One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Book by
Ken Kesey movie byLawrence
Hauben--- One of Sarah’s favorite lines for obvious reasons
When I think about some of the
things I’ve done over the years I cringe. I punched my summer camp director on
the boob when I was seven years old because she referred to me as a loose
cannon--- Ha, proved her wrong. Then there was the time I ran
around the UC Berkeley campus in the buff with a band of protesting nudist. I
think they were objecting to the dissolution of the redwoods, pollution,
recycling or they could have been pissed about the recent ban on campus nudity.
I don’t know what set them off. I just saw a bunch of excited people running
around, ass bare to the world and decided to peel off my clothes and join
them--- probablynot my finest moment.
I’ve always been a little bit
spirited--- which is a nice way of saying bonkers. I’ve seen
several shrinks over the years who have confirmed that I have what my mother
refers to as “fakakta brain.” Fakakta is Yiddish for fucked up--- way to parent mom. My first psychiatrist
said that I was bipolar. She insisted that I was in a constant manic state and
said that we should expect the inevitable depressive crash at any moment. That
crash never came but the doctor prescribed lithium anyway. It put me in a
catatonic state and caused me to lose twenty pounds in less than a month. The
second brilliant doctor believed that I had a classic case of Impulse Control
Disorder. My parents ---- and I use the word parents loosely because my
mother has always initiated the assault on my character, spent a small
fortune on aversive therapy, stimulus control and cognitive restructuring. When
I still wasn’t the person they thought I should be they asked the doctor for
medication. He prescribed Xanex and sent me on my way. My mother has the idea
that a good daughter should be compliant, should date men she deems
appropriate---- meaning Jewish and
should not take her clothes off in public.
Leona Goldman has always been the epitome
of perfection. She has been a perfect size four since high school. She
graduated from college with honors. She is everything I am not. And she’s never
let me forget it. She has never been able to tolerate such an imperfect
daughter. It’s as if my very being was somehow an offence to her. So during my
senior year in high school she sent me to see a third and final shrink who said
that I had a simple all American case of ADHD. Much to my mother’s chagrin the
good doctor explained that most of my problems stemmed from a lack of
acceptance. He helped me realize that I wasn’t broken and that I was fine just
the way I was.
I enrolled in acting classes at the local
community college. I even managed to get accepted to UC Berkeley’s performing
arts program. Which I thought was a huge accomplishment considering my grades were
only slightly above average. It wasn’t until I discovered that my father got me
into the school by pulling some strings with a few of his golfing buddies that
sat on the University of California Board of Regents that my admission began to
make sense. But despite my father’s highhandedness, I began to really enjoy my
life for the first time. I said what I wanted and did what I pleased without
reservation or any thoughts of repercussion. I was beyond reckless.
Nevertheless, life is filled with defining
moments. We are given the opportunity to redefine ourselves. My defining moment
came when at the height of my stupidity I was thrown in jail for dropping a
Molotov cocktail on someone’s lawn. It wasn’t my first time in jail but this
offense could have sent me to prison. I can’t explain the thought process
behind my decision to torch the place. But there has always been someone around to
make the tough decisions for me and pick up the pieces when I inevitably
screwed up. So I clearly didn’t think the whole thing through. However,
something in my scarcely used brain clicked while sitting in that dank, dreary
Marin County jail cell. I realized that I’d unloaded a boat load of crazy on the
world and it was time for a change.
left Marin county jail with a year of probation and a new outlook on life. The terms of my probation dictate that I work
or attend school full time and since I’ve dropped out of school this job offer
came at the perfect time. I also have to check in with my probation officer,
Sylvia Fernandez once a month, complete two hundred volunteer hours and of
course I have to stay out of trouble. Years of being out of control
has forced me to set some rules. I decided to stop drinking. With the exception
of the boob punching incident, my worst behaviors have been carried out while
drunk. I’ve also decided to stop smoking pot. The no weed rule isn’t
written in stone, because I’ve never committed a crime or assaulted anyone
while high. I did however; hook up with a white Rastafarian named Steve who
claimed he was the reincarnation of Bob Marley. The third rule, the one that
defines the new and improved Sarah Goldman is written on a stone wall that sits
in front of my heart. I am done with men!
months ago I went out with a guy that I thought could potentially be the one.
He was a perfect gentleman at dinner. He was an economics major that I met at a
coffee bar near the UCB campus. His name was Andrew Sloan--- even his
name was perfect. He laughed at all of my jokes and he didn’t ask me to pay
for my own food--- which is always a plus. He wasn’t very handsome
but he was tall and muscular and not in a freakish steroid induced way. I guess
old habits die hard. After dinner I invited him back to my room and tried to
make him care about me the way I always did. There was a lot of grunting,
groping and tugging. And that was probably the first time I’d actually been
motor boated. Needless to say Andrew Sloan was not a very considerate lover.
But he complemented me and made me feel special so I didn’t care.
the ordeal was over he touched my face gently and looked longingly into my
eyes. I’ve apparently read way too many romance novels because my heart began
to melt. I started thinking that I’d finally found a man that accepted my
personal brand of crazy and might just love me anyway. But the jackass didn’t
confess his undying love. His smile morphed into a smirk and his look of
longing turned into disgust. He climbed out of my bed, shook his head without
looking at me and said, “I feel like I just got off a ride that too many men
have ridden before me.” I’m rarely at a loss for words but I was so shocked
that I just stared at him while he tossed a used condom on my floor shrugged on
his clothes and left my dorm room. He was right. But the number of men I’ve
been with wouldn’t be so terrible if I’d actually loved any of them. I’ve
professed my love to at least ten guys but it’s never been real. Andrew Sloan
was a schmuck but he made me put things into perspective. I’m done using my
acting skills to morph into the woman men want me to be, done using my body to
make them care about me.
here I am sitting in a smelly LA cab gazing at my future. And what a dreary
future it is. My uncle and aunt live like rock stars in a three story Tuscan
Estate in the Hidden Hills. When Uncle Joe offered me a receptionist job I
jumped at the chance to leave the Bay Area. I assumed I’d be surrounded by high
end clientele. I envisioned myself fetching coffee for hoity-toity women caring
fancily dressed lapdogs. I’d be Joe’s girl Friday, filing documents for
distinguished gray haired men with wives half their ages by day and rocking the
theater circuit by night. I wasn’t trying to run away from my failed attempts
at love. I just thought a new job in a different city could give me a fresh
start, a new outlook.
job comes with room and board, a small salary, and a car that I can use to get
to my auditions. It’s a pretty sweet deal and this is supposed to be my
glamorous new start. But my uncle’s law firm is far from glamorous. I never
would have dreamed I’d be working in a place like this. It’s stationed in the
heart of East LA in a strip mall right between a Taqueria and a mattress store.
The constant blare of sirens makes me feel like I just entered a war zone. The
outside looks as if it could use a good scrubbing or maybe a can of gasoline
and a match but, fortunately for Joe my fire starting days are behind me.
repress a sigh; pop a Hershey’s kiss in my mouth and pay the cab driver. A wave
of nausea sloshes through my stomach the minute my six inch heels touch the
stained LA side walk. I watch a few pages of the LA Times newspaper float by
like a tumbleweed. Leaving my cushy gig at UC Berkeley was a noble although ill
conceived idea. An ambulance speeds by with its siren blaring. If I had
graduated I would have been living comfortably with a six figure trust fund.
But it all flew out the window when I dropped out of school.
The sting of regret pierces my thoughts as
I stand in front of the run down law office. I can still hear my mother
complaining, ‘You’re not getting any younger Sarah. You’ve had your fun now
it’s time to buckle down and finish your degree. All of your
friends are getting married, having babies and becoming real adults.’ I
actually love kids, but allowing one of the little creatures to invade my body
is out of the question. I shutter involuntarily at the thought. Kids
with their messy little hands and runny little noses --- hold me, feed me,
don’t drop me. Ugh, so many demands.
take a few steps towards the door and swallow down nervous bile. ‘What
the hell was I thinking?’ I’ve never even had a real job. I moved out
of my parent’s house and right into the dorms at UCB. I sigh then take a deep
breath resolved and determined to make this thing work even if it means working
on the corner of Crack Avenue and Gang Boulevard. I push through the glass door
and scan the shabby desolate office. The booger green carpet is threadbare and
the stucco ceiling is stained yellow. There are two desks, one near the front
and another in the rear of the room near a closed door. Each desk has a
telephone, a computer and a small filing cabinet. There is no other furniture
in the room. I haven’t a clue what kind of person would retain a lawyer from a
place like this.
inspect the walls for pictures hoping there’s another Joseph Goldman and I’ve
gone to the wrong place. But that can’t be the case because this is the address
uncle Joe gave me. “I’m sorry hon Joe is no longer hiring working girls.” I
spin around to locate the source of the low harsh voice. There before me stands
the lankiest thinnest woman I’ve ever seen. She must have entered from the back
room because I didn’t notice her when I arrived. The woman is wearing a
wrinkled pantsuit the color of sand that blends with her complexion and sags on
her slight frame like loose skin on a shar-pei. She watches me with suspicion
while removing files from a box to stack near a computer.
hand falls to the hem of my short dress. Its length would make a seasoned
stripper nervous. I tug until it reaches mid thigh and then present my
haughtiest expression. How dare she refer to me as a common street walker? At
the very least she could have called me an escort, they’re much classier. “I’m
not a hooker. My name is Sarah,” I say as pleasantly as possible. I have to
resist the urge to call the woman a tranny and ask how she manages to hide her
Adams apple so well. This is the new and improved Sarah. The new and improved
Sarah does not question the gender of strangers. I have to focus on making the
best of this situation and I can’t allow this woman to derail me. “I’m Joseph’s
niece,” I say patiently, “and I’m here to start the receptionist job.” I take a
few more steps into the dingy room. The woman raises an over tweezed eye brow
and inspects me from the top of my fitted black micro-mini dress to my fuck-me
sorry hon. I’m Ginger the office manager,” her thin lips twist into a smile. At
least I think it’s a smile. Ginger might be bearing her fangs and preparing to
attack. She taps a long red claw like fingernail against gleaming white front
teeth while she thinks of what to do with me I think.
where do I start?” I asked placing my purse on top of a gnarled walnut computer
I think Joe might have had you in mind for a different position.” She turns her
attention back to the files. “The last girl quit a few months ago and Bridgette
and Felicity can’t keep up with their client list.”
list? “Let me get this straight. My uncle wants me to do a
job previously held by prostitutes.” Ginger removes the last file from the box
and plops her long frame into a seat behind the computer desk. It’s a
surprisingly modern computer for such a rundown office. I absentmindedly wonder
if they take the equipment with them when they leave at night to ward off
“You don’t have to be a prostitute, just
someone men would be drawn to. Joe will explain hon. He’s in his office.” She
waves her hand towards the back door. “You can head back there if you want.” I
unwrap another chocolate kiss and pop it in my mouth as I schlep towards the
back room. I knock lightly, take a deep breath and step inside without waiting
for an invitation. I’m mentally prepared to be affronted by disarray. When I
enter I see Joseph scowling at a document on his desk while simultaneously berating
someone on the phone. But I can’t focus on my uncle because I’m thrown off
kilter by the office décor.
cherry hardwood floors shine like they’ve never been walked on. The walls are
cobalt blue. Neatly stacked bookshelves line the space behind Joseph’s black
marble desk. A cranberry leather couch is pressed against one wall and a flat
screen hangs cordlessly on the other. And in the far corner of the
room in a chocolate brown leather seat near Joseph’s desk sits the tallest,
loveliest man I’ve ever seen. My breath catches in my throat. He has inky black
hair parted on the side and combed back neatly, features that look as if they
were carved by an artists and a palpable air of arrogance. He stares at me with
keen observation. He looks as if he just finished a photo shoot for GQ and the
sight of him makes me want to straighten my posture and check my lip gloss. One
of his legs is bent and the ankle of the other leg rests on his knee. His fingers
are steeped in front of his chest and his amaretto eyes are scanning me from
head to toe sending delicious shivers up my body. His eyes linger on my
minuscule breast a moment too long and my nipples begin to strain against the
thin fabric of my dress. I guess no one told them that I’ve sworn off men. Even
so, tall ones, short ones, thin ones buff ones, all races and religions, they
have always been my weakness.
fold my arms over my chest and avert my eyes. Handsome men usually don’t
intimidate me even though I’m not exactly a beautiful woman. I sigh and look
down at myself. I’m too short to be statuesque and too tall to be cute. My
green eyes are too large and my nose is too small for my thin face. My lips
aren’t full enough to be Angelina Jolie sexy and they aren’t thin enough to be
Jennifer Aniston sexy. This blond hair of mine is thick and wild with a mind of
its own. And these damned freckles, no matter how much foundation I apply they
are still visible on my nose and cheeks like little droplets of poop. But regardless
of my shortcomings years of braces have left me with perfectly straight teeth
and I have it on good authority that my ass is flawless.
fix my eyes on the dark lovely man. His lips curl into an easy grin. That smile
could easily turn a no into a yes. I think he notices how his presence is
affecting my body. I should probably turn around and run in the opposite
direction because this beautiful man is exactly the type I should be avoiding.
He stretches his muscular frame to his full height and his presence fills the
room. He moves with a confident male grace that makes my knees weak and
leaves me spellbound. My heart triples its beat as he moves towards me like a
feral cat and extends his hand. His skin is the color of coffee with extra
cream and when our hands meet an electrical current unlike any I’ve ever felt
shoots through me and settles in the pit of my stomach---Horrible time to
have taken a vow of chastity. The handsome stranger doesn’t say anything he
just stands there holding my hand and gazing at me through long dark lashes--- Why do men always have the best eyelashes?
What a waste. He runs a finger over my knuckles and his smile broadens when
I shiver. Joseph chooses that moment to slam his phone onto the receiver and
glare at the pair of us as if he just realized we were in the room.
this is my niece Sarah. Sarah, this is Javier Ruiz the newest junior associate
at my law firm.” Javier’s brow lifts slightly. I can feel him hesitate before
he releases my hand---- or maybe it’s me who’s hesitating.
to meet you Sarah,” he says. His whiskey rich voice sends shivers down my spine.
Catching a whiff of his scent I open my mouth but nothing comes out. He smells
clean and manly. I’m staring like an idiot and I can feel my face heating under
his watchful gaze but my voice is lost. I’m an actress damn it. Surely I can
find a character that won’t be intimidated by this marvelous man. I consider
twirling my hair around my finger and channeling my inner Rosie Perez. Rosie
would never be unsettled by a tantalizing ball of testosterone but, when I open
my mouth again I’m still speechless. Javier places a hand on my chin and pushes
my mouth closed--- arrogant bastard.
looks at Joseph, “I’ll see you back at the office.” Then he turns to me with hooded
eyes and a panty dropping smile, “Espero volver a verte Sarah.” I look
down at my knotted fingers. I don’t know what he just said, but I feel this
insatiable urge to leap on him and wrap my legs around his waist. I know that
he is out of my league. But my body has no idea.
think back to my three years of high school Spanish and say, “Usted es una rana
guapo.” Javier looks stunned for a few seconds and then he nods and walks away
with a slight frown. I turn to my uncle confused. Joe gives me a look of
exasperation then smacks his head with the palm of his hand.
he said he hopes to see you again.”
know,” I lie.
takes a deep breath and exhales loudly. “You just called him a handsome frog.”
place a hand on my chest and squeeze my eyes shut to ward off the pain of
humiliation. My new goal is to stay the hell away from Javier Ruiz. My brain
clearly shuts down in his presence and I have no intention of embarrassing
myself so thoroughly ever again. Once I regain my composure I walk around the
side of my uncle’s desk and kiss the top of his wooly head. It’s hard to
believe that he and my dad are brothers. Joseph has olive skin. My dad is fair.
Joseph is short. My dad is tall. They are polar opposites, the biggest
difference being their temperament. Dad is fun loving and easy going. Joseph is
the crankiest man I’ve ever met. So much so that everyone in the family is
afraid of him, everyone but me. He’s all huff and puff but no real threat. “So
what’s up with the schlocky office Uncle Joseph? The help doesn’t deserve a
nice work environment?”
have everything they need,” he grumbles then glances over my outfit. His
caterpillar eyebrows knit together in disapproval. “This is how you show up for
your first day of work?”
I shift from foot to foot uncomfortably.
I’m wearing a black blazer over my dress. I thought I looked pretty
professional. “This is the most conservative outfit I own.” Joseph mumbles
something incoherently and pushes to his feet. He resembles an angry beaver
with dark hair protruding from every exposed piece of flesh on his body--- his
wrists, his knuckles and the top of his collar. It’s as if he’s wearing a
sweater under his shirt.
“Take a seat young lady,” Joseph says perching
one but cheek on the end of his desk so that he’s just a few feet away from the
couch where I plop down with my arms folded. I lift my head defiantly prepared
to block out the impending lecture. “Your parents are very concerned about
you.” I bite my tongue for the second time in less than an hour. I resist
telling my uncle that my parents have so many problems that my life should be
at the very bottom of their list of priorities. My father hasn’t spent a night
at home in years and my mother has secrets, long held secrets.
meet his gaze. “What exactly are they concerned about pray tell?”
Those caterpillars on his face draw even
closer and threaten to overlap. “They are concerned that you dropped out of
school. And they’re concerned that you have no direction in life.”
roll my eyes. “Uncle Joseph I came out here to work for your law firm, not to
be lectured. And speaking of working, why did Rupaul say that I won’t be the receptionist?”
Joseph stands, smoothes his shirt over his pot belly and returns to his seat
behind the desk. He makes his fingers a steeple and watches me for a long time.
“Are you plotting world domination or are you going to tell me why you gave my
stares at me for a moment longer then frowns and looks at the door leading out
of his office. “She’s a woman Sarah.”
I’m pretty sure I spotted a bulge in her slacks.”
presses his lips together. “Still the smart ass I see.”
habits are hard to break.” He slaps his hands down on the desk and stands so
abruptly that I jump.
has two kids. She worked throughout her pregnancies and I visited her in the
hospital. He waves his hand as if warding off a fly. “I’m getting
side tracked.” He points at me and scowls causing the caterpillars to nearly
fall off his face. I feel as if I’m on trial for a horrific crime. “You have a
job but it’s not as a receptionist. My primary office is near the Beverly
center in LA. I have an exclusive customer base: doctors, lawyers, actors’
government officials all seek my services.”
you have an office near the Beverly center why are you slumming it here?”
place has a very rich culture and I’m sure it’s residents would resent you
referring to their home as a slum. Now try to focus.” I take a deep breath and
exhale in exasperation.
being such a grumpster and tell me about the job.”
do better than that. I’m going to tell you about the next year of your life.”