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Thirty Three; Armand Laker Gets What He Wants

Updated on May 31, 2021

Smudge

Stagnating in front of the box, I was seeing an actor play a role, the characterisation provoked thoughts of Tamerlane and I began writing a script.

Waiting for Ahmet was why I became aware of an actor; David Wong Pine.

An actor I had never heard of.

Reading what he'd written on his fansite, his absolute stupidity was confirmed.

If Pine had left Caravansary to take up a role in a major 3d, or to become the star of another serial playing someone as dynamic as Ji Tewka , I could understand.

But to quit an engrossing drama, playing a dynamic character for a minor role on a soap, was beyond the boundaries of the averagely stupid.

And another's stupidity can always earn me money.

I wrote my Tamerlane script, going between the images on the box, historical fact, and by the time Ahmet finally came through I shammed some disinterest, paid him less than I'd budgeted and summoned my pilot.

And we left Smudge.

The entire planet was so polluted that only this island was habitable.

The Western end was given over to smugglers, criminals, and whatever flotsam fell to ground.

This Eastern Section was a jungle, with a few bald patches. Few people ever came here, and less lived here.

Considering the baking heat and occasional filth storms just staying alive cost as much as a suite in a five star hotel.

But I had needed to be here, so that is what I had to pay.

Laker's Back!

En route to magnificent Earth I put aside the Tamerlane script I had been working on, locked myself in my cabin, hungrily viewing the Eugenic tape.

It was just over three hours of nothing much.

Yes, never before seen footage of streets and transport and people...what was needed was a backstory.

I needed a story, not 'documentary' moments ,an engrossing story which pulled the viewers in as well as the Academy.

I didn't want this to be one of those 'shorts' or special category; I wanted a Best Picture, and that was the rub.

So here I am now, on Earth.
Everyone excited that The Laker was back!
Lots of blurbers, lots of suppositions, lots of fetes and festivities.

After my life is back in place, I sent an assistant to find Pine and bring him to me.
David Wong Pine wasn't at his address, and no one knew where he was.

I'm here to make him a star, and he's AWOL.
Stupid.

However, the Gennie tape, the possibilities were more important, and had to be kept quiet. I tossed my Tamerlane script at my team.

Yeah, it was a great script. I'm Armand Laker. That's what I do.

The team started babbling names of actors who should play the lead. I let them ramble a time before informing them I had someone in mind.

I sent out again, Pine was found. I got to meet him at the Parker, (a decent restaurant) overlooking the sea.

David Wong Pine

I was watching the door, my mind on the barbarian slave, Ji Tewka, the role Pine played on Caravansary.

I imagined how he'd stride in that boastful swagger, his eyes darting, approaching with a mixture of fear and expectation... instead, in walked 'Tom Bean', the nothing character Pine played on Live Again.

When he reached my table, as he opened his mouth I cut;

"I want you to go back to the door and walk over here as if you are Ji Tewka. "

"I don't do Ji Tewka any more," he said as if I'd asked him to roll in potato salad.

"You don't do that any more?" I repeat.

"No."

"But you do Tom Bean."

"Yes," he said.

He's so serious, yet so insignificant. No one had given him a glance when he'd
walked in. They must of assumed he was a delivery boy or messenger.

"You want to tell me why?" I finally ask.

"May I sit?"

He waits for my nod and after decorously seating, begins his diatribe;

"Ji Tewka was a cartoon, Tom Bean is real. When I had to play Tewka I had to train,
I had maintain a certain image. I had to wear my hair long, hold my face in...."

"You're an actor. You can act. You acted as Ji. That was the role that would make you a star."

"I disagree," he replied.

"Do you know who I am?" I asked.

"Armand Laker."

He said it as if my name were, "Wanted Murderer," or "Fat Pig," and I realised he was far stupider than he looked.

I waved my hand at a waiter to break the surrealism. I order a drink, one for him.

"You're not interested in doing Ji Tewka again, are you?" I finally got out.

"No," he said, taking a bite of his liquor.

"You don't care then if someone else played the role, or if someone bought the rights to Caravansary....If I understand you, you would have preferred not to have done it as a serial?"

"That is correct," he replied.

"I'm recording, just in case..."

I don't know if he watched me or looked around the room. If he knew how his life was about to unchange.

"So, you, David Wong Pine, renounce all interest in the character Ji Tewka and it's image."

"Why do you want this official?" he asked, raising an eyebrow.

"I may consider continuing the series,, Caravansary bringing back the Ji Tewka character or using the character in another series. I was offering it to you, but now I will offer it to someone else."

"You were offering me the role of Ji Tewka? Didn't you read the interviews I gave where I said that I prefer roles in which costumes and periods were irrelevant?"

"No, I didn't." I reply, trying to keep a straight face.

"My philosophy," he begins...

I look at this fool, who is about to spew unmitigated garbage from his mouth. Garbage that is being recorded and can and will be used against him.

I looked at David Wong Pine.

He isn't striking in street clothes and short hair. He isn't forceful or prepossessing. He is telling... he, this nobody-going-no-where is telling me, who need never make another flick as long as I live and still be considered one of the Greats, his philosophy.

He is so earnest, so full of his mental mangling he doesn't realise what has just happened.

I pretend to listen until he stops talking, then I nod and say, "Good meeting you," and stand walk out of the Parker into my limousine, wait until we are one block away before I start to laugh.

When I reach the studio where Tamerlane will be created I explain that we will be using a Digital Representation for that role.

I leave, go home, where I ring up close friends for a little dinner party. I enjoy their company.

Lia Nicole, this year's goddess, watches me, wants to know what's funny.

"My dear, do you remember when I told you to take the role as the plain sister, not the pretty one?"

"Yes, are you going to remind me how I ranted and refused?"

"No, because at the end you took my advice."

"Yes I did", she smiled.

She did, she was nominated for an award. She was beaten out that year by another, but the following year was offered so many important roles that she became who she is today.

"Well, I just found someone who refuses to play the plain sister. Absolutely refuses and I find it rather amusing."

"What did she do? Talk about her 'image?'" Lia said with as much contempt as necessary.

"This she is actually a he, and gave me a treatise on serious acting versus 'cartoon' character."

Lia was not a fool.

"That doesn't make sense," she sniffed, "what is he? A 'serious actor' as opposed to movie star?"

"If he wasn't walking through a soap opera, playing the co-co-co-co star, it would ring a bit more sensible."

"He sounds stupid, do I know him?"

"No, no one does, no one will."

"You have a script," she said with passion.

"Yes, but there is no role in it for you, I'm afraid."

"Don't be afraid, I'll take anything..."

This is the kind of response Armand Laker expects. Armand Laker has the Midas Touch. Anything I make will make money. Will be seen, and will lead to other roles for the actors.

I extract myself from Lia, and enjoy my friends. And think to myself;

"from he who has much, much will be given, from
he who has little, even that will be taken."

working

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