“Hello. I am Abulkhair Ospan, Sir.”

“Stand in the spotlight, Abulkhair, and read the lines please.”

“Ahem. When I get out of the tube, I am going to the pube and then to the clube.”

“What sort of accent is that?”

“I am Kazakh, Sir.”

“Well, this is not Kazakhstan. Please pronounce the words as if you were born in Peoria.”

“How would they sound please, Sir?”

“When I get out of the tub, I am going to the pub and then to the club. Ok, try the Shakespeare.”

“To die, to sleep. To sleep, perchance to Dream; aye, there’s the rube, For in that sleep of death…”

“Stop. Sorry, you aren’t right for the part.”

“Please, have you something else for me, Sir?”

“We’re doing a play about the circus. There is a small part we haven’t filled yet. A fight breaks out and you rush in and shout the old carney phrase Hey, Rube! Can you do that?”

“Oh yes, Sir. Here it is… Hey, Rub!”


For the Daily Prompt.

Busking 13

I got rousted from 7th and 62nd so I moved over to 8th and 64th. Officer O’Reilly’s beat stops at 63rd.


Drop your money in the hat and name the song.

If I don’t know the song, I’ll improvise the music and lyrics.

1. If you don’t like that, I will give your quarter to Anne and ask her to try.

2. If you don’t like her version, Anne will give your quarter to James and ask him to try.

3. If you don’t like his version, James will give your quarter to Judith and ask her to try.

4. If you don’t like her version, Judith will give your quarter to Arnie and ask him to try.

5. If you don’t like his version, Anne, James, Judith, Arnie, and I will take off our hats, stand in a line, and with our hands over our hearts, sing the National Anthem. Then please move along.

Dinner with De Niro and Pacino

I had dinner last night with De Niro and Pacino. I met them at Geoffrey’s Malibu an hour before sunset. It was mild and we sat out on the patio overlooking the ocean.

I didn’t know who was paying but it wasn’t me, so I didn’t stint on my drinks, my appetizer (sautéed Maryland lump crab cakes), or my dinner (Togarashi dusted seared Ahi tuna). De Niro ate a lot of red meat and drank plenty; I wouldn’t insure the guy’s heart or circulatory system, I’ll tell you that. Pacino drank and stuck to something green and leafy, from which he picked the bits of cheese. The chef, Bijan Shokatfard, made an appearance but waited until the principals were probably too bleary to distinguish him from Remy the rat.

Pacino is four years older than me, De Niro one year older. They’re both short, of course. They’ve both got this energy thing, this dynamic aura or whatever, radiating from them, but I still think I could take either one in a fair fight.

They were both there with women half their age. Wives? Daughters? Publicists? I was there with a woman half my age too, so we never got into who was doing what to whom. A lot of smiling and no “And what do you do?”

These two guys. They gave me half an ear but you could tell they had something going on between themselves, this alpha-dog BS. It was in their eyes, which couldn’t hold still, kept drifting back to the other guy. Both their companions kept patting them on the arm, murmuring in their ear, and I’d hear snatches of “Remember, you promised you wouldn’t…” and “Just let it go, Baby…”

I heard, hell, I hear all the time, that they’ve never gotten over “Righteous Kill.” Rooster and Turk. What  were they thinking? Putting themselves in the hands of Jon Avnet – who, and I give him credit for this and this alone – has directed multiple episodes of “Justified.” He had already squandered Pacino in “88 Minutes” and now Pacino comes back for more? Rooster. Pacino is 70, for Pete’s sake. They’re supposed to be swinging dicks, but it’s their wattles that do that. Not that I’m any prize myself, but I’m not a megastar except to my family and a couple of special friends like my partner at dinner (she ordered a two-pound Maine steamed lobster). Hollywood.

What do I know that I didn’t know before dinner last night? Every girl or young woman or grown-up woman that I’ve idolized and desired from afar, in grammar school or high school or college or on the set, wherever, when I finally hooked up with her, she disappointed. That, I already knew. But now I’m thinking that it’s the same with movie stars.