Monkeys on Sunset Boulevard
By Rodger Jacobs
“You cannot have an affair with this woman,” she insisted.
Jason took his large coffee from the Starbucks barista and moved to the little counter where the sugar and cream was kept. Susan dogged his heels, refusing his offer of coffee or tea. She avoided all caffeinated beverages.
“It will ruin your career, what little of one you have,” Susan continued. “I’m not berating you, Jason, I’m stating a fact.”
Jason smiled demurely and stirred the cream and sugar into his coffee with a wooden swizzle stick. “Patio?”
Outside, mid-morning traffic roared by on Sunset Boulevard. Jason took a seat under an umbrella at a plastic table. Susan joined him with a heavy sigh.
“I’m not just your agent, I’m your friend, Jason. And I’m telling you this woman is dangerous.”
“I think I’m in love with her.”
“She’s married. And not just that, but married to one of the most powerful producers in this town. Does she think she’s in love with you.”
Jason hiked his shoulders carelessly. “I don’t know. I’ve never asked her.”
“Oh Jesus. Jason. What’re you getting into? People are starting to talk.”
“Let them talk. I don’t care. We’re just friends.”
Susan fished in her handbag for a pack of smokes. “Just friends? I thought you just said you thought you were in love with her.”
“Is there a point to all of this, Susan?”
“A point?” She lit up a cigarette with a slender gold lighter. “Heck, yes, there’s a point. You start screwing around with this woman and your writing career is dead in the water. As it is you only have two TV credits.”
“And uncredited rewrites on two features,” Jason pushed back. “Besides, do you think her husband is the only producer in town?”
“Of course not. Just the most connected.”
Jason pawed a hand in the air as if swatting a fly. Susan had never seen him acting so recklessly.
“Let me tell you a story.”
Jason laughed. “Isn’t that my job?”
“Not this time.” She flicked cigarette ash onto the hot pavement and crossed her left leg over her right. Jason noticed her thighs for the first time. They were creamy with a wild varicose vein tracing the upper thigh of her left leg.
“A few years ago in India,” she began. “a farmer got annoyed by a monkey that had made a home in one of his trees. So what does he do? He grabs his shotgun and takes a shot at the monkey, meaning to scare him off.”
“Is this a true story?”
“Yup. Heard it on NPR. So, anyway, he means to just scare the monkey off but instead he accidentally shoots and kills her – and she was nursing a baby at the time.”
“A baby monkey?” Jason sipped his coffee casually.
“Of course a baby monkey. So, the Indian police arrest the farmer for shooting an endangered species. They try to get the baby monkey but he won’t let go of his dead mama. So they drag both dead mom and the baby into the police station along with the farmer while they try to figure out how to handle the situation.”
“One big happy family.” Jason smiled. She hated him when he was being smug.
“They’re all sitting there trying to figure out what to do and you know what happens next? Monkeys. Dozens of them. They converge on the police station. They climb on the roof, others surround the building.”
Susan bit down on the last sentence and allowed the words to hang in the air as if they contained some special meaning.
“And, according to the news report that I heard, while the dozens of monkeys are surrounding the station, two of them break from the pack and quietly entered the station and made off with the baby.”
“Jesus. This is true?”
“One hundred percent true. Why would NPR make up such a thing? So --”
“So you’re saying there’s a lot of monkeys in this town.”