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"I think you're just what we need for this project."
Caesar looked over the lip of his beer can to stare at one of those earnest Hollywood faces. Two of them in fact. The woman speaking to him was all expensive dental work smiles, collagen lips, breast implants and a body sculpted by equal parts starvation, plastic surgery and some guy named Lars down at the gym.
Caesar expected the aging man at her side to flip him a peace sign and pass over a joint. Just as earnest, her partner jumped in, "Housebreaker is going to be the next big thing in reality TV." Head shaved to hide the fact that he was balding, earrings and trendy clothes couldn't hide the fact that he was in his early forties. It wasn't the years, but the mileage that gave that one away.
A hot night in the Hollywood hills blanketed them. From Caesar's vantage on a porch slung off the side of the cliff, it was hard to tell whether the sky was overcast or merely smoggy. The only stars visible were the twinkling lights on the freeways of the Los Angeles basin. Well, there were a few minor celebrities roaming about the house. Mostly of the one-shot and has-been variety that tended to gravitate to studio wrap parties. For the most part it was a gathering of regular studio people: working actors, grips, light techs and camera guys. His brother Angel always managed to con him into tagging along to these things. And he was so pissed that Angel had tricked him this time; promising a party, but setting him up for a casting session instead.
"Don't they already have a show like that on daytime?"
The woman sipped her chardonnay as her cohort leaned into Caesar's personal space. "Not like this one,baby."
Unlike the pair he was talking with, Caesar had dressed in a low-key, not-meant-to-be-noticed fashion. Well, noticed, but not the Studio type of noticed. New, but somewhat faded and loose jeans contrasted with the tight, white T-shirt. A thick, black belt pulled the pants in at the waist enough to illustrate that he had one. His boots were of the steel-toed construction variety.
Caesar attempted to set his can on the rail he was leaning against. Misjudging the distance, his beer went spiraling down into the canyon behind them. Damn, that meant fighting the crowd inside for another drink. Trying to remember how many beers that made for the night, Caesar pushed his thick, black hair behind his ear. It was one of the few vanity points he allowed himself, letting it grow down to his shoulders. "Maybe." He stalled. "It might work."
"Oh no, man, you're perfect." Cigarette stains flashed when he smiled, and Caesar wondered why his partner hadn't introduced him to her dentist. "Trust me, you are one-hundred-and-fifty percent of what we need. You're good looking." His slow once over clued Caesar into the fact it wasn't a merely professional appraisal. "Hispanic--ethnicity is so big right now. And," he drew out the word like a sales pitch, "your brother Angel says you used to be really good," the guy's voice dropped to a near whisper as he finished the thought, "at, you know, breaking into peoples' homes."
Angel was so dead when they got back to his place. "Yeah, I used to be."