As they sat on lumpy chairs with dirty upholstering in a poorly lit cinderblock hallway, the actors waiting for the cocaine commercial audition were eyeing each other nervously and tapping their feet. Chris Klein was no different, although he was one of the more seasoned actors in the building. It didn’t matter how many movies he was in, though, he still got the audition jitters. Usually, to help ease his anxiety, he did a bunch of cocaine, just like, crazy fistfulls. So it was cool that this audition was for a cocaine commercial, because that way his audition ritual might even make him better for the part! It was kind of weird that they were making a commercial for cocaine. Wasn’t cocaine illegal? And did cocaine really need a marketing strategy? Chris Klein thought about it for a split second, but then his mind quickly raced on to, like, the AIDS crisis in Africa, and how upsetting it was that the makers of popular energy drinks like Red Bull and other energy drinks that he couldn’t think of the name of right now but you know, energy drinks, like why weren’t they doing anything to cure AIDS now that they had clearly defeated mild sleepiness, you know? And then he was on to his next thought about something else completely unrelated but equally frantic and ridiculous.
Before he even knew it, it was Chris Klein’s turn. He had a mild heart attack, because of all the cocaine in his system, but that just made him grin even bigger as he handed over his headshot and gave the casting agent a clammy, sweaty, violent handshake. Never let them see you sweat and/or suffer from a potentially fatal mycardial infarction. That was Chris Klein’s motto.
SHOWTIIIIIIIME! he told himself.
“Excuse me?” the casting agent said.
Chris Klein smiled so hard he thought his lips might fall off. Every time he walked into an audition, Chris Klein would say “SHOWTIIIIIIIME!” to himself in his head, but sometimes he also said it out loud. But when this happened, he would just smile harder and open his eyes wider. He never admitted to anything. You never let them see you sweat, and you never let them see you have a potentially fatal myocardial infarction, and you never admit to having said out loud the thing you were thinking in your head to get yourself PUMPED for an audition. That’s showbiz, he reminded himself, not realizing that he was nodding furiously.
“What’s showbiz?” the casting agent asked, throwing a puzzled look to his assistant.
Chris Klein tried to unzip his leather jacket but it was already unzipped.
“OK, well, let’s just get started, shall we?” the casting agent said.
Chris Klein tried to smile bigger, but he couldn’t. And his eyes were literally as wide as they could go. It was painful. “OH MAN THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME IN TO SHOW YOU GUYS WHAT I CAN DO I AM JUST REALLY HAPPY TO BE HERE HAVE YOU SEEN MANDY MOORE ISN’T SHE GREAT I JUST LOVE MANDY MOORE ISN’T SHE THE BEST SHE’S THE BEST DID YOU SEE HER YOU GUYS PROBABLY SAW HER DID YOU LOVE HER I LOVE HER IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN MANDY MOORE SEE MANDY MOORE HONESTLY THERE’S NO ONE BETTER FOR THE ROLE YOU’LL FALL IN LOVE WITH HER IF YOU AREN’T ALREADY IN LOVE WITH HER SO LET’S GET GOING SHALL WE OK SO I’M GOING TO JUST READ THE PART OF ISRAEL IS THAT RIGHT AND SHOULD I JUST TAKE IT FROM THE TOP THIS IS SO FUN OH MAN THANK YOU GUYS THIS IS JUST WONDERFUL I’M HAVING A WONDERFUL TIME IS IT HOT IN HERE?”
The room was silent, interrupted momentarily by the squeak of a chair leg scraping against the linoleum floor out in the hallway.
“IS ANYBODY NO JUST ME OK NOBODY’S HOT IN HERE HAHAHAHA I GUESS IT’S JUST ME OK SO LET’ ME JUST FIND MY PLACE AND ACTION CLOSE UP ON ISRAEL HE HAS A LOCK ON HIS FACE ISRAEL DIALOG DOCTOR ARAB HAVE YOU SPENT THE WHOLE NIGHT ON THE FOREMAN SIR? SURELY YOU MUST WANT TO GET BELOW DOCKS AND GET SOME SLAP.”
The casting agent held up his hand for Chris Klein to stop, but Chris Klein kept babbling for 45 minutes. It was impressive, because he’d only been given four pages of dialog to read, and after he finished those he freestyled for the rest of the time. Finally, he paused and looked up, his face purple, panting like an animal that has been ridden too hard.
“Chris, let’s take it back to the top.”
Chris laughed. HAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHA.
“First of all, you don’t need to read the stage directions. Second of all, your character’s name is Ishmael, not Israel. And it’s Captain Ahab, not Doctor Arab. This is a modern adaptation of Moby Dick, after all.”
Chris Klein dropped to the floor and did some push ups and took off his shirt. He pointed at his chest with an expectant look on his face. “WHY WOULD YOU MAKE A COCAINE COMMERCIAL ANYWAY IT’S FUNNY YOU KNOW DON’T GET ME WRONG I’M NOT QUESTIONING IT I THINK IT’S AWESOME THIS IS JUST A SUPERFUN PROJECT AND I HOPE TO BE A PART OF IT I HOPE THAT ME AND MANDY MOORE ARE BOTH A PART OF IT BUT DO YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN IT’S ODD ISN’T IT IS THIS THE FIRST TIME THEY’VE EVER MADE COMMERCIALS FOR COCAINE?”
The casting agent sighed. “Chris, this isn’t a commercial for cocaine. This is a modern adaptation of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. We’ve already cast Jeremy Irons as Captain Ahab and James Caveziel as Queequeg. This is a very serious role you’re reading for.”
Chris Klein got very quiet and his brow furrowed deeply. He turned his back to the video camera and the casting team, and they could see that his body was shuddering as he was wracked with sobs. When he turned back, his grin was somehow wider, and it looked like he had inserted teeth whitening strips. His eyes were fucking dinner plates.
“YOU KNOW WHAT IT IS I THINK WHAT HAPPENED IS THAT I DID SO MUCH COCAINE LAST NIGHT THAT I SOMEHOW CAME UP WITH THE IDEA THAT THERE SHOULD BE COMMERCIALS FOR COCAINE BECAUSE COCAINE IS GREAT I LOVE IT I LOVE MANDY MOORE AND I LOVE COCAINE AND I THINK SO YOU KNOW I LOVE COCAINE AND JUST REALLY WANT TO MAKE A COMMERCIAL TO LET PEOPLE KNOW HOW GREAT COCAINE IS AND HOW IF THEY ONLY TRIED COCAINE THEY WOULD REALLY ENJOY IT AND DO YOU EVER THINK BIRDS GET LONELY IN THE SKY AND WISH THEY COULD LIVE IN APARTMENTS I WAS THINKING ABOUT THAT THIS MORNING AT LIKE SIX THIS MORNING I WAS RUNNING IN A PAIR OF DOCKERS THROUGH THESE SUBURBAN BACKYARDS AND I SAW THIS BIRD AND WAS JUST LIKE OH MAN I BET THAT BIRD WOULD LOVE A COUCH IT’S SHOWTIME LET’S DO THIS!”
The audition with Chris Klein lasted for another three hours until, finally, someone called an ambulance.