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February 14, 2003
The Iranian

Part 19

March 8
10:11 a.m.

"Baabaatt khol shodeh!"

(Your dad's gone nuts!)

For fifteen minutes, I have been patiently listening to Maamaan's telephonic tirade against my dad, trying with all my might to suppress a fit of giggles. Apparently, Baabaa has gone on the pranking war path again. It all started when Maamaan was trying to clean out the basement and ran screaming because she thought she had seen a mouse. Despite her pleadings that they call an exterminator, my dad simply took the matter in his own hands, and set a basic trap (with Swiss cheese) downstairs. Sure enough, he caught the mouse the same day. But my mom was not satisfied and kept bugging him that there must be "thousands more" vermin lurking in every corner of the house waiting to attack its human inhabitants. So my dad's response was to go get the camera and take a few polaroids of the dead mouse. In front of my mom's dumbfounded eyes, he proceeded to spread said polaroids on the ground in every room of the house. When my mom asked him what he hoped to accomplish, Baabaa replied that he was leaving the polaroid as a "warning" to other mice about the fate that would await them should they proceed with their plans for a coup d'etat.

Hehehehehe... Pretty funny! I got my loopy sense of humor from my dad. He is forever pulling these pranks. I remember once how he changed the answering machine unbeknownst to Maamaan. When Maamaan called, it went: "Hello?" followed by a pause during which Maamaan started replying. Then the recording repeated "Hello"... Hello? Anybody there? I can't hear you, can you speak louder?" This made Maamaan scream louder and louder onto the phone until finally she heard the message:"Just kidding! I'm not at home, please leave a message!"

Baabaa and I had quite a laugh over that one. Maamaan has never understood it. She is a very "straight" person who believes in the natural order of things and hardly sees humor in issues involving hairy rodents. But I pretended to sympathize with her so that at least she would be momentarily diverted off Baabaa's back. But enough was enough!

-- "Khob Maamaan, I have just arrived at my audition... I gotta call you later... "

As usual, Maamaan pretends she has not heard my hint for concluding the conversation.

-- "Khob... digeh che khabar? Ali chetoreh?"

Unbelievable. Ever since Maamaan got wind that Ali and I broke up, she has suddenly become his champion. I wish she had exhibited that kind of support while we were together. As for now, it's too late for us I guess...

-- "Maamaan I have to go! I'm going to be late."

Before I can hang up, she manages to squeeze in the following chilling words:

-- "Nazanin, maa daarim baraaye aroussi miyaym California!"

(We're coming to California for the wedding)

-- "Uh??? Kodoom aroussi? Key daarin miyayn?"

(What wedding? When are you coming?)

However, I lost my connection right then. Great! Maamaan was coming here so that meant I would have to act as chauffeur, tour guide and personal servant for god knows how many days! I was excited to see Baabaa though. Maybe me and him could pull a few pranks on her while she was here hehehe...

As I made my way hurriedly through the parking lot, I sadly remembered how I had blown the last audition that my new manager Ne'Shant'e had sent me to. I mean, come on, they wanted a hip hop savvy teen girl from Harlem while I am on the wrong side of my twenties, sport red hair and couldn't rap even if Suge Knight was holding me outside the window by my feet. By the way, I am really starting to get used to this new shade of my hair. Artie has put some retouches on it, giving it more of an auburn tinge and he has also given me a whole new make-up set that compliments the new color. Ne'Shant'e of course could no give a hoot. The message was clear when she refused to see me in her office and instead left the new audition script for me downstairs with the reception. I am on probation. As such, I better do well this time or she's gonna drop me completely.

12:26 p.m.

My hands are shaking so much that they can hardly control the steering wheel. Forget about quitting smoking! Right now, if I could, I would swallow a truckload of nicotine first and throw in a lit match afterwards.

I am so stupid and naïve to think I was immune. That this would not happen to me! Puh-Leeze! The question is not why has it happened to me now but how could it not have occurred sooner!!!

Of course, everyone has heard of Hollywood and its "casting couch." I just always thought it was a relic of a bygone era when flappers were still the rage. I mean, you would think these slimy executives would get all the sex they need with all the high class call girls and willing starlets fresh off the farm who roam the hotspots in this town?

Unfortunately, it seems there can never be enough. It's not about sex anyway. It's just about a power trip: A clash of the wills, with only one person left standing with their dignity at the end. Well, let me tell you, in my case, Mr. Slimy may have been left standing but it was knees bent, hands clutching his member and mouth screaming in pain.

The audition was for an action movie where I would be part of an all-female secret government fighting unit (Don't ask!). So Mr. Slimy, a middle-aged man with a crustier tan than George Hamilton, asked me to do some spin kicks a la Tai Bo. He put on this really raunchy rap music of all things and told me to just let loose and kick my legs up as high as I could. Nothing too unusual so far. I was doing it for a few minutes and getting sweaty and a bit out of breath when Mr. Slimy suddenly came behind me, grabbed my waist and flipped me down on the floor. I screamed at the top of my lungs from the shock but the rap music was so loud it drowned out my voice. The gross part was that I could see, the more I wrestled with him, the more he was getting ... ummm... excited... YUKKKK!!!! That's when my adrenaline suddenly "kicked in", pardon the pun, and I planted my knee right where the sun should never shine! The excruciating pain made Mr. Slimy lose his grip and I was able to escape.

As soon as I left the lot though, I lost the adrenaline rush that had come to my rescue and felt chills and shakes overcome my body. I really... really... really am desperate for a nicotine fix. Damn L.A. where it is easier to snort coke lines in public than light a harmless little cancer stick!

3:26 p.m.

Unbelievable! I came home and Chloe was there. She could see how shaken I looked. But when I started telling her about what happened to me, she just walked up from the couch, went into her room and slammed the door.

-- "Oh come on Chloe!" I cried out "Don't you think the silent treatment is getting old? I told you a hundred times, nothing happened between me and Gavin!"

I heard her snorting behind the door.

-- "Yeah... RIGHT! So he just tucked you in like your granny and placed a chaste kiss on your forehead before hopping on his white horse and riding into the night?"

I couldn't help laughing:

-- "Chloe I don't know where you get these things? I told you! I felt sick because of that stupid stuff Artie's boyfriend gave me and Gavin just drove me home before I passed out!"

Chloe jerked her door open. She was red in the face. I don't think I had ever seen her so angry:

-- "Naz... Please don't insult my intelligence. I invented the old damsel in distress routine. The thing is, you knew he was there on a date with me and you tried to steal him back. That's not what a friend is Naz!!!"

Then she slammed the door right back.

Unbelievable. I retreated to my own room where I immediately dialed my cousin Sami's number. I needed a shoulder to cry on after what had happened to me. To talk to a sympathetic ear. Sami sounded all funny when she picked up the phone though. I asked her if I had caught her at a bad time. There was loud Iranian music playing in the background and the sound of female voices chattering on and laughing.

-- "Errr... . I am kind of having a ... a meeting... "

I replied sarcastically: "Is that what they call parties nowadays?"

-- "No... Naz... It's not what you think... Ummm... "

-- "It's okay Sami, I'm kidding. I don't expect you to invite me to all your parties! I was just calling to see if we could set a time aside to talk. I really have a lot on my mind and... "

-- "Wellll... " Sami said hesitatingly, "I would really love to Naz but... I think I have my hands full for the next few weeks."

This was the third time Sami was blowing me off in the past couple of weeks. Every time I had tried to make plans with her, she had come up with vague excuses. I guess she was sick of hearing about my problems. Not that I blamed her. My life was a mess. I had nothing in common with a happily married woman with a successful career and a serene circle of like-minded friends.

-- "Bye Sami." I said simply before I hung up.

All right. That was it. It was time to take a mental health break.

I put some things in an old gym bag and hopped back in my car. Where was I driving to? Who cared? Wherever destiny would take me, it had to be better than the place I was right now. It just had to be.


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