Fiction

What's Important Is Feeling

Adam Wilson

“What is this cockshit?” someone behind me said.

I turned. Felix wore camo pants and a sleeveless tee. Hair long and greasy, facial features exaggerated: comically oversize mouth and nose. Like late-career Bogart: rheumy-eyed, beyond saving.

“It’s raining,” I said.

“It’s fucking Texas,” he said, stormed past me, headed for set where he grabbed Solstice by his mullet tail, pulled him under the rain machine, threatened to remove his genitals if he didn’t first remove the rain machine.

I was approached by first AD Mark Tipplehorn.

“You idiot,” he said. “You were supposed to be locking up.”

“He was like a bull,” I said.

“You idiot,” he said again, and wiped his forearm across his face.

Tipplehorn’s uniform was all white every day: sneakers, socks, shorts, shirt, visor. He was going for “asshole from L.A. stranded in small town.” He wore reflective aviators, scratched chigger bumps.

“Towel me,” he said.

I pulled his towel from my pocket and tossed it over.

“I’ve got a new job for you anyway. I need an ounce of weed as fast as you can get it.”

Tipplehorn had worked with Felix before. Felix thought he had say over what happened on set.

“Weed’s the only way to calm him down,” Tipplehorn explained. “Also someone to give him a haircut; he likes to have his hair cut on location.”

The haircut would be easier to get than the weed, but he wanted the weed first so he could be stoned during the haircut. For the weed I had to approach a Texan. The Texans hated us, but some hated us less than others. Luckily, a kind woman bummed a cigarette off me, called me “Sweetheart,” and agreed to help with both my tasks. Her name was Kathleen, and she was the on-set hairdresser.

Kathleen didn’t give a shit about the higher-ups like Tipplehorn. Just did her thing in the hair trailer, smoking bats and talking on speakerphone to her teenage daughter who was spending the summer at an arts camp ­outside Denton. When they said good-bye, Kathleen waved her hand as if her daughter could see her from the other end of the line. She said, “Girl,” and her daughter said, “Bye now,” and Kathleen looked in the mirror and saw me behind her, squint-eyed in the barber’s chair, finally sun-shaded, ­almost asleep.

“Now about that marijuana,” she said.

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