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Reckoning Daze

By Michael McCarthy All Rights Reserved ©

Thriller / Humor

Blurb

“An actress is always a starving artist,” so says Lindsay Harmon-Foster, a talented but struggling Los Angeles actress in Michael Beaulieu’s gripping debut novel Reckoning Daze. Lindsay, 19, a former star of a critically acclaimed but canceled series, is now doing a pilot that might prove to be the role of a lifetime, but her anorexia and other habits could kill her before she’s cast for the full series. Although she has long been self-destructive, she’s never been more so than now and there may be casualties. Aside from losing the show she loved, she thought she had found her soulmate in a rising music star named Jesse, but he committed suicide and she blames herself. Will she land the new series and allow herself to find love again with an handsome actor named Marc or will addictions – and suppressed family secrets – be the death of her? While Lindsay’s demons are portrayed with unflinching honesty, the way she views Los Angeles and the television business is often comical. If you like Bret Easton Ellis and Chuck Palahniuk, you’ll find Reckoning Daze’s blend of serious drama and satire to be a perfect blend of laughs and suspense. Get it today and find out if Lindsay

Chapter One

LOS ANGELES, 2005

I’m at Zentropa. We filmed here. Three times. The show was called 818-EDEN. About struggling actresses in the valley. Overly complicated misfits. My character, Susan Fitzpatrick, thought she could fuck her way to the top. Maybe she would have; the plot was full of surprises. We were axed almost a year ago, April 2004. Only twelve of the sixteen episodes we’d shot had aired. We were in the middle of filming the seventeenth when they told us we were finished. Security escorted us off of the Marquis Bros. lot that morning. Sometimes I go back there though. To score drugs. It’s in Burbank, just a few miles away from chez moi. Not far from the airport.

My body is moving, but I’m swaying more than dancing. I’m so thirsty. The Jacques Lu Cont remix of “Breathe on Me” by Britney is throbbing away. At least I think that’s what the DJ is spinning right now. That’s DJ Dreadz. A pale white boy who looks like Eminem with black hair and a pierced chin. His eyes are such a dark shade of brown that you barely notice the color. It just looks like he has gigantic pupils. People must think he’s high all the time. He probably is.

I didn’t drive myself here, but I can’t remember who drove. I think there were three of us in the car. It was red, but then we all have red cars. Me and my girls. I’m confused. To think I used to have a photographic memory. It went away though. Funny how you can lose a gift like that. You treasure it like a pet and then it dies and creates an empty feeling inside you that can never be filled.

This is the place to be, ever since it first appeared in our show. They say we had a cult following. Critics loved us, I know that much. But the ratings, they just weren’t there. The network wanted better. So did their advertisers. So did I. I’m still starving. Always hungry, that’s me.

When I get this hungry, I can feel my blood pressure dropping. Literally. It’s as though it can’t quite make it up the arteries to my brain, so my brain starts to lose oxygen and begins having contractions, like a lung inhaling and exhaling. Forcefully, exhausted. My heart beats harder, skipping every other beat to conserve energy for the hard ones, then it pounds, loud as a gunshot, trying to get the blood up to my brain. Even standing up becomes so difficult.

I’m not quite dancing, not anymore. I have to sit down, or lie down. Lying down is always better, makes it easier for the blood to get to my brain and give it the oxygen it craves. Maybe that’s just my imagination. Sometimes the headache still lingers for hours, but at least I know I won’t die. I’m just famished and thirsty. So thirsty. So lost.

I’m high, but drugs don’t increase my appetite. Not even weed. Not anymore. I might be hungry enough to eat now though. I’m not sure. It’s so hot in here. I wish I had a glass of cold water. Cold water on ice. Maybe something to nibble on. I wonder if my brain is eating itself. I’ve been like this for years. My friend Liz says that my muscles are devouring themselves. Even my heart could be eating itself, she says. I know it’s true. I’ve read all about it on websites with fancy, mystical names like Blue Dragonfly and House of Sins. All hail our goddess ana. Whether we want to or not. I’ve been like this for years. You don’t know when it becomes involuntary, but it does.

Praise Ana.

Nothing tastes as good as thin feels.

Physical pain masks the emotional.

Weakness does not make for perfection.

Nothing in moderation.

Hunger means you’re in control.

Embrace the metallic taste.

Delicious = disaster.

Starvation makes perfection.

Above all, restrict calories.

Don’t ever go over 500.

Ana is your only friend.

Ana is the only one who understands.

Amen.

Forgive my bad poetry/prayer/mantras.

I don’t pray though. Or at least I try not to, whenever I can help it. Sometimes I think praying is like touching a butterfly’s delicate wings; it always ends badly, but it’s so beautiful – so tempting – that we still can’t help but touch it. Masturbation for the mind. I did it a lot when I was younger, but then I basically stopped. I don’t remember why. I think my mother prayed, probably to Oscar, as in The Oscars, alias The Academy Awards. We only went to church on Christmas and Easter, which would piss me off more than if you didn’t go at all, if I were god. I’m not sure whether I do or don’t believe in the almighty. She was probably une actrice. And a bitch. When I’m this hungry, sometimes I want to believe. Mother was jealous of the rave reviews I was getting. Sometimes I wish god would save me. Sometimes when I’m freaking out on coke, I ask him to. (Him, her, small g, capital G, what’s it matter?) She hadn’t done a series in years. I wish god would make it ok for me to eat... something. Rebecca Harmon, a movie-of-the-week starlet who’d failed on the big screen. A slice of pineapple pizza maybe. I used to love that. She always wanted an Oscar and an Emmy. One of each. I can’t remember the last time I had it. She never got either, never will. She killed herself last July. The fourth, actually. Mostly, I’m just thirsty. Libertine. Cause for celebration. She rejoiced when we were cancelled, threw a party to relish in my failure. La Fête du Diable. I don’t talk to my father anymore. That stopped a few months before mother’s suicide. I started seeing a therapist.

Did I have those cherries this morning, or was that yesterday? Maybe it’s better if god doesn’t exist. I’m slipping away, headed for a fall. What’s this for? To be thin. That’s what it’s all about. Always about being thin. Thin, thin, thin. Thinner than my mother. To be a better actress. Thinner is the winner, you know. I need to feel the bones of my hips with nothing but skin between them and my little fingertips. I’m proud of my small hands. Tiny. Petite. But it’s so confusing, being here right now. The way a girl should be. Thinner than my mother. To be a better person. When I was chubby, she called me “fatty.” Those who indulge, bulge. I haven’t had a period in four months. I don’t miss her. My therapist hates me. My mother has been dead for over six months already. Serves her right. So hungry. I think he blames me. I thirst. My dry throat hurts. It needs to be quenched.

There’s just too much happening. So hard to stay focused. And I need to. Stay focused. I have to be a success. Be the better actress.

I’m nineteen, if anyone’s wondering whether or not I’m legal, but my fake I.D. comes from the actual D.M.V. Not that it matters. We filmed here, made it the place to be.

I don’t know what song Dreadz is bringing in. Is that my heart skipping a beat or the bass? Boom, boom, boom. Is it Madonna? “I Want You,” maybe? That’s the song with Massive Attack, right? This place is... intense. I think I know this remix.

Where in da club is Sonia-Maria? I can’t believe she still hasn’t come back from the restroom. She was on the show. She’s probably doing coke. I can’t believe I let her dye my beautiful blonde hair blue today. So blue. She played Tanya Wellington, a bulimic who did a lot of drugs, constantly overindulging in everything. Cerulean blue. Is Liz here with us tonight? I can’t remember. Liz doesn’t act. She used to be a model. Someone said that my hair matches my eyes now. I’m not sure who. Liz has a baby, Carlie. I think Liz was with me the last time I ate pineapple pizza. I’m too hungry to remember. Who called me – that’s Lindsay Harmon-Foster – a scenester the other day? Jesse? He isn’t here tonight, is he? I don’t think I’m dancing again, yet I feel like I am. Maybe I had pizza with him. No, probably just sex. I forget. I try to forget. There are things I’d be better off just forgetting. I wonder what pizza would taste like with pineapple and cherries. Maybe I just drank too much red wine. Fucking Coppola Merlot. My middle name is Corina. That’s what Jesse calls me sometimes. There are some things I can’t remember. Is that why my fingers are tingling? Does my hair actually match my eyes? Cerulean?

“Cerulean Blue, that’s your new name,” someone shouts in my ear from behind just before I collapse and she catches my fall. I recognize her pretty hands – long crimson fingernails – then I’m out. Again.

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