Inferno

I had an audition for “John Doe” this morning.
I watched it over the weekend, and thought it was pretty good. There were some things that I thought were very “pilot heavy,” but other than that, I think the show has great potential…sort of a Bourne Identity meets Millennium, meets Girls Gone Wild.
A brief explaination of “pilot heavy” is in order: When a series creator wants to sell his or her idea to a network, after all the scripts are approved, and the casting is done, the creator shoots what is called a “pilot.” In the pilot, the creator has to show the network more or less what they’re going to do over the years of the series, and introduce them to the main cast, as well as to the viewing audience. Because of these necessities, pilots can be a little heavy on the talking and exposition, and the explosions and stuff.
So I thought it was a little “pilot heavy,” but not bad at all. I don’t think anyone should ever judge a series by it’s pilot.
So I’m a little excited about this audition, because I like the show, and I haven’t had an audition in several weeks.
Funny aside: at an audition I had a few weeks ago, I walked in, and the receptionist comes over to me and says, “You’re Wil Wheaton, right?” I told her that I was, and she replied to me, excitedly, “I LOVE YOUR WEBSITE!”
Okay, I thought that was really cool. =]
Anyway, there’s this massive brushfire burning near my house, and the resulting cloud of smoke is thousands of milles thick, and hovering over my house, so when I walked out to my car, it was covered in ash, and the sun was casting this spooky blood red haze down on everything. My lawn is completely dead, so it was sort of orange…wish I’d taken a picture of it, but I didn’t.
So I head over to the audition, which is to play a character called “Elvis”, who is described thusly:
“a wild-eyed genius with an IQ that’s over 160…a former “Doogie Howser” with a brilliant mind and questionable social skills. The youthful chief of neurosurgery at a Seattle hospital…”
Sound familiar? He’s sort of halfway between Wesley and the guy I played on Invisible Man, so it’s not a lot of work to prepare the audition…I even get some technobabble…albeit medical terminology, which is a little bit easier to remember.
I get to the audition early, and as I’m walking up the stairs, I am passed by this AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL GIRL, who is clearly reading for the part of the AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL GIRL…I shit you not, she is even wearing a red dress.
As she passes me, I am engulfed in the intoxicating sent of her perfume, and I am hit full in the face with a hypernostalgic memory from when I was about 15…


I’m with my best friend Darin. We’ve just seen a movie in Burbank, and we’re driving back to his house. We could take the freeway, and be there in about 15 minutes, but we choose to take a more circuitous surface street route, knowing that it will allow us to stay out longer.
We’re listening to “The Queen is Dead” as we pull through the curves of this particular street, talking about girls, comics, Nintendo, and debating the me. We stop at a light, and a two girls pull up next to us. I look over, notice that they’re insanely hot, and begin to get nervous. At 15, I’m convinced that any girl I see is a potential trip to at second base…though I’ve never even been to first base, or really had a real at bat, yet.
Darin looks over, and says, “Hey! That’s Misty!”
“What?”
“That’s Misty! I know her from school.”
Darin waves to her, and we all get out of our cars, leaving them idling in the middle of the street, in the middle of the night. Over the next few months, and even now, that simple act of standing in the middle of the steet would bring me incredible satisfaction.
Darin introduces me to her, and she is very, very nice to me. I am immediately drawn to her. She is about my height, with lots of thick blonde hair and bright green eyes that stand out from her face in the La Crescenta night. She is funny, and engaging, and our conversation is easy and effortless. She is also wearing this amazing perfume, that gives me goosebumps…I realize with some embarassment that I have been inhaling deeply through my nose, while she talks, drinking her in.
We talk for a long time, Darin and I carefully avoiding topics like the ones we’ve been discussing in the car. Though we are nerds, we know that Cthulhu is just not discussed in the presence of potential foolin’ around.
A few cars pull up behind us, and we wave them around, as we stand there in the middle of the street, in the middle of the night, enjoying the freedom of being away from our parent’s ever-watchful eyes, talking to a beautiful girl while Morrissey entreats an anonymous driver to “take me out, tonight…take me anywhere I don’t care I don’t care…”
Eventually, that time comes when we have to get home, and she has to leave as well. We begin the awkward process of saying goodbye, and I try to screw up the courage to ask Misty for her phone number. We stand there a little too long, me fumbling with my words, and she asks, “Would you like to go out sometime?”
I unsuccesfully try to act nonchalant and my voice breaks as I reply, “Sure!”
She writes her number down on a 3×5 card…which I provide to her from within my Car Wars Deluxe Edition box set. She writes her name and number on the card, and before she delivers it into my sweaty hand, she takes a bottle of perfume from within her purse, and sprays the card.
“So you won’t forget me,” she said.
Yeah, like there is any chance of that happening.
I put the card back into my Car Wars Box, and we all get back into our cars, still idling in the middle of the street, in the middle of the night.
Darin and I drive back to his house in an electrified, excited, stunned silence.
I have gotten a phone number from a beautiful blonde, without even asking.

Though I kept that card in that box for years… I never got the courage to call her. I don’t know why, really…I know I was super geeky and afraid that she’d want to make out, or something, and I wouldn’t know what to do (I should be so lucky)…maybe I was content to sit in the safety of my garage, listening to Oingo Boingo, happily considering what could be…maybe I was just a lameass who didn’t know what to do when the golden prize landed in his lap.
Yeah, I’m pretty sure it’s the last one.
After my audition today, as I was driving home into this great ominous cloud of thick grey smoke, I thought about that night, and the months that surrounded it. I thought about the way her perfume still permeates my Car Wars Deluxe Edition Box Set, and the times I’d play Car Wars in my dressing room with my friend Caius, when I was working on TNG.
I remembered how cool I thought it was to be on Trek back then, and how much fun it was to be part of something that I knew was great. It was wonderful to be part of something that made me feel proud. I feel that same way about WWDN. I feel proud of this stupid website, and the chance it’s given me to find my Voice…I feel proud that even though the source is clunky and I really need to redo everything now that I know what I’m doing, this lame website is mine, for better or for worse.
As I drove home, I looked to my right, at the bright blue September sky over Downtown, and off to my left at the growing cloud of smoke swrling around the mountains, and wondered whatever happened to Misty, who signed her name with a heart over the i. I wondered if she remembers standing in the middle of that road, in the middle of the night, fifteen years ago. I wondered what that amazingly beautiful girl in the red dress would say if she knew that the smell of her perfume had put me in a time machine.
The fire burned hotter, out of control.

165 thoughts on “Inferno”

  1. I hope you get the role on John Doe, for your career of course, but I also have selfish motives…
    Tell the producers to have the show run for five or six years, and then have it turn out that this guy’s name actually IS John Doe. Then he kind of laughs sheepishly, and gets back to his construction job.
    Good luck!
    sims

  2. Been a while since I commented (I think), but the Boingo and Smiths references released some of my own caged nostalgia. And I remember fires burning in Box Springs National Park behind my house in Riverside, CA, wondering if I would have a house when I got home. The sun shining through those swirling clouds of smoke always added a rather ethereal quality to the landscape.
    MAN, I need to move back to southern California.

  3. Greetings Wil,
    I just came across your website and read the story proffered on the main page. Suffice to say, it appears that many of us (myself included) have had an experience or two like the one you related. I thought it was very well written.
    What struck me here, admittedly more that your particular story, was that you would just put up a website and define it as you saw fit to reflect yourself to all others willing to come here. As the ripples of your influence cascade out (from such a simple thing as this memoir), it is plainly evident that you are causing more ripples of reflection among your readers. I base this on the varied and massive response to your story. And they, in turn, may be causing more ripples to others. And in this way, from one small story on one small website, you have created an ocean of thought.
    In my reflection from this “ocean”, I am finding a freedom to continue exploring my life in whatever form that takes (including my newfound desire to write) by your example. Id like to graciously thank you for that!
    On a final note, please allow me to say that it was almost a relief to read that someone else was discussing the merits of Car Wars and Cthulhu in the middle of the night with a good friend. Since those days, alas the women in my life have kept me quite (willingly) distracted from such pursuits. Someone had to reclaim that memory for all of us. To that I say, “Mission accomplished!” Regards!

  4. Only a flaming faggot would get the number of a girl who was obviously interested in him and then watch his little mincey faggot balls shrink everytime he thought of picking up the phone to call her.
    What are you people doing here? What is it about this sub-par actor’s life that interests you so much? Live your own fucking lives and stop trying to fulfill that missing part of you through this moron.

  5. ahahahah….how would you know that?…oh i know!…well, not everybody’s like you!…it may just be an angry inch…but it’s yours!

  6. remember me? anyways im banned from your loser board…i just came here today i dont know why and am sickened by this misty post…don’t you have a fucking wife? it’s one thing to check out other girls..but to be so enthralled by her absolute gorgeousness so much as to write what you did is disgusting and i certainly would be heart if the person i loved behaved like this. anyone who is with you must have no standards and no self esteem.

  7. *this site shuld come with a health warning, i think im addicted*
    anyway i feel i need to say that ur book is unavailable to the UK. amazon.co.uk don’t stock the book! whats with that?
    on a more light hearted note may we reflect on the line:
    ‘Fuck writing, I don’t want to be a writer. It’s stupid, it’s a stupid waste of time.’ said by Gordie in Stand by Me. However by the end of the film Gordie had become the writer he’d always been meant to be.
    Now that Wil is becoming that writer we have something to celebrate.

  8. and noone has posted since JANUARY whats going on?!!!there’s something strangely satisfying and fulfilling to see ur name and text come up on the site.

  9. Memories.

    Wil Wheaton has an excellent little piece of writing today. The smell of a perfume on a complete stranger brought back recollections of early romantic fumblings. It got me thinking; what happened to my memories of times like that? I…

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