The online novel continues. Need to catch up? You can start from the beginning here. As always, your input is encouraged. And, if you’re enjoying the story, do me a favor and recruit a reader. Thanks.
Shamus Fenn sat in his suite at the Pennisula Hotel off Michigan Avenue and slammed another scotch. Just not working anymore, might as well be water. Started out as a good night. He was in Chicago shooting the next film. Had his Oprah gig coming up – and that whole thing was a crock, but it was his crock and he had to keep ladling it out. But the Lakers were in town, and he’d leaned on the Oprah people for a courtside seat, so that was cool. And then he’d seen that fucker Hardin.
Bad enough that Leno and Letterman had made him their steady punch for weeks after that Darfur thing. Then the producers on his next picture dropped him, everybody making all the right conciliatory noises, but Fenn knew what it smells like when they start pushing you down hill. Part went to that Leo Harris punk, kid ten years younger than Fenn. Picture’s not even out yet, and the early buzz was maybe an Oscar.
And Fenn had gone under the knife for the nose twice, it still wasn’t right. His agent kept telling him go with it, gave him some character. What the fuck did he know? Fenn was only two years out from his Sexiest Man Alive cover on People, now his agent trying to tell him to go with the Luke Wilson look? And the surgeon told him he wasn’t going to cut it any more, not unless Fenn wanted to end up as the white Michael Jackson. Had his lawyers suing that quack.
Then a couple of scripts that used to come to him first didn’t come to him at all. Finally, a director who’d had a couple of arty films tank on him called Fenn in for a meeting. Guy needed another blockbuster so the studios would keep bankrolling his vanity projects. Fenn had played the lead in the guy’s two big paydays, so the man was reaching out. But the director had written this anger management shit into Fenn’s contract – Fenn had to go see this shrink, needed to get him to sign off that Fenn wasn’t going to bust anybody up.
Fenn figured he was an actor, right? He can’t convince some shrink he had his mind right, then he might as well hang it up. But the quack actually said one thing that made sense. Said that what you were angry at wasn’t what you were angry for. Said you needed to reach down, find that main hurt and deal with it.
Just like that, Fenn saw a way out. Sat down that night, worked up a whole back story – how some trusted family friend had abused him for years as a kid. Ran through the scenes in his head, even had a guy in mind, guy his dad used to know. Did his homework, guy’s dead better than a decade, no family left to dispute the story, and the guy’d gotten in some tax evasion trouble in the early ‘80s, so nobody had him up for sainthood or anything. Once Fenn was sure he had it down, he drops it in the session.
Some of his best work – crying and furious all at once. Screaming at one point, tossing a chair. Curled up in a ball on the floor blubbering like a baby later. Shrink ate it up. Signs off, but not before priming his own pump, telling Fenn they should continue therapy, that identifying the cause was just the start. Fenn figures what the fuck, it gets him back to work, so if he’s got to drop a few bills a month in this shrink’s lap, so be it.
Then Fenn’s agent cranks up the PR machine, starts leaking the abuse shit to the right contacts, until finally they get the big cover story in the Enquirer – The Dark Secret Behind Shamus Fenn’s Fury. So the agent sets up a press conference, Fenn playing the reluctant hero – talking about how he had always been a private man, preferred to keep his business to himself. But then saying, maybe some other kid out there will know they can stand up, maybe some kid won’t let this eat him out from the inside the way it had with Fenn. Then they go on the charm offensive – including the gig on Oprah.
Problem was Fenn was still pissed off. More pissed off than he’d been in years, and now he couldn’t do anything about it. Every time he left the house, he had to step into this abuse victim thing, start apologizing for all his shit over the years.
Then he sees that fucker Hardin heading for the entrance to the luxury boxes. Only thing had kept Fenn sleeping nights since the Darfur fiasco was knowing he’d fixed that asshole’s wagon. He’d checked with his industry contacts, and they told him they had dried up that Hardin’s pond but good. Fenn had figured Hardin was over in some shithole begging for scraps, now here he is heading for the luxury boxes. The fucking shrink was right. You had to know what you were angry for, and Fenn was angry that this goddamn Hardin had almost flushed his career, had him doing the talk show circuit pretending he’d let some slimy bastard cornhole him all through junior high, and Hardin’s upstairs playing footsie with the high rollers.
OK, so the little fuck didn’t have sense enough to know that when Seamus Fenn puts you down, you stay the fuck down. Fine. Fenn pulled out his cell and called Tony Corsco, mob guy that had consulted on Cal Sag Channel, Chicago gangster pic Fenn had made five years back. Fenn got on with Corsco, and Corsco liked hanging with the stars, helped out where he could, somebody needed a new coke connection or whatever. Hardin was the type of problem Corsco could solve.