I worked in the fringes of midtown Manhattan on the night shift of a telemarketing company selling weight-loss products. This was a perfect job for struggling actors, as it allowed open days to audition. Earlier that week I'd lined up with other petite brunette actresses, silently, our eyes underlined with dark liner. When it was my turn to walk on stage, the assistant casting director asked me to smile, inspected my teeth for flaws. She had purple hair, a nose ring, and a T-Shirt that said '2nd Butch Bitch.' She looked me over — back to front to back. Said they'll call if I made the cut. My nighttime job was easier—calling people who had ordered our diet product from a TV infomercial, trying to sell them more before the first shipment arrived. None of us who worked there had ever sampled the product, we were all skinny. We suspected it didn't work and whispered about it during our smoking breaks. We were all nervous, fluttering and bullying each other. I piled Three Musketeers bars next to my coffee. A bite, then a sip, then a call. I waved at Jeremy, an almost boyfriend, who'd been on the night shift the last month. I dialed, opening my Three Musketeers.
"Yep?" a tired female voice belonging to Janet Smith in Racine Wisconsin, said. "Hello Janet! I'm calling from Dr. Feldman's Weight Loss Program!" I said. The script read: WAIT NOW FOR REACTION. Jeremy was mock flipping-me-off like he always did. I stuck out my tongue at him, and he flashed me his rat-face. Janet, in Racine, greeted my call warmly. "You sound real nice," she said. Janet told me she was a waitress. Her husband had died on the way home from work one-and-a-half years ago, crushed by a semi. She had a toddler named Trevor. She hoped to be able to afford a preschool for him soon. She gave me her credit card number, said "Hell yes!" to the Supreme Success Package (the most expensive). I smuggled Janet's order home to the shared apartment, my closet-sized bedroom. I tore Janet's credit card information into bits so she'd never be charged. The next day, I'd be fired for this action. I looked at myself in the mirror, from different angles, the way a casting director would.
[Check out the "Most Interesting Finds" on Amazon ]