Day 69 – The Struggling Actor


Hakim wanted to kill his little brother. A sentiment that wasn’t helpful, given that Mom was dropping the brat off later.

Why Mom thought Jamaal should come by the tiny Hollywood apartment that Hakim shared with three other men, complete with mattresses flat on warped floors and cracks running through moldy ceilings, was anybody’s guess.

A sane person would have given up on an acting career years ago. Yet Hakim scrambled frantically from audition to audition, trying to please people who would never be pleased, and all he had to show for it was a hole in his shoe.

But little Jamaal, little angel that he was, had been spotted on the street by a talent scout, and now he was in a national toothpaste commercial. Now Hakim’s brother, beautiful and charming, was going to his final callback to star as a child serial killer in a new, big-budget franchise maker. And Mom wanted to drop him off with Hakim for the day?

He smiled and hugged the pair of them outside. Stared at the kid with a smile that, even by the standards of his apparently poor acting abilities, was obviously fake.

Jamaal wasted no time in talking all about how much fun it had been to audition for this slasher picture. The kid already called them pictures, like some studio exec from the seventies. Hakim gave him some freezerburnt ice cream, hoping that would shut him up, but Jamaal just droned on about the acting coach he’d been assigned, and how he believed in researching roles.

Hakim went to the bathroom without a word, splashed water on his face, and stared at his reflection. He opened the door, and Jamaal was there with a knife, which he sunk into Hakim’s chest. Hakim wanted to scream, but he felt air rushing out where it shouldn’t. He staggered forward but never quite made it to the front door.

When Mom picked Jamaal up, he explained that his older brother was helping him prepare for his part. Mom refrained from hugging Hakim, thanking him for lying splayed out on the floor, because she knew actors were temperamental, and she didn’t want to interrupt his process.

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