as he looked at the colorful plastic laminated menu.
"I guess you aren't familiar with the White Spot chain," wondered May.
"There aren't any in Winnipeg, my home town," I replied nervously. "But I've been to Vancouver before. This kind of reminds me of that Denny's chain, except it's got a classier atmosphere, more of a Canadian feel to it."
"Less truck stop diner," suggested Dave/Billy.
"Winnipeg, eh. Not too many famous Canadian have come out of Winnipeg," commented Dave.
"Not many . . . David Steinberg was a comedian."
"Oh yes, I remember him well. Bugga, bugga!" imitated Dave. "You tend to remember guys with the same name as you."
"Of course I should mention The Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive."
"American Woman. Right?" asked May.
"Yes, and many more . . . But more recently, did you see Nia Vardalos in My Big Fat Greek Wedding?"
"Who?" asked Daniel.
"I saw the movie. I loved it!" said May. "She had the lead role. And didn't she write the screenplay as well?"
"That's right," I said. "She came out of Second City, I think in both Chicago and Toronto."
"It was one of those small films that developed a word of mouth following," added May. "A sleeper hit."
Dave and Daniel looked at each other. "A chick flick!" they said in unison.
"No, it wasn't a chick flick!" said May adamantly.
A waiter interrupted us to take our orders.
"Hello everybody, my name is John. I will be serving you today. Are you ready to order? Or should I come back later?"
The slightly overweight, college age fellow spoke confidently. He wore Coke bottle see-more glasses, plus a cap, a tan shirt, a tie and Indian Red pants - the uniform of all of the White Spot employees.
I seemed to pass the waiter's initial scrutiny without much notice, other than what I thought might have been a look of admiration.
The others seemed to know what they wanted. They went with the special of the day. Being a Friday, it was Dover Sole with a garden salad.
"I'll have what they're having," I said.
Dave stifled a laugh.
When the attendant hurried off to the kitchen, Dave snickered, "That's a line from our scene."
"You're right. I forgot about that."
"Hey, this is perfect," said May. "You guys could do the When Harry Met Sally scene right here, right now."
"Yes," agreed Daniel. "We missed it. We'd love to see you guys do it."
"Maybe later," suggested Dave. "Although my head is still smarting from the pounding it received." He lifted his ball cap for a moment and rubbed his forehead gingerly.
I smiled, but then a look of dread must have been revealed in my facial expression. "Please give us a break," I pleaded. "Not here, please."
May shrugged as if to say 'okay.' Daniel didn't seem inclined to push the matter further.
I breathed a sigh of temporary relief, but I had a bad feeling about this whole thing. Were all of them conspiring to set me up for the ultimate embarrassment? Faking orgasm in a public place?
"Sean, I remember seeing you on TV occasionally," said Daniel. "Some talk shows. You'd come on and do a stand up routine."
"Yes. I made a few appearances," I replied, trying to keep my voice soft and feminine. "But I'm really happy to have the chance to join ECSTASY. This show really gets a lot of respect with the viewing public."
"Thanks," said Dave. "We were happy with our work last year, although I think there's still room for improvement."
"How so?" I asked.
"A bigger budget would help," replied Dave.
"Yes," said May. "We sure do put in a lot of hours. Better pay is long overdue."
"It would be nicer if there were a few more writers, cast members and crew," said Dave.
"Well, maybe if the show gets great ratings, you'll see some growth," I said hopefully.
"I wish occasionally we'd do a few political things too," said Dave.
"Isn't that a bit difficult?" I commented. "Being a Canadian show that's seen in the United States, Britain and maybe Australia, political issues don't necessarily cross borders easily."
"Some don't," said Dave. "Some do. Obviously you can't make fun of the Prime Minister. Americans wouldn't get it and the Brits wouldn't care either.
"But some social issues are international in scope," said Daniel.
"Such as . . . "
"Racial discrimination, terrorism, women's rights, gay rights," said Daniel.
"But ECSTASY is a comedy show," I said. "We're not making public television documentaries are we? We're trying to make people laugh."
"We can still poke fun at the major issues of the day," maintained Dave. "You've done stand up. You use current events as material for your jokes."
"Yes, but I think ECSTASY does some of that too," I said. "At least that's my impression."
"Not enough," said Dave. "The 'suits' like Ted Walters make decisions as to the overall direction of the show. And he wants to avoid political or topical stuff."
"I can understand it from his point of view though," I said. "It's not just international sales that are of concern. Once the series is all over, for example, the show could be syndicated and it could be shown in reruns for a long period of time. And if it's rerun in the United States ten years from now, nobody will understand a reference to Prime Minister Jean Chretien."
"Even if it ran now," quipped Dave.
The waiter returned with our orders. He served up the drinks, salads, and fish. Then he moved on quickly to a table behind me where another group was being seated by the hostess.
"But the show always does light stuff," asserted Daniel. "Why can't you guys tackle something like gay rights. For example, gay marriages. I feel strongly about this issue. And I don't think we should avoid the topic simply because it's political."
"I agree," said Dave. "Now there's a topic we could handle in a skit."
"That does have comic possibilities," said May. "You must admit that."
"It does," I nodded. "And you don't think Ted would go for it?"
"He might," said Dave.
"I must admit that when I first heard about the idea of gay marriages I was absolutely against it," I said. "Particularly for child adoption."
"And now?" asked May.
"I can understand the arguments for both sides, although I doubt my parents will ever accept gay marriages."
"Well we're in favor of it," said Daniel as he linked hands with May and Dave and drew them toward him.
"What brought it about, I think in large part, was AIDS," said Dave.
"How so?" I asked.
"When a gay man got AIDS, if he had a partner, that person supported him emotionally and financially. And if the person with AIDS died, his partner was not entitled to collect any benefits that a married person would have been able to confer on his or her surviving spouse."
"A pension for one."
"And the government acts like a vulture on the dead person's estate," added Daniel.
"Also I think gay people would enjoy a ceremony to formalize a union of two people. It would bring satisfaction to them to legitimize their relationship," said Dave.
"I know when I fill in my income tax return," said May, "I don't get the same tax breaks as married people, especially those with dependents."
"All good points," I said.
"Besides," said May, "no government should deprive gay men the ecstasy of Bridal Registry."
I had to laugh at that one. It sounded like a line from Margaret Cho in her film Notorious. I liked that comedy concert movie.
"And I could make a lovely bride," said Daniel in a falsetto voice as he held Dave's hand in plain view on the tabletop.
They both laughed aloud.
May asked, "So how does it feel to be a girl today?"
"To tell you the truth, I'm a little nervous," I said in a quiet, soft voice. "I feel like some police officer is going to come by our table and arrest me."
"For what?" asked Dave.
"Impersonation. Fraud. I don't know," I said as I tried some of the salad. "Isn't it illegal for a guy to dress like this?"
"Not that I know of," said Dave.
"Maybe years ago," said Daniel.
Four ladies at the table by the window got up to leave. I wasn't sure if they heard what we were talking about.
"You look exactly like Meg Ryan. It's not like anybody is going to believe you're a guy!" assured May.
The breaded sole, with some lemon juice, tasted pretty good.
"Please keep your voice down. It's easy for you guys to be relaxed. You aren't the one in drag!" I hissed.
"You aren't the only one playing a role," reminded Dave from behind his shades.
"Well we're both wearing hats and sunglasses. I don't think either of us wants attention."
I shouldn't have said that.
Immediately Dave discarded his baseball hat and sunglasses. He wasn't afraid of challenges.
That was the signal. May and Daniel stood up, gathered their plates, cups and cutlery, and shifted over to the recently vacated table by the window.
Reluctantly I passed my borrowed hat and Serengetis over to May.
"What do you do with these women, you just get up out of bed and leave?" I asked.
"Sure," replied Dave.
"Well explain to me how you do it. What do you say?" I asked, trying to get up some enthusiasm for this incredibly dumb stunt!
"You'd say you have an early hockey game, tough commute, or early meeting."
Dave had altered the words a little.
"You don't play hockey," I noted.
"They don't know that. They just met me," said Dave in the distinctive, loud, quick paced voice of Billy Crystal.
"I know. I feel terrible. What can I say?"
"You are so superficial! Harry, you're so shallow if you dove into a swimming pool you'd break your neck! You know I'm so glad I never got involved with you," I said angrily, as I stuck a fork in my Dover Sole. "I just would've ended up being some woman you had to get up out of bed and leave at three o'clock in the morning and clean your irons, and you don't even play golf." I noticed that not only were May and Daniel paying attention, but some people at another table were pointing at us. "Not that I would know this."
"Why are you getting so upset? This is not about you. I would never be dishonest with you . . . Well except for maybe a little white lie or two."
"Yes it is about me. You are a human affront to all women and I am a woman!" I exclaimed with exaggerated disgust.
"Hey I don't feel great about this but I don't hear anyone complaining."
"Of course not. You're out of the door too fast," I countered as I picked up a piece of lettuce from my Garden Salad and chucked it at him.
Dave feigned pain as he chewed on his Sole. "I think they have an OK time."
"How do you know?"
"What do you mean how do I know? I know. I'm god's gift to women."
"Yeah right. You are so arrogant. Women bow down to you. They rejoice at having sex with you!" I screamed!
Now everyone in the back half of the White Spot fixated on this battle of the sexes.
"Yes because they yell and scream like banshees in bed. I'm good in bed. What can I say," said Dave/Billy as his voice tailed off in mock modesty.
"And how do you know that you really rock their socks off?"
"What are you saying, that they fake orgasm?" asked Dave, signing like I was absolutely nuts!
"It's possible," I said, tossing my hands up in disbelief.
"Get outta here, Sally. I know what's real."
"Why? Most women at one time or another have faked it."
"Well they haven't faked it with me. My dick is enormous. I'm Mr. Big. Why, for god's sake, they named a candy bar after me!"
"You braggart! You liar! You are so full of shit! How do you know women are satisfied?"
"Because I know."
"Oh, right, that's right," I said as I chucked a slice of tomato at him. "I forgot. You're a man."
"What is that supposed to mean? You'd prefer sex with another woman?"
May threw a tomato slice at Billy/Dave too.
I smiled. We were in this together.
"No. It's just that all men are sure it never happened to them and that most women at one time or another have faked it, so you do the math."
"You don't think that I could tell the difference?"
"No. You're too much in love with yourself, I doubt that you ever know what a woman is thinking or feeling."
"Get outta here."
Now both May and Daniel were tossing salad bits at Dave.
I tilted my head slyly, but I was aware of the buzz all around us. Now everyone in the restaurant was watching. People from the front had even come to the back to see what was going on. I think they believed we were the new lunchtime entertainment.
"Mmm mmm," I closed my eyes and tried to show pleasure in my expression. "Oh Oh," I moaned.
"Are you okay?" asked Dave in a quiet voice.
I reached up and fluffed up my thick mane of blonde hair. Then I brought my hand down over my bosom and massaged my falsies. "Oh oh god Ooo Oh god," I moaned.
Then I grunted a little louder and a little faster, "Oh Oh Oh Oh god," as I thrust my head back.
Then I reached down with both hands and lifted my 'Sally' sweater over my head.
"Oh yeah right there Oh! Oh!" I panted faster and faster.
"Yes! Yes! Yes!" I screamed. Then I began pounding on the tabletop. "Yes! Yes! Yes Oh Oh!" I cried out.
I ripped open my white blouse to massage my breasts through the bra cups.
There was an audible gasp from the crowd!
Dave could take it no more.
He stood up. He grabbed the tablecloth! He swept the dishes, glasses and cutlery off the table with a huge crash and clatter!
Oblivious to the sounds of smashing china, in the throes of orgasm, I continued to moan and groan, panting faster and faster, screaming louder and louder. "Yes! Yes! Yes!"
Dave grabbed me with both arms, lifted me out of the chair and placed my backside onto the table.
"Oh god! Yes! Yes! Yes! Right there! Yes! Yes! Yes!"
Dave savaged me with kisses and grunts and thrusts. He ground his crotch into me over and over and over again!
Was he insane?
He grabbed my upper body and proceeded to 'assault' me with uncontrolled fervor! He pounded my head into the table over and over again!
"Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!"
As my bewigged head bounced off the tabletop, I realized that Dave had taken advantage of the situation. He was exacting his revenge for this morning - when the tables had been reversed!
Suddenly a large piece of hamburger struck me in the mouth!
I looked to the other tables. It was then that I realized a full-fledged food fight had broken out!
Hell! It was a war! A battle of the sexes!
Women flung their grenades at the guys! The men hurled their bombs at the gals!
Absolute bedlam! Insanity!
I had to get into it! I tried to push Dave off me.
He didn't resist. He was too busy putting his arms up to shield himself from the incoming missiles!
I ducked under the table as quickly as I could. Partially protected by the table, I located the remnants of my spilled salad plate and its contents on the food-strewn floor.
Now I had ammunition!
I popped up, with cucumber slices in hand, and winged them at Daniel!
Then I got pinged by some French fries!
Who threw that!
I turned and pitched a handful of croutons and tomatoes blindly in the direction of the French fry fire!
Taking cover beneath table level, I looked for my half-eaten Sole.
Food bits were flying about like shrapnel. I took a stinging zucchini slice to the face.
"Stop! Stop!" yelled the waiter.
I sprang up and I chucked the fish chunk at the waiter!
"Ha! Ha!" I taunted after the fish exploded against his chest!
When I ducked down under the table, Dave grabbed my hand.
"Sean, we have to get out of here! There'll be hell to pay! Literally hell to pay!"
With a quick look at the chaos all around us, I nodded, "Good point! Let's bail!"
One last gasp! I grabbed a hamburger patty that had deflected off the tabletop. I stood up and Frisbeed the patty two rows away at some big schlep sporting a Canucks cap and a big beer belly!
Gotcha! Bounced it off his friggin' noggin!
A chicken wing flew past my head! Hitting Dave instead!
Ducking down again, I shuffled over to the next table, and I grabbed May by the hand.
Hunched over with arms up to protect our heads, we ran the gauntlet of fire toward the nearest exit! Laughing all the way!
© 2002 by Laurie S. All Rights Reserved. These documents (including, without limitation, all articles, text, images, logos, compilation design) may printed for personal use only. No portion of these documents may be stored electronically, distributed electronically, or otherwise made available without express written consent of the copyright holder.