Jeffery Self, Riverdale Avenue Books

And Now For Something Completely Different… 50 Shades Of Excerpt

Chapter One

“Can you do me a huge favor?” Matty asks,
poking his head into my bedroom and looking paler
than La Toya Jackson with a stomach virus.

Matty has never been shy about asking for favors.
That’s the territory that comes with being roommates
and best friends for four years, the expectation of
favors. Like having a boyfriend you can depend on,
but without the sex, intimate connection, or expensive
birthday gifts. My favors for Matty have run the gamut
from 4 a.m. airport drop offs to plucking some really
unfortunately placed back hairs before we went to Gay
Days at Disney World, which led to even more favors.
The weirdest of which involved my driving Matty and
the eerily youthful-looking thirty-five-year-old man
who played Peter Pan to what would later become the
worst date in Matty’s dating history. So I’d learned
years ago to brace myself when those words came out
of Matty’s mouth: “Can you do me a huge favor?”

I pause the episode of The Real Housewives of I-don’t-
even-know-where, and answer a tentative
“Sure.”

“It’s a work thing, so I’ll throw you forty bucks.”

This is a relief to hear, and not just because it
involves forty bucks—although I could certainly use
that, as I am currently living off of cater waiter gigs
I’ve found on Craigslist. More importantly, however,
Matty works as a reporter for a very popular
entertainment show called The Star Report. They’re
sorta like Entertainment Tonight, except more popular
and without Billy Bush’s uncomfortable energy.

I’m an aspiring writer myself, and this wouldn’t
be the first time I’ve covered something for Matty. I
wrote a really positive review for the movie New Years
Eve, which went kind of viral because it was literally
the only positive review for New Years Eve. What can
I say? I’ve got a soft spot for movies about the
holidays and Robert De Niro in hospital beds. Besides
that, my professional writing experience has, up until
now, been limited to a Live Journal I kept during my
first year living here in Los Angeles that as of today
still has only twenty views. One of these days,
however, I’m going to write a book.

“Sure. What is it?” I ask, hoping he’ll say the two
words I’m basically always waiting to hear: Meryl
Streep.

“I’m scheduled to go to the press junket for this
new Taylor Grayson movie. It’s called The Last…” He
continues, but I’ve stopped listening. Taylor Grayson
is one of the most beautiful movie stars in the history
of beautiful movie stars. In fact, People magazine has
ranked him “Sexiest Man Alive” every year since I
was a freshmen in college and he was playing one on
TV. Matty continues explaining the favor, but I’m lost
in thought, remembering that scene from The Yard, a
movie where he played a talented college football
player who did something important that I can’t
remember. What I can remember is that I spent the
whole movie replaying his four minute shower scene,
where steamy close ups show tiny beads of hot water
dripping down a perfectly tanned six pack
Michelangelo couldn’t have carved if he’d tried, and a
thirty second shot of his gorgeous round butt that may
or may not have been paused on my DVD player for
most of 2009.

“So will you do it?” Matty asks, his story
apparently finished. I look up at him, having not heard
a word he said, and reply, “Sure.”

Matty looks at me closely, the way he always
looks at me when he knows I’ve not been listening.
It’s almost as if he’s trying to look into my soul, but in
actuality I know he’s really just thinking “Why doesn’t
this asshole ever listen to a word I say?”

“Okay, cool. So you’ll need rubber rain boots, a
machete, and about three and a half feet of knitting
yarn.” Matty says, nonchalantly.

“Sorry. I wasn’t listening. I got distracted.”

Matty rolls his eyes and explains the situation.
The Star Report is scheduled to interview Taylor
Grayson about his new movie The Last Hero at a press
junket at the Beverly Hills Hotel. It’s a standard junket
interview: reporter comes in, has four minutes to ask a
series of approved vague questions, then leaves. Matty
is supposed to go, but because he’s come down with a
stomach flu, he needs a replacement, and no one else
from the blog is available.

I remind Matty that I’ve never done on camera
interviewing before, or anything on camera for that
matter…unless you count the video tape of my
exceedingly underwhelming performance as Tevye in
my high school production of Fiddler on the Roof—
which, for the record, I do not.

As usual, Matty’s perception of my ability is a lot
better than my own. Matty has a way of being so
confident in people that it almost seems offensive, like
“How dare you think I am that smart? Haven’t you
listened to a word I’ve ever said? Don’t you know me
at all?!”

“You’ll be great. All you have to do is be excited
to talk to the star and excited to talk about the movie.
Both of which you can handle. Need I remind you, it is
Taylor Grayson? I’m sure you can muster up some
enthusiasm for him.”

Matty has a point. It wouldn’t be hard to get
excited over Taylor Grayson. For one, he would be the
most famous person I’ve ever met, and two, I’m
already getting aroused just thinking about him.

“What would I ask?” is the next question I direct
to Matty, attempting to steer the subject away from
anything having to do with the way Taylor Grayson’s
biceps seem to stretch out every shirt sleeve he wears
to what must be the verge of ripping out completely.

“Standard press junket questions… What was the
hardest part of making the movie? Why did you take
this role? Who was your inspiration for the
character…he plays a firefighter, by the way.”

I nod, as if I’m hearing about this for the first
time. It isn’t that I’m some psycho Taylor Grayson
stalker by any means, far from it…but I’d be lying if I
claimed I hadn’t masturbated, on multiple occasions,
to the moment in his new movie trailer where he does
something like forty pull ups without taking a break.
Taylor Grayson is a lot of things to America—
internationally beloved movie star, magazine cover
model, tabloid favorite—but most of all he’s a member
of just about every gay man and straight woman’s
“spank bank.”

“So will you do it?” Matty asks me, with a look
that combines the eyes of a sad puppy and the face of
someone wanting you to do their job for them.

How often, I think to myself, does one come face
to face with one of his ultimate sexual fantasies? Sure,
I live in Los Angeles, but it’s still not every day. I saw
Brad Pitt in a Trader Joe’s once, and I still talk about it
at dinner parties…and, to be honest, I’m not even
100% sure it was Brad Pitt. At the very least, this face
to face, this one on one with Taylor Grayson could be
just that—wonderful dinner party conversation. Like
the latest Pink album or whatever crazy thing Sherri
Shepherd has recently said on The View.

I worry, for a moment, about the age old advice:
“Never meet your idols.” But Taylor Grayson isn’t my
idol, he’s just someone I find very hot. Very, very,
insanely, drop dead, getting hard even thinking about
him…hot. Without a second thought, or a single doubt
in my head, I answer an immediate and eager: “Yes.”

*Excerpt posted with permission from Riverdale Avenue Books*

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