Wanda and the Watch

Wanda and the Watch

Another wonderful, gorgeous day in LA. Got nothing to do but drink it in. Damn shame, that. Might as well take advantage. Be crazy busy soon.

First, down Rosecrans. Lunch at Pancho’s. Way over-priced, but I can splurge. Could be the last time. Even a margarita. Phone on, just in case. Goddamn, I hope one of them calls.

Of the two, school teacher part went best. I was really on. They weren’t looking for a raving beauty, thank god. Casting gal said she would call right away if I got it. Maybe I shouldn’t have pulled my hair back. Keep my fingers crossed.
Lifeguard bit went ok. Were they looking for bigger boobs? Why else a bikini? Pretty simple lines. Didn’t flub any. Wonder if they’ve seen any real lifeguards. God knows real ones don’t have big boobs. Wonder why. Where do the girls with big boobs work in the summer? Pancho’s probably. Ha. Ha. Ha.

Won’t the hostess ever remember me? Been here a dozen times. Acts like she’s never seen me. At least she gave me a decent table. Over here in the corner. Good view of patio. Any chance some interesting guy might notice me? Probably not.

Why would some stud muffin be out hustling in Manhattan Beach on a Thursday morning? Besides, no more dating. Got to only concentrate on my career. Got to get a goddamned part! Got to not get depressed.

Maybe change my name back. Nothing wrong with Jennifer Lamott, but Wanda Williams. Got a real ring to it. People remember it, even if Wanda is a little old fashioned. No. Stick with Wanda.

Wow, that sunlight is bright. Shouldn’t have had that second margarita. And, why o why did I have those fucking chips? I tell myself a thousand times don’t eat the chips! And what do I do? I eat the fucking chips. Now, gotta go to an extra spin class. Damn!

Got to maintain my attitude. Keep on thinking, You will succeed. That’s my mantra. You will succeed. Keep thinking positive. It will happen. Got to fight off the bad thoughts. You didn’t struggle through the best acting school in the world just to defeat yourself with negative thoughts. Somebody said “The only thing we can control is our thoughts”. Ok, girl, start controlling. Control to the positive.

Always hate this part of Highland. What a nothing street. Nothing here worth seeing. Wonder why I didn’t go right down to The Strand? Cause you wanted to look in the crummy shop windows, that’s why. Distract yourself to keep from thinking about that phone that’s not ringing.

Should’ve stayed in that flop house at SC. Sure was a lot cheaper. Closer to the studios, too. Miss the other girls there. But, no, you had to give it a last gasp with a summer apartment at the beach. Sometimes you just don’t think so well. Pretty soon it won’t make any difference. You’ll be back in Iowa with your dad, looking for a job in retail. Well, I’m good til Labor Day. Surely something will break by then. If not? Not gonna think about it. You will succeed.

Could there be another place in the world with so many beautiful women? I can’t compete with these women. Gorgeous every one. Even my much vaunted acting degree from SC has quit opening doors.

That showcase we did right after graduation was good. Damn I wish an agent had signed me. I was so close. So much interest. But always at the last minute it just didn’t happen. Damn it’s hard when you try to do it all by yourself. Maybe need a manager. What the hell is the difference between a manager and an agent? I don’t understand.

Ok, 25th Street. That’s far enough on Highland. Down to The Strand. Damn 25th is steep. Seems to be getting steeper. But, the view. What a view. It takes an Iowa girl like me to appreciate it. These LA folks don’t even see it, even though they see it every day. Sure hope I don’t have to leave it.

I love The Strand. Shoulda brought my roller blades. No, don’t think about something else. Just be in the moment. Mindfulness. Enjoy the walk. Crazy fuckin’ bicyclists. He almost hit me.

Damn I like my headshots. Supposed to reveal your character and not just make you look beautiful. Damn I like looking good. Best $5,000 dad ever spent. I do love him so. When I’m a big star, I’ll pay it all back to him.
Interesting that every little town has a pier. Redondo, Hermosa, Manhattan. All except El Segundo. No pier at El Segundo. Wonder what happened to them? Maybe tomorrow I’ll roller blade and go all the way to Hermosa, or even Redondo. For today, Manhattan is good enough.

Damn, that sand is hot. Great. Not too many people. I’ll get a spot all by myself not far from the pier and watch the surfers. No big waves today, but some. Maybe learn to surf someday. Need a surfer boyfriend.
What’s that? Sticking right up out of the sand. It’s a fucking watch. Half buried. A Rolex watch. Nobody around. Hope no one saw me put it in my bag.

Damn, girl. Calm your heart. Quit breathing so hard. Just walk right over to the restroom like nothing’s happened.
Gonna pull my pants down just like I really have to pee. See what I’ve got.

A fucking Rolex Submariner! I think it’s white gold. Wow! This thing is worth thousands of dollars. Is it real? Surely not. Looks real. And new. Not a scratch on it. Worth thousands and thousands of dollars. Ok, calm down. Just sit here til you calm down.
I am saved. The answer to my problems. Almost enough to make me believe in god. How could I be so lucky? If I count my pennies, and don’t have too many lunches like today, could carry me for months — maybe all the way to next summer.
Uh, oh! Just one problem. How to sell it? They have serial numbers. They can track every one. I need a fence.

A fence? Girl, what are you talking about? You’re now so desperate that you’re trafficking in stolen, or at least lost goods. Surely didn’t take you long to lose your mid-west, moral compass. You may not be a thief, but if you sell this thing, you might as well be. God, if daddy ever learned I had done something like that. Geez, can’t even think about it.
Reward. Of course. Maybe there’s a reward. Whoever lost it will offer a reward. A substantial reward, I’ll bet. That’s it. I’ll get the reward.

For now, got to get home. Just pull your pants up, wash your hands and calmly start walking back up The Strand. Just like nothing happened, walk home.

Wow, in this bright kitchen light it’s even prettier than before. It is indeed white gold; not that I’ve ever owned any. This is one expensive watch. The answer to a starving actor’s prayers.

Ok, here’s the plan. Tomorrow, walk back to the pier. Put my towel down right where I found the watch. Wait. I’ll bet it won’t be too long before someone comes along poking in the sand. They might even ask, “Excuse me. You haven’t maybe found a Rolex watch, have you?” And, I’ll answer, “Why, maybe I have. Is there a reward?” And then we negotiate the substantial reward. The guy gets his watch back, I get a substantial reward and all’s well that ends well. What could be better?

But, wait a minute. Nobody wears a watch like this to the beach. Maybe one of those Russian mafiosos. Nobody else. Pretty unlikely. Face facts, girl, this watch is stolen. Some thief isn’t going to pay you a reward. Probably stab you, instead.

But, I need the money. Damn, I need the money. Ok, now I get it. This is one of those id versus ego deals they talked about in that psychology class. The bad Jennifer, er, Wanda, is the id. Get the money she says. You need it and someone rich enough to have a watch like this probably won’t even miss it. No, says the good Wanda, you are just trying to justify being a thief. Return the watch to its owner.

San Pedro. No one knows me in San Pedro. Glad I came. Good idea to find a pawn shop here. Lots of ‘em. Just need to walk in one and see how much they’ll give me. Well, what are you waiting for? Just open the door and walk in. Face it. Bad Wanda won and now you need to walk in there and sell the fucking watch.
Shit! Why couldn’t I do that? Why couldn’t I make myself open that door? Now you’re going to have a wreck on the freeway cause you can’t quit crying.

No, you were right. The watch has a serial number. Pawn brokers are not stupid, or fences. They’re not going to give me money for a zillion dollar watch that can so easily be traced. What were you thinking? Why did you even go there?
There’s a Rolex store on Rodeo Drive. Susan and I even walked in one time. So, what? So, what, you dummy? Like they don’t check serial numbers in a real Rolex store? What are you thinking? You’re smarter than that.

Ok, here’s the good Wanda again. Just walk right down Highland. Go left on 15th and walk inside like you own the place. Present the watch to the duty cop and tell your story. That’s all there is to it. Just tell ‘em the truth and that’s all there is to it. They’ll keep the watch and find the owner.

And the reward? Maybe. But you won’t be doing it for the reward. You’ll be doing it because you’re a good person. You are a good and moral person.

But I don’t want to do that. I want the money. I need the money.

My doorbell? Nobody ever rings my doorbell. Are Jehovah’s Witnesses still going around? Just take a little peek here. Holy shit! That is a real bad looking dude. Just wait til he goes away.

Damn, what’s he saying? He knows I’m here. Yelling at me. How could he know my name? Uh, oh! I am scared. Who is this guy? Don’t like this. Not gonna say a word.

Phone’s ringing? Maybe it’s him. Maybe I got a part. Got to answer. No, can’t answer. Might be him. How could he have my number?

Yes, it’s him. He’s calling. Standing right in front of my door and calling on his cell phone. He is really scary. Mean looking. He is big.

What’s he yelling? That I better open up. That he knows I’ve got the watch. Says he dropped it in the sand and saw me pick it up. Can’t be. I didn’t see anyone.

Oh, no. How could this be happening? I didn’t do anything wrong. I was gonna give the watch to the cops. It’s not mine. I was gonna give it to the cops so they could find the true owner.

A gun! He’s showing me a gun. How can this be! Telling me he’s going to kill my ass unless I open up and give him the watch.
Yes, that’s exactly what you’re going to do. Give him the watch. No, you’re not. It’s not his and you’re not going to give it to him.
Not going to give it to him? Why not? You want to get killed? Get killed over a lousy watch? What’s wrong with you? Give him the watch.

A $100 dollar bill. Now he’s slid a $100 bill under my door. Says it’s his sign of good faith. Says I can keep it, regardless. That if I give him the watch, he won’t hurt me. I’m not even gonna look at it. Not a word.

Now another $100 bill. He says he’s got forty-eight more and if I give him the watch I can have the whole $5,000. Is this for real? Is he for real?

Maybe if you give him the watch he won’t give you the money. He probably won’t. Why would he? But, maybe. And, if you don’t give it to him, he’s going to kill you. Give him the watch! No, I’m not. But you need the $5,000. You need the money. Take a chance. Give him the watch.

No. Call the cops. They can be here in minutes. Call the cops. Don’t get killed over some fuckin’ watch.
But I want the money. Dirty Russian mafia money. I can put it to good use. A hell of a lot better use than drugs and hookers, like those guys.
Ivan. He says his name is Ivan. Tell Ivan you’re opening the door. Tell him to put his gun away. Hand shaking so much can hardly get the latch off.
Oh, shit, two of them.
A cameraman! Why a cameraman? What’s this all about? Channel 2 he says. Channel 2 news.
Wonder where the gun went? In his pocket?
Russian mafia? Television news? This is crazy.
Exchange the watch for the money at the police station? Bring the watch he says. Why does he want to do that? This just gets crazier and crazier. Walk to the police station? It must be 15 or 20 blocks. Broad daylight, at least. With a zillion dollar watch in my pocket? I guess.
The cameraman wants to film us? Film us all the way? Film the whole thing. Oh, no. This can’t be true. When am I going to wake up?
Why doesn’t he say anything? Hasn’t said a word since we started. Just keeps walking. What was that old Three Dog Night tune? “This was the wildest party that there could ever be. Mama told me not to come”. Great. You’re about to get killed, or thrown in jail over some fuckin’ watch and you’re thinking about old rock and roll songs.
Is this going to be on the news? He said Channel 2, but I don’t see any Channel 2 logos. And where’s the truck? The truck they always have with all the antennas on top. He just keeps filming. Walking and filming. This is one screwy deal.
I have never been so glad to be walking inside a police station in my life. Well, this is the first one but it sure feels good. At least I know I’m not going to get shot. I will never pick up something that doesn’t belong to me again. Never. Not even a quarter lying on the sidewalk. Thank god for cops.
Why is Ivan not saying anything? I’m telling the cop my entire story and Ivan is just standing there.
Yes, just put the watch on the counter in front of the cop. I was going to bring it here all along. Good riddance. Wish I had never seen the fuckin’ thing.
Finally, Ivan is saying something. Did he just call him, Bill? He did, he just called the cop, Bill. He knows him. They fuckin’ know each other. Jesus, maybe they’re both mafia.
Counting out the money? Counting out forty-eight more $100 bills? For me? He’s going to do our deal? Can’t be.
A contract? He’s got a contract for me to sign? A movie contract? Ivan is a director and he wants me to be in a movie? The $5,000 is just a signing bonus? I’ll get a lot more later? Thinks I’m perfect for the lead? This can’t be. Now, I know I’m dreaming. But why the watch? Why the Russian mafia bit? They could have signed me a long time ago. And for a lot less.
A screen test? The whole thing was a screen test? They’ve been filming me for two days? Even in San Pedro? The gun wasn’t even real. They set the whole thing up so they could see how I would look on film? The cops are in on it. Craziest fucking thing I’ve ever heard of. They made up their minds yesterday? Today was just to finish it off?
Now they’re all laughing. More cops laughing. I’m even laughing. And crying? Stop crying.
Yes, I want to be in his movie. Of course, I’ll sign. No, I don’t want a ride home. Need to walk. Let this whole thing sink it. Take my $5,000 and walk home.
I’m really going to do a movie. And, a lead at that. Need a day or two to let in sink in.
Highland never looked so good. Everything looks good. Maybe I’ll walk all the way to Playa del Rey. Walk on the beach. Wade in the waves. Let this whole thing sink in. What a glorious day. Happiest day of my life.
Cell phone. Don’t answer. For sure, you got the schoolteacher part. That’s the casting gal. Don’t answer. You don’t need to know. You’re on your way.

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