1100 Wilshire had been an office building with no tenants before the most recent housing boom came along and made it a place that people who enjoy a sky-pool call home. Frankly, the pool at the Skyline, where I am currently borrowing a rich friend’s place, is probably the nicest in Downtown—I’ve used it once. Anyway, it was David Kean’s fortieth birthday so there I was.
“Happy birthday, old boy,” I said handing David a bottle of wine that I had just picked up from Mike Berger at Ralph’s.
About a year ago I signed a copy of my last book for a very nice woman who approached me at the Water Grill while I was having dinner. It turned out that her husband is the CEO of Kroger and much like Starbucks I got one of those plastic cards in the mail—I haven’t had a grocery bill in a year.
“Forty, welcome to my world,” I said to Dave.
“I know. I woke up feeling older,” David mourned.
“Not to worry old boy, it only gets worse.” I laughed. “Is that an olive spread?” I asked gesturing toward the red, lacquer, Chinioserie tea table.
“It is, help yourself,” said David, happy to not have to listen to anymore of my getting old jokes.
I plopped down on the modern, tan, mohair sofa next to Eric Everhard the porn star. I don’t think Everhard is his real last name, but if it is, I hear that it suits him.
I reached for a cracker and some olive spread. “So what’s up…I mean working hard…I mean how’s life treating you?”
Eric smiled; he’s a very cool guy. “Oliver I’m a porn star, how bad can life be? Other than my back is just killing me—job hazard.”
I had never thought of the strain that his particular line of work puts on the back and hips, but suddenly it made sense. “Sorry to hear about your back. You know if you want to come over I can show you some exercises that will really help you feel better.”
“You guys have a gym in your building?”
“We have a great gym. Seriously, the gym is so nice I actually feel guilty that I don’t work out. Come by tomorrow, I’ll show you how to use the back ball and we’ll grab lunch.”
“You’re the best Oliver, I’ll bring you my new three DVD set.”
I was about to say, “that’s not necessary” but a piece of olive from the olive spread got caught in my throat, I coughed, and that’s when Stan Peters walked in.
“Stan, Stan, Stan…” all through the room. Eric put his hand on my shoulder. “I think that’s Stan Peters.”
“It is,” I assured. “That’s the great Stan Peters in the flesh…Not like when you’re in the flesh, but you know what I mean.”
Eric was excited just to be in the room with Hollywood’s biggest producer. “Do you know him?”
“Downtown Oliver Brown! The best writer to not make it in Hollywood come here and give me a hug!” yelled Stan, thinking that he had just given me a compliment.
I turned to Eric. “I know him.” I stood and got the life squeezed out of me. Stan works out two hours a day.
“Hi Stan, this is my friend Eric…”
Stan shook Eric’s hand. “The porn guy. I’ve seen your work. You have a pretty decent package. Nothing close to mine, but then again who has anything like mine?” The three unbelievably hot girls that had rolled in with Stan all giggled.
I had for the fist time noticed that David’s place did not have a balcony for me to jump off of.”
“Oliver, what are you working on these days? I had heard you moved Downtown…I told everybody that Oliver’s not a loser, he’s a visionary. I’ve decided to buy every available Penthouse I can get my hands on down here because of you. Downtown is the next big thing. What’d you say you were working on?”
“I’m working on a script about a writer that moves Downtown to get away from the pretentious idiots in Hollywood…
“I like it.”
“He starts blogging and drinking himself to death.”
“Very leaving Las Vegas. I made a lot of money on that one. In fact Nick Cage is renting one of the places I just bought down here.”
My phone rang. “Hey Oliver it’s Josh, I’m at the Hard Eight Lounge with Lucky and the gang we’re heading over to the grand opening of Versus you have to come with us.”
“You’re a lifesaver Josh Johnson, I’m on my way.” I put my iphone back in my pocket. “Sorry Stan, something’s come up I have to roll.”
“What about this script, I’m into it?” He lowered his voice. “I’ve got an extra girl or two if you want one—stick around.”
“I’d love to Stan, but seriously I have to run. I’ll call you when I have something that’s worth your greatness.”
He put his arm around my shoulder and walked me down the hallway, “Oliver I want to show you something,” he said, stopping in front of a Salvador Dali.
“Great painting,” I said, thinking just ten more steps to the door.
“It’s the painting of a pained soul, Oliver.” He squeezed me a little tighter. “I know you don’t like what I stand for, but trust me you don’t want to become that.” He nodded toward the painting. “I make sure everyone knows that I’m on top because the moment I don’t someone gets the idea that they can take my place…and that’s only going to happen on the day I take my last breath. I like you. So, cool it with the booze and the girls and write something I can produce. Okay?”
I stared out the glass elevator as it descended to the lobby. “The next phase of LA Live is almost done,” I thought to myself. I wondered why I hadn’t written something Stan Peters could make. Then it occurred to me that every career is about getting a break or two. Maybe I had just gotten one.
Soon I would be at Versus. I had been at the Grand Opening of the Stock Exchange in the 1980’s, which would be the former incarnation of the building where Versus was opening. I had a good feeling about the rest of the night. Oliver Brown loves a good Grand Opening.