It’s the closing night party for the play, Dusty Melody. The walls are lined with LA theater types, their plus ones and the kind of actors whose faces you know but names you don’t. Blacktress is tangled within the crowd wearing a short red dress, sipping a dry red wine. But she’s more high from the successful run of the show than the libations. People are buzzing about eager to acknowledge her performance. A handsome man in his thirties taps her on the shoulder and immediately begins blowing smoke up her ass.
“I just wanted to say that you were absolutely wonderful. Won- der- ful. I saw the show twice.”
He leans in closer.
“And you were my favorite.”
“Thank you. It was a lot of fun.”
“So what’s up next for you?” He asks.
I have no fucking idea, she thinks. Blacktress shrugs and smiles coyly.
“Dessert, I guess,” she says before slipping away to join her fellow cast members (slash family for the last three months) at table blanketed with fruit and pastries.
The next day her sugar craving roars again. She and her girlfriend, Iyanla, chatter at Yogurtland over a mound of strawberry-mango and mochi. Her tooth is sweet. Her mood sour.
“I couldn’t believe those people last night. Every. Single. One. What’s next? What’s next? WHAT’S NEXT?! I’m like damn let me enjoy the moment a little… You know what I mean?”
“No.” Iyanla says firmly. “I have no idea what you mean.”
Blacktress pouts. Iyanla goes on.
“The moment is over. Once they strike the set, its done. People want to know what you are doing next because actors must act. It’s what the fuck we do.”
“That’s not all we do.”
Iyanla ignores her.
“Samuel L Jackson fires his agent if they don’t have at least the next two jobs lined up for him at all times. He’d rather sign on to a film about paint drying in outer space than be jobless.”
“You just made that up.”
“It’s true! There’s nothing worse than the time in between the next thing. Nothing. Not even Black Snake Moan.”
Blacktress decides to spend the rest of the week proving Iyanla wrong. On Monday she gathers her glowing reviews from Dusty Melody and emails them to her manager. On Tuesday she submits herself for AFI short films on Actors Access. On Wednesday she re- organizes her closet.
On Thursday she returns calls she ignored back when she was too busy with her play.
“So what show you working on now?” Everyone asks.
On Friday Blacktress searches IMDB and finds that Samuel L Jackson’s page lists no fewer than twelve movies in pre-production. She picks up the phone and calls her agent.
“What the hell is next?” She says half panicky.
“Don’t worry. It’ll pick up.”
On Saturday morning she gets dressed for the gym but never makes it; but manages to check the Huffington post four times before lunch. On Sunday afternoon she logs on the Facebook for the word.
“Amateur preachers and gurus always post spiritual quotes as their status updates; especially on Sundays. They’re like dope little energetic boosts.” Blacktress’s hippie friend Nirvana once told her over Jamaican patties.
Blacktress puts on a Donnie McClurkin album and scrolls through the news feed. There she finds the wise nugget of truth that will set her free. It comes in the form of a status update from a distant cousin she hasn’t seen or spoken to in at least half a decade.
“True joy ain’t situational.”
And so with no lines to memorize, no dialect to study, and no audition to prep for, Blacktress smiles. Just because.
Blacktress Tip of the Week: Its okay to be right where you are.