Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Over the Top!

                                                                    
This was one of Sarah’s favourite parts of the job.

Watching teamsters carry heavy stuff.

Sarah, of course, was 'Mazing Girl, and her strength...well, she was very strong. She could have carried pretty much everything in all of the trucks that transported the cast and crew - and not just the stuff in the trucks, but the actual trucks - in one hand. And these were large trucks.

But she didn't.

Union rules.

Teamsters, she observed, had to have existed at some point when the mob were involved in movies. They drove the trucks. All of the trucks. All of the cars. Sarah could drive a truck...it wasn't particularly hard. She could see that woth long hauls, yeah, that made sense to hire someone professionally. But the teamsters rarely drove more then half an hour, and when they did they sometimes helped unload stuff. But it was almost a universal truth that when they were working no one else was actually on set. Sarah had worked on a couple of non union projects and she didn't think for one moment she actually missed them or that things were any slower.

But it was fun to watch them work sometimes.

They were filming at the Brand Library complex in Glendale, which was an exquisite library full of old books, probably donated by someone named Brand. That wasn't important. What was useful was that the outside looked a fair amount like a dance school - or someone had thought so, and now they were filming there for an episode in which the guys went...to dance school, or something. Sarah actually hadn't paid that much attention to the script to be honest. IThey was getting to be a problem really. However, it was cool.

The library actually a bit like a fake Middle East. Dance school? Ahh well, Sarah still had other things to worry about. She had to get some of that powder stuff for dancers for a scene they were shooting in a multipurpose room later. Dancers, it turned out, didn't need a whole lot of props, so she had time to watch the teamsters.

It was fun and lazy.

After they finished setting up, the grips got to work on the lights. They had a lot of them to set up, and very big ones as well for people shooting on video - which didn't actually require a large amount of light to work right. Shooting union in LA was a weird experience. She expected 50% of the people and items on set could be cut, really...and not be missed. She included herself in the list of things to keep despite the fact that really there were very few props to master, and in the field she couldn't do all that much to work on crafting next weeks stuff.

It should have been abstractly terrifying, but ehh...Sarah was a superhero and thus had a pretty good tolerance to fear, fear of giant monsters and evil genius variety. This had also seeped down into not being scared of the economic viability of the industry given multiple pressures.

So she watched the grips. Then she got bored of that and watched the actors.

The two leads where talking about baseball. Really she thought it was a cliche that guys talked about sports. Lazy writing - but yeah that’s what they were talking about. They had both in there own ways had been famous before appearing on the show - but here they where.  It was kind of weird when famous people talked about everyday things. The weather, movies, lunch - all of the experiences of life you have, Tom Cruise has. He wasn’t just a crazy scientologist who acted in movies. She had been on set with him once when he had yapped for half an hour about football (he was a big fan of some team, she forgot which one). As someone who was abstractly famous herself she lacked the self awareness to think too much about that first bit.

But in any case she grew bored with the actors and turned back to the teamsters.

They were behind the trucks, there where about six of them - and to a stereotype all large beefy men.

And they had setup a table to do an organized arm wrestling match.

Oh fuck yeah.

There wasn't beer; there weren’t pretzels, but my god. Sarah was an extremely strong woman - we have established that. She was also really bored by organized sports. We have established that.  But she found watching very large men being strong fascinating.  She also found gay porn fascinating, and they were similar but different. Something about men against men, anger and emotion at war.

And there was yelling.

So, so much yelling.

Sarah paused, leaning against a truck. Several other crew came around and watched - a couple joined in. It was an exterior shot at mid day with two male leads - you didn't need all that much really. A group of extras had been hired - a number of them were actual dancers of the ‘weird when you look at in person’ body-type, popularized by the black swan. Sarah watched their curious eyes. This world must seem so exotic to them.

What, with the grunting and all.

The 6 teamsters where joined by a couple of others. Jonas, a set dec with a southern accent, and Chuck the best boy (who was older then she was). Between takes they wrestled, challenging each other to manly displays of might and method. It looked like the teamsters were good at this - several had the large arms you don't get at gyms in LA, and it looked as if they had given serious strategy to it.

Sarah paused.

Was there a secret underground world of Arm wrestlers on set-did they do this often? She had never noticed it - perhaps so busy caught up in her world and her responsibilities.  If this was so she should quit being a superhero immediately and go to her true calling of being a an arm wrestler groupie.

She would make up a tea shirt of her new identity - 'Arm Poon'.

It didn't take long for her to see the hierarchy.

Mo was their leader. He was the best. He knew it, everyone knew it. He drove the costume truck, and while phrases like the toughest mother fucker alive may not describe him - he had an incredible quiet intensity. He did what was asked, for a teamster had a very svelte physique and once admitted to eating Vietnamese food in a manner that suggested that it had happened before and he wasn't going to make fun of it.

But when he yelled, he roared. And you couldn't top that. A Primitive Kai in the intellectual world of cable cop comedy/action shows.  Was he so strong? His opponents, in their own heads too weak? What of technique?

As he defeated another challenger, the answer was apparent: he was strong.

Sarah watched him.

And she wanted to be a man and have angry anal sex with him

Huh.  That was normal for a woman.

Of course Sarah wasn't a normal woman, no matter how much she pretended. And she was good at pretending, having played several dungeons and dragons games and taken a couple of acting classes and improv in college. But though Sarah was preternatural - born of man and woman - she could do things the rest of humanity could only dream. She was more powerful then he would ever be – ever, ever be. Her lone pinkie had more strength then all of his body to use a clinch. She was separate, different, and yeah, 'better', A word you don't want to use but well...probably probably.

But certainly different. So, so different.

But she pretended.

And so her tragedy:

Superman could never be with the woman he loved.

Hulk could never control his anger.

Batman could never forget.

She could never take part in illegal underground arm wrestling tournaments.

This was her power, this was her curse, Who was she? She was ‘Mazing Girl.

Thankfully it didn't prevent her stealing from...wow, was Spiderman nearly a 15 year old movie? And Was James Franco in it playing just a douche. Wow. Time flies.

Max walked over. Max was her somewhat nerdy, somewhat fat certainly weak armed sissy boy and was the shows gaffer. He looked a little lost. Among the bigger men, not being particularly tall. Gaffing was one of those professions that one might assume a certain blue-collarness...but well.

"Hey chuck can you help with the generator-we have got

There was mighty yell as MO pushed chucks arm down to the table.

"YAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!”

Max paused.

"Um…"

"God, that....”

"Doesn't count" said mo "you where distracted. you can have another go"

max coughed. "We got to work on getting the lights up and..."

"You need to be a man, best boy."

Chuck got up. "Later."

Mo watched chuck as he walked away, not getting up from the table.

"You got to stop bothering my assistant," said Max.

"What are you going to do about it pipsqueak?"

"Tell the director," Max told him.

There was a low laugh from the group. And they where right to laugh. That was pencil neck, and even Sarah knew it.

The UPM walked over unannounced. The Unit Production Manager was the person who was in charge of well everything on a set. Whether he out-ranked the director depended on the shows power dynamics - But Mavin definitely was.  The man in charge of the budget, keeping things smooth and organized. He ruled the show while directors came and went.

"You going to take that college boy?" said Mavin. "He’s questioning your manhood"

Which was a real Mavin thing to say. Despite the fact that they had to shoot 48 minutes in 6 1/2 days which was about a minute an hour, which is a lot, he was easily distracted by competitions, challenges or sometimes beams of light. Also, last year Max had taken a community college course in French which was obviously confusing to Mavin. 

Entertainment. You never know where skill and intelligence lands...or doesn't.

Max shook his head "I got stuff to do."

Mavin shook his fists. "Fight, fight, fight!"

Several people started to join them Sarah wasn't one of them, at least, not with her mouth.

"FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT!”

"So what are you doing?" demanded Max. "Arm wrestling? What are you, like, 10?"

"OOOOOOOOOOOOOOH!"

Max looked at the crowd realizing he was the butt of some  joke.

Sarah decided it was time to save the day. She walked over to Max, putting her hand around his shoulder. "You can take this guy."

"No I can't," said Max. "That’s ludicrous, and you know it."

"Fear," said Sarah, "Don't let it be your master...or something to that effect."

Max shook his head. He didn't look scared. Max probably made close to a 100k a year, had a model for a wife, and a very nice home in a Bevery Hills adjacent area. To use an expression one might say, he had won in life. He didn't have anything to prove to it, or the large sweaty teamster behind him. It was a look that briefly gave Sarah guilt as she did.

"It will be fun," said Sarah.

"He’s not going to kill me. But I might hurt my arm or something, and we have a lot of stuff to do today."

Sarah job sometimes was to be brave for other people. To be hope. She knew intellectually "Macho bullshit" for other people was pretty stupid, even for Sarah, who frequently did pretty stupid stuff.  She smiled at him. It was good that he was a sober, sweet man, and for maybe the 10th time in their relationship she wished he wasn't married, Because someone like him would do a good job of maturing her.

"Crying on your woman?" asked Mo.

"We’re not together," Sarah said, maybe just a tad faster then she should have.

"Looks like it" said Mo "Just saying. supose I should envy you. Thats a hot peice of ass. Why don't she come over to my apartment and show her what a real man is"

"FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT!" said Mavin.

Sarah paused.  She vaguely recalled that last sentence was a line from a movie, but A: She couldn't place it, and B: She couldn’t be sure it was intentional.

Another part of her cursed. When men sexually harassed her, which happened a lot in her line of work, she couldn't destroy them.   Litterally.

Max sighed, and shook his head.

"I don't have time for this."

"The electrical work on this show" said Mo,"I have always thought was pretty crappy. Now I know why.”

"Okay. Lets do this,"  declared Max, turning and walking back towards him.

Max sat at the chair. "So how do we do this?"

Graham, another teamster who seemed to be the unofficial referee walked over. "Take off that wedding ring. Put your arm on the rest here, then grab hands. First hand that touches the table wins. When I say go."

Mo smiled. It was a very horrible smile. Sarah had seen supervillains, like DECA, smile...but something about this was worse then all of them. It was not unmitigated evil that sometimes the worst but just men who think they have won.

Sarah walked over. "I've been watching. He likes to scream at you when he starts: Psyche you out. Ignore it. Just put your hand into the pressure. Don't let him do a quick drop, just go into it with all your strength."

Mo chucked. "Yeah maybe you should come over to my apartment. Your one hot momma...and I like a little meat."

Max looked at him. There was no fear, just revenge - revenge for insulting something no one should critique.

Sarah shook her head. She would not be having anal sex with him.

Actually it had been a while since she had anal sex. She could go for some of that. It had been a year or so since she had been in a relationship that lasted longer then a month and one rarely did it before...

Focus.

Sarah knew the next part was very important.

She stood behind Mo to watch over her charge. Graham walked over. Mavin stood over and smiled.

Graham put the competitor’s hands together "When I lift my hand and say go."

They locked fingers. It was very macho. Mo, she noticed, wrapped his legs behind his chair, probably for leverage. If this was a movie one would say 'hey he was cheating, which meant the hero could then start to cheat as well, but well, no... that probably was just good strategy.

Sarah was going to cheat obviously but she didn't have that excuse.

Graham lifted his hand.

"GO!"

Max and Mo started - Mo was obviously a lot stronger, but for a second they went. Mo Bellowed at him in primal rage...and Max started to as well.

"BURRRRRRRRRP!"

Mo didn't know how to respond, but he focused on his grip as the struggle continued.

And Sarah put her foot on his.

And pressed down with her little pinkie toe in his.

Mo felt it - the intense pressure-her little toe had more power then all of his body put together by a very comfterable margin.. His foot wasn't quite breaking but...

"AHHHHHHHHH!" he screamed from both ends.

And Max used the distraction to push his arm down in a mighty burst.

Sarah moved her foot. she was in a crowd of like 5 crew members.

Mo turned around and looked. But to his credit perhaps, he didn't say anything. Sarah guessed he didn't want to whine like a girl, loose his mystique.

"Rematch."

"Got stuff to do," said Max, and walked off to the set without saying another word. That was cool. Damm cool.

Sarah walked off as the match broke up. Mo she noted massaged her foot. "I'll get you"

Sarah smiled. She had fought for truth, justice and the American way - which was to use overwhelming force against unsuspecting targets a lot of the time. 

When she was out of sight in the prop van she did a bicep curl...her meaty arm turned into a huge mass of muscle, expanding and growing as the forms on her arm turned into a horseshoe and then a Clydesdale of nearly 20 inches of powerful muscle, stronger then anything on earth.

*RIP*

Damm it. She liked that shirt.

"Need a hand?" said a teamster

"No, I got it," said Sarah.

Sarah shook her head. She needed to get this crap out of her system.

And then she did the other arm.