CALL OF THE DAY: a mob scene
“He wanted a rocker,” said the dispatcher. “When I said I didn’t have one, he asked if there were any actresses available, and then I thought of you! I have an actress!” Ignoring the fact that all the girls working the phone lines are acting, and therefore should be able to act the part of an actress—just like I should be able to act the part of a rocker—the dispatcher instead seems genuinely excited that she is able to offer a caller a real, true experience of Talking to an Actress.
Of course I ask her why, and I don’t mean why in the sense of “what in his sexual development made this particular thing a hot button for him?” I mean why as in, what the FUCK is this going to have to do with what he and I do for the next 10 minutes? What part of the actress experience or legend is important here? But the dispatcher can’t enlighten me further, so I set the timer and take a deep breath and wait for the mystery to unfold.
I give him my default physical description—I would call it Blonde Amazonian MILF—and then he says, “So the lady said you were an actress.”
Yes, I am.
“Are you famous?”
(Uh. Hmm, he’s not angling for the party lifestyle, so…? Okay, just laugh.) Oh, honey, if I were really famous, I don’t think I’d be doing phone work anymore, but I do have a certain amount of notoriety.
[PAUSE] Why do you ask?
“I was just wondering if you had ever been mobbed, you know, people wanting autographs and maybe, you know, tearing at your clothes.”
(Ohhhhhh. For a split second I think, wow, I’d love to be so famous that I get mobbed, and then I think, no, actually, I wouldn’t.) Well, a couple times at festivals. (Haha.)
“I know where this thing came from for me,” he says in a sudden burst of meta. “I saw it happen once, really, when I was down in Mexico with my parents. I was 12.” He goes on to describe how a pop star had gotten out of her black SUV near the outdoor cafe where they were sitting, and a throng of fans had actually torn some of her clothing.
With a few questions and his fairly detailed recollections, I have enough clues to go forward. Although it is beyond me to role-play in real time an actress getting mobbed—without appropriate sound or physical cues—I manage a story line focusing mostly on his sensations and visuals, being pressed up against me as I run out of things to autograph, catching the smell of my sweat and fear. He’s not initiating the mob, but following along as I get caught up in the swell and knocked to the ground, tank top torn off, jeans being yanked down my kicking legs. I don’t really know what I’m doing, but I try to keep focused on the rape-y helplessness of the scene, and it seems to work: he readily comes before our time is up and, still gasping, promises to call me again.
As far as assault scenarios go, this one is relatively mild, and with these things, I always figure, well, there are people who fantasize about being attacked. Other people are going to want the other side of the fantasy coin. In fact, I am reminded of my Revenge of the Nerds guy.
These clothes, I remind myself, they aren’t going to rip themselves.