If Dr. Oz pontificates about the importance of getting nine hours of quality sleep per night, on MY television screen, one more time, something wicked will his way come. In a perfect world, I’m sure his recommendation is all well and good, but in the world of women of a certain age, it’s easier said than done. First, you have to turn off your brain; turning the VINO faucet on high works great for that, but you pay the price at the gym the next day when you feel as if you’re jogging through tubs of flubber. Sometimes TV can do the trick, but last night, even with more than 700 channels, it was Death Valley on the tube, absolutely nothing on. Then, for the first time ever, I discovered ION TV, and found 6 back-to-back episodes of “Criminal Minds”, which I’d seen a handful of times.
Coincidentally, I had just purchased a bottle of Melatonin. Being a sixties hippy chick, it seemed a more natural sleep aid than something like Ambien or Lunesta. Swallowed one, unsure of what to expect, other than hopefully a long, delicious night’s sleep. Watched first episode of “Criminal Minds”, featuring two serial killers, numerous teenage female victims, and a gazillion graphic, disturbing images, involving rape, kidnapping, bondage, and torture by burning. Second episode, featuring three TEENAGE killers and two more young female victims, featuring even more petrifying images, including a beheading and double hand removal (handectomy, behanding?). The third episode studies twin middle-aged brothers, who have been on a killing rampage since age 15. Guess what? All their victims were females, too. It was now 11PM, and I’m beginning to think the Melatonin might not be working, as I’d taken it three hours prior, and was wired up like a suicide bomber.
Decided I’d had enough light-hearted TV viewing, and handed The Spousal Unit the headset so he could keep watching, without me having to listen to more screaming and pitiful pleas for mercy. At 2AM The Unit woke me up for the third time, saying I was thrashing and yelling about ghosts of serial killers being hidden in our sheetrock, and begging them to spare my life. So bring it on Dr. Oz; you have any more insightful suggestions for helping me go night night?
No servings of “Texas Toast” for the last two posts, so here we go. Wacky things occurred during those first few learning-curve months with Wilhelmina Models. Not just anyone could call up the agency, declare themselves a photographer, and have a buffet’s worth of leggy creatures sent over on demand. They had to pass muster with The Gatekeeper (the sorority mom of the new models, basically) before she would allow her little lambs to be sent out to someone the agency was unfamiliar with. So, I suppose this particular fellow’s blue blood pedigree and Park Avenue address helped him make the grade.
When my friend Alexis and I were sent over to meet with Mr. A., all we knew was that he wanted a couple of models to take out to the Hamptons for a weekend of test shots. Remember, this is where both parties work for free, in order to acquire newer, and hopefully better, photographs for your portfolios. Visions of seafood dinners and basking by the pool or ocean were dancing in our weary little heads when we arrived at Mr. A.’s building. The doorman had to turn a lock in the elevator for us to go up, as the lift opened directly into a penthouse apartment like nothing we’d ever seen. It was vast and cavernous, with a 2-story conservatory holding hundreds of orchids and exotic tropical plants. A uniformed housekeeper led us to the studio, airy and light-filled, with enough state-of-the-art camera equipment to outfit three photographers. There were numerous murals and backdrops of famous cities and locations, and racks of beautiful clothes and costumes. Alexis and I could hardly contain our glee at what was looking to be a terrific June mini-vacation.
Two huge black standard poodles came loping in,
followed by Mr. A., who could easily have been Thurston Howell’s (“Gilligan’s Island”) younger brother, complete with smoking jacket
and that odd, locked-jaw way of speaking that so many of the very rich affect. It was soon agreed that we would take the Long Island Railroad to South Hampton Friday afternoon and return late Sunday. But slow down and take a deep breath; it had only been three months since the Snow Monster incident and my radar was beginning to crackle and pop. Sensing my sudden suspicion, Mr. A. called in the little missus to vouch for him and promise that she and her five children would also be at the beachfront mansion for the duration of the weekend. ROAD TRIP!
Mr. A.’s driver picked us up at the train station and whisked us off to a 3-story beachfront mansion, complete with huge swimming pool. We were shown to a lovely, large room overlooking the Atlantic, which, truth be told, had probably once been a maid’s room, but which looked pretty fabulous to Alexis and me. Since we weren’t shooting until the next day, we decided to do a little exploring and find a nice place for dinner, hopefully one that we might actually be able to afford. Coming down the stairs we saw Mr. and Mrs. A. deep in conversation, accompanied by much hand-wringing. “Ah, ladies, there you are. We were just coming to ask the greatest favor of you. The wife and I are committed to attending a charity auction tonight and our babysitter is suddenly unavailable. We were wondering, since you’re both here anyway, if we could prevail upon you to watch the children and the poodles for us until we return? Of course, we will leave money for everyone to have pizza delivered.”
Alexis and I were standing too close to the A’s to actually exchange a look, but we shared the same feelings about rug rats in general. As in NEVER, EVER, WHEN HELL FREEZES OVER AND THE DEVIL WEARS ICE SKATES. Neither of us was the warm, fuzzy, mother-earth type who cooed over snot
oozing down some brat’s peanut butter-encrusted little face. But, since we were both newbies, and weren’t quite sure where a refusal to babysit would rate on The Gatekeeper’s Piss-o-Meter, we reluctantly agreed. She was a tricky one, that Gatekeeper, and you were never really quite sure where you stood, plus, what if, God forbid, these people might be personal friends of Willy herself? They were certainly rich enough to be…so we erred on the side of caution and agreed, admittedly with all the enthusiasm of facing a firing squad. Children and poodles were summoned, introductions were made, pizza was ordered. Maybe this wouldn’t be sooo tragic after all.
Suffice it to say, if you take scenes from “The Exorcist”, “Hellraiser”, “Chucky”, “The Brady Bunch” on crack cocaine, and add a soupcon of an unhappy Gordon Ramsey on “Hell’s Kitchen”, you can envision the South Hampton stew that was the rest of that weekend. The following day the A’s needed us again so they could play tennis, watch a polo match, go to a clambake, yada, yada, yada….right on through Sunday afternoon. Jesus, the filthy rich can certainly be dirt cheap. All Alexis and I got out of the deal, beside reinforcing our universal dislike of short, snotty critters, were two crappy photos each.
See evidence above! Our revenge came swiftly when The Gatekeeper found out that Mr. and Mrs.
A. had pulled the same stunt the previous weekend with two other new models. She lost no time in removing Mr. A. from their list of approved photographers. Karma can be a bitch when you want Nannies McFree!!