I had one more chance.
It was final scene day, the last day of school at Atlantic Acting Conservatory.
It was a full house and the heat was on. Lizzie performed a scene from Stop Kiss. I performed Zoo Story and was still in my nerdy J-Crew sweater I wore for the scene. The applause was immense. People left their seats. I knew this was it. The last shot. I had ducked her the whole semester. Do or die.
I was 22.
I walked up to her, finally.
“Hey. I’m Greg.”
“I liked your scene.” I told her.
“You too, thanks.” She said.
Here I go…
Then at my most pivotal moment, some FUCKING dude in her FUCKING movement class pulled her away for some stupid FUCKING reason. Sorry for cursing.
“I’ll be right back”, she told me as her friend tugged on her to follow.
My window of time was shrinking.
My friend George, dressed dapper in a pin-striped suit after performing a scene from Glen Gary Glen Ross, asked if I wanted to smoke a blunt in the park real quick.
“I can’t. I’m asking her out.”
“Finally. Took you all semester. Let’s go real quick.”
“No. I’m waiting.”
“She’s talking to some friends, we’ll be right back. You look stupid just standing here waiting.”
It was snowing as we walked across W. 16th street and sat on a random park bench across from the theatre. George lit the blunt… and then
“ARE YOU GUYS KIDDING ME?!”
Two undercover cops.
George sucked the living life out of the blunt one last time-
“DON’T TAKE ONE MORE PUFF YOU FUCKIN- PUT IT OUT!” One of the cops said.
George put it out.
“Don’t you two know not to smoke pot outside an elementary school while there’s fuckin kids playing around?”
Yeah, turned out that park bench was actually an elementary school playground. We looked at the handball courts. The kids were out. It was recess.
CUT TO George and I standing in handcuffs right outside the theatre with our heads down praying nobody walked outside.
CUT TO the Chelsea Precinct of Manhattan.
CUT TO the cop escorting us to a jail cell, George in his wall street suit and me still in my nerdy J-crew sweater.
The bars clank shut. I looked up and saw five kiddie gangsters that I, in a moment, learned were all from the Chelsea Projects. The kids were all thugged out, staring dumbfounded at our costume attire. They burst out laughing.
“Damn yo these niggas serious! Whatchu do?”
So I told the kid, “Uhhh… We smoked a blunt at an elementary school. By accident.”
“So you niggas is high?”
I looked at George. George looked at me.
“Well, yeah. I’m pretty high. Are you? George?”
“Yeah I’m blazed” he said, laughing.
“Daaaaaaaammmmmmmmnnnnnnn” And the project kids burst out laughing hysterically.
So I asked one of them what they were in for.
“Aiight. You know MySpace?”
“MySpace. It’s like… you know, w. w. w. m. y.—–”
I cut him off, “Yeah yeah, I know what fucking MySpace is, what the hell does it have to do with you being in jail?”
So he gave me this whole story about how some kid’s mom looked at his MySpace page, freaked out for no reason, and now he was sitting in jail with his friends for assault and battery. The story made no fucking sense.
The cell door opened.
A short stocky black dude full of steam was unhandcuffed.
The gate closed.
The short stocky black dude turned around and looked at us, foaming from the eyes, waiting for someone to say something so he could explode, but nobody said shit. We all kept our eyes carefully pointed at the grounded. We were all terrified.
Out of nowhere he PUNCHES the cement wall and grabs the bars with all his might and screams “FUUUUUCCCCCCKKKKKKKKK!”
I had no idea where this was going.
Eventually his crack high wore off and he told me a story about how he killed a man when he was 19 years-old, got out of prison, and today, for no reason at all, the cops tackled him outside his cousin’s apartment. Now he was now going back to prison for life.
Another story that didn’t quite add up but jarred a bit of panic inside me.
The cell gate opened again and in came this Latin dude with a cut-up tee shirt and gym shorts.
There’s now nine of us in a small holding cell. Me, George, the four kiddie gangsters, a homeless dude that told me he was hopping a turnstile, the furious black dude and now this guy.
The cops asked the Latin dude his name and he said
“Fernando Luiz Renaldo Gonzalez”.
Five minutes later the cop came back and told him that name didn’t exist.
“Okay. The name my mom she give to me when born is different. Is Salvier Lucho.”
Five minutes later the cop came back and told him that name also didn’t exist.
After another five renditions of a fake name, I realized this guy was completely fucked.
Anyway, after eight hours, George and I were released and we had to go to this pot class run by this Rastafarian dude a couple weeks later… But the point is I never saw Lizzie Olsen ever again until I watched Martha Marcy Mae Marlene- some dope movie she was in.
So I guess the moral of the story is don’t smoke a blunt at an elementary school while the kids are on recess