It was Bori Mann's unenviable duty to take the call that came at 3:00 PM that day. Bori, named after her father Boris, was the personal assistant to Melody Ford, the two time Oscar winning actress. Tonight, the description might have to be changed to three time Oscar winner as she was once again nominated for her role as Kelly in Osmand Tarrow's screen adaptation of the novel The Bitter Wind.
It was Bori's unenviable task to take the call because when it was over, she was left with the also unenviable task of telling her boss that the gown she chosen for the special evening was not on it's way. In fact, it was not coming at all because the designer, Ruben Gatella Olmos, had taken umbrage at something that Melody Ford had said in a television interview and had decided to embarrass her in the worst possible way which, to him, was denying her the honor of wearing one of his gowns and then letting her know at the last possible hour.
Melody fucking screamed and washed eyeliner down her face until she looked like a depressed raccoon in Salvador Dali painting. She was in the bedroom of her fifteen bedroom Beverly Hills mansion sitting on the pale pink silk bedspread of a giant Robert Clark Ellis designed bed.
"He can't fucking do this! He can't! I'll ruin his ass. He'll never work in this town again." When she said this Bori and Hillary maid looked at she other and rolled their eyes.
" I told you not to go on that talk show last week, " Bori spoke in weary voice that explained that she had given this advice more than once.
"How was I supposed to know she'd ambush me? I thought I was there to promote the film." Melody dabbed at her eyes with mascara covered monogrammed handkerchief. Her shoulders lowered and her chin followed. She knew that Bori was right and had been all along.
"Because Billy Moore is a lying, ambushing little bitch."
"Bernie told me to do the interview. He said it would be good for my chances."
" Boss, I told you that Bernie's been sneaking around trying to get Rowena as a client. I wouldn't doubt that he set the whole thing up."
"Well, she is underrepresented for someone of her stature."
This time Bori looked at Hillary with her arms spread in exasperation. Then she turned back to Melody with the same gesture and look of amazement, "Quit defending that low life piece of shit around me. He will drop you like a hot rock the moment the studios turn their back on you."
This outburst just made things worse. Melody started sobbing again but caught herself when the gravity of the situation hit her like thrown brick. The it was her turn to spread her arms in exasperation. " What the hell am I supposed to do now?"
There was silence for a long period until Bori mumbled, "You do have a closet full of expensive designer gowns."
"And I've been photographed in every fucking one them. You want me to walk down the red carpet wearing something that I wore before?" she spoke in a voice that indicated disbelief that Bori would even suggest it. After she spoke, she lay down on the bed and sobbed some more, "I'm ruined. I'll never work again. I'll be doing stuck doing infomercials for on of those convection ovens you can buy at local pharmacy."
Then there was even longer period of silence only broken by Melody's sobs. Finally, Hillary spoke in mousy little whisper, "I know a guy." Bori and Melody turned to look at her, " He's not well known but should be. He's a genius at reconstructing clothing. He buys old gowns, jackets, and dresses and completely redesigns them. My daughter buys clothes from him. He is under the radar now, but he won't be long. It's only a matter time before people find out about him." They hadn't spoke yet but were still listening, so she went on. "His name is Ron Diego Silva, and he owns a small boutique in West Hollywood."
Bori looked Melody with questioning eyes. Melody said, " This is fucking ridiculous."
Hillary was emboldened, "You got another idea."
An hour the door bell rings and Ron Diego Silva is staring at the security camera. He is of average height and very angular. He had a certain resemblance to the actor Robert Downey Jr. and wore red pleated trousers, a light blue t-shirt and a neon green jacket. The colors didn't look like they would go together but surprisingly they did. Everything thing about him said thrift store chic except his sunglasses. They were vintage and worth more than the car he owned.
" Welcome, Mr. Silva. I'm Bori, Miss Ford's personal assistant."
"Hello. I am so glad to meet you," he shook her warmly but dropped it when he saw Hillary approaching. He ran to hug her, "My favorite mamacita, How are you doing, girl?"
"I'm fine, Ron. So is Jenny. She sends her regards."
"Well tell her she needs to come see me real quickly. I have a dress that was made for her. She'll die when she sees it."
Bori reinserts herself, " Mr. Silva, I understand that Hillary has made you aware of our predicament?"
"Oh, yes she has. I understand that I have about two and a half hours to pull a fucking miracle out of my ass."
Bori almost laughed, "That about sizes up the situation almost perfectly."
Melody walks out of the bedroom when Bori finished talking. Roni glides across the room and kneels before her." She starts to speak but he shushes her.
" Don't say anything before I express what an honor this is for me. I am your biggest fan. I saw The Unlit Candle sixteen times. The scene by the pool where you tell Dennis you're leaving him, that's my favorite movie scene all time. I swear to God." He crosses his heart before grabbing her hand and kissing it."
The actress is very flattered by his remarks but bends down and helps him to his feet. "Can you help me, Mr. Silva?"
" I will help you, but call me Roni. All my friends do. If I fail you tonight, I will cut my own heart out in front of the Chinese Theater."
"Where do we start, Roni?"
"Show me to your closet, Mrs Ford."
"Call me Melody."
When he went into her walk-in closet, he stood in stunned amazement. There were twenty-five years of award shows gowns there, and he could match every gown with the designer's name.
"Oh, my God. You have a Jules Willard here. Oh, don't tell me, you wore it Cannes when you went for the All the Tangled Vines. I have a picture of you standing next to Hugh Grant and Christopher Plummer."
He took the dress off of its hanger and handed it to her. She was puzzled but did what he said. A minute later he takes another gown from the rack, a slinky, beaded backless number by Aaron Jorei, " The Academy Awards in 97, I believe. I love this dress."
"You should! I paid $60 thousand in 1997 dollars for the privilege of wearing it. I paired it with a two million dollar necklace. I was so afraid I was going to get mugged that night."
"Honey, you did get mugged that night. That lady from Fargo won that year. That's the year you were nominated for The Restless Wind. I still can't believe they robbed you. That's the year they gave the Best Picture to The English Patient. Hell, girl, I fell asleep six times during that movie. What were they fucking thinking?
He took down one other dress; it was Melody's pride and joy. Roni held it up like a religious icon and basked in the glow of its simple and eloquent beauty. It was a flapper inspired beaded vintage strapless dress that channeled old school Hollywood glamour.
" Oh my God, Shadows of the Days Gone By, 1992. You won your first Oscar for the role of Bess. I'm actually holding it in my own fucking hands. Girl, I was so in love with Bob Mergoli, and he was looking fabulous that night, but I couldn't take my eyes off of this dress. My all time favorite hands down.
Melody was impressed with his knowledge but a little anxious about what he planned to do with them. " These gowns are some of the most photographed gowns ever. There's no way I can get away with wearing either one of them unnoticed."
Roni grinned a malicious smile, "Oh, don't worry about that, girl. After I cut these bitches up and reconstruct them, their own designers wouldn't be able to recognize them."
Melody woke up lying on her bed with a ice pack being administered by Bori. She had knot on the back of her head where she hit floor before Bori could catch her. She opened her eyes and saw Roni holding the Flapper dress and passed out again.
She overheard Bori and Roni talking.
"You can see her point surely. Those dresses together are worth over a half million dollars."
"Well girlfriend better make her mind up quick. I'm running out of time to work some magic. Miracles need a little sacrifice sometimes."
Given the situation, there was nothing else they could do other than call in sick and have every tabloid in the world talking about the Ruben Gatello Olmos snub. Dori put a cold wash cloth on Melody's head and handed her a Xanax and a Vodka tonic, then went out and gave Roni the go ahead.
He collected the three gowns and took them in the sewing room. She asked if she could watch, and her wish was granted. She quickly discovered that Roni liked to talk while he worked.
"Does she know she's not going to win," he asked Bori.
"What makes you say that with such certainty?"
"Two things. What she said about kissing a transgendered man, and the fact they're going to give it to that transgendered girl."
"She just said she might feel awkward at first."
"I know. I heard, but you can't say that shit in Hollywood. She should have told them that she would shove her tongue so far down his throat that she'd lick his belly button from the inside."
"Ugh! She was just trying to be honest."
" I was kidding. Hollywood don't care nothing about no honesty nowadays. That was a trap question. That girl Billy Moore is in love with Rowena."
" How to you know that? She has boyfriend."
Roni snorted, "Honey, that dude is gayer than me. Take it from someone who knows." He gave Bori an all knowing look. " They want Rowena to win. As far as her being transgendered, that's a given."
"What to you mean?"
They loaded that character up with so much victimology; it was a freaking wonder she could stand up. Her dad abused her, her mom got run over, her brother's in jail and has AIDS, and she is gay and pregnant by her uncle. Shit, it's a wonder they didn't kill that cat she kept talking to throughout the movie."
" You have to admit it was a powerful movie."
"I don't have to admit no..thing. I walked out before the end. I'm gay, but that's not all I am. I am not a victim, and I want to see a movie that depicts someone like me without all the fucking victimhood. I'm not going to hold my breath either. It gives them all them people an opportunity to show how virtuous they are without ever really being bothering with being virtuous. They'd say they go no problem with kissing a transgender and then never schedule a movie opposite one."
"Never thought about it that way."
" I don't think about it that way either; I live it that way. That girl Rowena, she's not a bad actress either. But this is not the way to do things. As long as she lives, people are going to talk behind her back about how she didn't deserve the Oscar."
Bori was sitting on the bed with Melody when Roni brought the dress into the bedroom. It was, as he said it would be, a perfect miracle. It was simple, eloquent, absolutely beautiful, and it was impossible to tell that it had been made from pieces of three very different gowns.
Better yet, it fit Melody Ford like a glove. As she stood before the mirror turning and turning, she cried and kept murmuring, " I can't believe this. I can't believe this. I owe you. Big time, I owe you."
"Well, I'm going to get paid, honey, but I owe you something too. You said I could carve up not one, but three, expensive and famous gowns. That trust means a lot to me."
" I didn't really have much choice, Roni. I was so desperate."
"I know, girl but still."
Later, when Bori dropped him off at his apartment in West Hollywood, Roni was carrying a magnum of Cristal, and a $500 box of chocolate truffles. Melody had asked him to go with her to the After party, but he declined. Barry was in town for the week, and Roni wanted to curl up on the couch with his pilot boyfriend and watch the ceremony on his own television. When the the red carpet people raved over Melody's gown, he popped the cork on the Cristal and ran to window of their second story apartment and screamed.
The people on the streets below thought that he was crazy, but they had thought that long before that night.