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May 2, 2003
The Iranian

Part 30

April 16
I wake up to the "khesh khesh" sound of Manny turning the pages of my sketchbook.


-- "Hon!" Manny replies without looking up. "This is amazing, when did you write this?"

I move my head up a little, and rub my sleepy eyes.

--"I don't know... A while ago... I went to Santa Barbara for a few days... And I had nothing else to do..."

--"Well, I can't believe you didn't tell me about this. This is like your autobiography or something... It's so funny...and sad at the same time... and human."

I laugh.

--"You're kind of responsible for starting the whole thing, Manny. I mean, I never took the time to write anything down until you got me that diary as a joke last year."

--"If I knew, I would have bought you a laptop!"

Awwwwww... There's nothing more ego-feeding than the unconditional love and support of your best friend! Ever since I went on a writing binge a while ago and blackened sheet after sheet with my innermost thoughts, anecdotes from my life, and really infantile poetry, I didn't bother taking a second glance at it. But now Manny is acting like it is the best thing she read since War and Peace!!!

--"I don't know, maybe it's the fact that I broke up with Ali and every time I break up with a boyfriend, I have these, like, sudden life realizations or whatever... But I don't know, writing it all down made me think... Maybe the best years of my life are behind me and all I have to look forward to is...well...

--"Mediocrity?... unfulfillment?...loneliness? Naz, we're all there hon! It's like a bad flu, it'll pass...Now come on, we don't wanna waste this gorgeous California day sitting here in the dark feeling sorry for ourselves!"

As we step out of the bedroom, we are hit in the face by the greasy smell of frying sausages. Eeeewwww... never been much of a meat-eater at breakfast. I don't even like eggs that much. This German roommate thing is beginning to be even more annoying than I thought. Ever since Rolf has moved into Chloe's old room, he has brought with him an endless supply of sausages, cold meats, and other fatty delicacies. Artie is in heaven, and it's beginning to show. I tease him endlessly about how he is losing his girlish figure but he only shrugs his shoulders and mutters an indignated "Pish, Posh!" before stuffing another piece of bratwurst in his mouth.

Manny and I decide to skip breakfast and head out, as we are already late for a meeting with Reza, one of her acquaintances, who is supposed to get her into the music biz. We show up at a gorgeous house on Mulholland drive, overlooking the San Fernando Valley. There, Reza, a pony-tailed dude in his mid thirties, greets us. I have a distinct feeling of being the third wheel as Reza does nothing to hide his utter and complete adoration of Manny, whereas I am the invisible woman. Not that I blame him! Manny is cool on the inside and hot as hell on the outside: a perfect combo!

--"Bah bah bah bah..." seems to be the only thing Reza can mutter for the first few seconds, as he leads Manny by the hand into his house. The sounds of dambol-damboli Iranian music can be heard from the backyard.

Reza, who has some sort of position at a prominent American record company in Hell-Ay, also produces Tehran-Gelessi music albums on the side. Today, he is in the middle of a shoot for a music video starring one of the newest "star of the scene." As we approach the pool, we see a camera crew filming something straight out of Fellini... except without the art and talent.

There is a chubby woman inside the pool, made-up like a drag queen with false eyelashes and glitter all over her face, making various poses she deems sexy, while mouthing the lyrics of the aneurysm-inducing song blasting over the speakers. As far as I can see, she is dressed in some sort of siren's costume, with a long wavy blonde wig, a crown of roses around her head, two coconut shells serving as a bikini top, and a tight blue and green vinyl skirt shaped like the tail of a fish.

The song mercifully ends and the woman, with the help of two of the camera men, manages to get her fat ass out of the water. This siren has had one too many chelokababs!

--"Rezzzzaaaaaaa... I am hungry, can vee tayke our lunch?"

Reza turns to Manny, who shrugs her shoulders.

--"Sure, I mean, Naz and I have skipped breakfast so... let's go why not?"

The fat siren goes to change and when she comes back without her wig, I have a sudden flash of recognition! This is none other than "Nassim", the wedding singer at my cousin Hedieh's nuptials! Oh brother! Everybody can be the newest star of the scene in Tehran-Geles!

Reza's car is a flashy convertible Beamer that is really just a two-seater but Manny insists on me coming in the same car so I have to squeeze myself into the back along with Miss Nassim, who has just put on the most godawful giant pink tinted sunglasses (no doubt to match her pink scarf and barrette).

--"Nassim what are you doing?" Reza brays.

--"Nemikhaam shenaakhteh besham." (I want to go incognito.)

I look at her dumbfounded. Well no use trying to reason with that!

We get to Kolbeh Sabz, the Texan version of the irooni kababi in the Valley: The portions are ungodly! Still, it doesn't seem to be enough for Nassim, who is already eyeing my plate while she is scarfing down her own soltani at the speed of lightning.

Manny is trying to talk shop with Reza but he is completely oblivious and is just drinking her in adoringly.

When we get back to Reza's house, Manny gives me one of her coded eyebrow movements, which means "Let's get out of here!"

We manage to ditch Reza and crew through one of my brilliant pretexts. Reza gives me murderous looks as we drive away.

--"Thank god!" Manny mutters "One more minute and he would have thrown me into the pool along with that whale!"


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