AS AN ACTOR, you spend your life in Hollywood playing the lottery and hoping to hear your number called. You do the one-off guest appearances you hope will make a splash all over the USA network. You make out with Steve Carell for a few days in an attempt to steal the scene in a movie nobody except your agent will ever know you were in. You fight tooth and nail to be viewed as a comedic actress, a dramatic actress, a young actress, a black actress, or a toothless mother of six with a meth problem who can speak to ghosts. You ride the vicissitudes of fortune because you’re steadfast in the belief that someday, someone is bound to take notice.
I consider myself one of the most ‘almost–hired’ actresses in the business. I’ve been inches away from a shitload of jobs that could have changed the course of my life, and watched them slip through my fingers, often for the most arbitrary of reasons. With each disappointment I’ve been expected to muster up the self-respect to move on gracefully and pretend to be happy for someone who’s usually a total cuntbag and who wouldn’t have gotten a background role in my high school production of Pippin. But I digress.
Driven to the point of insanity, I wrote a script. And in what felt like overnight, a bunch of really important people suddenly gave a fuck about what I had to say. For the first time in my career, I was creating my own opportunities. Finally, I felt a sense of control.
I decided to collaborate with a super high-powered producer, let’s call him Stephan Speilbergson.
The first notes session of my career happened the Monday before winter break. I prepped by trying on a bunch of different ‘writer’ looks in my closet. I wanted to make certain I conveyed the proper message: Hard-working, light-hearted, but damaged enough to have a good time with. The actor in me settled on all black, allowing Stephan and Co. the freedom to project whatever bullshit they wanted onto me.
Our pow-wow took place at Stephan’s swanky production company. Joining Stephan in the notes session were his two development execs, Cosmo and Rico. The four of us sat in Stephan’s pristine, all-white, rich guy office and talked shop. Cosmo and I sat on a chenille loveseat while Stephan and Rico rocked back and forth in matching mid-century Eames bucket chairs.
At one point, Cosmo’s pen fell from his pocket and landed on Stephan’s virgin cushions. “Cosmo, your pen! It just fell out! Don’t let that thing bleed all over my couch,” cautioned Stephan.
Cosmo grabbed the pen, secured the cap and stuffed it back in his slacks. We continued on for another hour-and-a-half of story ideas. I was having the time of my life. For the last decade, the Stephan Speilbergsons of the world knew me only as one of two things: The non-famous choice who is never getting approved by the studio, or Jason Biggs’ wife who shows up on set and eats all the Zone Bars. I was full of confidence, teeming with new ideas and grinning ear-to-ear when it was finally time to go.
Cosmo and Rico left the room first. Stephan continued talking as I gathered my belongings and tried to remain hilarious, competent, and less of a hot mess than the heroine I’d written in my movie. Then I saw something that made my face go white. I’d say as white as Stephan’s couch, except it wasn’t so white anymore. It was red. Vagina blood red. My period had leaked its way past my super-absorbency tampon, through my jeans, and into the fibers of Stephan’s upholstery.
This can’t be real, I thought. The whole time Stephan was worrying about Cosmo’s pen going ballistic and ruining his immaculate sofa, I was sitting right next to him, I was sitting right next to him, HEMORRHAGING ALL OVER HIS GODDAMN SOFA.
Hey, if it’s alright with Kubrickson…
I assessed the situation and deduced that I only had three options: Blame Cosmo, jump out the window (more blood), or confess. I paused to work out the logistics of Cosmo being on the rag when Stephan asked if I was okay. Impulsively, I threw my purse over the pancake-sized pool of blood and charged him.
“Stephan, listen to me,” I said, holding him by both arms against a picture frame collection of him and Adam Sandler doing body shots off each other in Maui.
“I… I really don’t know how to tell you this and I’m super mortified, but I bled on your couch,” I stuttered.
Stephan looked confused and started scanning me for violent wounds. As a writer, I reminded myself, it’s important to be direct in your communication.
“I got my period all over your couch!” I restated, settling any doubt in his mind that my main character and I were THE EXACT SAME PERSON.
“Umm. Well… Don’t worry about it,” he said, craning his head to see the stain.
Did he think I was actually going to leave the building with what looked like a minor miscarriage hanging out in his office?
“Stephan, you have to go!” I whispered.
“What? Where? This is my office.”
“Anywhere!” I shrieked, now pushing him out of the room.
“My assistant Mark can help you,” he offered, acquiescing. He called out to Cosmo and Rico in the adjacent room, “Come on guys, we’re going to lunch.”
“Bon appétit!” was really all I could think to say as I hovered over the Rorschach test I was about to give Mark, the assistant.
Once all three men left, Mark walked in. “Why are you still here?” he said with one part curiosity, one part ‘I work for fucking Stefan Speilbergson’ arrogance.
“You’re not gonna be happy,” I managed to spit out, my face all sweaty. “I… do you have soap, water, sponges…”
“Oh, you spilled your coffee?” he asked, sounding like he’d won fucking Jeopardy.
“Not exactly….” I said. “I’m bleeding.”
“From where?” he asked, still not getting it.
“My pussy!” I shouted, freaked we weren’t moving fast enough.
Mark looked at the couch, threw up a little in his mouth, and made a beeline for the kitchen. He returned seconds later with a bottle of hand sanitizer.
“I’m not gonna touch you, if that’s what you’re worried about,” I said.
“Look, I’ll help you but know that I’m gay and have the luxury of never dealing with bloody vag, so if maybe you could just deal with the mess and I’ll flip the cushions, we can figure this thing out, okay? By the way, aren’t you a little old to not be in control of your own period?”
I contemplated smearing menstrual blood all over his smug little face Last Mohican-style, but decided against it, since I did still hope to work in the film industry after this incident.
After scrubbing the shit out of the crime scene like a coke-addled Lady Macbeth, I thanked Mark and tiptoed to the bathroom to hose myself off. I looked like I’d just gotten off a shift at the Hormel slaughterhouse.
I lunged into the nearest stall, yanked the saturated tampon out of my body and dropped it into the toilet. My relief lasted only as long as it took me to read the small sign positioned eye level on the back of the stall door.
UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES EVER THROW TAMPONS IN THIS TOILET. WE WILL FIND YOU AND HOLD YOU RESPONSIBLE FOR THE MASSIVE PLUMBING DAMAGE DONE AS A RESULT OF YOUR CALLOUS INDISCRETION, YOU CUNT BITCH.
Holy shit! I can’t flush my tampon! Stephan has an all-male office. It’s going to be so obvious whose period ruined Christmas! Left with no choice, I held my breath, pulled up my left sleeve and reached into the bowl to fish out my now water-logged blood baby. Half-drenched in my own urine and the entire production company’s DNA, I dropped the pon in the trash, and fled.
On my way home, my lit agent called to ask how the meeting went.
“Things were good. I felt like they had a lot of great ideas, I got my period on them, I think most of the changes will be easy to make, I’m gonna re-outline, and let’s see… I guess that’s it!” I said.
The line was dead for a minute. Then there was some insane coughing. I think she was dying on the other side. Finally, she responded by assuring me everything was fine and not to worry.
I sent Stephan a couple bottles of wine with a simple note that read, “I got you red. You know, to match your couch. LOL.”
Still haven’t heard from him.
Acting is hard but writing can be downright disgusting. I guess no matter what happens, I achieved the sought-after goal of making a LASTING impression on a big shot Hollywood producer—at least until he gets a new couch.
So seriously, though. When do you think I’m gonna hear from him?
Jenny Mollen Biggs is an actress and writer living in Los Angeles with two poodle angel muffins and an asshole miniature pinscher. She also has a husband. Keep up with her at IMDB or on Twitter @jennyandteets.