SEASON 4, EPISODE 40

It’s like I fell into my own trap, and it confused me to think of the series of events leading up to this: Because I was sleeping with Omar, I had pulled strings to help him sign Joanie to Republic. It benefited all three of us, but it in turn lost Dixon his job at Glassnote, since he had failed to sign the lowest hanging fruit (his own girlfriend). Then, per his guilty conscience, Omar helped Dixon find a new job—he landed one in talent management—and Dixon then took Joanie off my roster. I kept stepping it through my mind, trying to gauge where I could have intervened. I still didn’t feel bad about getting Joanie in at Republic because it was best for her career. But now Joanie was gone. There was no warning, no “I’m thinking of leaving you since you don’t know as much about music but thanks for getting my career started and supporting me for my entire life, especially these last few years where I was desperate and depressed and didn’t even trust myself.” Nothing.

And nothing from Omar, either. I figured I would let him reach out, since any effort on my end would seem like a cry for explanation, for apology, for solace. I was too proud to do that, and too hurt to salt any wounds. But all I wanted was an explanation, an apology, some solace. I tried imagining what he must be thinking of me right now: “Poor Eric. He never meant for this to happen. Nor did I. I should see how he’s taking it, especially since I came out ahead, and since we’ve been sleeping together for a couple months now. That seems like the right thing to do.” But who was I to expect this from Omar, to assume that any of us was keen on doing the right thing? It felt like a really cowardly way to let things end, with me sinking slowly—and then totally—out of his view.

Of course, I wasn’t going to be hurting for work. I had plenty of actor clients who were doing fine, but this was my first taste of having someone leave my care, and I found myself wondering which of my clients saw me as a stepping stone as opposed to indispensable. “Eric, your work will be defined by the careers you launch,” Simon reminded me over dinner. “More than it will be by the careers you merely sustain. Joanie is the first of many breakups, many heartaches.” Simon asked me to stay over—per the usual plan—but I had no energy, much less any libido. I kissed him goodnight, and I suddenly knew in that moment that this was also our goodbye as lovers. I think he felt it, too. Our bowed heads stayed pressed together for a few seconds as I thought to myself that I would rather be alone than be with him casually, or anyone. We didn’t say anything as I left. Addressing it would only be another hurt.

“What should I tell people who contact us about Saturant?” William inquired. We were getting emails and calls regarding Joanie still, even though Red Light had issued an announcement about her management shift. “They’ll figure it out,” I told William. “I don’t want to say anything. That was always our practice at Sam’s office. If a client leaves the manager, you just say we no longer represent that artist.” “But, like, why can’t I just tell them that she’s with Red Light now?” “No. They took her. They’ve got to deal with the transition, not us.” “Seems like it would be easy to tell them that she’s with Red Light,” he argued. “William,” I said sternly, commanding his attention, if not stirring a bit of fear. “You are to say nothing. We will not be discussing it anymore, thank you.” I knew that, to him, this rule seemed absurd, if not unprofessional. But to me, everything was still too personal, and I needed time to forgive Joanie.

I read in Variety one Thursday morning that JK Simmons had vacated a much-buzzed-about comedy pilot on Netflix. The casting director was looking to replace him immediately, so I phoned her after confirming James Thurston’s interest. I spent ten minutes arguing James’ case, and an hour later she called me to offer him the part—no audition needed. I spun around in my swivel chair, twinkling my toes inside my sneakers. Then I called James to tell him the good news. He was elated, nearly in tears: “First of all, Eric, I’ll hold my tongue regarding my needing no audition. More importantly, I don’t know what to say to express my gratitude. You promised to find me something, but this is far more than I expected.” “Don’t say anything, James. Except maybe just remind me that I’m good at my job.” I was half serious in my request. “You’re bloody great at your job, Mr. Condor, and that even goes without saying.”

Talia called me to see how I was handling things. It really did feel like a breakup, like I had been dumped by Joanie and all of our mutual friends had to deal with the fact that we weren’t talking. Peter and Bart were obviously in my corner, but Talia was lifelong friends with both of us. She had reached out to Joanie after hearing what had happened, only she wouldn’t tell me what Joanie said. “Eric, I’m not your go-between here. You’re both taking it hard, OK? She feels pretty shitty too, but that’s for you to discuss with her when the time feels right. What I care about is that you’re feeling better today than you did yesterday.” “Well, yesterday my most famous acting client landed a big pilot, so it’ll be hard for today to top that,” I stated coyly. Talia said nothing on her end, unamused by my humor. “Yes, I feel a little better every day. But only a little. And thank you.” “Good. And you’re welcome.”

I was spending most of my free time alone, or in near silence with Peter. It felt all too similar to three months prior, when Sam jumped in front of that train and I wanted to retreat from society, be a nameless, faceless nobody and run from the problem. Everything felt lonely lately, even the most mundane things: brushing my teeth, riding the subway, reading a book. These weren’t things that required another person, nor did they remind me of Joanie or Omar. But everything I did felt isolating. Or maybe isolated. Before I fell asleep each night, I would sit on the edge of my bed as the voice in my head convinced me that I was a terrible man, with selfish ambitions and a broken moral compass. “She doesn’t need you. She doesn’t want you. She’s better off without you.” Funny: so many people in my life were withholding information or leaving things unsaid, and here was an opinion I couldn’t suppress.

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