The man hit the road the same afternoon he was fired from the
independent movie. He couldn't remember his lines, and his improv
lines were worse than the script. He didn't have enough gas to get to
Hollywood, so he stopped in Taos. He changed his name to Bart and hit
the health food store thinking this was a place he would never be
recognized. He could get some of that healthy new yogurt, and add
Brewer's yeast and slivered almonds to it. He looked in his rear view
mirror, the month's worth of beard growth hid his multiple pock-marked
scars on his cheeks. His prominent, crooked nose glared back,
dangerous from scraps in city alleyways after clubs closed. He
groaned, "God I need some sun!" As he pulled up in front of Sunshine
Foods, he parked, not noticing two of his wheels propped onto the
curb. The entire car sat like a rusted out carnival ride.
The owner of Sunrise, Carolee Caruthers was a former born-again gone
bad. She moonlighted as a roulette dealer at Klegg's Kastle, the
Indian owned casino in Santa Fe on the weekends. She had an on-again,
off-again clandestine affair with Sunil, the brother of the owner. He
was the black sheep of the family, the bane of their entire existence.
Carolee paused while she was ringing the man up. "Hey, aren't you that --"
Bart created a faux look of surprise. "Name's Bart. Bartleby
Macmillan." He was shocked at how easily the name just jumped from his
"Oh, you look so much like that actor," Carolee said. "But you're way
"Yeah," Bart squirmed. "I get that all the time."
"I can see why," she agreed. "Milk in the bag?"
"Nah," he said. "I'll just carry it."
Bart ran into Carolee later that week at Klegg's. He wasn't a gambler,
per se. An occasional 2 dollar slot, sure. But the noise he found
irritating, and his sinuses reacted adversely to the multitude of
smoky air he'd ingest.
"Come here often?" he asked.
She narrowed her eyes. "So, a gambler then? Figured as much." Carolee
thought that all of life was a gamble, not just one evening at
"Nah," Bart moved closer. She looked better in this light, more
forgiving. "What about you?"
"Just finished my shift," Carolee said, nodding toward the roulette table.
Bart admired her work ethics, a trait he didn't share.
"So tell me Bart," she cajoled, "What's a guy like you doing in a
one-horse town like Taos?"
He shrugged. "Ran out of gas." He surveyed the busy room. "Fresh meat?"
"Gross," she said. "More like low self-esteem."
Bart laughed and Carolee bared her fangs. "What're you doing after?"
This was the beginning of an end. Well, Bart's end. He got cast in
another indy, this time the production was assembling in Guadalajara,
with Robert Rodriguez directing. "I'm off," he said, popping
She said, "I wish you'd buy those before you --"
"Yeah. Whatever. You're all about the money."
"One of us has to be. Look, Bart, you're an okay guy. Not great in
bed. Not bad, but not great. A little selfish."
Bart nearly choked. "Seriously?"
"Just kidding." Carolee slapped his face playfully. "But why do you have to go?"
"Job. It's only six or eight months at the most. Maybe even less."
"And it's in Mexico?" She crossed her arms. "Are you a drug runner?"
Bart laughed. "I don't even take vitamins."
"That's not entirely true." After he'd moved into Carolee's house,
he'd nearly drained her supplement supply.
On the morning he left, he decided to tell her. "Carolee, that first
time we met...I lied."
"I know, Bart. I know way more than you think."
"Really? Okay then, what did I lie about?" He dipped his vegetarian
bacon into his egg yolk and took a big bite.
"Well, for one thing, I know who you are."
Bart was pissed. He'd thought he'd done a remarkable job at being
Bart, this other dipshit. "And when were you going to tell me?"
"I'm telling you right now. You're a fraud."
"Up yours," Bart said.
"Juvenile, and erroneous. You don't have the last word in this script
actor man. Off on another acting adventure." She was pushing him
toward the front door.
"Wait! Wait!" Bart pushed back. "I want to come back! After Mexico."
"Have your people get in touch with my people." Carolee joked. "We'll do lunch."