Tickets to Nowhere

Public transport in LA really isn’t that bad. You can hop on a bus fairly easily, and there is even a metro service. There are always interesting characters on the bus too, so it makes for some great people watching. I had been told upon arrival in LA that the bus is where the crazy people of LA congregate, which is not entirely untrue. My agent had told me a story of a client they had who got the bus to an audition, but showed up with no shoes because he had gotten off at the wrong stop and had them stolen. I have always remembered this story because I always found it to be an amazing example of an actors tenacity, to have just been mugged and STILL decide you’ll do the audition, shoes or not.

The last bus I caught was a week ago, on the way to class. I sat in an empty seat and put my headphones in. A very old man, easily in his 90’s, in a beige brown suit came and sat next to me. I was looking out the window, minding my own business, when I realised he was actually trying to speak to me. I pulled my earphones out and realised he was asking me whether this bus stops at Melrose Avenue. After initially wondering why he didn’t just ask the driver when he got ON the bus, I explained that yes, it does go past Melrose Avenue and that yes, I would tell him when we were getting close. I tried to put my earphones back in, but he decided that this was now an open opportunity for conversation. He was an old man, so I didn’t want to be rude. It was hard to decipher his mumbling, and I noticed he had also started to drool as he told me;

“I can get you tickets, you know. I work at the studio. You call me up and I’ll get you tickets.”

First of all, tickets to what? I politely refused, saying I was fine to get my own tickets. He kept at me though, and pulling his Nokia flip phone out (very slowly I might add) he says;

“No, I’ll get you tickets. You’re very pretty, you’re beautiful, you should come to the studio. I’ll get you as many tickets as you want.”

Ummm… Alarm bells. I’m still wondering what ‘tickets’ he’s even referring to. Movie tickets? Bus tickets? Or a one way ticket into his rape dungeon? And still he continues;

“Whats your number? I should call you and I’ll give you the tickets. Or you take my number – here, see?”

He held his phone out to me, and he had a piece of masking tape attached to the back with his number written on it in thick permanent marker. I took this as either a sign of senility, or the fact that he might try this with a different girl every day, and it’s just more convenient. After declining to take his tickets, or his phone number for about the ninth time, he finally put his phone back in his pocket.

“It’s a shame,” he said, “you could have been in my movie. I’m directing a movie. You’re very beautiful. I’m doing a big Sci-Fi at Paramount studios, millions of dollars. You would have been perfect for the part. You could have been the lead… That’s where I’m headed now, we’re shooting a big movie today…”

Are you fucking kidding me? Somehow, I HIGHLY DOUBT that if you were a big time paramount director you would be catching the 316 bus to North Hollywood, with a fucking flip phone. Also, you don’t cast a lead actor on the day of the shoot. Also, YOU’RE 97 YEARS OLD. I’m not being ageist, but being a director is hard work when you can’t walk unassisted or speak without drooling.

I told him to get off the bus (it was his stop) and he bid me farewell, still mumbling that I’d made a bad decision (to not enter the rape dungeon). As he hobbled down the street, I wondered how many actresses he has tried this on? I like to think no one would be stupid enough to believe his bullshit, but part of me knows he’s succeeded before. I imagine he’s probably been doing it since 1940. And I also imagine he would have cut a more impressive figure back then. Perhaps he was more believable when there was no drool, and before people had cellphones, and when more people caught the bus because Uber wasn’t a thing. How many actresses believed him? How many times has this man preyed on a woman’s hopes and dreams? This is the City of Angels, where people believe in miracles of fate and fortune.

Then again, who knows? Maybe I just missed the opportunity of a lifetime.

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