More Remains Untitled
"Shouldn't take too much longer Mr. Caprealli, I'm pretty sure we have her card somewhere in here." Scott nodded, leaning his hip against the mocha colored counter. Looking up at the young man behind the register he sighed loudly, the young man looked up momentarily, but returned to searching through customer cards quickly. "I'm not sure she's in here, I thought we had hers, but I'm not seeing it. I just wish I could remember her name. It was something like Carlie, or Charlie, Kelly, something like that." Scott sighed again and nodded.
"It's okay Steve, I'll find out eventually. It just drives me crazy you know, I keep seeing her and I know she's working with Carter Leone. Almost all of his talent leaves eventually. If she's any good I wanna shot at her." Steve nodded. "How about this, next time you see her you let her know I was in here, can you do that?" He nodded again. Amber stepped to the side of Scott and looked behind the counter. Steve greeted her, asking what she wanted. She laughed, told him she wasn't ready, and walked to the edge of the counter. "I didn't know there was so much to look at in a coffee house," Scott muttered to Steve, picking up his Chai off the counter. Her head whipped toward him, a smirk on her lips. Scott smiled, bowing a bit and walked to a near by table. She ordered an Ice Coffee, glancing back at Scott. He didn't notice her at first, but looked up after feeling that someone was looking at him. She looked away quickly and took her drink from Steve. Scott watched her walk up to his table, following her hips as they swayed left to right, her jeans, slightly big for her, were beginning to slide off her hips.
"You're Scott Caprealli right?" Scott nodded.
"How do you know who I am?" She laughed.
"When I first got to New York I went to your agency and talked to a guy named Kirk. He told me I wasn't funny enough to be on T.V. Broke my heart you know. I saw your picture in the lobby as I was leaving. That's how I know who you are." Amber winked, Scott only nodded and grinned.
"You hear to take that disappointment out on me?" Again she laughed, shaking her head.
"No, no, I got an agent shortly after. I signed on with your arch enemy Carter Leone. I know you too are such good friends." Taking a sip form her coffee she raised her eyebrows, allowing him a moment to talk. He stayed silent however and she continued. "Here's the thing Caprealli. I don't want Leone's name on anything I've done or anything I'm going to do. That's why when I saw you come in here I thought I'd ask for your help." Scott cocked his eyebrow.
"I'm not going to sleep with you if that's what your looking for," he said casually, "but I know plenty of men who would love to get there hands on those hips of yours. You're defiantly not an ugly girl." She laughed through her nose, running her finger along the rim of her cup. "Alright, what do you want from me?" She shook her head.
"No, its okay, I just though you might wanna screw me. I mean, people are passing out shirts that claim you're a sex God." Scott laughed and rolled his eyes.
"Seriously, what's up? I'll do anything to destroy Carter." She took another drink of her Ice Coffee before looking at him again.
"What I need is to get out of my contract. See, I don't know what to do, and I read in the papers that you're the King of dropping girls from your agency that get to fat using clauses in their contracts, so I was hoping something about mine would be glitched." Scott nodded.
"Those accusations were false," he said nonchalantly.
"That may be, but the fact remains that those girls were let go and you're the one who did it. So I'm willing to pay you to help me." She went back to concentrating on her drink while Scott thought it over. Finally Scott sat back and looked at her curiously.
"You make it a habit of walking up to has been movie stars in coffee shops and offering them money to commit a federal crime? I mean, you must have some balls in those jeans. Is that why they're big on you?" She rolled her eyes.
"If it was a federal crime I'd commit it myself, no one would convict me. They'd convict you. You look Italian." He laughed, "Worse your hair is thinning, so that just makes you look shady. You know, rock stars look good bald because they're bad guys, agents aren't supposed to be bad guys, just hardballers." Scott laughed again, leaning forward.
"I can do it, but I don't want your money," he said clasping his hands together.
"No? You already told me you won't sleep with me, so I'm going to have to assume it's either my arm, my leg, or my first born. I'd really prefer it too be my arm or leg, I can make a joke out of that, but children a gift from God and deserved to be raised by their mother's and not men with thinning hair." Scott sat back again in a bit of shock.
"You're good," he said quietly. Pausing for a moment to collect his thought he chewed on the inside of his cheek. Amber got up and threw away the last half of her ice coffee, sitting down again and beginning to drink Scott's chai. "Let me guess, you still want to be a stand up comedian." She nodded.
"Oh how could you tell?" Scott could hardly distinguish the sarcasm in her voice.
"Like I said, you're good. I don't want you're money because I'm guessing you don't have much. Instead I want you to meet with an agent of mine by the name of Bruce Denner. He'll get you set up with some shows and auditions if you're interested." She shook her head. "Why not?"
"There's gotta be a catch." Scott laughed and nodded.
"There is, you won't be let out of your contract until the five years that I plan on signing you for is up." She shook her head again. "Still no?"
"No, It took me three months to convince Leone to see me, let alone sign me. You're willing to do it this fast there has got to be something wrong with you Mr. Spontaneity. You don't even know my last name yet." She pushed his chai back in front of him, leaving a pink lip stick mark at the mouth. He looked down at it and laughed. "in case your wonderin it's Milano." She put her hand out to shake his, but he waved it off. "What? Are my hands deformed or something? I promise, I won't catch the stupid virus from you even if you do touch me." Scott laughed deeply and grinned at her.
"You know, I don't think anyone has ever talked to me like that before. Not even before I was famous, I was never treated like that. You know that? You're the first person to treat me like shit." Scott was still laughing.
"Well, I feel accomplished." Standing he took his chai in his left hand, pulling her to her feet with his right.
"Come with me," he said quietly. She shook her head to refuse.
"Does it have to be today? I mean, I'm not really wearing rape me and chop me into a million pieces then dump me in the harbor clothes today. Seriously Scott, you can do that tomorrow. I'll wear a much prettier top and a skirt just for you." He laughed again, his face turning red, cheeks beginning to tire.
"I'm not gonna kill ya. Steve knows that." Scott glanced back at Steve and winked. Amber ignored him and pushed the front door open using her hip. Scott followed her. Stepping onto the concrete sidewalk bordering almost any New York Street Amber slipped her hand into Scott's. They walked slowly toward the 305 building where his agency was ran out of. Before making it to the door Scott abruptly turned left toward the park, pulling Amber with him. She laughed and followed him hesitantly. "What's wrong?" he asked at her hesitancy.
"I can't get laid in a park in the middle of the day Scott, that's just wrong. There's kids in there and stuff." Rolling his eyes he pulled her harder, his grip on her wrist tightening. "I'm coming, I'm coming. Geesh, can't handle a joke can you." They crossed the street quickly, Scott running ahead of her, still leading her by the arm toward the park. When they finally made it across the street Scott allowed himself to collapse on the grass. Amber stood over him smirking, shaking her head. "Scott, you're running my favorite suit. You don't wanna ruin my favorite suit now do you?" He nodded and rolled onto his stomach. She dropped down next to him, resting her head on his shoulder.
"Whatta ya gonna do tonight?" He asked gently touching her hand. She shrugged and rolled onto her back.
"I was thinking about the maternal grandmother skit. Whatta ya think?" He shrugged. "Haven't I done that one for you?" He nodded.
"Yeah, you have, I just tend to like your dating/relationship humor the best. I'm not really sure what your audience likes. The Toro's is an odd group because you get a lot of regulars and few tourists." She nodded.
"You have to change your routine every time." They both laughed. "Damn originality." Amber turned toward Scott. "How much longer are we gonna sit in that café and pretend not to know each other?" Scott Laughed. "Oh come on, everyone knows that were together, it's not like Carter hasn't found out yet." He nodded. "I swear to God all you do is nod and laugh. It's really irritating sometimes." Her mouth dropped open slightly, and she laughed. "That's it Scott! I'm gonna do my stand up about you tonight." He said nothing but just laughed. "That's good, that's good. And just for the hell of it I'm going to publicly announce that you're dating me. How's that for comedy?" Scott shrugged.
"Isn't that more of the horror genre than comedy?" Amber slapped his shoulder and giggled. "Seriously, I don't want to scare everyone at the Toro's Amber. We want return customers, not frightened one-timers!"
"If they were easily freighted they'd never have came back once they got a look at this face," she muttered quietly. "My face in combination with my jokes is a recipe for disaster." Scott shook his head.
"You're too negative, you know you're beautiful. Get over it half pint." Rolling onto his back again he rested his hands behind his head and grinned at her. Closing his eyes he hummed quietly to himself.
"Hey Scott, didn't you have more hair yesterday?" Amber asked playing innocent. Scott opened one eye and pretended to laugh. "You took a shot at my height, I take a shot at Mr. I'm thirty something and I'm losing my hair." He nodded and closed his eye again. They sat in silence for a few moments before Scott decided he'd had enough of the park. He stood, grabbed Amber's wrist again, and pulled her to her feet quickly. "Now what?" She asked brushing grass from the butt of her jeans.
"I don't know, I wanna do something stupid though," Scott said with a curious look.
"Well standing here talking about doing something stupid is pretty stupid, but if you're really looking to do something crazy I do love Corvettes." Rolling his eyes he shook his head.
"This is New York, if I don't have a car, you don't need a car. Granted I can afford a limo service, but you can always take a cab." Scott studied her face for a moment while she continued to brush dirt and grass from her jeans. Pushing her bangs out of her eyes, he smiled. Looking at him dumbly she cocked her eyebrow confused. He remained silent, running his finger along her cheek.
Pushing his hand away from her face she said, "Scott, come on, you're getting sappy on me, that's not cool." Both laughing they left the park and headed back toward the 305 building. Putting his arm around her shoulder Scott began to hum quietly to himself again. It wasn't long before Amber recognized the tune, Simple Man by Lynyrd Skynard, and joined in.
"By the way," he said softly, "those girls were kicked out because they lost weight."
Laughing Amber and pulled at her stomach saying , "I knew you liked fat girls! I'm at least two and a half pounds overweight!" They both grinned, Scott kissing her forehead. "Again Scott, cut out the sappy shit," she said with a wink.
"If you wanna talk about weird people I think we should bring up the owner of ASC talent and modeling, that's a talent agency in Manhattan that I'll soon be working for. Well, it's owned by a guy named Scott Caprealli. Yeah, if you're not familiar with him he's the balding one at the bar." The crowd turned around just in time to catch Scott's face reddening. Amber smiled and waved at him. "Alright, alright, this is my stage time so look back at me. I know it's painful, but just let me think you like me." The group laughed. "Alright, well, weirdo's, I was in the park today across from the 305 building, that's where the ASC office is located with Scott and all this guy did was nod and laugh. I'm serious, I could say anything and all he'd do was laugh and nod. I think Scott has some serious issues now a days, I'm starting to think that when his hair starting falling out that little pieces of his cerebellum, you know, the part of your brain responsible for cognitive process fell out with it." Amber raised her voice to be heard over the laughter. She gripped her microphone tighter, noting that she only had five minutes left on stage. "Scott doesn't look to happy, check him out. What you talking about Amber!" she said imitating Gary Coleman's character form the 1980's television series Diff'rent Strokes. "Yeah, that as my best Gary Coleman imitation. Basically the only thing Gary and I have in common is that neither of us can see of the counter's at subway." She paused while the crowd laughed and cheered. "I hope I never have to meet Gary Coleman now, geesh, he'd take my short kid thunder. Anyway, I'm sorry Scottie, you know I love you, and just so everyone knows, Scott has fallen victim to my venom and asked me out." Loud cheering and clapping exploded, making Amber laugh. "That poor guy." She again paused. Look, look, I started tonight actually being funny, that was about an hour ago. Since then, everyone in this bar as gotten blasted enough to think the crap I'm saying is actually funny. You realize that guys? You are too drunk to not laugh at everything I say. Look, look, I'll prove it. I'm short!" As she'd expected everyone began laughing. That's all the time I have for this half hour, so please take advantage of two for ones until one and get completely shit faced because the material I have for the next half hour is awfully unfunny. Now I'll reintroduce our house band, Heresies, whose name I am still trying to figure out the meaning of." Amber stepped off the elevated stage and walked straight to the bar. Scott put his arm around her still laughing.
"Very creative, I didn't think you were serious, but you really did use me as your inspiration. Didn't you think she was good Frank?" Scott said turning around to the bartender.
"If I didn't think she was good I wouldn't have hired her to be my comedian," Frank said matter-of-factly sliding a shot of vodka in front of Amber. She quickly downed it and turned to Scott.
"I try you know. I could have made more balding jokes, but I'm saving those for when you actually lose all that beautiful black hair." Amber said stroking his hair. Scott laughed pushing her hand away. "Oh, don't be a spoil sport; I just compared myself to Gary Coleman. It can't get much worse than that."
"That's very, very true," Scott said nodding. Frank laughed and slid another shot in front of Amber. She downed it as quickly as the first. She leaned over the counter and grabbed a lemon from the tub next to Frank. Sucking on it she laughed at Scott's odd look. "Victim to your venom," he repeated. "Now, why is it that I fell victim to you? I seem to think it was the other way around, you fell victim to me." Amber laughed and shook her head.
"Clearly it was my fault we got together." Shaking his head Scott turned to Frank who was cleaning out glasses pretending not to be paying attention.
"Will you tell her Frank? It was me, not her." Frank rolled his eyes.
"Who cares? You met him a grocery store. Clearly it was both of your faults, and it's also both of your faults that I have a larger crowd here tonight. She's too funny, and you have a lot of fans for being a has-been." Frank said slightly irritated.
"You don't sound happy about that Frankie," Amber said soothingly, "what's wrong hun?" Frank sighed and pointed to the packed crowd in front of the elevated stage-like platform.
"I need a bigger bar if I'm gonna have this many people comin in here on a nightly basis." Amber nodded. "Besides Amber, I got people comin here because they know you sleep upstairs, trying to case out the place. I can't have the potential for burglaries. I don't have much as it is." She nodded again.
Cocking his eyebrow Scott interjected, "You still sleep upstairs?" Frank mumbled a yes and explained to him that above the club was a studio style apartment. "Why didn't you tell me Amber? You told me you were getting a nicer apartment" Scott asked harshly. She shrugged, saying that she didn't think it was important. "You should stay with me. I have an extra room or two. Besides, I can't have my star staying in Brooklyn. You're gonna get shot." Frank laughed, but Amber sat silently staring at Scott.
"Wait, you want me to move in with you? I mean, how would your kids feel about that?" Scott laughed.
"Tina a Tiffany would be ecstatic. You're their new role model." Amber blushed. "Besides, Josh could use someone at the house that can help him with his homework." She lip her cheek and glanced at the clock. "Oh come on, you know those kids love you. The way Josh acts when you're around makes me think you're really his mother." Amber laughed. "Hey, I've never gotten that kid to tell me about his day, but you get it outta him in seconds."
"I gotta be on stage in ten minutes, lemme think about it okay babe?" She asked kissing him on the cheek. He nodded and watched as she disappeared into the mob that had formed around the platform.
"She's popular Scott," Frank said casually. Scott nodded and took a long drink from his Miller. "I'm going to fire her," Scott dropped his beer on the counter. It bounced a bit, falling over and spilling onto the counter. Frank quickly wiped it up, avoiding Scott's stare.
"W-W-Why!?" He asked half yelling. Frank sighed and turned his back to Scott to wash out his rag. When he turned back Scott was in the same position as before. It was as if he'd been frozen there.
"Like I said, she's too popular. She needs to stop counting on this job as her only career. She's gotta get out there and do stuff Scott. She refuses to go to certain auditions because they might interfere with her nightly stand up here at the club. Even Thursdays, when she MC's for amateur's night she refuses to take night auditions." Scott cocked his eyebrow and relaxed. "You know I'm right Scott. Remember, if it wasn't for me you'd never have even met the girl."
Scott nodded. "I guess you're right, still, do you have to fire her? She loves this job; right now it's all she's got Frank. It's gonna kill her."
The two did not speak for the remainder of her time on stage, nor did they listen to Amber. Both were lost, Frank was trying to conjure up the courage to tell the woman who took his bar from a hole in the wall to a recognized drinking establishment that after tonight she would no longer be employed at the club. He knew the wealth he had come into after he hired her would dissipate; leaving him back where he had began. Even though Frank did not know it, Scott too was thinking of Frank's monetary downfall once Amber was gone. He had known Frank for over sixteen years, and in that time he had seen him on the verge of bankruptcy twice. Still the Brooklyn born Italian was stubborn and refused to take help from his friend. Frank had always been on the heavier side, his neck scarred from a house fire he'd been trapped in at a young age. The skin graphs used on his neck were considerably lighter in pigment than his own. He had a similar burn pattern down his right arm, covering most of the back of his hand. These graphs were better matched to his skin color. Because of the horror he had faced in the building as a child, Frank developed a harsh, irate outward appearance despite the fact that he was a deeply emotional man.
Scott knew that if the money wouldn't kill Frank, not having Amber or Scott in the bar most nights of the week would. Six and a half years ago Frank's wife and three children, two sons and a new born daughter, were killed in a car accident in Georgia. Barbara was visiting her mother in Atlanta when a semi lost control on the highway. The four died at the scene, leaving Frank alone. Since then he had fallen into a deep depression, his attitude and humor become more cynical and hurtful. It didn't bother Scott or Amber because that was they're natural demeanor.
Amber had come into Frank's bar about a year and a half ago looking for a job. She was eighteen and attending New York University to earn her bachelor's degree in communications. It wasn't long before the two had found common ground in comedy and Frank had asked her to perform. She did so, Frank hiring her on the spot to be the permanent house comedian. She was to accompany the house band in entertainment. It started as a working relationship and grew into a strong friendship. Without Amber in the bar for Frank to lean on, Scott was not sure what would come of him.
His thoughts were interrupted when a giddy Amber descended the stage, throwing her arms around him and asking for another shot. Frank drudgingly got her the drink and tried to fake a smile. Sensing that something was wrong she asked. Neither of the two men responded, their minds both buried in thought. Finally she grew impatient and demanded that Scott tell her what was wrong.
"Amber," Frank began quietly, "I'm sorry about this, but let me explain before you get upset, alright?" She nodded casually and downed her shot, motioning for him to refill the glass. He ignored it and looked down at his hands. "I love having you as my comedian and since you came in I've made more money than I know what to do with by covers alone let alone drinks. It's obvious that your very talented Amber, and that's why I'm letting you go."
"Go where?" Amber said as she laughed. Frank did not respond. She sat for a moment quiet. "You mean your firing me?" He didn't dare nod. "You're firing me Frank? Why? Why would you fire me if I've done so much good around here, I mean," Frank interrupted her before she was able to really work herself up.
"Amber, relax, I'm doing this for your own good. You know that. Your nineteen years old, you need to get out there and go to auditions. You're very talented. Please understand that this has nothing to do with you being a failure or anything, I think your fantastic and it's unfair for me to allow you to stay here just because you are comfortable. You need to move on Amber, move on." Scott nodded silently in support of Frank's decision. "You're with him on this?" Amber shot at Scott as he nodded. He again nodded and pulled her onto his lap.
"Yeah," was all that he could say. She struggled against his grip for a bit before giving up, resting her head on his shoulder. Turning away from the two of them Frank went back to cleaning glasses. Running his hand along her spine Scott held her until the Heresies had finished they're first song of the last half hour. He then led her form the bar and out the door to the street. It was much chillier than either of them had expected and both walked side by side shivering without coats.
Walking around the back of the building and climbing a steep set of stairs, Scott explained that he could get her an audition for just about any movie and or theater company she could dream of. Amber seemed uninterested, unlocked the door to her dingy apartment and shouldered it open. Scott had never been inside, and was slightly disgusted from the exterior appearance of the back of the building; however upon entering he knew that she'd done quite a bit of work to fix up the small apartment. The walls were bleach white, multiple new coats of paint had been used on all but one wall where the old dirt colored brown lacquer could be seen peeking through. Throwing herself onto a large Queen Sized bed in the corner of the room, she sighed.
"Scottie," she asked quietly, "do you really think I'm gonna get anywhere, or should I get ready to apply to Grad school?" Scott knelt down beside the bed, Amber rolled onto her stomach to look at him.
"I think you should do whatever will make you happy. Let me put it this way Amber," she stood and pushed her over, sitting next to her on the bed, "you have the talent if that's what you want to know. The only thing you don't have is the confidence." She rested her head in his lap. Scott absentmindedly began to run his fingers through her hair. Though he couldn't see her face he knew that she was fighting a smile.
"You just need to believe you can do it, and you'll do it, ain't that right Scottie?" She asked more like a statement.
"You've heard this too many times before," he said patting her shoulder with a chuckle. She sat up and shook her head.
"You can never hear something like that too many times Scottie moullatie." Scott laughed at his nickname, kissing her forehead. "If this leads to sex I'll know you're just using me."
"Doesn't everything lead to sex?" He asked winking. Unable to contain her laughter and fight back her smile she began laughing, but soon caught herself and stopped. Scott laughed at her attempt to stay desolate. "Everything is sex, sex, sex, sex, that's what the whole world is about Amber!"
"Sometimes it's about Cheetos," she added with an innocent giggle.