the magic day, I showed up with my backpack of mime stuff, thankful
I was able to get there early to change, and didn't have to drive
there as a mime, which I found out many of the guys did.
I walked into a roomful of mimes of every age, size and shape. There
was the rotund, bearded one with the red vest and the beret, the
older guy with the beat-up hat and the oversized pants -- almost
a Charlie Chaplin mime. There were a few half-assed ones, too; a
guy in a black T-shirt and a pair of white winter gloves he borrowed
from his girlfriend. When each new mime came in, he was offered
the same gesture of bemused commiseration from the rest of us; the
shaking of the head and the small resigned laugh as if to say "how
'bout this, huh?" We were a community, a brotherhood of Pornomimes.
One guy hadn't received the script beforehand, and knew only that
he was supposed to show up as a mime. He read the pages there in
the room, and the rest of us tried to guess which part he'd gotten
to when he finally said "Jesus Christ, what the hell is this?"
When my turn came, I was prepared. I'd limbered up, donned my skin-tight
black unitard and white-face makeup with black triangles under my
eyes. I'd choreographed my scenario so that each specific act would
be clear, decipherable, and creatively obscene. There was a bit
of creative license to be had with the actual screwing. The script
merely called for a variety of positions, running the gamut from
missionary to "positions attained only during conjugal visits
in zero gravity."
And I did them all. I did things to that invisible woman that I'm
not sure are even possible with a real one. I knew I had one shot
to be the best Pornomime I could possibly be. This was one audition
I didn't want to walk out of wishing I'd put more energy into, been
bolder, more interesting, more specific. If ever there was an occasion
to make balls-out choices, this was it. I left that room proud,
slightly erect, and blushing so fiercely you could see it through
the white-face. I walked back into the waiting room, saluted my
Pornomime brothers, and said, "She's all yours, fellas."
When I got home I checked to make sure my passport was valid, and
looked on the library website for books on learning Czech.
Alas, I did not get the job. Apparently some other mime gave it
to her better and even dirtier than I did. I suppose there's a possibility
that the job never actually existed, and that it was all a hoax
put forth by someone with a very specific fetish, just to obtain
that videotape. I'm picturing an ordinary-looking Kansas couple,
huddled together on the pull-out sofa with the shades drawn, wearing
nothing but white gloves and athletic socks, pleasuring each other
while watching the fat mime with the red vest pretending to ejaculate
on the face of an invisible, kneeling sunbather.
I suppose I've still got some good bizarre job stories. I've been
the voice of a talking newspaper box, and was once a stand-in for
Yo Yo Ma. But Pornomime would have undoubtedly been the biggest
jewel in that crown. And though it's bittersweet to think about,
it did irrevocably raise the bar. It strengthened my desire to have
stories of outrageous experiences, ones that might counterbalance
life's moments of toil or disappointment. So that perhaps someday,
when I'm an old man, sitting around the Thanksgiving table with
my loved ones, and my grandchildren ask me if I ever wrote a famous
book or cured any diseases, I can smile warmly at them and say,
"No kids, I didn't. But let me tell you about the time I threw
a celebrity fetish party on the space shuttle and gave Maya Angelou
a root beer enema."
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