The Freelancer’s Journal: Tales from the Writing Trade (No. 6)

August 26 [cont.]

“I was at this Hollywood party, right, and I saw this cat I knew. He had two fine girls with him, really hot. I would like to have thrown either one of ‘em over a chair,” said Dr. Sharp. “He came up to me and said ‘Rich, I need you to help me out. I need you to get me in to see Spielberg.’ ‘Cause he knew I knew him. I said ‘Okay, I’ll get you in to see Spielberg, but you gotta do me a favor.’

“He said ‘What is it, Rich? What’s the favor?’

“I said, ‘You know, just do me a favor. I get you in to see Spielberg, you do me a favor some time.’ And the guy said, ‘What is it, Rich, what’s the favor?’ You know, he kept asking me. So I said, ‘Just a favor. I’ll get you in to see Spielberg, but you gotta do me a favor.’ And the guy said, ‘Yeah, Rich, you know, anything, but what favor?’

“‘All right, listen. If you see me lying on a park bench in filthy clothes, I want you to buy me a jelly donut.’ And he said, ‘Rich, if I saw you on a park bench like that, I’d buy you a big gourmet meal.’ So I said, ‘No, I wouldn’t want a big gourmet meal, I’d want a jelly donut, because you don’t see many people in parks buying gourmet meals, but I’d sell that jelly donut and I’d get 10 more, and I’d sell jelly donuts to every asshole like you who comes to the park, until I’m a millionaire.’ And he stared at me, the guy just stared at me.”

He chuckled and looked at me with a mischievous smile that said, You know what’s up. We’re kindred spirits. You’re not like the Hollywood asshole. I laughed along with him, but whether at the Hollywood asshole or Dr. Sharp’s quizzical logic I wasn’t sure.

“Don’t think, act,” he said, as he pointed to his head and wiggled his thumb as if cocking a pistol.

“So, I was in L.A. the other day, talkin’ with Tom Cruise, right. He had a cold. Yeah, he had a bad cold—couple weeks. It was really messing up his work. He said, ‘Rich, man, you gotta help me. Only you can clean me up.’

“This is Tom Cruise, right, I mean his time’s money. This guy’s time is money. Listen, he makes—I figured it out once—he makes 35 grand every 45 seconds. Look at the guy, he’s money. He had a cold. When Tom Cruise gets a cold, that town stops, all right. The whole town just stops. So, being a naturopath to the stars, I said, ‘Listen, I’ll help you out, Tom. I’ll help you out, it’s no problem ‘cause I like you. I like your work, I like what you do, I like what you’re about.’ So I gave him my patented tincture of echinacea with a cinnamon infusion. Very good stuff, worked like a charm.

“So he said, ‘What do I owe you Rich, let’s settle up.’ I said, ‘Tom, you don’t owe me anything. ‘No Rich, I insist,’ he said.

“‘Okay, here’s what you owe me: Next scene you do in that movie you’re working on, you just think of me, and when I see the movie, I’ll know what scene it is. I’ll just know. That’s worth it to me.’ Tom Cruise, he’s money. Guy gets a cold, the town comes to a standstill. When Tom Cruise gets a cold, that whole fuckin’ town comes to a standstill. You know what I’m sayin?

“When you got your health you got everything. Health and money, yesssss. Let me tell you something, I knew J. Paul Getty; met him about five years before he died. J. Paul Getty was the richest man in the world for a long time. Nowadays, you got Bill Gates, Oprah, all these other billionaires. But there was a time when J. Paul Getty was the only billionaire around. There was no one who had a billion but him—he was the man.

"You know what J. Paul Getty said to me? He said, ‘Rich, I have two billion dollars, but I’d give a billion dollars to take a good shit.’ He had really bad constipation, J. Paul Getty.”

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