Hope everyone is safe and healthy.. We’re living in strange times but God is on the throne and sees all. Hang on, better times are close. I’m not going to talk lockdowns, COVID or the political climate. Instead I’m going to give you a glimpse of a new book I’m working on…
I’ve been a tad burnt out on writing so I was taking a break but then God. Isn’t it funny how God steps in when we are weary and tired and refreshes us. I heard in my spirit the words, “missing children.” I knew God was up to something but still wasn’t sure where this was going but now I do. This is a fictional story that bumps right up to truth.
Here is an excerpt.
The Tale of Two Hollywoods
“Smile big,” they said. The lights were blaring and hot, sweat, snaking down my back. And I was shaking, as the actor, Hollywood royalty, playing my father was standing beside me discreetly caressing my butt. His middle finger casually sliding between my legs. He was forty-two. I was twelve.
Lesson one…what happens in Hollywood stays six feet under in Hollywood. It was an open secret that actors and industry people were involved in pedophilia, trafficking and other satanic practices that would horrify the average person. The person who longs to leave the world a little bit of a better place would fall faint over these terrible realities.
The symbolism of their sinister behaviors was in plain sight but most unsuspecting everyday people have no idea what lies beneath the surface.They aren’t awake. They have no clue who they are worshiping from afar. Why do you think they are called actors?
Merry, Merry was my first feature film starring two of Hollywood’s biggest movie stars, Thomas Caine and Juliet Rudy. I quite frankly stumbled blindly into this part. I had no professional training. No acting experience whatsoever. My mother took me to an open call for extras just for fun. It was exciting as a kid and magically every door opened for me. Voilà. Filmmaking is a cover for their abuse and it has been for decades. But at twelve you have no idea the threshold of hell you are about to step into.
“Cassidy Lee,” my mother called. “Come downstairs. I have the most exciting news for you. Hurry my darling.”
I was in my pink and black bathroom picking a piece of mozzarella cheese from my braces. I’d been walking around school for close to three hours with cheese stuck in one of my front braces from lunch. My mother had packed me pepperoni pizza from Pizza Hut. I could’ve died thinking about how Justin Harrow was staring at me in history. For a moment I thought he liked me but standing in that mirror I knew he probably was grossed out by the cruddy cheese. Life was hard at twelve. You were becoming, at least that was what your body was displaying but my mind hadn’t caught up with all the internal and external changes. I didn’t know yet who I was. Heck even now at forty-two, I still have some of those same lingering questions. Who are you? Where are you going? What are you doing? Those pesky little tugs are here with me right now.
My mother, Candace was my everything back then. She had a fearlessness that I admired and envied. “There is nothing stopping you Cassidy but you,” she’d say. Candace was a freed soul so I assumed back then. I’d come to the revelation later that none of us are entirely free in the sense we long for.
“You called mother? I laughed. “Oh, and no more packing pizza in my lunch!” She turned to face me, shrugged her delicate shoulders and said, “okay.” Candace didn’t need a lengthy explanation or one at all. If I didn’t want pizza, she respected my wishes. Done. “Guess what?” She said. “ Today in the paper was a small article about an open call for a big movie that is being filmed right here in Nashville. You meet the required age group. Would you be interested in going on Saturday?” Candace opened the oven, pulling out a roast that had been cooking. “For what? I asked. “I don’t act.” “I know but I thought it would be fun, something different, a new experience,” she smiled persuasively. I trusted my mother with every fiber of my being. She was always in my corner so if Candace said it would be fun, I was down.
“Sure, why not. What does an extra do, exactly?” “Well typically extras are sitting at surrounding tables in a restaurant or walking through an airport. Extras are like backdrops to a scene. They don’t act, they just help to make the scene look real. Who knows maybe we’ll see your face on the big screen.” My first thought was hopefully without mozzarella cheese stuck in my braces.
Justin Harrow was the most beautiful boy I’d ever laid eyes on. My first crush. He was taller than me by almost four inches, close to five foot, six inches tall. He had salty blonde hair and emerald eyes that could light up Iceland’s night sky. I’d purposely sit one row behind and chair over so I could gaze at his perfect profile. Every so often he’d look back, our eyes meeting for a brief moment, heat rising up in my face. I would break eye contact and scribble something like the word idiot across my notepad to look as though I was taking notes in class. I longed for Justin to like me without him knowing I liked him first.
When I turned twelve, Candace had set me down for the birds and the bees talk, her words not mine. “What do birds and bees have to do with it?” I asked. She’d laugh, head back, displaying her perfectly aligned white teeth. She never answered that question but she did plenty of others. “It’s normal for you to feel “tingly” when you like someone.” Check! She explained that any day my period would come and a week later, it did. She took me shopping to celebrate womanhood. Candace was an expert on removing stigma and fears. She stood outside her bathroom, cheering me on as I inserted my first tampon. She said to stay away from light colors during my cycle and always be prepared in advance,aka menstrual calendar. Candace walked me through this foreign world one small step at a time.
My father had died from an aneurysm when I was eight. He was forty three, just four years older than my mother. He died sitting behind his desk at his office. My father was the manager of Chet Rich, Dylan Ray, and Southern Tide. Three of country music’s biggest songwriters and hit makers. His funeral was like the Who’s who of Nashville. Right at the time of his death, they had been trying to get pregnant. My mother wanted me to have a sibling but it just wasn’t God’s plan, she’d say. I only remember seeing my mother cry a total of three times during that eerie first year. Death is a strange experience. In the mornings, my father would wake us up by playing the piano downstairs. The day after he died, we woke up to painful silence. Where did he go? I’d wondered. Is it possible he’ll come back to us. Everything was weird and frightening like a sink hole had appeared under our house or a Poltergeist lingered. His toothbrush remained in the holder. His cologne on the dresser. His clothes are in the closet. His guitar next to the fireplace. It felt incredibly morbid to keep his things and utterly cold to give them away. The wrestle is very real when someone you love is gone. Although we knew my father was in Heaven with Jesus, it still broke our hearts to pieces.
Four years after my father’s death and Candace still could not bring herself to date. “Dad is watching us. It would be like cheating on him and I would never cheat on your father, “ she’d say with a hurting smile. Another stellar quality in my mother, loyalty.
So I became her everything which looking back now was not healthy for either of us. It’s a lesson I have learned more than once. People, our people are just on loan and we don’t know for how long so hold everything with open hands. Steer clear from codependency. It will rob you of your identity.