Freshmankind will be released on June 7, and in the meantime I'm working on The Glen Headwood Show, a prequel to Weston that chronicles Benny Camden's path from grad school to television producer, struggling against his father and trying to make a name for himself in the family business. Once completed, this story will be available for free here at gregoryattaway.com, and possibly from other websites as well. Here is an excerpt from the first draft:
Smoke floated up like a rope from Glen Headwood’s thin lips. Dim lights draped their faces in hints of shadow as they cornered up in a booth at Dorian’s Nightclub, live music from somewhere behind them drowning out everything else.
Deidra cozied up to Benny, legs wrapped up on the seat, pressed against him with her jeweled hand on his chest. He couldn’t remember where or when he’d met her. At some party or another. Where he met most of them. He thought he could smell the fresh bleaching of her hair underneath her fruity perfume.
“Realistically it has to change,” he said as Glen knocked ashes into a glass dish. “There’s no scenario where we don’t make that concession. Even if they buy the whole thing. That’s just business.”
“I get that.” The cigarette glowed red as Glen puffed. “But you said if we get picked up, I’d get to do some writing. That’s kind of the reason I stuck around.”
“And that’s still an option. We can bring it up at the meeting.”
“I don’t even know why I have to go to this thing.” Benny caught him passing a glance at Deidra’s assets. “I never had to before.”
“You’re the face, and they don’t understand that. Network television is all about sponsors, all about branding.”
Glen pounded on the table with his index finger as his lips curled, flashing teeth. “And that’s why I think this whole thing is a bad idea. Look at the shit that’s on network. Gomer Pyle? Bewitched? The only thing that was any good was The Twilight Zone, and that’s done.”
“American Scene Magazine. Dick Van Dyke,” Benny said as Deidra adjusted herself. He pulled his head back at the onslaught of that perfume.
“I know you’re sweet on her, but the show’s crap.”
“It’s television,” Benny said. “Not art. We can cover new ground all we want, but if you want to serve exotic meat, you have to make it taste like chicken or nobody will eat it.”
“Aren’t you the same guy that said art or nothing? You don’t even watch television, other than Dick Van Dyke. Why don’t we tool for something else? Maybe radio?”
“The camera work is our trademark.”
Glen glanced at his watch and stabbed out the last of his smoke. “Just promise me I won’t have to do the talking.”
Glen slid out of the booth, helping himself to another illicit glimpse of Deidra, and draped his coat over his arm. “What time is it again?”
“Nine. And if I were you, I’d shave that fuzz off my face before I came.”
Glen grinned from behind his stubble. “I’m going beatnik!”
Deidra giggled as Glen disappeared into the dark. Benny took a sip of the drink that had been untouched for most of the night. He didn’t want to turn into a walking drunk. “I love Dick Van Dyke.”
Benny shifted toward her as she tickled his neck. “Want to meet him?”
“You know him?”
He eyed that glass of Scotch, whispering for his attention. “I’ll take you to a taping. Or a rehearsal. Rehearsals are better.”
“I’d love it.” Deidra prepped herself for a kiss, and he granted her one. “Who else do you know?”
A flash of panic filled his lungs as he pulled away from her, eyes trained on the woman who now stood beside the booth. She’d cut her hair, and it didn’t suit her. Those warm blue eyes had lost some of their flicker. “Hello, Benny.”
Deidra shifted to get a glimpse of her, posture on alert, glancing between them. He took a quick sip for support. “Maggie.” She looked happy to see him, and that only made it harder. He blinked away a prize memory that now collected dust with so many others. “Maggie, this is Deidra…” What was her last name? “Diedra, this is–”
“Maggie Blaine,” Deidra said with another giggle, dropping her legs to the floor. “You know Maggie Blaine?”
“She’s an old friend.” How did that glass empty itself so quickly?
Maggie gave him a softer smile than the ones he remembered. “Congratulations on your graduation.”
“Thanks. I hear you’re doing another Hitchcock picture.”
Why couldn’t he have been alone? Why was Deidra even there? Maggie was as beautiful as the day he met her, even with the bad hair. “Can I have your autograph?”
“Sure.” Maggie took out the pen he’d given her, engraved with her initials, and scratched something on a cocktail napkin. “Well, it was good seeing you.”
“Yeah, you too.” If only Deidra wasn’t there.
The bleached hair whipped him in the face as she watched Maggie go. He faced forward, waving the waiter over. He was going to need another drink.