Hollywood (Story by Risa Peris)

“OK. So the way you need to read this is a woman in desperation. Carlos will read for Blake. Got it. Show us what you got.” The man, dressed in slacks and a cashmere sweater, turned on the camera and then sat behind two women – both of whom looked bored and one was smacking Trident gum that sat in a jar at the edge of the table. 

Poppy cleared her throat. She knew the lines. She got the script three days ago. Poppy had ran through lines with her friend and neighbor. She was prepared and believed herself perfect for the part. 

“Start,” yelled the dapper man.

Poppy took a deep breath. 

-Why are you doing this to me?

-I don’t want you. (Carlos sounded as bored as the women looked)

-But darling…

-Don’t say that. Get out of this house. 

-I have rights. 

-You have no rights. I own this house and everything in it, including half your designer clothes. 

-Please. I’m begging you. I love you. I have nowhere to go.

-I’ll give you two thousand dollars to get you on your feet. Get an apartment. 

-I don’t have a job.

-You chose not to work when we were together. You leached me of money. Get out. Get out. 

-But I wuv you little tiger. (Her baby voice was spot on).

-Get out. Pack a suitcase and get out. Do it. Security will escort you out. 


“Stop.” The cashmere sweater guy yelled again. The women didn’t move except for the one woman vigorously moving her jaw chewing gum. “We’ll get back to you.”

Poppy blinked. “Hmmm…and feedback.”

“Yeah, you could have sounded more like a baby.”

“But…the role is a woman. A grown woman who had struggled a lot in life. Shouldn’t she sound stronger?”

“I gave you your feedback. Shirley get the next girl in.”

Poppy grabbed her purse and walked into the waiting room full of women. Many had pigtails. 

“Just so you know, they want a baby. Not a woman.”

A blonde woman in pigtails piped up. “Duh, didn’t you read the whole script? She’s a woman baby.”

Poppy walked out. Why did most of the scripts her agent sent involve women babies? You would think after the Weinstein debacle roles for women would have evolved. Poppy shook her head. She had to pick her daughter up from school and work at the clothing store. Tomorrow she waitressed all day. Poppy worked every day and still managed to raise her daughter. Poppy dumped the script in the trash can. She was no woman baby. In fact, she knew very few that were. 

Oh, fuck you Hollywood. She would succeed on her terms. 


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