For the past two hours I have been trying to drone out my nervousness with the loud blast of the air conditioner, as my mother and I inched our way closer and closer to The Agency. In a few horrific minutes all of my questions about this place I am moments away from stepping foot into will be answered. What is a talent agency, or more specifically, the agents who work there like? There have been numerous films depicting agents as heartless money mongers; all of which are playing frame by frame in my mind. In this haziness of terrifying mental cinema that is beginning to cloud my psyche, there is only one thing that is crystal clear – I will finally find out what lies on the other side of The Agency doors.
The parking lot, fully of a variety of cars in all makes and colors, is a cold and dense gray from the consuming fog rolling in via the river. The morning dew beginning to dry is only giving way to my dripping fear of failure. After several attempts at trying to find an empty space, we are finally granted one by the gods of city parking. Gathering my materials, I gradually open my door and start to make my way out of the vehicle. As my foot draws closer to the crumbling pavement, a strong gust of wind blows my headshots and resumes across the resting place for commuters’ cars. In a mad dash, resembling a track meet a local high school, my mother and I scramble across the cement chasing the eight-by-ten sheets of paper as if they were gold bullion. The running, and fear of losing my materials, did nothing to settle my apprehension of the situation at hand. Finally after seemingly hours of chasing the sheets of paper, they were all gathered and placed back into their appropriate folder. But now, I have nothing else to take up my time, and I must, at last, face The Agency.
My feet begin to feel like an anchor, and mysel fbeing the immense vessel that it is trying to slow. I anticipated looking behind me, and seeing a trail of crumbling concrete caused by my apocryphal anchor. My hands began to perspire a slick and heavy liquid, which was beginning to saturate my folder of materials. One foot after another, my mind began to race, along with my heart. I wondered if anyone has ever died of nervousness at the entrance of The Agency doors. If not, then I would undeniably make my mark on the money mongering agents inside, even though I would be deceased and would not be able to enjoy my unusual notoriety. Nonetheless, I continued forward, hoping that the latter would not ensue.
As I approached the front door, a woman of exquisite beauty, no doubt a fashion model fresh off the runways of Milan, exited the offices. She walked as if she was floating inches above the ground; she was as graceful as a swan swimming in a tranquil pond. For several moments I wondered about her origins, about what she has accomplished in this fickle business that I adore. I watched her glide away into the anonymous world, also known as Parking Lot D parallel to the Burger King.
This was it, the moment that I have anticipated for incalculable amounts of time, the moment that has ensnared me in chains of fear and doubt so gribbing, that breathing became as if I was cycling in the Le Tour De France. In the next few dreadful minutes I was about to have my very first meeting with The Agency. As I walked through the understated wood-trimmed doors, the stale fragrance of a men’s locker room filled my nostrils. Taken back from this unanticipated smell, I continued walking. For some odd reason, this peculiar smell eased my nerves. Perhaps it was because, I have found a fault in the infallible and pristine world of Talent Agencies. My heart began to decrease to “mild heart-attack risk”, while prior it was at “call the funeral director.” I felt my hands very slowly start to dry off from the sweat of anticipation. Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad, and perhaps, I might even enjoy this meeting.
I hear an older female voice begin to resonate out from behind a more elaborate office door, “No, no, no, I don’t want him on that commercial! Jerry, you are killing me here! How dare you undermine my judgment as an agent, you incalculable idiot!” It was then that I heard a loud slam of a phone angrily being thrown back to it’s resting place. Along with several obscenities being shot out as to send an old and ancient curse to whomever the poor soul was on the other line. Praying and hoping this wasn’t the agent that I was to be meeting with, I sat in an overstuffed, yet uncomfortabfle, blood red chair.
My eyes gazed over to the coffee table lying quiescently in front of me. Spread out like a beautiful flower arrangement, are hundreds of magazines, both old and new, beckoning an eager reader to lay a hold of them and get lost in the fables of celebrities with eating disorders. Glancing through the different publications, I saw there was one magazine that peaked my interest. It was a 1983 issue of National Geographic. How out of place this bound stack of papers must have felt. The pages of this periodical were in surprisingly good condition, considering the age of the item. A slight chuckle emerged from me how humorous it was to see a hint of actual culture in this facade of entertainment.
“Jonathan, Mrs. Foster will see you now”, said the kind-hearted and slightly plump receptionist. With a slight smile of compassion, she showed me to the agents’ door. My heart skipped a beat as we approached the livid agents office, closer and closer we drew to it. And then, we passed it. I followed Rachel, the fleshy receptionist, two doors down and to the left. It was on this door that a smiley face sticker and a homemade plaque reading, “The Best Agent in this Office” hung. Finally, my nervousness degenerated into only one butterfly instead of several thousand. “Jonathan is here to see you”, Rachel stated with a knock on the door. “Great, send him in.” Replied the voice of Mrs. Foster, the agent.
As Rachel opened the door for me, I saw her, the Hollywood “money monger” that has haunted my dreams. After a deep breath I stepped into the office of this ruthless killer, and prayed that she would show me mercy. “Oh Jonathan, I love your shirt!” I am sure my jaw hit the floor and proceeded to burrow into the ground several hundred yards. She was affectionate, caring, and kind. Dark-pointed glasses framed her eyes; her hair of glistening silver lined her face. She was short and danced aroundher desk to welcome me, as some native of South America would dance around the fire to greet a god.
After the initial friend like “hellos”, and introductions, Evelyn, or Evie as she preferred, sat down behind her immense chrome and glass desk. Scattered across it were headshots and resumes of actors and actresses hoping to gain their fifteen minutes of fame – with interest. Evie talked slow and precise, she glanced over my materials, and was very pleased with what she saw. The meeting was short and very uplifting. She wasn’t this money-hungry, evil specimen; she was a human, a mother, and a grandmother.
After the meeting, she gave me a colossal smile and exclaimed to me that she would be honored if I would sign with The Agency. In a natural, organic response, I accepted and signed the contract on the chrome-glass desk that I would come to love. Evie thanked me for coming that day, and wished me much success and happiness. I replied the words of aspiration, and left The Agency.
As I walked out of the building, the fog had cleared and the sun beamed down on my face. I realized that agents aren’t something to be scared of, with the exception of that one particular case, and that things aren’t always as they seem to be. In the car ride home, I rolled the windows down, and listened to the blast of the natural wind. Not to drone out my nervousness, but to invoke my happiness and let the warm air blanket my thoughts of optimism. To this day, Evie works at The Agency, guiding thousands of dreamers to their destiny. The other agent, well, lets just hope that this person hasn’t killed anyone – yet.