By James Scott Bell
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Extra resources for Breach of Promise
Imagination can be a terrible thing. Looking at myself in the rearview mirror, I thought I’d be ripe for a remake of The Picture of Dorian Gray. The bags under my eyes were like suitcases. There would be no need for makeup. A star in the making. “You look tired,” Nancy said. ” I said, trying to sound like I had some energy left for acting. ” 38 BAD THINGS “Is it a vampire role? ” Nancy Radford, my auburn-haired, middle-aged agent, pursed her lips. She was not in the mood for jocularity. She wanted to get me work.
Mom, whose real name was Estelle Gillen but who preferred to be called Rainbow, returned with me to her mother’s home in Chatsworth, a suburb of Los Angeles. My early memories are of my grandmother, Joyce Gillen, a widow who worked reception at Hughes Aircraft. Even when I was six or seven, I saw her as the mother figure in my life. Mom was trying to come back from her years as a brain-fried flower child. She hooked up with another man, a guy named Barza who ran a Harley shop in Canoga Park. Mom, in photographs from the time, is very beautiful in a natural sort of way.
No, not yet, not yet. “Yeah,” I said, homing in on her. ” Sounding impressed, if just a tad skeptical. “Milt Spielberg, down at the deli. ) laugh, but I was still in the ballgame. A little joke to keep the industry talk rolling. Maybe she’d think I was funny and charming enough to introduce to her husband, whoever he was. ” Kay Millard said. I remember that clearly. She said it, looking past my shoulder. But it was like the voice came from across the street somewhere—white noise, inconsequential—because I had already formed my follow-up question and asked it the moment she stopped talking.