Today he was setting up a meeting with one of his earliest clients, who was a half hour late as per usual. This client had been down on his luck going on five years but hadn’t lost any relevancy. America was still interested in him; not in his talent or acting ability – they were interested in watching him fail, watching him go bankrupt and lose everything he ever had.
They liked him though.
Maybe not for his body of work, but for his rugged good looks, demeanor, and vituperative thoughts against the industry.
Thing is they liked watching him fail more. Served as a visible barometer for their lives. They could now look at someone who was once American royalty and think: “That’s too bad. That’s a shame,” which immediately put them up on the pedestal, where they bestowed their sympathies on a man who had once been above them now realizing his indigence.
Fortunately he still had his good looks, for if he didn’t there wouldn’t be any present story. He still had an athletic figure at forty-four: strong calves and sturdy quads; a four pack pack, tightened chest, big shoulders. His arms were sinewy with natural curvature, which made him look like he was built for the green beret rather than daft play-house. His face was strong with a big angular jaw sitting atop his neck. He had squinty eyes (although baggy), a narrow, pointed nose, and bushy eyebrows to boot.
He was born with the name Aiden Osgood, but assumed the personage Aiden Elliot when first filling out his SAG card, figuring that two first names in Hollywood would be as auspicious as two last names in the Czech Republic.
In his first few years he found work as a stunt man in low budget indie flicks. That, with a couple of commercials, managed to pay the bills until he surprised everyone with a heart wrenching performance in Millennial Seek my Admission, and was nominated for a slew of awards, including the Oscar for best actor in a leading role.
With notoriety and recognition came prodigality and turpitude. He started getting laid a lot more, drinking, doing more drugs. He left most of the decisions to his agent, who would choose his projects shrewdly and with a political eye: comedies to keep him honest, action pictures for masculinity, and drama for depth, intellectuality, and awards (he was nominated for a Golden Globe for best actor in a supporting role – drama – for his part in De Rigeur). But his spendthrift nature started to out-do him by the end of his thirties, and he declared bankruptcy at forty years old.
The studio heads aren’t receptive to actors who are notably broke and destitute. Once that information is leaked, it’s bad practice to get into business with said person. So they’d take the meetings with Aiden, beat around the bush, tell him he looked good, and close the door behind them when they walked out. Cut to –
five years later, where he finds himself in his present predicament. After eight episodes of the reality television show Aiden Elliot Goes Native tanked on G4, he found himself half a million in debt, out of work, and no progenitors to console him – so he called his agent with a cockamamie idea:
“You want to what?”
“I’m telling you. I’m telling you. It sounds crazy but it’ll work. Everyone already knows who I am, they know what I look like – what I’m about.”
“That’s the problem.”
“FUCK no it isn’t a problem! You don’t think there’s some down ass chick out there who would kill for this!?”
“No I don’t … you know I told you that that reality show was your last shot, and when you try to start a war with the indigenous tribes of the Amazon, getting the first camera assistant hit with a bow and arrow in his left ear, people aren’t going to want to work with you.”
“Fuck that guy. And I wasn’t the one who started that.”
“Whatever the case – you’re done Aiden. It’s over.”
Aiden took a seat in front of the agent’s desk and stared at the golden name plate in the upper right hand corner: Flaherty.
“How can that even happen though? I was nominated for the fucking Oscar nine years ago! Golden Globe six years ago!”
Flaherty shrugged, “Look at Cuba Gooding Jr.”
A short, deflating silence followed: “Jesus Christ. I forgot about that guy.”
“Everyone has … look why don’t you start working on a book. A memoir. I’ll start calling up publishers and peak their interest. It won’t be no half-million dollar deal, but it’s a start.”
“I’m not a writer. I’m barely a reader.”
“You’re telling me.”
Flaherty leaned back in his chair – exasperated, wondering how it all went to shit: “I don’t know what to tell you, man.”
“Tell me you’re going to auction off my fucking sperm!”
“Do you listen to yourself when you talk?”
Aiden got up and started pacing around the room, desperately trying to make two and two equal five: “I go grab a plastic thingy, jerk off, and sell it to some trust-fund hillbilly in Arkansas or some shit.”
“A trust-fund hillbilly.”
“It’s a shame you’re not a writer.”
“I need money, Flaher. I need it. And this is the only way I know how.”
Flaherty called the presses over the next three weeks: The Times, WSJ, CNN, Washington Post, Huffington Post, The New Yorker. He made plans for Aiden to appear on all the talk shows – both late-night and primetime solemn programming. The story was spun a thousand different ways, with some calling it “disgusting” and “atrocious” and others calling it “enlivening.” Most of the distinguished, effete colloquy focused on the viability of the situation, where our society had officially made it possible for a man to cum in a cup and hawk it for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Ebay had made it clear that they were not going to be, under any circumstances, willing participants, so Flaherty and Elliot took it to a startup in Silicon Valley, AuctionThis, in exchange for a 5% equity share for their incontestable “presence and magnetism.”
Flaherty took out billboards when it started to really blow up: Times Square, L.A. – Miami, Dallas – Chicago, Philly – and he’d have Aiden work out three times a day to sharpen his physical attributes. Then Aiden would go off to the professional photographer, get oiled up, and pose pretty for a few hours. He even held meet and greet/ questionnaire functions two hours a day for three weeks on Broadway, where he handled himself with confidence, care, charisma, and beguilement, keenly aware that it was a combination of the physical, the mental, and the other intangible aspect of humans that went into the public’s judgment.
The auction went live in November, and to promote the opening, Aiden ran in the NYC marathon – running the entire course (some 26 miles of bushwhacking hillocks and inclined terrain) – where he finished in the top 30%. That night he went out and partied with Lady Gaga and Katy Perry at LIV, then woke up for a factitious “Lifetime Achievement” awards banquet at the Four Seasons for his “unparalleled contribution to the American Arts and Cinema,” which he accepted somberly and sedately, and remembered to thank his Mom.
All in all, Flaherty and Elliot (well, just Flaherty really) spent roughly a million bucks in promotion for Aiden Elliot’s sperm sale. If it didn’t sell for over 1.5M, one of them would still be in debt.
It was a risk; it’s safe to say nothing else like it had ever been done. Flaherty came around to the whole thing after he was fired from Ollyard Entertainment Co. for sleeping with the night-shift janitor, Juanita. It really wouldn’t have been a problem, but nothing was getting cleaned during her shift. Employees would file in the next day to full garbage cans and dirty toilets, and soon began to suspect Juanita of stealing time. The partners got together for a stake out one night and found Flaherty and the sixty or so year-old Juanita fucking on top of Keith’s desk. Flaherty was rubbing the litigation papers between her legs and stuffing them back inside manila folders – muttering to himself throughout thrusts, “Keith is such a fucking jerk.” He even got her to say it in all her savory Hispanic dialect: “Keet iz sucha fooking herk. Keet iz sucha fooking herk.” Keith was one of the partners on the stakeout, and a primary reason Flaherty was fired.
“Go big or go home.”
“Not as stupid as trying to sell sperm to trust-fund hillbillies.”
“Yes it is. It’s worse. Juanita? Ew dude. Ew. She’s like seventy years old.”
“62 … anyways I’m in.”
Two weeks into the auction, the highest bid was for $50,000.
Three weeks, $125,000.
“We’re so fucked. This is so embarrassing. This whole thing is so fucking embarrassing. I’m never going to get another client having been connected to this fucking circus.”
“At least your freaking’ face isn’t plastered above Times Square with a stupid, fake-seductive smile.”
“Yeah that I paid for! And is costing me almost a mil for all this shit!”
“You got the money. Fuck you; you got like fifteen of ’em in the bank. I’m dead broke. I’m gonna have to write a book. I hate writing.”
With three days left, and the auction at $200,000, Flaherty and Elliot flew back to Los Angeles. They talked, drank. Drank more. Really drank more. They went out over the next three nights, and Aiden suckled the last bit of cultural relevancy he ever had.
When it eventually sold for $250,000, Aiden was passed out – hungover on Flaherty’s couch. In his deal with AuctionThis, he had to not only make a speech once it did (remembering to thank the company vociferously) but he also had to fly out to the winner’s house and congratulate them for taking part in history.
Flaherty woke him up, drove him to the Staples Center with messy hair, a dull, slack face, big bags under his eyes, and dried lips. Most people left after seeing his appearance at the podium, and he was soon shooed off to LAX on a flight to Birmingham, AL.
There he met the woman, a sprightly 33 year old with a winning lottery ticket servicing as her cash cow, and hugged and thanked Aiden for his benevolence. She was a huge fan of his, but wasn’t too too strange considering she bought his sperm for $250,000. So Aiden thought – fuck it. What the hell? He stuck around town, got pizza with her, went cow tipping. She ended up throwing the sperm away, ’cause Aiden would fuck her. Right? She didn’t have to finger the viscous substance into her vagina anymore. That’s clear, right? ‘Cause Aiden would shoot it in her from his own penis.
AuctionThis folded up after Cuba Gooding Jr. tried to sell his tears, but, besides that, life went pretty well for everyone. Flaherty did have trouble securing new clients, but found success in the restaurant business with a chain of Bennigans. He became a better father to his two kids, and would only see Juanita on the weekends.