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In The Zone . .Emotional Chaos . ..Number 9. . .September 11


Emotional Chaos
Weekly Column by Brian Codagnone

September 21, 2006



There's one thing about working in Tinsel Town: It's a freak show, but
some of the freaks have the moolah to hire a private dick like me. Separating the rich and famous from their dough is a time honored tradition in Hollywood, be it blackmail, marriage, scams, crazy investments or just plain gouging. The more they pay the better they feel, like junkies with a platinum card instead of a needle. A dame I know over at MGM said a starlet there paid $50,000 for a dress. For that they ought to throw in shoes, a belt and a broad to wear it who's willing to earn her money the hard way.
And speaking of earning money, I was on my way to meet with an actor who was having the screws put to him by a loan shark. Apparently this mook was into the shylocks for some serious green, and they were threatening to reposition his moneymaker if he didn't pay up. About six blocks from his body, to be exact. I'd seen this guy's work, and from what I could tell he chewed the scenery like a starving Ethiopian in a gingerbread house. Still, as long as the check cleared I wasn't particular.
I turned my Desoto into the lot at Paragon Pictures and told the guard I was looking for Tom Tellmark. He wasn't impressed. I guess he'd seen all the stars. He was seeing stars when I left him, all right, but not the film kind. I went to Tellmark's bungalow and rang the bell.
"Who's there?" a frightened voice called from inside.
"Slammer. Spike Slammer. The shamus you hired."
The door opened a crack and I saw one bloodshot eye dart around. He undid more chains than a dominatrix and opened the door. He looked shorter than he did on screen.
"I'm sorry if I seem nervous, Mr. Slammer, but I've got some dangerous people after me."
I stepped in and fired up a Lucky. That usually annoyed the Hollywood crowd, but this sap needed me so he didn't say boo.
"The people you're mixed up with are only dangerous if you don't pay them. You make good dough, what's the matter, got a bad habit that needs feeding? The vig too rich for your blood?"
"It's not the money, Mr. Slammer. I have plenty. I borrowed the money under the table to finance a... special project."
"So now you're being blackmailed? What is it, porn? Girl on girl, maybe midgets? A trapeze artist and an endangered animal? Something with nuns? If it's altar boys you can count me out while you're counting your teeth."
"No, nothing like that. You see, I have a certain reputation to maintain. My movies make a lot of money, but I've always wanted to do more."
"More?" I said, taking a long pull from my hip flask. Now I was getting interested. Not as interested as I was in girl on girl porn, but it was only 10 am. There was always lunchtime.
"Let's face it, Mr. Slammer, I make lowest common denominator action flicks. Tripe for the masses. That pays the bills, but you see, I've always want to make a real movie. Something Merchant Ivory, something classy! You know "Remains of the Day" rather than "Remains in the Hay."
"I saw that one. Not bad, but trust me, a double barreled twelve gauge does way more damage than that to a gymnast."
"I'll take your word for it. Anyway, I'm at the point in my career where I'm concerned about my legacy."
"What's with you Hollywood types? Making buckets of money and doing the horizontal hula with every starry eyed chorine with a dream isn't enough? You have to make 'art', too? Why don't you just take up an annoying cause like the rest of your pinko pals?"
"I want to do something I can be proud of, that my children can be proud of, something they can brag about in therapy! But if it got out that I was making a quality movie I'd be box office poison. That's why I'm being blackmailed. I borrowed the money to hide the fact that I was behind the project."
"And now you're behind the eight ball. If I've seen it once, I've seen it a hundred times." I hadn't even seen it once, but I had to let this ham cure the way I wanted him to.
"Can you help me, Mr. Slammer?" He handed me a sheet of paper with a name on it. I knew the guy. A piece of genetic diarrhea named Flosser. Ironic, as it was something he never did. And bathing was something he reserved for special occasions, too, like the Bicentennial. I got back in my Desoto and went to have a heart to heart. The guard at the gate was still in dreamland, so I let myself out.




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Surf Our Site

Home ... Misfits . Rafferty .. . S1019 .. . Star Crossed....
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Ginger & Shadow. ..Writer's Block.. ..Cool Links . ..More Cool Links .
Oddities ..Link To Us... Guest Comics . Online Store..
In The Zone. ..Number 9. . .September 11