Doing Coke With Billy Mays
Having produced a cut-off drinking straw from the pocket of his crisp blue shirt, Billy Mays smiles broadly at me through that insanely well-groomed beard, his pearly whites lending an otherworldly glow to the confines of the storage closet, throwing the mops, buckets and various cleaning products into a dignified relief normally reserved for furniture covered in velvet. Or leather. Or torn vinyl. How did it come to this? Five minutes previous, he had been bent over a pocket-sized mirror cutting a portion of his considerable stash into six decent sized lines, the smell of Oxi-Clean still heavy in the stuffy, damp air. I had watched in rapt awe as he sprayed a liberal amount of the wonder cleaner onto the surface of his mirror then polished it to a high sheen with a pocket-sized Zorbie, all the while lecturing me in booming tones on the superiority of Oxi-Clean in comparison to the sundry products scattered at my feet.
Here I am, about to ‘blow lines’ — as he calls it — with my hero, TV pitchman Billy Mays.
He puts the straw to his left nostril, bends to the mirror and hoovers up a line, then switches the straw to his right nostril and makes another disappear. Rubbing his nose and snuffling, he lifts his head, shaking it like a dog shedding water, then grabs me by the shoulders and screams,
“Hi! Billy Mays here with benzoylmethyl ecognine! It sounds classier when you call it by its chemical name!”
I grin and shrug, trying to look impressed.
“Here, do some. It’s good shit, man!”
He hands me the straw and grabs me by the back of the head. This is not what I had in mind when he asked me if I wanted to ‘party.’ I thought we were going to smoke a joint, but I guess that isn’t Billy’s style. I pry his hand away and take a step back from the battered card table. He’s grinning like a madman now, rubbing his face and chanting ‘Oxi-Clean, Oxi-Clean, OXI-CLEAN!’
“Okay, okay. Just calm down Billy-boy. I can do it myself.”
I’m going to have to if I plan on sticking around here and not committing murder. So, I bend to the mirror and do the deed. Billy is pleased. He celebrates with two more lines. Then the talk begins and Billy’s a natural. We cover everything from Voltaire’s anti-Turkism to whether the ’27 Yankees are the most overrated team in baseball history to the merits of the female buttocks in a pair of tight jeans vs. a tight skirt. It goes well until I bring up Vince Offer. Billy bristles. His eyes redden a deeper shade of scarlet and he gnashes his teeth, grabbing me by the shoulders again.
“What did you just say!?”
“I said, what do you think of Vince Offer?”
I shrug his hands off and step back, but he comes at me again, grabbing at my shoulders, his hot, garlic breath forcing it’s way up my clogged nostrils. He’s pissed.
“You mean Vince ‘Heywood Jablowme’ Schlomi? That’s his real name, you know. Fucker. That little weasel. Thinks he can beat me at my own game. Me! I’m Billy fucking Mays! Who the hell is he? No one. Some limp-dicked hooker beater with shitty kitchen appliances and too much goddam hair product! Fuck Vince Schlomi! That’s what I think of Vince motherfucking Offer. Fuck him with a fucking Sham-wow wrapped in sandpaper!”
I shove him back and jump into a defensive stance, fists raised, ready for some Billy Mays action. Sure, he looks tough, but I’ve got a year and a half of kick-boxing under my belt and a headful of cocaine. So does he, but he’s 50 years-old. Maybe I should go easy on him. Maybe we should talk it out. God knows we’re both in a talking mood.
“Listen man, just calm down, I didn’t mean anything by it. I was just curious. I mean, he’s the only other salesman anywhere near you as far as popularity goes. I mean, you guys are celebrities. Right? It wasn’t a value-based statement. I mean, it wasn’t judgmental. Hell, Billy, you’re my hero — not Vince Offer. I own a Zorbie, not a fucking Sham-wow. Okay? And when my oak toilet sheet loses its sheen, I’m reaching for the Orange-Glo. Right?”
He relaxes somewhat and the grin returns.
“Yeah man, I know, I know. Shit. Are you trying to wind me up? Cuz it’s working. But listen, me and Vince, right? We’re people, right? I’ve got fucking feelings, man. So does he. Probably. I didn’t ask to be no goddam celebrity, I just work hard at what I do. Which is really the only thing I know how to do. And I’m not a real celebrity. I’m not even on par with Octo-Mom. Listen, the most press I’ll ever get is when I fucking die or if I get caught with kiddie porn. That’s just how it is for a b-lister. Hell, I’m a c-lister on a good day. But you know what? Who cares? I’m filthy rich, I’ve got a huge house, a beautiful wife and more drugs than I could ever need. What else could anyone possibly want? Huh!? Tell me!”
I return his grin, wipe my brow and collapse to the bare cement floor, content in the fact that I’ve just had the one conversation I wanted to have before I die.
“Nothing Billy, nothing at all.”
Filed under: fiction | 3 Comments
Tags: Billy Mays, cocaine, Orange Glo, Oxi-Clean, Sham-Wow, Vince Offer