ELLEN BURSTYN NEEDS MORE SPACE

I was sitting at my cube crunching some numbers for an administrative budget report when she sort of hammered her way across the office to my desk. I could see the orange silk scarf waiving in the office air. The scent of her French perfume was taking over. And, judging from the speed and jittery way in which she was approaching this was going to be one those encounters.

Fists clenched, neck straining and tears welling up in her expressive eyes she spoke in that theatrically clipped manner which she has become her trademark. One must love a talented diva.

“We have to talk. We have to talk this very minute! We have to talk now!”

I push my paper work forward and look up. “What’s wrong, Ellen?”

“It’s my cube!”

“Ellen, stop wringing your hands. What’s wrong with your cube?”

Her voice goes up at least two octaves, her face was becoming pinched and red. “There isn’t enough room to breathe. I need room to be me! In fact, I require it! I need a desk of my own! Not some fucking cube!”

“Well, I understand. Stress can get to all of us. Why don’t we talk about that.”

“No! I require a desk of my own! I’m somebody!”

“Ellen, we use cubes here. We have a few desks but we give those to folks who need the space for extra monitors or larger scale computer equipment. You know this. What’s going on? I’m sure we can find a solution. Let’s just — ”

“Look, goddammit! I’m an Academy Award winning actress! I fucking matter and I need a that desk! Sure, I know. I’m over 50. What do I matter to you??!!? Right? You want me to just smile and show you my perfect teeth and kind almost motherly qualities. Well, this ain’t no American Quilt and I’m not some one trick administrative pony! No!”

“Ellen, I never meant to imply that! I can see your upset. Let’s just —”

Tears pouring down her cheeks, she collapses in my guest chair and appears defeated. “You know, sometimes a girl just needs to be able to shove all the work off the counter, climb up and stretch out her arms to The Creator and have a moment! That is what I need! That is what I require!

And, with that she fell forward. Her head hidden in her arms which were now on top of my administrative report. She appeared to be crying, but I wasn’t convinced.

“Ellen, please. Let’s go downstairs and talk. Please. Um, that report is almost finished and you’re on top of it. If you could just lift up for a second I could, and I think your messing your hair up.”

Suddenly, dramatically self-righteous and indignant. “Oh, yes! You and your precious little reports! Did you ever think that my needs might be a bit more important that some shitty report!?!?!? I need to stretch up to my Creator. Ever since that son-of-a-bitch, Billy, pulled those cords when I could have easily tossed myself! THE EXORCIST nearly killed my back and it strained my very soul! Do you actually think I’m worried about my hair?!?!?”

“Yes, I do.”

“Well, yes. I appreciate your concern. I don’t think I messed it up too much. Did I?” She looked around for a mirror of any sort.

“No, you look fabulous!”

Clearing her throat and sitting up in the guest chair, “But, you’re not hearing me you silly motherfucker! I’ve paid my dues! I was walking the boards when you were still in diapers, you little punk!”

“Actually, I don’t think I had yet to be born. But, my aunt took me to see ALICE DOESN”T LIVE HERE ANYMORE when I was about 6. She had this huge crush on Kris Kristofferson and you were her idol. I still think that might be your best work as an actress and — ”

Leaning into my face, the perfume was becoming intoxicating. “Get me a desk! Christ!

And, with that, she threw my report to the floor, stood up, pulled at her scarf and pranced out of the office.

Jane Alexander walked up to my cube looking somehow self-satisfied. She was holding a solid but compact stack of files. “Well, what’s her problem today?”

“I think Ellen Burstyn needs more space.”

“Yeah, well. Don’t we all?” And, then, as an afterthought, Jane re-positioned herself so the sun light coming from outside the office windows formed a perfect halo of back-lighting perfection. Quite poised — she began to speak, “Personally, I get more pleasure stretching my arms up to The Creator in the lobby. And, more people notice. So, there is always a better chance for applause and praise. Dustin and I do that every day now. If Ellen didn’t always have to create a scene she could join us. That bitch is always upstaging me! You know, Louis Fletcher and I could have had a chance if that designer bitch had not been so busy stealing our scenes!”

And, then. Then. …Well, then — I woke up.

I was craving a bagel. …with lots of cream cheese.

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August 31, 2007. Uncategorized.

9 Comments

  1. Insert Name Here replied:

    Great dream!

  2. Minge replied:

    Lick me. Lick me. Let Jesus f**k you.

  3. matty03 replied:

    Mr. Diamond! It made me laugh. I don’t know what it meant other than I had just noticed a little bit about her as they are screening EXORCIST and CRUISING @ The Castro next week. I guess she invaded my dreams. …but what up with Jane Alexander?!?! — I haven’t thought of her since the 80’s.

  4. matty03 replied:

    Minge! Oh dear! Have you become possessed!?!?! Is Ellen Burstyn your really mom?

    …are they really going to die up there?!?!?!

  5. Daniel replied:

    I love Jane Alexander ever since I saw her in The Sunshine State. She’s such a tremendous actress when she wants to be.
    But Ellen, she’s a Star!

  6. Old Cheeser replied:

    Damnit! I posted a nice long comment on here earlier and it seems to have evaporated! Your mother sucks cocks in hell, WordPress!!! AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!

    Ahem. Just kidding. I must have been possessed, Regan-style there. At least I didn’t spew green bile all over my computer screen.

    Anyway. I meant to say I loved your Ellen Burstyn encounter, Matty! Was this REALLY a dream? It’s so vivid, so cinematographic! I think you should write a continuation – what happens next – your script rivals my recent Donna-flushes-Martha-down-the-toilet-Dr Who script! Great dialogue

    I’ve only seen Ellen B in “Exorcist” but she was good in that.

    At first I couldn’t see the connection between “Exorcist” and “Cruising” until I worked out they both have the same director. My goodness, “Cruising” – what a hilariously godawful movie that was! Al Pacino inflitrates and then gets seduced by the gay leather scene – interesting concept but not particularly well executed. I can see why the gay community took offence when it came out. The end scene when he looks into the mirror, suggesting perhaps that he was the killer was intriguing, but never properly explored. And the sight of Al in leather chaps and then taking them off in the park is very funny.

    As for the bagel, I wonder if there’s any symbolism there – you woke up craving something with a HOLE, with lots of CREAM?

    Okay, enough.

  7. matty03 replied:

    Cool Old Cheeser! Oh, my! Everyone is getting possessed right and left! Most worrying! LOL!

    Yes, it was a dream.

    Oh, I rather like CRUISING. Flawed and poorly timed, but it has a place in gay history. I love the creepy narrator voice. But, we’ve certainly had enough crazy serial killers who are gay — have we not? Still. It sort of holds up. …and I find the ambivalence interesting and rather scary. My dad took me to see it when it came out. Kudos to my dad! LOL! ..sick.

    …I think I might have just been hungry. Sometimes I enjoy a bagel with cream cheese.

    My main worry — from where did Jane Alexander come!?!?!

  8. Old Cheeser replied:

    Crumbs! I hope your Dad wasn’t trying to tell you something about gay men by taking you to see that movie! We certainly have had enough gay serial killer films – Silence of the Lambs etc – and whilst interesting there is always a danger that the gay=psychopath equation is going to paint a bad picture where gay people are concerned.

    Mmmm Matty I think you’re more innocent than I thought – you seem to have entirely missed the naughty connotatations of my bagel-cream remark! Or are you just being a good boy and refraining from comment?

    I have never seen Jane Alexander in anything! Perhaps she some hidden significance for you…

  9. matty03 replied:

    Cool Old Cheeser! But, I am an innocent! I am! I tell you — I am! …but, um, no I didn’t get the joke about the bagel. Explain, please. Sometimes I’m a little slow on the uptake. I don’t get the naughty connotations.

    Oh, you must have seen KRAMER vs. KRAMER! No? Jane Alexander! …forever the supporting player! But, a very good one!

    My father took me to see everything. Most inappropriate! My father was sick. …but, I did see some really interesting/challenging movies from a very, very young age. I don’t think it hurt me. I think it might have confused me at times. Especially with movies like DRESSED TO KILL and CRUISING which were far too much for someone as young as me to understand.

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