By Jake Rossen
By Jesse Marx
By Michelle LeBow
By Alleen Brown
By Maggie LaMaack
By CP Staff
By Jesse Marx
That night, Jonny and I have sushi and ice-cold sake with Manager at Matsuhisa. There is the tacit understanding that our lives have changed somehow. Our bellies full of premium yellowtail, Jonny and I decide to turn in early. The next morning we have breakfast at a much-beloved West Hollywood pancake house called the Griddle, and decide to spend the rest of the day lounging poolside among the Saturday regulars. My meetings are finally over, and we're determined to soak up the atmosphere for the remainder of the weekend. It's a stunning day, as always. Jonny orders a round of Coronas and we clink bottles ceremoniously.
In that moment, in the brilliant midday sun, neither of us knows what we're celebrating yet. Also, we don't realize that we're slowly roasting: Within a few hours we'll both have sunburns so severe that we can't touch or hug or even sleep properly without wincing in pain. Vermillion flesh will flake off our torsos, and we'll apply medicated cream in hourly increments. But right now, in this smiling sunlit moment, it's bliss. We have no idea how hot it is.
The following week, after I've been back in Minnesota for a few days, I accept an offer from Warner Brothers to write two scripts for an amount of money that surprises even my barracuda lawyer. A lot of people call me in the moments that follow, and they all seem concerned that my heart will explode. "Why don't you take a few minutes to process this?" they say. "Take a walk or something." So I do. I go outside in my bare feet and start walking. Jonny isn't home (he's off rehearsing for a local production of Bye Bye Birdie), but when he gets back, I know he won't be surprised. Jonny is never surprised. "Told you," he'll say.
Until he gets home, hours later, I'm all by myself. And I'm still walking. There are twigs and bits of asphalt sticking to the naked soles of my feet, but I don't feel them until much later. Shock is a great analgesic. I realize this is the only silence I've had in a while. It's getting dark the way it gets dark here, with mosquitoes and barking dogs and kids pleading to stay outside for a few more minutes. What happened in L.A. feels like it happened a million years ago, in a different solar system, and yet I feel like I'm still there, in that golden state, lost on some back lot with my heart in my throat.