The opening of the front door cut short their sparring and the man they had been expecting walked in, out of breath, and smiling diffidently. He was tall and blond and already going to seed in his thirties. His bloodshot eyes and the dark circles underneath them detracted from what had once been a very handsome face. Probably booze, possibly drugs. Stan was all too familiar with the signs of self-abuse.
He and Olga stood up and Stan offered his hand. “You must be Josh. I’ve heard a lot of nice things about you…really liked the demo Jennie sent me.” Josh nodded and thanked him. Stan’s handshake was firm and his manner confident despite his modest demeanor. He wrapped an arm around Olga’s waist. “And this is Olga, my secretary. Hang on to your wallet around her. She’s dangerous.”
Olga pooh-poohed and pushed him away affectionately. “I’ll go see if Howard is still on the phone.” She disappeared down the hallway.
Stan indicated a chair. “Sit down, relax. I’ve got to return a call. Won’t take a second.”
As soon as Stan stepped into his office, he closed the door and headed for the bathroom, then closed the door and locked it. Olga would kill him if she knew about this. As for Lila, God only knew what she would do. If she found out he hadn’t stopped using, she’d probably leave him. He knew Olga had heard the rumors about him being an occasional party user but she hadn’t confronted him about it yet. His habit was no worse than some of his friends. Kicking it would be easy. As soon as he finished production on Run for the Money, he would check himself in somewhere, tell Lila he was fishing with his buddies, or come up with some better excuse. If Howard had been able to do it, he sure as hell could.
He patted his shirt pocket and felt the familiar packet. It had only been a half hour since his last hit, but he figured he deserved to indulge himself. His regular supplier from Vegas had cut him off since the big blowout with Lila, when she caught the guy slipping a packet of coke into Stan’s pocket at a party. She had gone berserk and screamed obscenities in a house full of people, including his supplier, who was now terrified of being exposed by her. Stan had been frantic to make a connection for two days. Then, this morning, peace, lovely peace. Chuck Barenhaus, an out-of-work key grip, had stopped by with a fresh supply and had left with a promise of a job on the feature.
He dug his spoon out of his wallet and took the cocaine from his pocket. He inhaled deeply of the pure white powder and leaned against the sink to enjoy the rush. He knew it wouldn’t last long. It was taking more and more hits to get him to the same place. But that was cool; after production, he’d get right.
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