Luckily I found garycotti right away and made him my anchor for the night. I saw our CEO, a handsome woman with Beltway aspirations, standing there looking lost in Hollywood, and I went to her to introduce myself. She smiled, distractedly pushing her hair from her face and looked the other way, over my shoulder into the distance of something that just had to be more interesting than my party talk.
The audience reacted well to the visually stunning footage, and when the lights came up in the theater, we were all herded up to the party on the roof of the parking structure. An igloo-like dome had the outlines of various countries on it and a round aborigine played the didgeridoo in the center of the giant circular bar. I overheard one woman proclaim that he looked as if he came from Central Casting,
A publicist from our mothership channel slid up to me asking if I would approach the star of one of our shows to see if he’d be up for a photo-op with our CEO. I was talking to Bruce and Chris, two friends who’d come to the screening, and I didn’t really feel like working a stranger, but I was at a company event acting like a company man.
“Chip is right over there in the green-checked shirt.” His head nodded toward a crowded couch of people. I’d never met Chip, hadn’t even watched his show, and I pondered why this short nervous publicist was asking me to do his job of securing press photos.
I walked over to the couch, interrupted his conversation, and introduced myself. When I suggested that our CEO would like her picture taken with him, he graciously stood and followed me over to the photographer and our leader lady.
“Chip, this is Judith. Judith, this is Chip.” I was all fake-smiley until I saw the big boss look at me as if I had a booger, and then I heard “Chip” say, “No, I’m Chris. The other guy on the show.”
The smile stayed although my face grew red as I apologized and backed away slowly when the flashes started. I found the publicist, stood three inches from his face, and said, ”You made me look like a fucking moron. That wasn’t Chip, you stupid fuck, and don’t ever ask me for anything again” His apologies faded as I left him behind.
I walked around the party looking for his boss, but couldn’t find her. The food was good, but too small to make a meal. I was hungry and tired and embarrassed, and I had the dogs in the car. After I made a round of goodbyes, I saddled myself behind the wheel where Stephen and Eddie tongued me while wiggling themselves silly, and after a stop for a Spicy Chicken Jack with Cheese, I sat in front of my TV, in my underwear, and ate while watching Studio 60, longing to work at a real television network.