THE DOUCHE BAGS AND COVID-19

Jake Spring sat at his desk thinking about life. It had been six weeks since Home Isolation had started and the truth was he was starting to go a little stir crazy.

His week was spent watching webinars and writing proposals. He had been involved in a Facebook Live series but after six weeks that had come to an end.

There was a certain frustration as Jake had applied to get development money for new series from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation but he had receive nine rejection notices, so those plans had crashed.

He was feeling kind of in limbo when he received a Facetime call from his Niece Abigail and his amazing two year old Great Niece Miriam.

It was a wonderful call and it concluded with Jake telling Miriam a story about an incredible little dog named Lucky. She loved it and that made Jake a very happy man.

After hanging up the phone, Jake sat back and his mind wandered. It went back eight years earlier when Abigail was having a very rough time. She was going to an elite University and studying to become a Physiotherapist when she received very sad news. Her Mother Tricia was in the hospital and not doing well. Tricia had been diagnosed with cancer and it had spread rapidly through her body. Doctors were not optimistic.

Jake went to the hospital to visit Tricia and he took a very fatigued Abigail to lunch. While they were eating Abigail mentioned she had missed a concert the night before because she wanted to be with her Mother. One Love was the featured act. She liked the lead singer a guy named Raji. He and his band had some forgettable top ten hits, and some popular music videos. Abigail said she listened to their music all the time. They had one song ‘’When Did The World Turn Upside Down’’ that really spoke to her. Jake mentioned that he had signed a deal with a production company to shoot a music video on a property he owned and he was pretty sure it was for the group ‘’One Love.’’

Jake left the hospital and went directly to his building. A transformation had taken place and his lobby looked like a train station. He saw the Producer and was introduced to the Director and the Band. He asked Raji (Abigail’s favourite, if he would take two minutes and say hello to his Niece). Raji pulled out a cigarette, and stared straight ahead while Jake dialed Abigail. She answered on the third ring ‘’Uncle, I can’t talk, Mom is not doing well.’’ Jake responded quickly ‘’I just wanted you to say Hello to Raji, you know the guy you said was your favourite musician’’.

Jake handed over the phone and Raji reluctantly took it. ‘’Yeah, Abigail, so Hello. I’m here with this guy who asked me to say Hello, so I’m saying Hello.’’ He then derisively handed the phone back to Jake and stormed away flicking his cigarette butt to the floor.

The next day Jake receive a call from the Producer of the Music Video and another one from the Publicist for the band. The Producer explained that Raji was very upset with the intrusion on his space and time and didn’t like being forced to say Hello to Jake’s Niece. The Producer told Jake he shouldn’t come back to the set as he wasn’t allowed to approach or speak to the artist or any of the band members again.

When he finished, Jake exploded. ‘’You’re renting my property, I can talk to whoever the hell I want when I want. I don’t need third parties telling me what I can and can’t do. Tell Raji that I’m sorry the fifteen seconds he spent on the phone was such a major inconvenience and he can go Fuck himself. Oh, and you better make sure you leave the property immaculate after the music video shoot, or I’ll make sure my Lawyers collect all of the penalties called for in our agreement. I saw there was some broken lights yesterday but I didn’t say anything. Here’s my message to you, don’t ever fucking waste my time with a bullshit call like this again. In the future if you need somewhere to shoot a music video, take my properties off your list.’’

The call from the Band’s Publicist was even more ridiculous. ‘’Hi, I’m Sahara and I represent Our Love and Raji. I’m their publicist. He was quite upset that you infringed on his time to talk to someone. In the future, please put in a written request if you want something and I’ll see if he can accommodate you. I’m very sorry but you can’t have contact with him or the band without getting my permission first.’’

After a long pause Jake spoke in a very low voice. ‘’Sahara, my Niece’s Mother is in the Hospital with cancer and it is very bad. Your client, Raji spent less than thirty seconds on the phone saying hello to her. I thought talking to him would help make her day a little more tolerable. She’s living through hell. This call is fucking ridiculous. Let’s find out how good a Publicist you are. I have a very close friend at Entertainment Tonight. He’s an Executive Producer. I’m going to tell him about this call and we’ll see how much you like defending your fuck head client. I doubt he’ll ever put any of the people you represent on his show once he hears about this nonsense. I will also get in touch with all the entertainment writers at major newspapers and the wire services. They’re going to think Raji is a piece of shit, which apparently he is. Are you there Sahara? I don’t hear anything. Come on, let’s play. I asked a fucking insignificant guy to say Hello to a girl who has a dying Mother and he has made it into a big deal. I think I’m going to call my Lawyer who is an expert in Entertainment Law and ask him to get in touch with One Love’s record label. I’ll bet they’ll love this story and the fact we intend to make sure TMZ and The Blast now about it as well. What do you think Sahara?’’

There was silence on the line ‘’Uh, I apologize for Raji’s conduct, I’m sure he didn’t mean anything and would feel very bad to know about your Niece’s Mom. I’m sorry this has been blown out of proportion. I uh, uh well this should never have happened and I’m in the middle but I apologize for Our Love and uh can we just forget about this call and just let things be. Please don’t tell Entertainment Tonight, or the other media outlets. It’s all a big misunderstanding.’’

Jake looked at his phone. Okay it’s all over, but I’d appreciate it if you could try and explain humility to Raji. Not all people have sick Mothers, but to be decent to a person for a couple of minutes should never be an issue. Good Luck dealing with that asshole in the future I don’t admire your job.’’

A week later Abigail’s Mom, Tricia passed.

Jake felt proud at how well Abigail had done since Tricia’s passing, despite huge challenges. He thought about putting Raji on the phone with her and he didn’t have one second of regret. He did a quick google search and it showed that Raji and One Love had broken up and they had a new lead singer. He had married a high profile Canadian singer and it had ended in a messy divorce. Raji had been attempting a solo career but wasn’t having a lot of success. It all served him right. He was an asshole, top ten hits or not.

Just before he stood up to go get a cup of tea, Jake thought about his life and he knew he had his priorities right. He always tried to do the right thing and be decent. He wondered why people who commanded centre stage often blew that very simple opportunity. He knew that somehow, some way it would always come back to haunt them.

Alan Schwarz loves life. He is the founder of JAMS Productions, a television production company based in Toronto . His passion is writing.

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