All Is Not Lost
Tommy spits out a blue Lego and crawls over to Dougy, who’s in Mommy Frieda’s lap, sucking on her right breast. Tommy tugs Dougy’s leg, and Dougy kicks him in the side of the head. Cam B covers all of this, zooms close enough so I can make out the thick rope of milky drool slung from Tommy’s chin to Dougy’s ankle—even on this cheapo video monitor. This is good. There has been very little usable footage from this play party, and we were planning on making it the main set piece for episode four. Tommy looks around for his Mommy Kathy, his lower lip quivering like he might burst into tears, but when he sees that Mommy Kathy is entranced by something on her Blackberry, he grabs Dougy’s leg and chomps down on his calf. A deafening, high-pitched squeal from Dougy, and I look to Cindy behind the soundboard. Cindy smiles and gives me a thumbs-up, while Cam A focuses on the red U-shaped lesion presenting itself on Dougy’s leg. We all need this—cindy, Cam A, Cam B, and myself. Cindy’s mother suffers from fibromyalgia and something called Morgellons—a disease that causes colored fibers to sprout from her skin. I knew it was bullshit, another ailment for the neurotically bored and self-absorbed, but I didn’t know the extent of the bullshit until I Googled it and found like a million websites about it, all featuring lunatics blogging about their scabs and sores and how no doctor will believe them. I’m already working on a proposal for a new series: Morgellons Nation. Cindy believes her mother, whose medical bills are outrageous, even though, according to Cindy, she hasn’t seen a real doctor in six years, only physician’s assistants and techs at her local branch of The Clinic for Legitimate Disease. Cam A’s girlfriend, a tattooed Juggalo mess who calls herself “Arachnia,” recently gave birth to their second set of twins. We watched the birth live on Cam A’s phone till his battery went dead. Cam A cried, told his girlfriend, who had magenta hair dye running down her forehead and was missing a gauge in one of her stretched-out earlobe piercings, that she looked beautiful. Cam B is an addict of some kind, so he needs the cash just to feel okay. Me, I still have over $180K in student loans, and after TLC cancelled Middle-aged Vegas Hookers, I was out of work for almost a year, living on my aunt’s couch in Encino with her two cats and her slimy mortgage broker boyfriend, Rick.