This unfinished story just re-surfaced during a perusal of old forgotten files. I forget where I was going with this tale, but if I get enough encouragement, I will attempt to finish it.....
The end came faster than I wanted, but not as fast as I needed. Like a once-brightly shining nova, my luster dimmed until I was just another star in the night sky. I speak, of course, about the crazy years, the lost years spent in the studios of the best photographers, the crazy parties that lasted until we were dragged from the trendiest clubs in the most Now locales. The money that flowed through my hands, never reaching my pocket or bank account. But what did I care? I could always make more; I was a star, a commodity, my assets were a gold mine without apparent end, such was....
My Life As An Ass-Model
Never heard of an ass-model? Neither had I. Oh, hand models made a small splash in the fashion world, and there was more work for a hand model, it's true. Look how many products need an attractive hand to hold them; not too many advertised items benefit from being clenched between buns, no matter how fine. And mine were fine, that's not bragging, just fact.
No, ass models were more like stand-ins, substitute butts for the actors and actresses who leveraged their brand by appearing in ads for their own perfume, or line of clothing. Many actors and actresses can emote on cue, but surprisingly few have rear ends that can display arrogance, friskiness, sublime sensuality, or insouciance at the drop of a director's megaphone. Mine could do this, and more, all within the space of a 1-minute intro for the latest exercise-machine infomercial.
My ass had attitude, was how Phillippe put it. Phillippe was my agent; he discovered my ass, and saw its potential right away. "Zose bun-muffins, in my hands, zey weel become legend." This was not the kind of talk one looks forward to hearing in the shower room of a Detroit jail, where I was facing nine months and a day for stealing a pizza. I would have gotten away from the cops, I was a competitive runner and broad-jumper in high school, But the pizza-box was an aerodynamic drag. I could have thrown the pie away and made a clean getaway, but I wanted that damn pizza, a double-pepperoni with olives and onions, and some rookie cop managed to catch me as I scrambled over an alley fence that, sans 16-inch box, I could have sailed right over. Damn cops ate the evidence right in front of me as we drove back to the station house.
"How about I make you a legend right now?" I said as I whirled one hundred eighty degrees, fists out, ready to defend my as yet unsullied honor. Phillippe blinked, but I stopped my fist just short of his hawklike nose; he wore his towel over his shoulder, and I saw immediately that his interest was not prurient.
"Magnifique, tres bon." He stepped back made a square with his hands through which he looked at me. "Can you you do zat again, zis time right-to-left?" By zis, I mean this time, the men under the other shower heads were watching our interaction. One suggested that not hitting the little frenchman would be a sign of weakness, though he put it in less delicate terms. I knew he was right, but Phillippe was talking fast now. "Le fighting move. Can you do eet from either direction?"
"What is your game, man?" I was thinking the guy maybe liked rough trade, and that wasn't my game.
"Phillippe, I am called", He stuck out his hand, which I declined to shake, mindful that some bad characters were waiting to see how this was going to play out.
Then realization dawned on him. "Perhaps ees not best place to discuss rump" he says. "Szhust meet me in cafeteria, later. What's to lose?"
He had me there, I had 270 more days staring me in the face; might as well hear him out. "Okay." I said. "We'll do lunch. but you had better leave with me, or it'll be your ass that gets talked about.
Over soggy fish sticks and mushy broccoli, Phillippe explained himself. He had been caught trying to take a jay of kind-bud on the 9:40 Air France Flight to Montreal, and given ten days in the hoosegow. He had been eyeing my backside for the last three days without my being aware of the surveillance.
"I am sorry eef I was too forward, but I did not want to get out before offering you a zhob, no, a career."
"As what?", I asked around a mouthful of stale biscuit.
And he made the pitch for work that would be my ticket off the mean streets. I never thought that listening to another man describe my rear end would get me excited, but I had never before heard of ass-modeling, either.
"From every angle ees ass of yours perfect. Needs tan, but zat ees all." He asked me to describe my exercise regimen.
"Shit, I just survive, you know. I live in a 10th floor walk-up no elevator, but that gig is over now, me being a week late with the rent."
He was writing on a pad. I read pretty good upside down, and saw the word 'stairmaster'. "I snatch purses, do dash-and-grabs at department stores with a couple of black guys I know. He wrote "treadmill" after a 2 surrounded by parentheses.
"And you eat..." Yes dumb-ass, I do, I started to say before realizing he was asking me what I eat.
"The stores throw out their old veggies around midnight Tuesday, before the trucks bring in the weeks fresh produce."
"You cook zese? You fry, saute, bake..."
"Raw, mostly". He dutifully jotted that down on his pad. Then looked up at me. "How about bread, pasta, rice."
"I like brown rice sometimes, never liked sandwiches, I just eat the patty out of a hamburger, Dad told me that noodles were made from worms, and that ruined me for any pasta.
"Starch goes straight to make ass bumpy like cheap white cheese. No salt, water retained go straight to derriere."
"Ees good, you stay on low-carb diet", he said, as he took the biscuit from its place on my tray.
"You go before judge tomorrow afternoon, non? I get out in morning. I make phone talk, you agree work for me, is places we go like never you dream of."
And he went on and on, until the guards chased us out. He was a scout for a modeling agency. Several, in fact, he freelanced. He wanted to be an agent, and he felt that I, at least, part of me, would be Phillippe's ticket into the hoity-toity world of high-fashion.
"We start little. Model for art classes. We get portfolio started, is little job on movie set. No, not porn movie. Is lead actor let himself go a bit, cottage fromage on cheeks, lack definition. Say yes."
I did. Phillippe was true to his word. A lawyer I could not afford came to get me in the morning; he brought me a suit of clothes that smelled expensive. They fit me like they were tailored. Phillippe had a good eye.
In court, the lawyer testified as to my good character, although he had trouble remembering my name. Phillippe showed the judge the contract I had signed on the walk from the jail to the courthouse. The judge motioned me forward; when Phillippe stared towards the bench, she stopped him with a glare and a growled "Mr. Nivennes, you may not approach the bench!"
In a whisper that I could barely hear, the lady judge asked me, "Did you read this document before you signed it?"
"No, your honor."
Well, you should have. But I've seen your record, and I don't care what sort of business deals you make, as long as they don't include Detroit, and you don't ever come in front of me again."
I started to thank her. "Don't thank me, just turn around slowly, nice and slowly. Walk back to your seat, slowly, not too slowly, though, and flaunt what you got on the way."
I felt cheap, used, but I complied. I head her mutter a 'damnfine' under her breath.
"Time served", she banged her gavel. "Court dismissed" , And Phillippe and the nameless lawyer escorted me out the side door to the 'processing:out' window.