My dad and I had watched that video together several times. It was one of those things you simply couldn’t look away from. The incident unfolded as a grainy, shaky cam captured Jenner from across the hotel lobby asking the clerk in a faux-innocent tone, “I’m a little bit confused about something.”
“Okay, how can I help you, sir?”
“Is there a reason I don’t have a room with a view?”
“I’m so sorry, sir. We’re all booked,” said the clerk, who didn’t seem to recognize the actor.
“So that’s the reason? Because that just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me on the planet I live on. And that’s planet earth, correct?”
“Um, yes,” the clerk answered, clearly confused with the line of questioning.
“And on this planet, I would get a room with a view.”
“I understand, and I would love to give you one but we’re all out,” the clerk replied.
“Perhaps you could rearrange some room assignments.”
The clerk then gave a gentle laugh as the cell phone camera holder zoomed in on the pair. “I’m sorry sir, we don’t do that.”
“Did you see Planet Patrol? Because I want to show you what happens on my planet when things don’t make sense.”
Then Jenner’s fist met the clerk’s face. Next, Jenner blew air on each bicep as if they were guns. It was a perfect reenactment of his character’s reaction after he’d slammed his knuckles into the alien that had slithered out of his costar’s mouth in the climactic scene in Planet Patrol.
The cell phone videographer who’d caught the whole hotel lobby encounter would make a good paparazzo, because Jenner had no clue he’d been recorded until “I Want a Room with a View on My Planet” became a viral sensation the next day.
I suspected Jenner’s publicist pulled some crisis duty and crisis dollars because the requisite apology from the teen star poured forth less than twenty-four hours later. “I would like to extend my deepest apologies to Mr. Garcia at the front desk. Not only was I suffering from jet lag due to the promotional activities surrounding the film’s launch, I also had become so wrapped up in the role that I behaved as the character, rather than as Jenner Davies. I sincerely regret my actions yesterday. I hope to show the world who the real Jenner Davies is, and I have made a donation to a charity of Mr. Garcia’s choice.”
Ah, the charitable donation route. Hollywood’s version of absolution. Do something naughty, cruel, stupid, idiotic, or selfish in front of a lens, and earn forgiveness by becoming a charitable supporter. Many charities relied on the funds that came from this town’s sinners trying to wash away their bad deeds. Just recently, I’d seen a photo of Jenner picking up trash on the beach with a coastal cleanup charity—he was clearly trying to rehabilitate his tarnished image.
“Just trying to do my little part for the big world,” Jenner said when an entertainment news magazine interviewed him on that same beach as he delivered his canned response. His little part, though, wasn’t enough yet to win back the good graces of casting directors and studios—no one would touch him after the hotel lobby incident.
I closed the email, giving Nick Ballast a mental pat on the back. Good for Nick for beating out Hollywood’s number one teenage douchebag for the coveted part, and for working out.
A new email arrived. Anaka’s cousin Kennedy had replied, so I opened her note.
I have a good friend who was invited. I’m going to see him later today, so I’ll ask for more details. When are you coming to NY again? We should see another show.
I nearly squealed with excitement. Then I sent a quick reply.
You are a rock star. Hope to see NY and you soon. By the way, is this friend a hot guy?
As soon as the email flew off into cyber space, my phone rang. The San Francisco number piqued my interest, as did the name. My friend Jillian Moore. She handled publicity for the city’s NFL team, and had been something of a mentor to me.
“Hey you,” I said.
“Hey you to you, too. I have something for you.”
“Do tell, do tell.”
“Want to shoot some pics of some of our players? A couple of guys are going to be in Los Angeles for an event. You’re the best local photog I know.”
“Flattery will get you everywhere as will the chance to snap shots of hot athletes. Who’s in town?”
“The top guys. The quarterback, our star receiver, and our running back. It’s a quick turnaround, though. Are you free on Friday?”
She gave me a time, and I promptly agreed. “And when I see you, will you give me all the gossip on who you’re crushing on on the team?”
“Oh stop. I’m not crushing on anyone.”
I arched an eyebrow, though she couldn’t see me. “Last time you and the guys were in town, I distinctly remember you checking out the wide receiver. Jones Beckett.”