“And you are a hateful anorexic stick,” Kate replied from underneath Katie, who was sitting in Kate’s lap and reading her script. “Why don’t you go pester someone who cares?”
“Like your stripper friend?” Ellen sassed back, flipping her hair. “I bet she’d be all about my non-injured disc and flexible joints.”
“And your brittle bones that could end up shattering after vigorous sex?” Katie added, flipping her hair. “A collarbone accident could put an eye out.”
Ellen, Katie, and Kate all looked at each other crankily, but before Ellen could attempt to get off another snark, Sandra and TR came jogging into the room.
“I am getting ACTUAL death threats,” Sandra said. “From Mary McfreakingDonnell. Part of me is freaked out and the rest wants to ask what it’s like to suck face with Redford.”
“Wow, aren’t you special?” Ellen said sarcastically. “What’s going on with that, anyway? I mean, do Canadians regularly plan hits on each other, or is it just you?”
“Ellen, why don’t you shut the hell up before I ask Victor to rub you out?” Sandra snapped. “You’re just jealous because I get all the attention. The awards, the critical acclaim, and now I’m even important enough to get death threats.”
“From the chick from Dances With Wolves,” Ellen said, tossing her head. “Big deal.”
“Says the chick from OLD SCHOOL,” TR added.
“Hey, are Kate and Katie completely ignoring us to make out like lesbian porn bandits?” Sandra asked, noticing that Kate had put her hand under Katie’s shirt and was totally copping a feel off Heigl’s awesome ta-tas. Katie was sucking on Kate’s earlobe, and TR was making grossed-out noises.
“You are such a queermo, TR,” Kate said.
“Says the biggest lesbian on ABC,” TR replied.
“No, I think that’s Marcia,” Sandra said superciliously, smirking at Kate, who glared. “Hey, you can’t even say you’re the biggest redheaded lesbian on ABC, for that matter.”
Kate burped contemptuously. “At least I’m not a closet case with a hopeless crush on Felicity,” she said. “I’m a big dyke who loves strippers, making me a winner.”
“Clearly, you’re the classy one,” Ellen said. “Dude, nobody else wants to see Katie’s tits, Kate.”
“Speak for yourself,” Sandra said, snickering. “Nice sweater puppets. Come on, TR, they don’t bite!”
Patrick didn’t hate being on the set of Grey’s. He actually liked it; everyone there liked his hair, and they encouraged him to go to NASCAR if it put him in the spotlight, and lots of times there were attractive women kissing each other that he didn’t have to pay for to watch.
But that didn’t make it any less confusing to walk on set and find every person in the room either half-dressed, angry, or (in TR’s case) covering his eyes and repeating “this is not happening” over and over as though it would make Katie’s breasts go away.
“Patrick? Patrick?” And then Kate hit him, and his eyes widened and he met hers.
“Hi,” he said.
“Stop checking out my girlfriend’s rack,” she said.
“She touches my hair.”
“That’s not the same thing,” Kate said solemnly.
“It kind of is,” Ellen said. “Have you seen his hair?”
“Are they gone yet?” TR asked. “Or will I still feel unclean?”
“I don’t think you’ll ever stop feeling unclean, son,” Isaiah said cheerfully. Isaiah wasn’t like Patrick; he could walk through the room as though he didn’t even see the nakedness or the rage or the way that TR was heading for a breakdown, and head into makeup and when he was done there, call his wife. Chandra could do that too, and James. But Patrick always seemed to get dragged into these things. One minute he’d be intent on heading to his trailer, and the next he’d be one of the three people holding Ellen back from punching Sandra, because Ellen was scrappy but Sandra had a militia with no other career plans.
“God, TR,” Katie said, adjusting her shirt. “No wonder everyone thinks you’re such hot shit as George. I think you’re more scared of my tits than your fictional counterpart is.”
“At least I didn’t sleep with Ellen,” he said.
Ellen turned. “Do you want to test me?” she asked. “Do you really want to try?”
“No, ma’am,” TR said immediately.
Sandra rolled her eyes. “Leave him alone, Ellen. Let him go play with his goddamn Muppets.” She evaluated him, added “Fucking pussy,” and turned back to Kate. “So do you actually strip thing for Katie, or was that just a one-time thing for David Spade?”
“I didn’t know they were auditioning for Korean Heathers,” Kate said.
“No wonder Shonda keeps writing us high school scenes,” Patrick muttered, shaking his head and trying to get away.
TR laughed, a little, but it seemed to be a giggle of fear.
“Hey,” Justin said, walking in, and then he evaluated the room. “Wow, already? Whose breasts and whose breakdown?”
Ellen’s shirt was tearing, Katie’s makeup was destroyed, and TR looked like he’d been crying for about six days.
“Shonda’s gonna kick all your asses,” Sandra said with a smirk. “God, it must suck to not be the only chance this show has for an Emmy.”
“Not to me,” Patrick said. “Shonda thinks I’m pretty.”
Victor was singing.
“I feel pretty! Oh-so-pretty. I feel pretty and witty and briiight!” he was singing along with Ron, reminding Rachel and Amy that musicals, zombies, and hijinks were all a benefit of being on a JJ set.
“He’s worse than Joss,” Amy said, watching Victor pass off the duet to Ron, who was remarkably gay for a vaguely weaselly-looking old guy. “Of course, Joss is not actually gay.”
“Are you sure about that?” Rachel asked. “Tim liked to tell stories all about Joss’s true and abiding love for Nathan Fillion.”
Amy snorted. “Even his love of Nathan — which, to be fair, is mega-gay — comes second to Joss’s love of a fine female foot,” she said, tilting her head.
Before Rachel could answer, her phone went off and she picked it up quickly. “Hey hey, this is Rachel,” she said. “If you’re looking for Affleck, Jenny, Victor, or Lena, you’re out of luck.”
“Oh, I think Victor will actually talk to me,” a woman’s voice said. “I’m Canadian.”
“Why can’t the Canadians call Victor’s phone?” Amy asked, noticing Rachel’s sour expression. “I mean, seriously! I think Seth might have worked for an actor mafia or whatever, and nobody had to answer calls for him.”
Rachel shrugged. “Victor is dancing and singing right now,” she told the woman on the phone. “We try not to interrupt him.”
“It’s Sandra,” Sandra Oh said. “I really need to talk to Victor, damn it. Stop giving me the attitude, Yankee, and give me the man.”
Amy rolled her eyes and Rachel sighed, got up, and handed Victor the phone before shrugging and going to find Greg.
“What’s going on with these crazy Canadian people?” she asked. “You were in Vancouver recently. Wrangling zombies and whatnot.”
“Zombies are nothing compared to intra-province Canadian actor gang warfare,” Greg said very seriously. “Also, I’m not involved because I have the rare privilege of being on the good sides of both Victor and Mary.”
“Who the hell is Mary?” Amy asked. Greg and Rachel stared at her. “What?”
“Well, possibly this is just because once you know Mary McDonnell, you realize that it’s a good thing she was never famous because she’d own the world,” Greg began. “But..”
“Oh, her? Adam Baldwin met her on the Independence Day set,” Amy said. “Why is it important to be on her good side? She’s not Canadian.”
Rachel snorted. “I love you, Amy,” she said. “You’re appallingly ignorant of things. Why don’t we ask Ben to explain about Mary, Greg?”
Greg laughed so hard that he began to cough, considering the state Affleck had been in when he’d met the head of the Vancouver Actor Mafia. And then he realized that it was a very nice way to keep Victor from knowing that he’d been spinning gossip, and given that he was one of the few people on good terms with Toronto AND Vancouver?
“That’s a good plan, Rachel,” he said.
“You people are freaks,” Amy said. “And I say this having worked with the Whedon people. Also, if we’re on the topic of things I don’t get, what the HELL is up with Felicity Huffman and Sandra Oh?”
Rachel shook her head. “NOBODY KNOWS,” she said. “You know that’s why there’s this whole war thing, right?”
“I heard there were strippers involved,” Amy said. “But that might be shit that Jensen talks to make himself seem indier-than-me.”
“Yeah, cuz being on the WB — excuse me, CW — makes that likely,” Greg said. “All right, to Affleck we go. Try not to do anything too gay, or Jenny will kill you for it later.”
Rachel and Amy made faces at him, but followed along as Greg led them to the one and only Ben Affleck.
No one really knew what Ben was going to do with his life. Jen had a life plan — they’d all seen it, written neatly and kept on her Palm Pilot — and she liked to say that Ben liked to travel to the beat of his own drummer. That usually meant that, by three o’clock, he’d be on set with the baby, alternately cooing at her and telling her to be quiet so that he could listen to what her Mommy had to say before hitting the bad bad men who wanted to turn the universe over to the crazies or the Republicans. Because it was a step above Ben showing up drunk off his ass and informing Jen’s belly that Uncle Kevin thought it would be a perfect star of Clerks 7, no one really complained.
Besides, it led to conversations like this.
“Seriously, man?” Ben asked.
Greg was ignoring him, in favor of bouncing Violet on his knee and nodding distractedly, but Amy picked up the conversation. “They said that there’s something about a Mary?”
“Yeah,” Ben agreed. “Great movie. I have it on DVD.”
“Cute,” Rachel said dryly.
“You know,” Amy said, trying to sound intimidating, “some of us have jobs we need to get back to.”
Ben chuckled. “And some of us could live comfortably for the rest of our lives off the residuals from Good Will Hunting.”
Greg finally turned. “Some of us don’t have to deal with the shame of Armageddon. For the love of god, Ben, tell the damn story.”
“Mary,” Ben said dreamily. “Mary McDonnell. Where to begin about Mary McDonnell? She’s an actor, she’s a legend, she’s a mystery.”
“I cannot believe Matt Damon has not been pushed to heavy narcotics,” Rachel muttered.
Greg hid his smile by playing peek-a-boo with Violet, who seemed to want far more to just nap. She could do that when her daddy was supposed to be watching her, not the nice man who was not going to be involved in this conversation no matter what happened.
Ben was waxing poetic about the intrigue of Mary for a good long and saying absolutely nothing. Greg wondered if it was possible to get high off baby powder fumes.
“Hey,” Amy said, “Maybe you could cut the Inside the Actor’s Studio shit and just tell me about Mary, okay?”
“Wow,” Rachel said. “That almost sounded threatening.”
But Ben finally, finally, went into the story, which Greg already knew of — he’d been there, after all — and Rachel knew most of, but which Amy absorbed with unabashed wonder. The zombies didn’t surprise anyone; after all, they’d all been on set long enough to see Greg in action. But saving the head, just for a prank, and involving half of Vancouver in it? That was hardcore.
“You don’t fuck with Mary,” Ben said. “You don’t fuck with Mary because she will fuck you harder, she will fuck you longer, she will fuck you up the ass until you–”
“Ben!” Greg interrupted. “Your daughter hasn’t seen your movies yet, okay? Let’s keep it PG.”
“You don’t fuck with Mary,” Ben said one more time, prompting Greg to cushion Violet’s ears with his own hands. “And you don’t fuck with any of her girls. That’s really all you need to know.”
“Who are her girls?” Amy asked.
“The ones she works closest with. You know. Katee Sackhoff or Grace Park on the Galactica set; Katie Heigl on Grey’s sometimes; Felicity Huffman, obviously…”
It seemed to click for Amy and Rachel at the same time.
“Shit,” both of them offered, virtually in unison, and walked off in opposite directions.
Greg had already made the connection. “I’m going to give you back your daughter now,” he said.
“What just happened?” Ben asked.
“Don’t worry about it,” Greg advised. “Think about Daredevil II.”
“We are fixing to RIDE now,” Sandra said, getting off the phone with Victor and smirking. “Yanks think they can get up in Canadian business and run shit? Oh, they have brought down the fire.”
Kate, looking surprisingly smaller without the Katie-appendage, looked up from where she was lounging in Sandra’s trailer.
“You started this with tacky lesbian hijinks,” she pointed out, idly leafing through an Entertainment Weekly. “You. Not Felicity, not even Mary. You.”
Sandra pouted. “Why are you bringing up old business?” she asked. “I thought we were unified in enjoying tacky lesbian hijinks. Besides, the hijinks were YOUR idea, if I recall.”
Kate shrugged. “Your call, your credit card, officially YOUR problem, Sandy,” she said with a stunning smile.
“You’re a mean girl,” Sandra replied poutily. “I swear, what do I have to do to get you to engage? Eat you out and call you baby?”
“Oh, because I need you when I have Katie to corrupt and lick and adore and be bestest friends forever with,” Kate said, leering at Sandra. “Though I still remember how much tongue you like to give, eh?”
Sandra threw a pillow at Kate, who cackled and smirked the way she tended to when she felt smugly superior. Well…that was crappy, especially considering it was kind of Kate’s fault that Sandra was at odds with Vancouver AND their new, scary leader, because Sandra respected Mary’s creative choices. Also, Callum was so snippy about Sandra’s role in starting a turf war, it was barely worth it to go to Canada these days, even though Molly and Paul were always more than happy to see her.
The phone rang again, and Sandra picked it up while Kate went back to her magazine.
“Are you really going to call out the Toronto mafia on this? I mean, Jesus, Sandra,” and Callum sighed significantly. “There hasn’t been an altercation up here since the days of Duchovny, and that was against the Americans.”
“Well, next time, don’t put a fucking Yank in charge of Vancouver,” Sandra said huffily. “Tell me, why is everyone in Vancouver supporting Felicity and Mary using OUR actors to pull this?”
“Mary runs Vancouver,” Callum said. “Really well.”
“That’s not what Torri says,” Sandra said.
“Torri…the one from the Stargate, Torri?” Callum asked. “Oh, Sandra, you aren’t using HER as your intel source, are you?”
“What, I should make nice with freak-o Hewlett?” Sandra asked. “Torri seems cool.”
“She’s just bitter because she should have a special power in Vancouver — being the lead female on a Sci-Fi show — and nobody cares because they can ask Mary what it was like to work with Costner, Redford, AND Jayne from Firefly,” Callum said. “You’re misusing the mafia as much as the Yankees, Sandra. At least Mary, as the head of the branch, has the right to entangle us with Felicity. I mean — would you say no to Bill Macy?”
“I wouldn’t, and I’m an uberdyke!” Kate said. Sandra glared — how had she heard THAT? — and went back to pacing across her trailer.
After all, fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke, right? Right?
There were days when Victor missed living in Toronto. It wasn’t the weather, or the people, or the salary — he was flamboyantly gay, not stupid — but it was far easier to keep the children under control when he was in the country and able to visit anyone who needed a reminder of their place at a moment’s notice. Here he had an entire cast of Americans to work with, more preoccupied with zombies and the DVDs of The Sopranos that Carl had brought to the set than they were with what was shaping up to be the biggest conflict his Mafia had seen since people cared about Due South.
Ron would have helped, of course, but Ron was from New York, and everyone knew what that meant; in the battle for ultimate Canadian supremacy, Ron might has well have been from one of those states where everyone said “y’all” and chewed tobacco.
No, Victor was on his own. Again.
The upside, of course, was that when any of his proteges were in California, and inevitably screwed up, it was far easier for him to stop the pandemonium before it started.
It was, he reflected, in some ways his own fault, for encouraging her to pursue this job. She’d seemed so stable, and she was making good career choices, and expanding out to the rest of North America was something that he’d been trying to get as much of the Mafia to do as possible. Let Toronto get a stronghold on Hollywood, he thought, and they’d crush every other Canadian Mafia dumb enough to try.
And Sandra would be good at it, he’d known even then. She’d been an indie daring, and stardom suited her; she’d even gotten a Globe, and was clearly fast-tracking towards an Emmy.
But there had been two problems with his plan. One, of course, was Mary — and no one had seen that one coming, not even any of his people working on the inside, if what Sandra said was any indication. But the other problem, which seemed even worse, was Sandra’s co-stars.
Victor had met them all, once or twice, at ABC functions he’d remained sober throughout for the sake of propriety. Most of them had not been so obliging. Ellen Pompeo had told him what she really thought about his tie, Katie Heigl said he was cute, and Kate Walsh had asked if it was true he was dating Nathan Lane.
And then there was Dempsey.
These were the people influencing Sandra. That told him everything he needed to know.
But Sandra was coming to see him, now. She’d said she had news. News she couldn’t share over the phone. News that was so important that, even though she told him she was half-covered in a sticky substance that was supposed to represent the substances located inside a tumor, she was driving over on her lunch break instead of taking a shower.
This was going to be stressful.
Victor carefully spread a plastic sheet he normally used for Violet over a chair in his trailer, and waited.
“So,” Victor said. “That’s what happened.”
Sandra nodded. Mostly she was lying, but mostly, she knew that Victor might actually kind of sort of know that.
“I think it’s kind of low, myself,” Sandra said, kind of embarrassed that she was stuck sitting on a plastic tarp for the Garner-Affleck spawn. “But that’s what happens when you put an American in charge of Vancouver.”
Victor snorted. “Oh, please,” he said. “Greg told me all about how she’s handling the sets and how she handled the zombie malfunction. I may have issues with Mary’s deployment of her power in this particular case, but are you telling me she’s not competent?”
They both remembered the photos some scandalous anonymous person had sent over to the Alias set that had gone around the ABC lot faster than a case of beer between Michelle Rodriguez and her girlfriend.
“I heard that Ron’s testicles actually retreated into his stomach,” Sandra said. She sighed lustily. “God, that’s hot.”
Victor raised an eyebrow. “Is it really?”
“Well, it’s pretty cool,” Sandra said.
Victor didn’t look incredibly impressed by that, and Sandra had a hazy, embarrassing memory of how this entire mess had actually gotten started. Kate, Katie, a long sniping match with Ellen, and then Kate’s fateful “great idea.”
“You know what would be a great idea? Sending strippers to Flicka,” Kate had said. She’d been on her third or fourth beer — no pansy drinks for Kate, she’d said, glaring at TR and making him yelp — and Sandra had been matching her with cider.
“Like, male strippers?” Katie had asked.
“Um, no,” Sandra had said, rolling her eyes. Katie was pretty cool, but sometimes it was very clear she wasn’t really gay — just gay for Kate. Not that Sandra could entirely blame Katie…
“Sandra, focus,” Victor said. “As the leader of the Toronto faction, I am ready and able to send out the troops on this one. Even eager — it’s about time someone took Mary down a peg. But if you want me to go further than my preliminary actions, I need you to tell me if you REALLY want this action on your behalf.”
Sandra tilted her head. “What kind of preliminary action?” she asked, curious at Victor’s slightly coy tone.
“I’ve sent a special agent out to divert key lieutenants,” Victor said. “Also as a challenge, given all the pr about how Mary’s girls would never, ever disobey mom, blah blah blah.”
Rachel McAdams and one of the Battlestar girls. Sandra found herself totally loving Victor and his devious-ass mind. In fact, Kate would approve of this, and for that…
“I think…maybe…this can work out without violence,” Sandra said. “Also, did you know I totally subverted Torri Higginson?”
Victor smiled. “Well, I subverted Torri, but it’s good she’s been in contact,” he said calmly. “So, Sandra? Why don’t you clean up the mess you’ve made before I get another set of phone calls, okay?”
“Yes, sir, boss-man, sir!” Sandra said, saluting. Well, that had gone all right — now to deal with Flicka and…gulp…Mary.
She might need some amoral support for that.
Kate, who she roped into it with the promise of hot chicks, and TR, who she lured in with the promise of Callum Keith Rennie, ended up driving Sandra to the airport. Well, technically Katie drove; she was the designated driver-slash-Kate-entertainment while Sandra met Molly and dragged TR with them to the luggage carousel.
“Bringing in the big guns,” she’d told Kate with a self-satisfied smirk, when what she really meant was “people who would cheerfully commit murder if they thought they could make Don laugh, but really, why bother when they could get trashed instead?”
When they poured off the plane and into baggage claim — poured being the operative word — it was clear that Callum, Don, Hugh, and Paul had been having the time of their lives. They greeted Sandra, Molly, and TR — who looked more confused than Sandra had ever seen him — with hugs, kisses, and, from Callum, the only sober member of the party, “We are here to see you about your lesbians!”
“The boys always did suck at undercover,” Molly said with a sigh.
“Victor would have all of your asses,” Sandra agreed. “God, you’re here to be helping me, not to throw a wrench in the plan by getting the media involved.”
“If you were really worried about paparazzi, you would have flown us in private,” Don said. “We were on a regular plane. That means the entire LA scene is just waiting to hear from Canada.”
“Oh, fuck you,” Sandra said, but it was more affectionate than anything else she’d said in days. “Come on, you guys are all coming over to my place for booze and hookers.”
“You got us hookers?” Hugh looked touched.
“Well,” Sandra said. “I got us hookers.” She gestured at herself and Molly. “I got you guys a trip to LA and a chance to help me exact some revenge.”
“Personally,” Don said, “I might have preferred hookers.”
“And I would have preferred Deadwood last past season three,” Molly said. “Come on, let’s just get back to her place. I think most of you are going in my car, since Sandra’s got the lesbians in her car.”
“I like lesbians,” Callum offered.
“Who doesn’t,” Sandra deadpanned, then paused. “Hey, has anyone seen TR?”
“Was he kidnapped by the Vancouverites?” Hugh demanded, suddenly alert. “I’ll kill them. I will fuck their shit up. I will–”
“No,” Sandra interrupted. “I think he’s just terrified of all of you.”
“Or getting snack food,” Molly said, pointing. TR was approaching with several bags of the cheapest candy expensive airport newsstands had to offer.
He gave Callum first pick, and totally blushed when he handed him the chocolate bar. “Pussy,” Sandra muttered. She did not need this shit. She had a problem to solve.
“So why are a bunch of floppy-headed Canadians infesting our turf?” Felicity asked Marcia, who gave her a look. “Okay, so you probably don’t know.”
“No, I can explain. It’s because they’ve got Sandra Oh’s back, because this whole Canadian gang war you’re setting up is kind of dumb,” Marcia said with a snort. “I mean, are you sure it’s appropriate to involve the Canadians? If we’re going to talk mafia involvement, anyway.”
“Canadians have a mafia?” Eva asked, looking up from another magazine that had her on the cover airbrushed to kingdom come. Felicity wasn’t sure just how Eva ended up hanging out with her and Marcia, but she was fairly certain it had to do with the Recent Unpleasantness.
The Recent Unpleasantness being the reason Felicity and Bill had called in the Vancouverites in the first place, Felicity had new and better reason to hate on Sandra Oh and her tacky costars. Plus there was the zeitgeist stealing to consider, and really, Felicity didn’t understand WHY everyone was so surprised she hated the damn Canadians.
“Canadians have many things, including a cut-rate film industry, hockey, many random comedians…and yes, Eva, a mafia,” Felicity said, counting to ten in her head before answering.
“This just makes me want to sing that song,” Eva said. “You know the one, the South Park one?”
Marcia and Felicity exchanged a look.
“If you sing ‘Blame Canada’ on-set,” Marcia began, fixing Eva with the uncanny look that made Bree the breakaway character for so many critics, “Marc will decide to do a musical episode. Do you want a musical Housewives?”
“If any of us could, you know, sing?” Eva said. “Sure, why not? I bet it would be kind of awesome.”
Felicity choked on that a little, and Marcia started laughing her head off. Musical Housewives. Possibly that was a fate worse than death or being annihilated by a bunch of genre actors from Toronto. Possibly by a lot.
Before anyone could continue the absurdist drama, Felicity’s phone went off, and she gratefully picked it up.
“So…we need to talk,” Sandra said.
“No…you need to get the beat down,” Felicity answered. Marcia and especially Eva perked up; Sandra hadn’t tried to call since the day after the Recent Unpleasantness. “And you know, Vancouver’s going to deal it to you.”
“What if I said I was sorry?” Sandra asked.
Felicity coughed. “Are you kidding me? The time to be sorry was about six weeks ago,” she said.
“What if I said it was Kate’s tacky-ass lesbian fault?” Sandra added. “Her idea, anyway. I thought it was kind of funny.”
“Yeah, I know,” Felicity said. “I think I’m going to end this call now.”
“No!” Sandra said. “I want to negotiate. Under the rules of the Canadian mafia, I can totally negotiate with you.”
Felicity considered this. Before she could say anything, Marcia took the phone away from Felicity.
“Who is this and what do you want?” Marcia asked. She paused. “I see. Okay. Sure. We’ll call Mary and set up arbitration. Yes, if you’ve got a mob of your homies in town, we absolutely get Mary.”
Eva giggled, and Felicity gaped. Marcia was darn lucky that Felicity had forgiven her at all, after the whole trailer incident that had added insult to injury and started the war.
“She agrees,” Marcia said. “There’s going to be a meeting.”
“Neat!” Eva said. “I like the Grey’s people. And I always love to network.”
Felicity threw a pillow at Eva. Sometimes, there was only one way to respond to her, and that was really it.
The fight over where to hold the mediation meant that there was over a week of fighting, back-and-forth phone calls, and anyone who could realistically have ties to both sides (including Greg, who insisted he was Sweden; Katie, who apparently hadn’t entirely curbed her phoning-Mary habit just because she and Sandra were at war; and Kate, who was on the side of getting in Katie’s scrubs) being shunned and courted by both sides of the battle.
It was ten days of bitter petty comments from everyone who cared to speak, and ten days of Sandra going slowly mad as the weekend house party she’d thrown for moral support reached its inevitable conclusion.
Sandra was still going to work every day, and arriving home each night was an adventure. Once she walked into her home to find Hugh lying on her couch, a woman straddling him and smiling down and telling him how much she loved Hard Core Logo. Another day she found Don passed out in her bathtub, stripped naked to the waist with the word “MOTHERFUCKER” scrawled on his chest in whipped cream. Callum, who was actually friends with some Americans, had a fairly steady stream of visitors. (One day, Sandra was pretty sure she saw TR sneaking out of his room, but she was doing her best to repress that one.)
They had almost settled on the set of Deadwood three days before it would get torn down for good, when some asshole let it slip that Molly wasn’t just from Canada, she was a card-carrying member of the Toronto mafia and had been in a movie with Paul Gross to boot.
Everyone knew that once you were associated with Paul, you didn’t have a chance in the world at neutrality, unless you were Callum, in which case you were just a freak.
They finally agreed to meet at Greg’s ranch. Officially, Greg didn’t have a ranch, but there needed to be somewhere to keep all the zombies during off-season, and it helped to have somewhere to keep his wrangling skills up to par.
Greg wasn’t a big fan of the plan, and in fact made it incredibly public that he would be spending the week in Hawaii, visiting the set of Lost and wishing he were dead. Jen, Ben, and Violet were holding down the fort for him, although Jen decided that she and Violet would be busy inside the second anyone started yelling, bleeding, or vowing revenge.
Ben, on the other hand, enthusiastically offered to be moderator-slash-emcee-slash-drunken menace, and despite the best efforts of Mary, Victor, and several dozen Canadians and lesbians from both sides of the aisle, could not be dissuaded.
He even tried to call the Vancouver posse to get the outfit that had been used for Browder’s famous cage match, but that was loudly denounced as picking a side by the Torontoites, and he had to settle for a leftover Spiderman costume that Kevin shipped him from Jersey, having gotten it mislabeled off an eBay auction.
He set up rows of chairs, facing each other at a forty-five degree angle, and both of them angled towards the third side of the triangle, people who had chosen to be neutral. By the time they were ready to begin, Callum sprawled out across six chairs, and Kate and Katie were taking up one, not counting the one holding their rapidly growing pile of discarded clothes.
But Sandra, Felicity, and all of their allies barely noticed.
“Let’s get ready to rumble!” called out Ben merrily, and then paused. “Mediation commencing now.”
Katie was writhing atop a woman who looked altogether too much like Mary about twenty years ago, Sandra was sitting like a spoiled schoolchild, and Felicity was glaring daggers. This was going to be a hellish meeting, Mary decided, and worse yet, Katee had gone off three days ago and hadn’t been seen since except for “I’m okay, MOM!” phone calls that were just a little insulting.
“Next time, Ben Affleck is not allowed at mafia meetings,” Mary said, deciding to address the least of her worries.
“Seconded,” Victor said, looking as gay as fifty theater directors in Greenwich. He looked at Sandra, who rolled her eyes. “I appreciate Greg’s help, but Ben is…”
“Kick his ass, Mommy Darko!” Ben yelled. Jennifer elbowed him in the gut. “Sorry.”
“He’s a jerk,” Grace whispered noisily to Mary.
“Yes, dear, he is,” Mary said. “So, I believe Sandra called the meeting. Sandra, I’m kind of curious — what the hell did you do to Felicity?”
“Yeah, we all wanna know,” Mollie said.
“Me, too,” Eva Longoria said. “Felicity calls it the Recent Unpleasantness and her nostrils go flare-y.”
Grace glared at Eva. There were going to be no rivals for plucky dumb sidekick for Mary’s attention. Mary was like her cool mobster mom, and no Housewife was going to out-dumb and out-cute Grace.
Mary cleared her throat and everyone on the Vancouver side went dead silent. Even Affleck sat up and tried not to sound too noisy doing it. There was no more time for this nonsense; she had work to do.
“I would like to state for the record that I was drinking Jaegermeister with Kate, Katie, and TR and maybe Ellen and probably Dempsey was involved except that I think the lesbian strippers would have made his head explode,” Sandra began. “And we were all really happy for Felicity getting that Oscar nomination.”
Kate, who was driving Hugh, Paul, and Callum crazy by the intricate designs she was licking on Katie’s collarbone between shots of tequila, paused. And laughed really loudly.
“Dude, you are STILL pissed that you got overlooked for Sideways, you lying…person,” Kate said, caught in the full heat of a McDonnell icy glare.
“DUDE!” Affleck bellowed, suddenly realizing something. “You’re Stands With A Fist! Oh my God, I had such a stiffie for you, cuz otherwise that movie was wicked boring.”
Stands With a Fist rolled her eyes. “Sandra.”
“Um,” Sandra said, looking at Affleck with weakly disguised horror. “Um, so we were happy for Felicity and then Kate was like, you know how I congratulate people? Strippers!”
“That’s because Kate is tacky,” Jennifer Garner piped in. “I mean, no offense, Kate, I love your work, but you are kind of tacky.”
Kate shrugged nonchalantly, which was an admirable feat given Katie in her lap and her half-naked state. “I’m a dirty, beer-swilling, lad-mad-reading bastard,” she said. “Who looks like Catherine Denevue. Or kind of like Mary.”
“Yes, THANK YOU, Kate,” Sandra said.
“So you sent strippers to Felicity,” Mary said, looking like she wished she had a gun. Or ninjas, because she was anti-handgun. “Felicity? What exactly was the most objectionable part of that?”
Felicity, who had been getting redder and redder throughout the exchange, finally breathed out. Marcia patted her thigh, and Felicity pushed Marcia’s hand away.
“Oh my god, the strippers!” Eva said loudly. “That was the craziest day…like, Marc saw naked titties and he like, fainted! And then there were like, Felicity’s fake kids on set and they were really confused and their agent blamed Felicity. That was you, Sandra? That was hella shitty of you.”
“Marc fainted?” Victor asked. “I would have paid to see that.”
“Yeah, it was almost funny, but then Teri started thinking they were from S Factor and um, I think Marc saw Teri in a g-string,” Eva said.
Everyone was dead silent. Except for Mary, who was laughing so hard that tears were running down her face.
Felicity was glowering. “That. Was. Not. The. Worst. Thing,” she hissed in little spit-off syllables.
“Felicity,” Marcia said, trying to soothe her a little. “Flicka. Babe.”
“You made out with one of the god damn strippers, Marcia!” Felicity snapped. “In my trailer!”
Sandra’s jaw dropped. Oh, hell.
Six hours later, after Jen went down for her afternoon nap and Violet went with her, Ben broke out the coolers. There were a bunch, which he explained he’d hidden from Greg a long, long time ago, and then went into a longer explanation that everyone ignored in favor of grabbing their beer and watching the central conflict, which was better than anything on all of their shows put together.
Except maybe Sandra’s storyline on Grey’s, but that had been cut because ABC were pussies, anyway. So her hiring strippers was definitely more interesting than her being a dyke with a teacher kink, even to Ben, who said exactly that before he noticed the looks on both Mary’s and Victor’s faces, and said he was going to go see how his daughter was doing.
Callum, who was both sober and neutral, ended up taking over the role. “Strippers,” he said, smirking. “Kate likes strippers, Sandra ordered some for Felicity, and one of them banged Marcia and Flicka walked in. Right?”
“I didn’t bang anyone,” Marcia said stiffly. “We just–”
“Details are fine,” Don interrupted. “As many as you want.”
Felicity, Marcia, and Sandra all shot him dirty looks. He slid as far from Sandra as possible.
“Wait,” Mary interrupted. “I may have been misinformed. This is between gay mafias?” And she looked at them, one to the other, expectantly.
“What?” Marcia asked.
“What?” Felicity asked.
Kate made a noise that would have been “What?” if her tongue hadn’t been firmly attached to that place by Katie’s collarbone that she liked so much.
“I’m not gay,” Sandra said.
“What? I’m married to a guy,” she said. “Well, I was. I think that keeps me out of the gay mafia.”
“Do we have a mafia?” Katie asked with interest. “I thought we just had cliques and infighting.”
“I think that’s what the nice lady is telling us mafias are,” Kate pointed out.
“Wow, I’ve never been in a Mafia before. I mean, except on Roswell, and that was really different. Everyone was a lot younger, and a lot less well-maintained all at once.”
“This is not the gay mafia,” Victor said, sounding insulted. “We don’t even have branches on Housewives. Well, except for Jesse. And Doug’s honorary membership, of course, but they’re not even here today.”
It was true. Neither of them gave a damn about this battle in the slightest, claiming too much estrogen in the room to listen to any of the sides.
“Sorry, Victor,” Mary said, and she sounded genuinely apologetic in exactly the way that Sandra knew made Victor want to punch her. “I meant the lesbian mafia. It’s just starting to get big, I heard. It spun off after the boys from Brokeback Mountain slipped and told their girlfriends?”
“A mafia!” Katie said, clearly thrilled. “God, that’s so cool. I should totally call Busy.” She bit her lip, and then brightened. “Seth has her number, I think. He totally made out with her on one of those shows Judd did that got canceled.”
“You can’t call Busy,” Sandra said disgustedly. “They’re New York lesbians. You’re Cali. It’s a whole different scene.”
“Well,” Kate said, “wouldn’t that mean you and Felicity are playing for the same team? No pun intended.”
Sandra made a face like she’d have to do something truly heinous, and sighed. “Look. Felicity. I’m really, really sorry. This got out of control, and it’s my fault, and I apologize.”
Felicity raised an eyebrow. “Maybe Kate was right. You really do deserve an Oscar nom.”
“I’ll handle my Globe,” Sandra said with a shrug. “And the fact that we’re already outperforming you in the Nielsens.” Molly elbowed her, and Sandra yelped before continuing. “Sorry. I really am.”
“Now, now, girls,” Callum said. “Maybe you could all just kiss and make up…”
The entire room turned to stare at him in unapologetic horror. Except Kate and Katie, of course, who had gone back to making out in their chairs.
“Callum?” Mary asked.
“Shush,” she said. “So. Felicity, Sandra is really incredibly sorry. And I think she is, because no self-respecting woman admits to a circle of her peers and superiors that she thought up the idea while drinking Jaeger.”
“Point,” Felicity said. “But I…”
“I’m not finished,” Mary said. “Sandra, while I believe your apology and think the current humiliation is mostly punishment enough…I think Felicity should get to come up with a public humiliation of her choosing for you.”
She looked, not at Sandra, but at Victor, who nodded. Sandra groaned. “Fine,” she said.
“Don’t fine me. This is very lesbian mafia business you two both dragged into the Canadian realm,” Mary said. “You’re lucky I don’t take this right over both your heads, Bill to the contrary notwithstanding.”
Felicity crossed her arms, glared…and then something seemed to occur to her. She turned to Marcia and dragged her aside, whispering in her ear in a way that seemed mighty sinister to Sandra, but not so much to Mary.
Then again, Mary was looking at Victor. He seemed a little too okay with the part where she’d taken over this meeting. As head of Toronto, he had just as much right to put conditions on the parties as Mary did and he was sitting there, cool as a cucumber.
She wished Katee was there.
“Grace,” Mary said as Felicity walked over to Sandra, smirking. “After Felicity inflicts some humiliating punishment on Sandra that will probably get us all banned from Utah for life, can you call Katee again?”
“Why?” Grace asked.
“Because I said so, one, and two, because she’s been gone for three days,” Mary said. “I think there’s something going on.”
Victor smiled at her then, and Mary knew it — Toronto wasn’t exactly rolling over and playing dead. In fact, now that the Felicity/Sandra feud was off-stage, things were promising to get much, much more interesting.
“With DEMPSEY?” Sandra shouted. “Oh, come ON, that’s not…”
A Very Nice West LA Hotel Room, Later That Day
“In other news, Grey’s Anatomy costars Sandra Oh and Patrick Dempsey were seen singing television themes in the middle of Universal Citywalk…” the announcer said on the big television. “Oh was wearing a large tutu and said all money thrown her way would be donated to charity.”
Katee stretched out. She was supposed to be near Sandra Oh today. She remembered that, but there had been tequila shots and Coronas and dancing…
“Hey, cutie,” Rachel McAdams said, bouncing out of the shower. “You gonna stay in bed all day?”
“Only if you share,” Katee said, grinning. “This has been the best secret vacation ever.”
“I KNOW,” Rachel said. “You need to visit LA more often.”
Katee giggled and stretched. “Well, there’s always something,” she said. “So where were we?”
“Having fun,” Rachel said, turning off the TV as Katee peeled the sheet off. “Ooh.”