Con Job
Hollywood goes Right.


I had the worst nightmare last night.

I dreamt that I’d spent the weekend in Malibu, following in the footsteps of every screenwriter’s idol, Joe Eszterhas — lunch at Paradise Cove, a walk on Westward Beach to check out the bikinis, happy hour at Moonshadows, then dinner at Geoffrey’s, followed by a few carefully chosen nightcaps at the Dume Room in search of an appropriate companion for later in the evening.

For those who only know the Dume Room from St. Joe’s heroic accounts in such autobiographical tomes as Hollywood Animal and The Devil’s Guide to Hollywood: the Screenwriter as God!, let me tell you you’ll never find it unless you know where to look: in a little shopping mall on the west side of the Pacific Coast Highway near Point Dume.

(I’m not going to tell you exactly where it is, because then you might actually show up there and the last thing we need is more east coast tourists affecting the screenwriter’s mufti of running shoes, black jeans, black T-shirt, and baseball cap and trying to convince the Polish starlet at the bar to go to bed with them.)

Anyway, there I was, chatting up a few expensive-looking Malibu wives and their surfer-dude cabana boys when I suddenly realized that something was terribly amiss — I made a crack about what an idiot Bush is and nobody laughed.

I talked about a new thriller I’m pitching at Sony this week — a really cool, totally original project pitting a John Kerry-like hero against a redneck militia led by neo-Nazis bent on global warming — and this time they laughed. At me.

“Why not make it about, you know, Muslims?” asked one voluptuous blonde. “I mean, they’re the ones trying to saw our heads off and put these” — she jiggled part of her anatomy — “in a burka.”

“Why don’t you set it in Russia?” asked a surfer dude. “You wanna see some serious environmental damage, man, just check out what the Commies did to Kiev. Check out the water in Santa Monica Bay — hasn’t been so clean in 50 years.”

What the heck was going on? I quickly downed a couple of stiff ones — and nearly wept for joy when I saw Jon Voigt come through the door. At last, an actor!

“So what do you think of Chimpy McHitler’s bogus ‘War on Terror,’ Jon?” I inquired. “A plot cooked up in Texas by neocon Halliburton execs, right? I mean, since when has fire ever melted steel?”

Voigt was looking around the room, searching for somebody, but I tugged at his elbow until he finally deigned to notice me.

“Who the hell are you?” he barked.

“Dave — David Kahane. You remember, we met at the wrap party for Pearl Harbor?” I smiled modestly. “When Michael Bay brought me in to do the polish –”

Jon obviously didn’t remember. “Listen, fella, I’ll tell you the same thing I just told the guy from Radar magazine: The war on terror is real. People would have you believe it’s not real. This is not Vietnam. This particular situation is not the same wherein we can walk away and just leave destruction behind us. No, we can’t. Anyone who has paid attention to what Ahmadinejad is saying, what all the mullahs are saying in this country and in England, and in all of the Arab world, this is serious—they’re calling for the destruction of America and all democracy and that’s what’s going on. We could lose this war.”

“But, but –”

“They say our president lied to us. Well, he didn’t lie to us… Frank — over here!”


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