by Georgevine Moss
Bill Forest, nicknamed the Gambler, was born on Oscar night. That year the movie that won best picture also got a Razzie in the same category. But that was a coincidence. Today, Oscar night 2012, Bill stands six feet tall and broke.
Sunday, Feb 26 2012, 15:00
Bill followed Iron Mike down the stairs. Iron Mike, a former bodybuilder still on steroids and loan shark Mickey D.'s little helper blocked Bill's entire view. Bill didn't want to think about Iron Mike. Like shitting, it was an involuntary but necessary body reaction. He thought Iron Mike could probably bend iron pipes with his bare hands. Not that he had to. He probably did that for fun. Working for Mickey D. he most likely had to break arms and the occasional leg, not pipes. Bill continued walking down the low-ceilinged corridor, hunched and scared. He had brittle bones.
Iron Mike knocked on the door and when he got the signal he grabbed Bill by the arm and threw him in the room. Mickey D's office was dimly lit. He sat behind a big desk, a bare light bulb hanging over his bald head and a cigar smoldering in an ashtray by his side.
"So you are the Gambler?" Mickey D. said. He sat back in his chair and let the smoke clear off his face before taking another drug from his cigar.
Bill stuttered. "Th-that's right, sir." He never stuttered. "I don't know what you might have heard about me, but I'm good for it."
"You mean, I don't have to worry about losing my money?"
""Th-that's right, sir." That damn stutter. "I'm good for it."
"Ten thousand. I got a sure thing for tonight."
"Y-yes, sir. A sure thing."
"I love the Oscars. Did you know I used to do stand-up before I got into this business?"
Bill glanced at Iron Mike. If he was a cop this would have been a sure sign of a set up. But he wasn't a cop. Iron Mike flashed him a smile. Bill turned away and looked at Mickey D.
"No, sir," he said. No stuttering. Great.
"A good one too. Just no decent pay, that's why I walked. Now the Oscars. That's the real thing. I'd host that for free. Can you imagine me, dressed to the nine's doing a monologue?"
Bill didn't know where it came from. He saw Mickey D. in a wig and a fake thin moustache like that guy from The Artist but, you know, looking like Mickey D. He struggled not to laugh.
"I'd kill it." Mickey D. said. "Those monologues they do? They suck. Listen to this."
Mickey D. got up and walked in front of the desk. With cigar in one hand and the other aimlessly beating at the air he began "acting".
"In a business with very few standards," he said. "We can all attest to the fact that the best part of the Oscars is the after parties. So let's make this as quick as possible. OK, people? Think like a cat not a dog. No one works for free. Thanking anyone is like licking the hand that has already fed you. Ask yourself. Would a cat ever do that?"
Iron Mike burst laughing. Bill got the hint and laughed till he drooled.
"Funny shit, right?"
"You know what? I like you. I'll give you the ten G's." Mickey D. opened a drawer, picked a wad of cash and started counting. "Ten. Here it is." He dropped the money on the desk and sat back in his chair.
Mickey D. took another drug from his cigar and let the smoke loose. "It's all yours," he said. When the smoke cleared, a wide creepy smile appeared on Mickey D.'s face.
"Th-thank you, sir. You won't regret it," Bill said, pocketing the cash. " 'Undefeated' will win best documentary. It's a sure thing."
Mickey D.'s smile faded. Bill dashed for the door. Iron Mike was strong but apparently he was slower than a deadbeat horse.
Bill got away and placed his bet. What do you think? Will he get lucky or break a leg?