I had a background acting gig to go to yesterday morning at 7:45, so instead of going to the bar like I do every Tuesday night, I stayed home and drank a bottle of dark beer. I thought it would help me get to sleep, but there was to be no sleeping on this beer or this night. I was wide awake for hours after my head hit the pillow, my mind going in circles about needing just 6 hours of sleep, then 5 was acceptable, then 4, then 3, then anything. It was like trying to fall asleep with a pistol to your head. I talked to someone later who had the same problem that night and said the full moon had something to do with it. Anyway, by 3 a.m. my thoughts had grown murderous. I thought about taking my rage out on the mattress. I probably would’ve if Erica wasn’t sleeping next to me. I threw the blankets around, kept changing positions. Finally, about an hour before I had to wake up, I nodded off. It wasn’t a deep sleep. I dreamt about people from my long-distant past. People who brought me much pain way back when but now seem more like figments of my imagination. Did they even exist in the first place?
I rode my bicycle to the address where the filming was supposed to take place. I say supposed to intentionally. They’d given us the wrong address. We’d been sent to some random apartment building in Friedrichshain, and before we found out we’d been misdirected, we stood around in a circle scratching our asses. There were about 10 of us, and one of the extras, it turned out, was from Titusville, Florida. Have you ever been to Titusville? I haven’t. Do you know anything about it? I don’t (even AFTER looking at its Wiki page). Its representative was about 50, wearing sunglasses and a baseball cap with a dark hoodie pulled over it and a few long clumps of gray hair sticking out the sides. He was talking to another extra when I first overheard him, saying something about how 6 years ago he’d gotten a German woman pregnant at a commune in Nicaragua, and that’s why he was in Germany. He said he worked here as an office masseuse, i.e. he showed up at offices and gave people massages – he didn’t massage the offices themselves, as far as I know. He talked like one of those white guys who wants to sound ghetto but can’t pull it off. No, it wasn’t looking good for Titusville…
After standing around for about 20 minutes, we got the address where the filming actually took place. It was about 20 minutes away by bicycle. I rode alongside three other extras, and we got there at about 8:30 a.m. The role I was to play was a patron at a Karaoke bar, and I brought along two sets of clothes for the casting people to choose from. Easy. It’s always good when you get to wear your own clothes as opposed to some of the god-awful clown suits they throw at you. They’re always ill-fitting. The shoes pinch, the trousers grab wrong about the ass and crotch, the shirts are stitched together cattywampus so that one sleeve’s a good inch longer than the other and the neck chokes like a hangman’s noose. And if that’s not enough, they epoxy your lip and stick a fake mustache to it that falls off whenever you smile. That’s my experience anyway.
After changing in the costume trailer, I got a double espresso at the other trailer, where the breakfast food was being served. Then I found out that trailer wasn’t for us extras. We had our own trailer and there was coffee in it… if you want to call it coffee. I sat on the curb outside of it and sipped my espresso, waiting for something to happen. I didn’t have to wait long. With the morning sun at his back and a long shadow in front of him, here came my Titusville buddy. He was no longer wearing his Unibomber disguise. He’d let his hair down and was donning (not wearing – some things you can only don) a black t-shirt with a Greywolf screen-printed on the front of it. The shirt looked like something they sell among cases of Monster energy drink and used razor blades at some backalley Slavakian bazaar. The shirt was his, not the casting people’s. It was his idea.
“Where’d you get the coffee?” he asked.
I pointed to the trailer, but said it was a mistake. I said the coffee for the extras is in the extra trailer.
“We get the mud,” he said, bitterly. “They don’t care about us.”
He lit a crooked cigarette.
He continued: “They treat us like dawgs, that’s what it is.”
I sipped my espresso and sat there in the morning sun. A few minutes later, they called us all into the bar.
He was still complaining. “Daawgs they treat us like, that’s what it is right there.”
I told him he should’ve worn a shirt with a dog on it instead of a wolf, it would‘ve been perfect.
He didn’t laugh.
The shooting only lasted a few hours. It was cake. All I did was stand at the bar, drink beer from a bottle and watch the stage, clapping when prompted. Then, in the end, we were served lunch. Pasta with no meat or vegetables, just the sauce. And you know my Titusville friend had to register some complaints. I was waiting for it.
“It’s daaaaaaawgs they treat us like,” he kept saying.
But he did go back for seconds.