I had called Jon five minutes earlier. “Did you hear about Katy?” Jon is now a senior development executive at a New York-based TV network, but at the time I first met him back in '93, he was Katy’s assistant and I was an agent in the department she was heading.
“Yes. I saw it in Variety yesterday.” He kind of laughed after he said this which threw me. I stopped rubbing my shoe. We were talking about Katy’s obituary, after all.
“I just feel sorry for her. Whatever hate I had was gone the moment I saw that yesterday,” I told him in the middle of his giggle. I actually stopped hating Katy years ago once my career slipped back on track and she was no more to me than a party anecdote or a playfully drunken imitation from Billy.
Katy would start to drink her vodka at ten in the morning and the slurring would begin around three. She would excuse herself, go home, drink more, then spend the night calling Billy and me, and I’d later find out that she would call Jon, as well. At night, she’d turn mean, real mean.
She affected an accent both regal and silly, proudly claimed she was from Poundridge as if that were impressive, and her hands always shook when she’d slowly bring her cigarette to her heavily lipsticked mouth. She’d routinely steal my deals, undermine my negotiations, and lie to the agency president about me. I wasn’t alone, though. She did it to everyone. When I was fired, the only time in my career that I’d ever been fired, she asked security to surround her claiming she feared for her personal safety.
Katy, Billy, and I once went to cover Carole King’s concert at the Beacon. Carole was a music client of the agency, and I became close to her while representing her much younger actor boyfriend. Backstage after the show, Katy started drinking. A lot. It took about twenty minutes for her to get sloshy. She started to paw at Carole in that holiday office party way, and I saw Carole squirm.
“Go hang out with Carole,” I whispered to Billy, “and I’ll put Katy in a cab.” I sweet-talked Katy out of the room, held her arm as I guided her up the stairs to the street. I verbally petted her as I would a dog, hailed a cab, and hugged her sloppy self good night. She tried to kiss me on the mouth. I told the cabbie to please make sure she got into the door of her apartment building, and went back to join Billy and the after party reverie.
Billy was sitting at the table with Carole talking about, well, I don’t know what they were talking about, but they were laughing and I nodded to Billy that Katy was gone. Carole caught my signals, shook her head, and said, “Katy’s quite a drinker, huh?” I blushed, smiled, and shrugged.
Jon and I traded a few more stories about Katy before I hung up and continued to rub that scuff off my shoe.