Adventures of Hollywood Jim Ch. 63byhollywoodjim©
It was a strange scent that awoke me.
I turned over in bed but could still smell a hint of, I don't know, lilacs? Whatever it was, it smelled nice.
But when was the last time I had lilac-scented pillows?
When I opened my eyes, the next sense hit me, and it wasn't nice. It was a screaming hangover that filled every inch of my head. Just looking around the room was a new adventure in pain.
But this wasn't my room!
It was nicely furnished, I'll say that. It seemed like an upscale apartment of some kind, not a hotel. OK, that's a start, I'm not in Vegas, and not in the penthouse apartment my director friend John McDonald had loaned me when I was in New York last. There was an IPod attached to a Bose radio on the table next to the bed, the clock read 7:45 AM.
A bigger mystery revealed itself. I had nothing on, my clothes were scattered on the floor, my shoes nearby. OK, get dressed and see where I am. Before I could move, a soft breath was heard next to me and a brown haired girl turned over, she seemed naked too.
Before I could try and register who she was, her eyes opened and she screamed. I did too, and was jolted out of the bed and onto the floor.
"WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU??" she screamed out
Before I could answer, she whirled around and grabbed a pistol out of the matching bedside table on her side.
"Whoa! Whoa! Hang on a second!" I quickly said while tangled up in the sheets and trying to hold my hands up.
"GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE!!" she yelled
"Lemme get my clothes!" I tried to say as I heard the gun click. I was still trying to gain my footing.
"How the fuck did you get in here? Who are you?" she yelled, shakily holding the gun
"I'm Jim...and I don't know how I got here!" I said still holding my hands up.
There was a moment of silence now.
"Oh, god... what a headache!" she moaned before regaining her composure and pointing the gun again "Don't move!"
I held my hands up and the sheet dropped, exposing me to her.
"Put the sheet up!"
I grabbed the sheet
"Don't move!" she yelled again
"Make up your mind!" I yelled back
(Where did that attitude come from?)
She still held the gun in a shaky hand, but then relaxed a little.
"You say you don't know how you got here?"
"Neither do I." she said before looking down
"Jesus! I'm naked!" she exclaimed as she grabbed a blanket and wrapped it around her.
"Well, that makes two of us." I replied, though I had to admit, she had nice tits.
"Cover yourself up!" she yelled
I was finally able to extract myself from the sheets and blankets I was tangled in and at least be able to cover myself better.
"Uh, my p-pants are over there." I said pointing shakily at the pile of clothes nearby
"Get 'em." She said, still pointing the gun, her eyes trained on me like laser beams.
I nervously crawled across the floor to my khaki pants.
"My shirt is over there, do you, um...?" I asked nervously
"OK, I'll ask again...how did you get in here?"
"I have no idea." I replied as I sat on the floor "My last memory is a party I went to."
"OK, I remember that too." She replied
There was still an uncomfortable silence between us.
"Can I at least ask you your name?" I finally said
"Stana...Stana Katic." She said
"Well, I'm uh, Jim." I replied "Could you lower the gun, please?"
She looked at the pistol, then warily lowered it and placed it on the bed.
"What was the party for, anyway?" she asked
"Well, I'm a photographer for a company called Artists Unlimited," I began "...and a client of ours was doing a guest spot on a TV show..."
"What show?" she interjected
"That's my show!" she said
"Oh, well, um, pleased to meet you, then."
"Wait a minute...oh my god...you were with the girl from Tigress, right?"
"I guess I was...yes, you're right!" I realized "I think I agreed to be her date."
"Then it looks like someone went home without their date." She said, now adding a slight smile.
"But how did I end up here? And where is 'here', anyway?" I asked while looking around.
"You're in my apartment, if you must know." She replied "I live here during the season."
"So, you're part of the cast, right?"
"OK, that solves one mystery."
"Maybe my cellphone will provide some answers." She said as she got out of bed
I tried not to check her out as she stood up and I got the full picture of her naked body. She had very nice tits and was completely smooth between her legs as far as I could tell.
"Go ahead and look, I guess I saw all you had last night." She said nonchalantly as she passed by.
"I hope you liked what you saw..." I mumbled to myself "Can I get some water?"
"Sure, go ahead." She replied from the next room.
I went through the pockets of my pants, but what was there provided no solutions to the growing mystery. There was a scrap of paper with an address that didn't seem familiar, a crumpled business card of mine, and a matchbook from someplace called the King Kong Lounge. My own cellphone didn't help much either, its battery was dead.
Stana seemed to be going through her phone too when I joined her in an adjoining room that seemed pretty disheveled, much like us. She had since put on a Chicago Cubs t-shirt but that didn't cover her up much.
"Solve the mystery yet, Detective?" I asked
"Looks like you know my character." She said as she continued to scroll through her phone.
"Lucky guess...um, have you ever heard of a place called the King Kong Lounge?"
"Oh, my god...were we there?" she groaned before holding her head again. Her hangover must've returned.
"What is it, anyway?"
"Well...if you must know" she began "it's a private club the show's producers have somewhere, I've never been sure of the location."
"So, we were there?"
"We?" she asked with eyebrows raised
"Well, yeah. I've got a matchbook from the place."
Stana looked closely at it, just as confused as I was.
"From your reaction, it sounds like it's not the greatest of places." I now said
"Let's just say, it's not somewhere I go often." She said as she handed the matchbook back to me.
"Uh-huh. I see now."
"Look, you seem like a nice guy but I don't know you and I really think you should go." She said quickly
"Right...I should be going."
I quickly gathered my things and headed for the door. As I opened it, I turned back to see Stana, still closely examining her cellphone and oblivious to my departure.
"Uh, it was good to meet you..." I said
"Yes...see you sometime." She replied hesitantly without looking
So, how did all this happen, you might be asking?
Well, it's a rather nice story now that I think bout it
It all began with an old friend, Amy Adamson. She'd risen up the ladder rather quickly at Artists Unlimited and had engineered the return of the female music trio Tigress back to the top of the music charts. Always thinking of the bigger picture, she wanted to make the girls multimedia stars. They'd already contributed music to films and now the idea of putting one, or all of them, in movies or TV was just as tempting. Their lead singer Candy Stratford seemed the obvious candidate for this. Candy certainly had star power, I'll say that.
"So like I said, we're gonna put Candy on TV." Amy said to me as we rode in a limo to a lunch meeting she was having with the producers of the detective series "Castle".
"I gotta say, you always did dream big." I replied as I looked over my Nikon camera
"It probably should be my middle name." she chuckled "What would you say to handling the photos for their website?"
"Have I ever turned you down, Amy?" I said
She smiled widely
"Then, let's get to work, Hollywood."
A week later, we arrived at the sound stages of the studio and were met by the producers who gave us the schedule for the day. The episode would be something of a dream sequence and would be a "film noir"-styled story set in the 1940's with Candy and the show's co-star as the "femme fatales" of the episode.
The director of the episode, whose name I forget, saw a unique opportunity as I fiddled with my camera. One scene would be outside a police station and I was hustled me off to wardrobe and given a vintage camera, thinking it would add to the sense of realism involving a "crush of reporters".
"You look great!" Amy said as she saw me in full costume
"I feel silly." I said as I fiddled with the collar of the old leather bomber jacket I wore "and this jacket itches."
"Let's get a second opinion...hey Detective Beckett!" she called out
A sexy, brown haired woman wearing a stylish trench coat tied tightly at the waist came over.
"Whatcha think?" Amy said as she pointed to me
"You look great!" she said "Is he a friend of yours?"
"Yep, see the cameras...they're going for authenticity here."
The woman in the trench coat nodded at me
"He looks good...real good." She said as she continued to look me over.
An assistant came over to tell me they were ready to rehearse my scene. As I was led away, I overheard her talking to Amy;
"He's cute! Is he taken?"
"Not as far as I know, here's his card... give him a call, he's a cool guy."
My "scene" as it were, had me as part of a crush of reporters and photographers trying to get at Candy's character as she exited a police station, escorted by the 1940's version of novelist Richard Castle, looking very Bogart-like in similar trench coat and fedora hat. Working with the old fashioned camera proved to be the toughest part for me. I'd been so spoiled by digital. No matter, a few clicks of the flash were all they'd need. The rest of the time, I'd just follow Candy around, getting whatever candid shots I could.
Around 5, the director called a wrap for the day.
"Hey! Jim! Wait up!" I heard behind me as a limo pulled up beside me, the window rolled down and Amy and Candy were inside.
"They're having a wrap party for the episode, you should go." Amy said
"Geez, I'm kinda beat...can I skip it?"
"You could... but I know a certain actress who'd be very disappointed." Candy said
"A certain actress, eh?" I replied "Is this actress in a limo right now?" I said to Candy
"No, but she'd gladly drive you to this party." Candy replied
"Well, never turn down a ride in a limo with a pretty girl, I always say." I said as I climbed in.
We soon pulled up to an unmarked building next to an auto parts warehouse.
"The party's here?" I asked cautiously
"This is the address they gave me." Amy said looking at the slip of paper.
The privacy screen between us and the driver slid down.
"It's completely legit, Ms. Adamson." The driver said "I've driven the cast down here a bunch of times."
Just then, a large gate slid open outside revealing several other cars within a parking area.
"I guess this is the spot, then." Amy said as we got out.
Inside was a raucous club with music playing from a live band that appeared to have members of the show's cast in it.
"My, my, my, this is the scene..." I said as I looked around.
"I think the bars over there. Get us a drink, Hollywood." Amy said as she took Candy to mingle with the cast.
I got drinks for the girls and as I rejoined them, I spotted the girl I'd seen in the trench coat leaning against the bar, looking very sultry, the lighting made her look like Lauren Bacall now that I thought about it.
"I'll have to get that girl's name." I thought to myself.
As the party went on, Amy had me get photos with cast members. But oddly, I kept seeing the "trench coat girl" hovering around the fringes. I wanted to know who she was. But every time I tried to ask someone from the show, or the production people, they got distracted before they could tell me.
Finally, I decided to find out for myself. The girl was back at the bar, sipping a glass of wine.
"Um, I keep seeing you around here but I can't be sure just who you are." I said to her.
"Oh, really?" she replied as she delicately held her wine glass "Well, I'm part of the usual crowd here."
"Ah, so you're one of the, shall we say, usual suspects, as the saying goes?"
"You could say that."
"I guess I could. I'm Jim, and you would be..."
"One of the usual suspects you referred to." She said before quickly adding "And one who'd like to get know you a little better."
"Well, we're here..."
"Yes, and I know some place better we could go, too."
Before I knew it, this mystery lady had taken my hand and led me outside to a large black Mercedes sedan.
"Wow! Awesome wheels!" I said excitedly
"Thanks, it comes in handy on nights like this." She said as she opened the back door and got in, I followed.
"My place, Robbie." She said to the driver
And from there, I have no idea what happened next or how I wound up in the bed of someone named Stana Katic.
I settled back into my routine at work, convinced that this one night stand was just that. But I still wanted to fill in the missing hour (or hours) of that night. Plus learn more about this woman I'd been with who seemed able to morph into a femme fatale. Who was she?
I decided to start backwards, who set this up in the first place?
Of course! Amy Adamson!
"You've gotta be kidding me!" she groaned when I called her that morning, I think I woke her up.
"Come on, it's a legitimate question!"
"Not at this time of the morning..." she said while yawning
"What was her name?"
"OK..." she said with a tired sigh "her name is...no, I think I'll have you figure that one out yourself."
"Figure it out yourself, you went on a detective series, surely you picked up something while there." She said before yawning again.
"Amy! Come on! It's too early for games!"
"My words, exactly." She laughed before hanging up the phone "Happy hunting Hollywood!"
I don't believe it! This is how I get repaid for all the work I did for her? I sat back in my chair.
"Oh well, I guess some mysteries weren't meant to be solved." I said to myself
Just then, my phone buzzed, the caller ID said "unknown."
"Hi, uh, is this Jim?" the female voice on the other end said
"Uh, this is Stana, Stana Katic, we met in my apartment."
I sat upright immediately
"Yes! Yes, I remember now."
"I think we got off on the wrong foot, I'd like to meet you. Maybe we could have a drink somewhere?"
"Sure! You name the place."
"My place, seven o'clock, let's do it right this time."
"I'll be there."
Luckily, she gave me her address. I'd been in such a fog that morning I never bothered to get it when I'd been there before. And since I'd been in a limo, I couldn't use the GPS in my car to retrace my route.
I'm glad I was sober when I returned, though. Stana had an apartment in a high-end complex called Metro West.
"Metro West, where have I heard that name before?" I muttered to myself as I pulled up and looked at the name plate on the front of the building.
That's it! The last time I saw Jennifer Aniston, she wanted me to look at renting a place there, at a very generous discount. Seeing the place from the outside now only made me more curious about accepting her offer.
I nervously knocked on the door to her apartment.
Opening the door was not the actress I remembered, but someone else altogether. It was the mysterious woman I'd seen at the cast party for "Castle."
"Hello, Jim...my name is Nikki...Nikki Heat." Said the woman
"Oh-kay...uh, have we met before?" I asked
"Oh, yes...at the party the other night." She said as she led me into the large apartment that still looked the same from the last time I was there "You looked so good, you know. I just had to get to know you better. You seemed to like the other person who lives here."
"And who would that be?" I replied cautiously as we sat on a large curving sofa
"Stana Katic, she's a very good friend of mine."
Nikki, (or was it Stana?), was dressed in a slinky silver negligee' and her brown hair was elegantly coiffed and perfumed too.
"Let me get you a drink, guys like you are bourbon lovers." She said seductively
"Oh! Uh, actually I'm not, I..." I tried to decline her drink (I had a very bad experience with bourbon years ago and reliving it at this moment was not high on my "bucket list" as it were) but to no avail. A glass was presented to me and I feared the smell of it making me vomit as I remembered my last encounter with the stuff.
But oddly, it had no smell. In fact it smelled more like...apple juice?
I took a small sip, it was apple cider. Rather good, too.
"You like?" she asked as she sat close to me.
"Yes, this is very good." I said as I took another sip
"Good, I always keep the good stuff around...for guys like you."
"Is that so...Nikki?"
"Yes...I like the good stuff." She said as she got even closer "it makes the tongue loosen up...so it can be put to, shall we say, good use."
Stana/Nikki got even closer and softly kissed me on the cheek.
"Yes, I can see why you want the tongue loosened up. Was there some secret you're trying to get from me?"
"Yes, I'm trying to find a man named Hollywood Jim."
My eyes widened immensely. Did she say what I thought she said?
"Hollywood Jim, he's supposed to be the big player in town. I wanna find him, find out if he's all he's been said to be."
Now what do I do? Play along or run like hell?"
"I've never met anyone by that name." I said quickly
"Yes, you have...and I'm looking at him right now."
I was trapped!
"You see, this Hollywood Jim has certain distinguishing characteristics."
"I do? I mean, he does?"
"Oh yes, the cameras he uses, very high-tech. He has a love of technology."
"R-really?" I croaked
"And his car, yes, his car." She said still sitting close to me "A sleek Mercedes SLK. Unlike others in their Porsches, he prefers a more...shall we say...subtle blend of technology when it comes to his car."
"Um, I r-really don't know what you're talking about." I stammered "In fact this is getting just a little too weird."
"There's one definitive way to find out." She said firmly
"Oh, and what's that?" I said as I stood up.
"Drop your pants, and I'll drop mine." She said
"No way, uh-uh, no can do!" I said firmly and got up to make my way to the door. "I know a lot of weird things happen in Hollywood, but this meeting is just getting too weird, even for a doofus like me." I said
"Suit yourself, hot shot." I heard behind me, it felt like a thunderbolt had hit me.
I slowly turned around.
"What did you say?"
"Hot shot, it's a nickname I know you have. You got it from someone didn't you?"
I was still silent, not sure what to say at the moment.
"Someone by the name of Aniston, right?" she continued, her arms spread out on the top of the couch and a look of steely determination on her face, like she'd just confronted the accused, and was ready to make the arrest.
"Jennifer Aniston, ring a bell...hot shot?"
"I know someone by that name yes."
"I do too."
"She told me, you're a great guy who should live in a place that fits his personality."
Her tone of voice had returned to the one I heard when we awoke together and when I'd seen her on the set. Perhaps the role-playing had ended.
"You should consider this, the place you should be."
We both stared at one another and then a smile came over her.
"Welcome to Metro West, Jim." She said with a laugh.
I was still confused.
"OK, I'm lost here." I said "what just went on?"
"It's called improv, Jim!" she laughed "Also known as Acting 101."
"So you're name isn't Nikki but..."
"It's Stana, Stana Katic." She said as she stood up and kissed me "and you played this perfectly!"
I breathed a sigh of relief, still unsure of what went on but I had to admit it was unique.