Charlie Chattel is up at 5:20 am. Not because he had his alarm set, but because his employer - Hollywood star (and three-time Daytime Emmy nominee) Marlon Mahoney is calling him with a request to run over to his home and check to make sure he didn’t leave the oven on. The issue has been bugging him ever since he went to bed, and he hasn’t gotten much sleep because he’s been up worrying about it. (Marlon is at home, but he’s all the way upstairs and doesn’t feel like getting his robe and slippers on to go all the way downstairs and see for himself.) Charlie leaps out of bed, throws on some clothes and is at Marlon’s place within fifteen minutes. 5:20 am on a Sunday is about the only time the traffic isn’t bad on the Los Angeles freeways.
The oven is not on, thank goodness. Charlie is in the middle of texting Marlon to let him know, when the star of stage and screen (but mostly screen) comes trotting downstairs anyway. He says he decided to give up on sleep and is now ready to start his day. He sends Charlie out to fetch him breakfast, giving him a vague order. It isn’t intentionally vague - it’s just that Marlon has too much on his mind to go into specifics. However, when Charlie returns and Marlon realizes that there are green peppers on his breakfast bagel, he throws a hissy fit and sends Charlie back out to get one without them. Never mind that Marlon has never before disliked green peppers - in fact, he often requests them specifically - but he isn’t in the mood for them this morning and feels Charlie should have picked up on that.
Once breakfast has been purchased to Marlon’s satisfaction, he gives Charlie a stack of fan letters for him to screen. Charlie spends the next couple of hours sorting through those, mailing back signed photos to those who requested them, discarding others, and setting aside just a couple that he believes may be of actual interest to his boss. Marlon reads half a sentence of each, tosses them on the floor, asks Charlie to pick them up and throw them away, and criticizes him for wasting so much of his time with such nonsense.
Marlon has to be on set by 10 am (he’s finishing up shooting a Lifetime movie called “I Never Danced for My Mother”), so Charlie’s next order of business is to help him get ready to start his day. He helps him pick out his clothes and run some lines, and then feeds his three dogs and two cats. He’s just grateful he wasn’t asked to clean any lint out of Marlon’s belly button. Again.
Once Marlon is on set, he is mostly distracted by his work, but he does find several occasions to shout out at Charlie in-between takes to request various items (bottled water - no, Fiji, not Aquafina, his cell phone, a breath mint, etc.).
Marlon wraps at 4 pm, and Charlie checks with him to make sure it’s okay for him to meet up with his girlfriend, Sandra, for a few hours before the two of them have to boogie down to LAX, where they will be catching the 11 pm red-eye to New York. Marlon tells him it’s cool, go have fun, he’ll see him in a few hours.
Unfortunately, Marlon’s generous mood doesn’t last long. Just as Charlie is sitting down to a romantic good-bye dinner at Sandra’s pad, his phone rings. Sandra begs him not to answer, but she knows it’s a lost cause. It is his job to respond at all hours of the day, no matter what it may be interrupting.
Marlon is loud and obnoxious over the phone – he is obviously drunk. He tells Charlie that he and a few of his actor buddies met up at The Trapdoor, a swank LA club. One of his friends, a bit part actor who thinks he is so much more, mentioned to him that he is preparing for an audition in which he will need to speak with a Brooklyn accent, and because Charlie is from Brooklyn, he needs to come down to the club to help him with the dialect. Charlie tries to explain that he is from Queens and there’s a big difference, but Marlon is too tanked to understand or care. He orders Charlie down to the club, and he has no choice but to say a quick goodbye to his suddenly irritated girlfriend and rush out the door.
As Charlie is walking into The Trapdoor, he gets another call from Marlon letting him know they blew that place and are now at Mysteria down the street. Mysteria is a seedy strip club, one that Marlon frequents and which always makes Charlie uncomfortable. Ah well. Mysteria it is.
Charlie finds Marlon and asks where his friend is that needs the dialect help. “Oh, he left like an hour ago, dude,” Marlon says, slurring his words. “That’s okay though – I’m a tiny bit tipsy and I could use a ride home.” Charlie lets out a sigh of acceptance, then turns and heads toward the exit, but Marlon doesn’t follow. He explains that he’s not quite done here at Mysteria. Charlie then has to sit there – continuing to feel uncomfortable – while Marlon, completely passed out, ogles the backs of his eyelids for the next forty minutes.
Finally, checking the time and realizing he can indulge his employer no longer, Charlie shakes Marlon awake and tells him they have to skedaddle or they will miss their flight. Marlon nods tiredly, then stumbles to the exit using Charlie as a crutch.
He drives back to Marlon’s house, stopping at one point to let the inebriated actor out of his car so he can finish throwing up in the bushes, and stopping at another point so he can relieve himself on someone’s front lawn. Just as Marlon is about to empty is bladder, Charlie notices a paparazzo sneaking stealthily on over to snap a shot of the event, obviously for some cheap gossip mag. Charlie bounds from the car and throws himself in front of the camera, detaining the photographer just long enough for Marlon to finish up his business.
Sometimes you just need a little mood lighting.
They make it the rest of the way back home without further incident, unless you consider Marlon catcalling random passersby from the car window for the better part of an hour.
Then it’s time to fly to New York, where Marlon and the rest of the cast of “And the Tide Rises,” his soap, are being photographed for a TV Guide cover (they still print that?). So Charlie has to check on Marlon’s flight, help him pack, walk him through customs (the walking part is a problem), help him load his carry-on into the overhead bin, and then put up with him for another 6 hours. Charlie is in and out of sleep for much of that time. On the upside, at least he gets to travel first class.