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Happy-ass Ending 

After near disaster

Lord Jesus God, I believe in miracles. I believe in beginnings. I believe in middles. And I believe in happy-ass endings.

Not that HBO finally said yes to our television series. Get that out of your head. They sent me and Grant out the door with our hopes cupped in our hands like precious little kittens. For a whole month after that, we were privy to the weird decision-making ministrations between Hollywood studios and producers ("Can you FedEx seven more copies of your book ASAP?"), and Grant and I danced around every evening, chanting, "Another day HBO didn't say no!" When we finally did hear from them, I'm told it wasn't an "end-of-the-road" no, but just a "not-right-now" no.

Maybe I should have let Grant wear that big-ass 'fro wig into the meeting after all. Laura Dern loved Grant's big-ass 'fro wig, but we are talking about an actress who in Citizen Ruth allowed the director to go to a local Omaha tavern, pick out a skinny trucker with missing teeth, bring him back to the set and inform her that the entire opening credits of the movie would consist solely of her getting humped by this guy.

"I love it!" I'm sure she said, and to be truthful, it's an incredibly effective scene, one of the reasons Citizen Ruth instantly became one of my favorite movies of all time. Eight years later, I remember exactly the first words Laura ever spoke to me. It was three days after my first book was published. "Hollis?" she said, "This is Laura Dern. Do you know me?"

"Hell, yes, Citizen Ruth!"

And we have been friends ever since. She wants to play me in a movie or TV series, and I want her to play herself in a movie or TV series and tell everyone it's me. My favorite line in Citizen Ruth is the one that Ruth hollers after her mother implores her through a bullhorn at an anti-abortion rally, "What if I'd've aborted you?" And Laura screeches back, "Well, at least I wouldn't have had to suck your boyfriend's cock!"

Grant's favorite line is the one that Ruth, after spying the father of her unborn child driving alongside, screams out a car, "Suck the shit out of my ass, fucker!"

THE ONE THING Grant and I agree on is that this here is true talent that speaks to our core. Laura is the one who helped us finagle meetings with the Hollywood types, and it was a lot of fun going there over the past two years, but I discovered I really enjoy the livelihood I've been forced to fashion for myself in the meantime. When I finally heard the word from HBO, I was happy to kick back and pass the baton from that point. But then Grant sent me an e-mail that consisted of two simple quotes:

"'Never, ever, ever, ever give up.' Winston Churchill."

"'Suck the shit out of my ass, fucker!' Citizen Ruth."

So we've got more meetings with more networks planned and I'm gonna let Grant wear his Afro wig if he wants to this time. In the interim, my next book is in need of being sewn together, Frankenstein-like, so I went to the mountains because I heard that's what really rich writers do when they need to finish books.

So I contacted a really rich writer I know and extorted the use of her cabin for a few days, which she agreed to on the condition I don't bring my treasured 1973 Shasta trailer with me. If I wheel that "trash" into her driveway, she promised, her father, who lives down the creek, would shoot me. So it's really more her fault than anyone's that I almost died. Because if I had my own trailer with me, I would not have ended up buying the one I saw on the side of the road not far from her cabin.

First, just let me say I could not believe me eyes. Right there, without a crowd around it or anything, was a 1970s model Serro Scotty Sportsman camper, and was that a "for sale" sign? In short, I had that thing hooked up to my hitch in half a second, which might explain why it popped right back off halfway up the first hill. And the safety chain?

"Snapped in half like a chicken bone," the hitch-repair guy said. "What you need is a new coupler," he continued, "and that'll take at least a week."

"Christ, take two!" I said, because I was still in shock over the fact that I didn't cause a collision and wipe out an entire neighborhood of lives. The sight of that trailer in my rearview mirror, rolling back unattached into oncoming traffic, will haunt me forever, because right then my life passed before my eyes, and when that thing hit a pebble or a gust of wind or whatever-the-fuck it was that caused it to swerve left into an irrigation ditch instead of straight into oncoming traffic, it occurred to me then that I love my life. I love every minute of the entire, shit-eating struggle it's been to get here. Yes, I do. I love the complete basket of lovely crap I call my life. Jesus Lord God, yes, I do. And now I get to keep it.

Hollis Gillespie is the author of Confessions of a Recovering Slut and Other Love Stories and Bleachy-Haired Honky Bitch: Tales from a Bad Neighborhood. Her commentaries can be heard on NPR's "All Things Considered."

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