Impressing James Cameron

Combine the following words/ideas into a story: Burbank, James Cameron, Twelve pipers piping, snowmen


Los Angeles. Hollywood. The biz. December. The worst time of year. Work is dry, it’s cold, not “cold” cold but LA cold, you don’t even get to build snowmen. Can it really be called winter if there’re no snowmen? Can it really be called Hollywood if it’s Burbank, wrong side of the hill, where all the workers are but big wigs are not. Burbank, where second and third jobs are practically a requirement: waiting tables, bartending, and December Christmas pageants, twelve pipers piping, that’s what I am this year.

Five years I’ve been here, four years I’ve been doing this thing. Not exactly what I had in mind, coming from Colorado, an “acting” career: student films, bit parts here and there, and every December it’s the downtown Burbank Christmas show. Calling birds, ringing bells, last year I was a French hen. At least I get to be a human this year, a piping piper, whatever that is.

Wait a sec, what’s that, in the front row? Oh my God, it’s… it’s James Cameron. The James Cameron. Terminator, Avatar, True Lies, Titanic. How I would love to be in Terminator 4, or Avatar 2, or whatever he’s working on. This is my chance, it’s fate, destiny, him in the audience, me on stage, what can I do, how can I impress him? Twelve pipers piping, there’s twelve of me and how do you impress someone when you’re a piper piping?

It’s time, time to go out. What can I do? Shit, what? What’s that? Piper #4, he’s breaking ranks! I can only watch as he runs out in front, leading our entrance, where he yells: “Come with me if you want to live!”

Oh my God. We’re stunned. I’m stunned. We rehearsed this for days and he pulls that shit? Breaking ranks just to show himself to James Cameron? What do we do now? We’re stuck.

But the show must go on, the show must go on and so on it goes. Twelve pipers piping, #4 back in ranks as we all do our thing, and the audience is laughing, Cameron included. Is this bad? Is it good? Are they supposed to be laughing? Are they laughing at us? At #4? I don’t know, I’m on autopilot now, doing my routine and before I know it it’s over, we’re offstage, our performance is done.

But I never got to impress James Cameron! Shit! What do I do? #4 did something, I have to do something too!

So I sprint back onstage, and with James Cameron in my sights, with the whole audience watching (and the cast and crew too) I blurt out “I’ll be back!” Again, the audience roars in applause as James Cameron stands, takes it all in. All eyes are on him, all cheers are for him and I’m the one who was brave and strong, I’m the one who took the chance, the risk of ridicule, breaking rules and embarrassing myself to get his attention, maybe get an audition for Terminator 4.

But it’s all for nothing, I stand alone as James Cameron receives the howls and cheers, the clapping and love. Then I’m pulled off stage, the stage manager berating, chewing me out, chopping me down, and it doesn’t matter, I got no notice, no attention, nothing from James Cameron. Looks like I’m going home empty, empty and alone, back to my apartment in Burbank, in the shadow of Hollywood, the shadow of Los Angeles, where it’s winter out and it’s barely even cold, where there’s no work and it’s December and I can’t even build a Goddamn snowman.


About Gabriel Bruskoff
I make movies! See for more information.

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