I had just gotten off of work. It was late, far too late for me to be walking home through this part of town, but my car was broken down and I missed the bus so I didn’t really have much of a choice. The street was quiet and empty, although I could still hear the cars rushing down the interstate nearby. I would much rather have been walking down the middle of the interstate right now.
I thought I saw someone out of the corner of my eye. It was probably my imagination, but I sped up anyway.
“Don’t be afraid.”
Okay. That made me afraid. Not my imagination. I sped up again, but not too fast, hoping he was talking to someone else and wouldn’t notice me. I looked over my shoulder and saw him; he was tall and disheveled, with long hair and clad in some kind of dirty brown bathrobe. His face was blank and expressionless (he probably always looked that way).
“From the moment I met you, all those years ago, not a day has gone by when I haven’t thought of you. And now that I’m with you again… I’m in agony,” He said, like some sort of terrible actor reading off of a poorly written script.
I ducked down an alley. Probably a bad idea. I should’ve stayed on the road in hope that a car would pass, but I wasn’t exactly thinking rationally at this point in time.
“The closer I get to you, the worse it gets. The thought of not being with you- I can’t breath. I’m haunted by the kiss that you should never have given me. My heart is beating… hoping that kiss will not become a scar.”
I turned around a corner and broke into a sprint. Around another corner. And another. Shit. I was at a dead end. Standing there, still and quiet, as if that would keep him from finding me. I looked behind me. Maybe he went the wrong way? Maybe he gave up?
“You are in my very soul, tormenting me… what can I do?- I will do anything you ask.”
There he was. He looked menacing, or at least like somebody who is really unintimidating trying to look dark and brooding… wait, was as he wearing gold contact lenses? Wow, what a dork.
“… if you are suffering as much as I am, PLEASE, tell me.”
I was so off put by his appearance, that of a brooding middle school-aged anime nerd, that I almost forgot that he was a dangerous sociopath and I was trapped in an alley with him. “I’ll give you my wallet. Do you want that? Do you want money?”
“Attachment is forbidden. Possession is forbidden. Compassion, which I would define as unconditional love, is essential. You love me? I thought we had decided not to fall in love. That we’d be forced to live a lie and that it would destroy our lives.” What he was saying was nonsensical, likely in any context. “Quiet as a tomb.”
Then I had an idea. “Wait, say that again.”
“Qu…quiet as a tomb?”
“No, before that.”
“Uhm, attachment is forbidd-”
“Yeah, there.” I got out a pen and paper from my bag. “…go on, jeez.”
I started jotting down what this guy was saying. I was working on a project at work and what this guy was spouting out was perfect for it. “A-Attachment is forbidden. Possession is forbidden. Compassion, which I would define as unconditional love, is essential…”
“You love me? I thought we had decided not to fall in love. That we’d be forced to live a lie and that it would destroy our lives…”
“Okay, stop. Say some different crazy things. I dunno, something about sand?”
“I don’t like sand. It’s coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere. Not like here. Here everything is soft and smooth.”
“This is really good. I’ve got a question for you, Mr…”
“You underestimate my power!”
“Yeah, that’s not your name. Anyway, how would you like to be in the movies?
“What must I do, master?” He got down on one knee and bowed his head.
“Not your master, but let me make a phone call.”
“Thank you… my master.”
“Not your… fine, whatever.” I took out my phone and called my boss. “George? It’s me. I think I found our guy.”
“Annie? My goodness, you’ve grown!”
The two actors locked eyes and gazed silently at each other. Natalie started to feel uncomfortable. They keep staring. And staring. She looked at the camera nervously, trying to wrestle her hands from Hayden’s. Finally the silence was broken.
“I HAAAAAAAAAAAATE YOOOOOOOOOOOOUGHGHHHHHHHHHHHHHGH!”
“CUT! Someone get this lunatic off the stage, he’s being the wrong kind of sociopath in this scene!” George stormed off the set, none too pleased with Hayden’s performance. He was my one chance, if he didn’t work out then I would have to be nearly assaulted in an alley again to find his replacement. That would be really inconvenient. I knew then what I must do; give an inspiring pep talk. Hayden was brooding and moping and whining on the other side of the room. I walked up to him.
“Hayden, baby! What’s the matter with you, guy? Why did you yell at Mrs. Portman instead of giving a stirring performance as an emotionally stunted teenager with a laser sword? That’s no good, my man! You’re better than that, the best actor in the business!”
“Master… I’ve disappointed you. I have not been very appreciative of your training. I have been arrogant and I apologize.”
“Don’t apologize, especially not for being arrogant. Do you think Brando apologized for showing up on set fat and unwilling to work? No! You know why? Because Brando was an artist, just like you. You get me, boyo?”
“Good! Now you’re gonna walk up there and you are gonna act your goddamned heart out! When people think of the greats, they’ll think of the real heavy hitters; Robert De Niro, Paul Newman, Jack Nicholson, and soon enough, Hayden Christensen in Attack of the Clones! You got that?”
“Now go win that Oscar!”
Hayden ran onto the stage, newly energized by my rousing speech. I felt bad lying to the guy like that. There was no way in hell he was going to win an Oscar for this, or anything he ever did for that matter, and I’m pretty sure Brando or De Niro would even think about reading some of the crap that George puked out onto this script But he was my meal ticket, so I had to do what I had to do.
“Take two. Aaaaand action!”
“…and Dana Carvey for Master of Disguise. Those are your nominees for Best Actor in a Lead Role.” Tom Green stepped away from the microphone as the previous year’s winner, David Spade, stepped forward. He fumbled around with the envelope for a second before giving a sideways glance backstage.
“And the winner is… Hayden Christensen for Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones?”
A wave of confusion washed over the crowd. There was no clapping, just quiet muttering. Hayden Christensen meandered onto the stage. The muttering stopped as everyone looked at the man with equal parts fear and curiosity. Christensen was confused by the microphone for a few seconds, smelling it and trying to eat it before finally figuring out that talking into it made his voice big. Green and Spade cowered in fear, backing away from this violent, Oscar winning sociopath.
“Good idea, I need some room to maneuver. This is where the fun begins.” Christensen grabbed the microphone. “My powers have doubled since the last time we met. I’m back, I’m all right. It feels like we’ve been apart for a lifetime.” Nobody knew what other time he had been here. Everyone just assumed that he was digging through the garbage after a previous awards show. “We’re not going to worry about anything right now, all right? This is a happy moment. The happiest moment of my life. I haven’t laughed in so long…” A silence filled the room. People wondered if he was finished. The music started playing in the background to signal that his time was almost up. “It was a dream. It was only a dream. Everyone will agree on that. You’re the master, I’m just the hero.” Hayden gestured toward me and I sunk down in my seat. “this whole operation was your idea. You planned it. All because of your training, Master. You deserve all those speeches of your greatness. Forgive me, master.”
Suddenly the silence was broken. “Get-a off-a da stage!” A livid Dana Carvey, dressed in full Turtle Club regalia, yelled from the back of the auditorium. “You’re-a a terrible actor!”
“That has NOTHING to do with this!”
Security guards dragged off Carvey. His screams dimmed as he was taken from the theater. “I am the greatest actor of our generation! I can play an Italian guy! I can play an Indian guy! I CAN PLAY A TURTLE!” Carvey was kicking and screaming, flailing his little turtle arms about. “Am I not TURTLEY enough for your stupid awards? AM I NOT TURTLEY ENOUGH FOR YOU PEOPLE?!” The doors closed behind them.
“They still treat me as if I were a Padawan learner. . . they fear my power, that’s the problem. They try. Is it possible to learn this power? No. No offense, my master, but I am just stating fact. You underestimate my power!” Hayden was trembling. Sweat began to drip down his face. “I killed them. I killed them all. They’re dead, every single one of them. And not just the men, but the women and the children, too. They’re like animals, and I slaughtered them like animals. I HATE THEM!” Hayden fell to the ground, shaking with anger. “I HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATE YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOUGHGHGGGHGHHHHHHHHHHHHHGHAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Hayden laid there on the stage silently for what seemed like hours. The crowd was just as still, just as quiet. A jiggling pile of a man struggled to sit up from his seat, winded from that slight series of movements. A tear rolled down his face. It was Marlon Brando. He let out a single clap before falling back into his chair, gasping for breath and eating several individually wrapped snack cakes to renew his energy. Slowly others joined in. All manner of actors, writers, and filmmakers moved by Christensen’s stunning performance. Within minutes the entire audience applauded. They cheered and clapped until their throats and palms were raw and bleeding. Everyone who had won an Oscar that night walked up to the stage and placed the golden statuettes around Christensen, relinquishing their prizes to this new-found god of the stage. The special effects team for The Scorpion King brought up their Best Visual Effects award. Sarah Michelle Gellar did the same with her Best Supporting Actress award. Paul W.S. Anderson lovingly placed his Best Director Oscar into Hayden’s arms. Even the Best Picture Oscar, awarded to The Hot Chick. None felt that anyone but Hayden Christensen was worthy of any accolades or admiration. No other Academy Awards were given until 2012, when Jack and Jill swept the Oscars, Tonys, Grammies, and both Daytime and Primetime Emmys.