Monday, January 5, 2009

Mac, Slater, and Me

"Did you hear, Mr. Leiken?" Kazani gushes. "My Own Worst Enemy is coming to our school to film!"

I grunt. In other cities a film crew generates excitement. In the middle of a two year stint serving time at Macy's, I watched a huge crowd gather around Sinbad in the film "First Kid."

But in LA a film crew rates somewhere above traffic accident but below star sighting. "I heard that show was canceled." I reply.

"So what!" Kazani laughs. "Christian Slater! Didn't you see him in "True Romance?"

"Yes, it's one of my favorite films."

Around 3 the film crew gathers in the hallway, directly outside my room. They're filming in an art class across the hall. It's a typical crew, casual and pony-tailed, but this one is more subdued. Probably all thinking about where they are going to have to work next.

I study them wondering what the hell am I doing teaching? Wasn't this my dream? To work in entertainment? I ask where the Kraft services truck is, the crew tells me it's outside if I want to eat anything.

Love the Kraft services truck. Best part about being an extra.

One of my former students arrives, Mac. "Did you see what's going on outside mister?" Mac asks.

"They're right outside my door, Mac."

"Contributing to the rot of society. Just a little bit of TV a day keeps the brain away." he chuckles. Mac is always full of fortune cookie wisdom. "Did you see that guy, mister?"

"What guy?"

"The guy the show is about."

"Christian Slater?"

"Yeah. He's right outside your door."

I open my door. Sure enough, Slater's sitting down, chilling in a portable chair. The lead of "True Romance", one of my favorite films, just a foot away. He looks up. "Sorry, am I in your way?"

I start grinning like an idiot. Keep it cool, Leiken. Don't ask him to imitate Jack Nicholson, keep it casual. I'm still grinning like an idiot. "Can I get a photo?"

Slater smiles, waving. "Sure!"

"C'mon Mac, lets get a photo."

Mac shrugs.

A school photographer snaps a shot of me, Mac, and Slater.

I know we're all supposed to play it cool, that a celebrity is just a human being like the rest of us.

I failed. Can't help it. Slater starred in "True Romance."

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