HOLLYWOOD—The happiest day for Jason Finch had been the arrival of a lively little package, his daughter Kit, in a hospital tower high above the city, with dazzling vistas of the Hollywood Hills. Cedars Sinai. The best.
How they got assigned Cedars, Jason would never know. The State of California worked in mysterious ways, and you didn't look a gift horse in the mouth. When Kit was on the way, Jason and Suzanne were penniless actors from Ohio. At the time Kit came, he had been diligently calling Central Casting. He would wade through the interminable recorded description of parts being cast, his hopes raised by each new characteristic that perfectly matched his own: male, early 20s, six-foot-one, lean build, medium-length brown hair, Midwestern accent. Jason would be all ready to book the role and then a final random characteristic desired would shatter his hopes: must have nose piercings.
To go from the cares of joblessness to holding this delicate bundle of new life in his arms, that was the happiest day of his life. Getting released from the Van Nuys holding cell was the second happiest. In the stagnant foyer there stood Candy, Kit's nanny, awaiting him. He didn't recognize her at first. The platinum blond had washed out of her hair and it had grown out, becoming wavier. Her skin seemed to have gotten two shades darker. Her body, clad in a purple pullover blouse, appeared more voluptuous and exuded wild-animal magnetism.
“Thank you, Candy,” he said. He needed a shave.
“Don't thank me. Thank Kit.”
“Kit?” he said.
“She pay your bail,” Candy said. “She heard your S.O.B. message on Suzanne's phone.”
“For an emergencia.”
“Like I say... We hammer her piggy bank open and count all the change.”
“She's a smart doughnut, just like her mother.”
Jason didn't agree that Suzanne was such a 'smart doughnut' when it came to saving, but let it pass.
Outdoors the sky was bruised, threatening rain. Jason's arms and shoulder's were bruised from his harsh encounter with the bars. Out they went into the civic plaza framed by a nondescript office buildings. You'd never know that behind the bland glass-and-cement office walls people rotted, they suffered and complained, they were deprived of liberty and deluded that one day they would be able to get in front of a judge and get off their chests how they'd been wronged and could atone for the depth of their hurt.
A song had saved Jason from the rage of being alone in the upholstered cell. The “Immigrant Blues” and other remembered songs from 'Night School Musical' had returned and lifted his heart from the abyss. The cell had great acoustics. By the time he was released, he had the beginnings of a new ditty: “Song makes the bars melt away/Sweet melody gives the jailbird wings/a tune in my heart, I'm nobody's slave.”
Finally, after Kit's dimes and quarters and worn dollar bills, duly recounted by a clerk who turned up her nose at the accounting task, were surrendered to the court to pay for his freedom, he was given a court date to settle the matter of the delinquent speeding ticket.
It was already well past noon by the time Jason tasted freedom, and the dread knowledge that he had a class to face in a few hours kicked in. Soon as he got his car out of the impound, his fingers immediately sought the volume of the sage Mylanta, buried under teetering mounds of books and papers and Kit's teddy bear. He triggered an avalanche of said books and papers and teddy bear into the rear seat's foot zone. Jason's eyes, hungry for the balm of Mylanta's philosophy, couldn't wait to devour the first portion of the wisdom they fell upon, when Candy said:
“I'm hungry. Can we go somewhere to eat.
(To be continued...)
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