Hi, my name's Craig Jennings. I'm 22 years old. I'm a small time actor, have been for about a year now. I've had bit parts in a few films and television shows, and I've been known to do a bit of stunt doubling, nothing special, but it pays the bills. I come from Edinburgh in Scotland, though I'm rarely home anymore. I've got an agent, thanks to him I've still got money. Anyway, this is my story, it starts in 2001.
I woke up with a start, my bed covers scattered, hanging off the bed. As I struggled to regain my alertness I realised that my phone was ringing. I checked the clock, 10:17am. YAWN!!! I stretched across my dresser and lifted the receiver, mumbling a small hello into the mouthpiece.
“Craig! It Phil.” I perked up a bit, my agent calling is usually a good thing, means he's got work for me.
“Hey, hows it going?”
“Yea, ok. Listen, I've found some work for you. It's kinda two jobs in one, they want you to do some stunts, falling over things and the like, and your also needed to do a little acting. No audition, cos its only a small part.”
“Cool, sounds good,” I replied, “what's the gig?”
“It's a new show called 'Scrubs', hospital comedy, I've read the script, its good. You'll be on set for a week.” He stopped talking and waited for my response.
“Ok, lets do it.”
“Great, be at my office for 1 o'clock and I'll give you the contract to sign. I've just got to phone their people to let them know you'll take the job.”
“Cool, see you then Phil.” I placed the receiver back on its handle and lay back down on my bed. Excellent, more work, just what I needed. Time to get out of bed then, I guess. I walked over to the bathroom and stood in front of the mirror. My handsome features looked tired, and my reasonably long, dark hair was a mess. I stripped, stepped into the shower and turned on the water.
3 hours later, I was in my agents office, sipping a steaming mug of coffee. He was sitting at his desk opposite me, on the phone to someone. Phil Greenwood was a portly man, who seemed to be permanently sweating, his thin blonde hair was plastered to his head, and his forehead was shining with perspiration. He put the phone down, and placed some paper in front of me. He went through the basics of the contract, which I signed. He gave me my flight ticket to America and sent me on my way.
The next day I was on the red-eye flight to JFK airport in New York. The in flight entertainment was as “good” as usual, as was the food. We were about an hour away from landing and I was sitting comfortably with my eyes closed and music humming into my ears through my headphones. I heard the PA go live over the music, with an unmistakable “ding-dong”. Pressing the pause button on my MP3 player, I listened as the captain announced that we had started our descent into New York. I settled back in my seat and waited for us to land.
When I finally landed, went through passport control, and picked up my bag, I was met by a foreigner with a small sign reading “Jennings”. I approached him.
“You Jennings?” I was asked in stuttered English, with a heavy accent. Groaning internally at the lack of conversation I would be having, I nodded and offered him my hand to shake, which he ignored. He turned and walked away from me, assuming I would follow. He led me outside the airport to a small car, and climbed into the drivers seat. I walked round to the passengers side and pulled on the handle, stumbling backwards as the door didn't open. My driver made no attempt to unlock the door, so I hopped into the back seat, irritation written across my features.
The drive to NBC studios HQ was no less eventful. I was thrown about the back of the car by my chauffeurs “driving”. That was me with my seatbelt on. I held onto my suitcase for dear life, whilst I was tossed from side to side as he took tight corners at 70 miles per hour.
When we finally arrived at the studios, in one piece, I let out a huge sigh of relief. I exited the car, glad to be back on my own two feet. My driver simply floored the accelerator and turned in the middle of the road, causing another car to slam on its breaks, screech its tyres against the road and bark its horn in annoyance. I watched as he tore down the street, before I turned to the building in front of me. The many stories of the glass building stretched up towards the clouds and the large NBC sign at the top looked over the city. I walked forward through the revolving glass doors and over the cold marbled floor towards the reception desk. One of the pretty girls behind the desk flashed me an over-used smile and beckoned me over, greeting me in a typically faked sing-song voice.
“Hi there sir, are we expecting you today?” I smiled back at her and gave her my name. Her manicured nails tapped on the keyboard as she typed in my name.
“Craig Jennings, yes, that's fine. If you'd just like to wait over there and someone will be down to see you shortly.” She signalled over to an area with a few chairs. “Can I get you anything in the meantime?” She asked.
“Yea, you could get me a coffee if your offering, or we could wait till you finish and I could get you a drink?” I said with a wink. She waved my comment off.
“Coffee it is then.” She stood up and walked away from her desk. I grinned to myself, picked up my suitcase and went to sit in the waiting area.
I sat for about five minutes, sipping my coffee, the mid morning sun streaming through the windows. Behind me a male voice called,
“Craig Jennings?” I looked round at the suited man who had called out my name. I stood up and walked over to him, shaking his hand when I reached him.
“Grant Hudson.” He led me to a lift and we ascended to the 18th floor. When we exited the lift, I was faced by a long corridor with countless rooms lining either side of it. Grant walked purposefully down the corridor and entered one of the rooms on the left. I followed him in and sat in the seat he offered me. He sat down on the other side of his desk, and began searching through a filing cabinet.
“Jennings…Jennings…ah here we are. Scrubs right?” I nodded in conformation “Ok, here is the hotel booking details; you'll be staying right next to the set. You've to head over there later, before they finish for the day, so you can meet some of the cast before you start tomorrow. There will be a driver waiting for you downstairs in ten minutes to take you to the hotel. At 3 o'clock you're expected at Sacred Heart Hospital. Have a good stay.” With that I was dismissed.
I made my way back down stairs and waited for my lift to appear. When it did, I was relieved that it was a different driver than last time. This driver was much better.
I arrived at the hotel safely, thanked my driver and walked up to the hotel. It was a classy looking place. A subtle mixture of chrome and brick. I entered the well lit reception area and approached the desk.
I checked in quickly and took the lift to my room, which wasn't great, but had a cosy, homely feel to it. The bed was comfy, the walls warmly decorated, with a small fridge filled with a few drinks. It was 1 o'clock, so I still had time before I had to be at the set. So I unpacked and showered, enjoying the warm water washing over my body.
I decided to go to the set a bit early. So at about half 2, I left the room and headed to the Sacred Heart Hospital. The guy from NBC hadn't been lying when he'd said I'd be right next to the set, it was literally right across the street from the hotel. I laughed a bit at the sign in the car park that read, “This is not a real hospital; please do not come here in an emergency.” I walked up to the glass doors, beside which there was some cameras mounted on cranes for aerial shots. I walked through the doors into the main “triage” area. People were rushing to and fro, and I followed the signs for reception. I walked up to my third reception of the day and said hi to the guy behind the desk.
“You're Craig Jennings then?” He said in a friendly way. I nodded and he told me to hold on. He lifted the phone and dialled some numbers. Someone answered.
“Bill? That's Craig Jennings here. Ok. Thanks, bye.” He hung up and directed me to the seating area. I waited until a small man with medium length black hair approached me. He smiled at me and introduced himself as Bill Lawrence, executive producer and creator of Scrubs.
“Welcome to Sacred Heart.” He said to me. I thanked him.
“The cast are just finishing up for the day; I'll just take you up to meet them just now.” I followed him through a maze of corridors, talking about my contract.
“You'll be on set for a week, tomorrow we'll have you doing some stunt work all day, and then for the rest of the week we'll have you doing some acting.”
“Cool, that's fine.” I replied. He took me through a door labelled “Silence Please, Filming in Progress.” There was the set, the cameras and the cast. I followed him till we had a good view of the acting. There were 4 of them crowded round a bed, peering over a patient. 2 of them wore blue scrubs; a young man with styled black hair and a petite woman with straight blonde hair falling in stupid looking bangs around her face. There was a tall man in a white lab coat with short ginger hair, and a small Hispanic woman, wavy black hair, dressed in dark pink scrubs.
Someone hidden behind a camera shouted, “OK!! That's a wrap, thanks everybody, see you tomorrow.” Bill stepped forward and stopped everyone before they could leave.
“Everyone, this is Craig Jennings, he'll be on set for a week, doing stunt work and some acting.” I gave a casual wave, suddenly the focus of everyone's attention. Various friendly voices called out hurried helloes, eager to get home for the day. The cast walked over to me, and I was introduced to them, Zach, Johnny, Judy and Sarah. They were a friendly and instantly likeable bunch of people. Being a man I couldn't help but notice Sarah. Her blonde hair elegantly styled as she pushed the bangs out of her face, and she even made the blue scrubs look good as they hugged her slender figure. We were joined by a bald black man in green scrubs, who introduced himself as Don.
As we wandered through the corridors of the hospital, I was listening to them all talk about everything and anything, they obviously got on very well with each other, and this made everything so much easier. Judy and Sarah waved goodbye and went left down a corridor to the woman's dressing rooms. I followed Zach, Don and Johnny to the men's dressing rooms where we talked about football.
“Say, Craig, you fancy coming for drinks with us all later? It's kind of tradition that we take the newbies out for some drinks.” Asked Johnny
“Yea, sure, I've got nothing else planned!” I decided it would be a good idea to get more familiar with my colleagues, even though I wasn't much of a drinker.
“Cool,” responded Zack, “we're all meeting outside the Jumping Jupiter in about half an hour; it's just across the street. You wanna come with, or go back to your room?”
“Um, I think I'll run back to my room, didn't really bring much with me, need to grab a few things.”
“Holla! Later dawg.” I laughed at Don and left the room.
Back in my hotel room and I quickly threw on something a bit less run-down, finally settling on a pair of combats and a polo shirt. I quickly sprayed myself with deodorant, even though I wasn't long out the shower. I made my way out of my hotel, money lining my pocket. I jogged across the road to where I could see Sarah waiting. She looked simply stunning. A tight fitted pair of low-riding jeans revealed a little bit of her pink thong at the back and a low-cut, backless top revealing a lot of cleavage, the silky, orange material hugging her trim form. Her fair hair was poker straight, one of the loose tendrils hanging in front of her smiling face. The smile seemed to light up her whole face, making her eyes wider and friendlier. She waved at me as I reached the far side of the road, and I wandered over to her.
“No-one else here yet?” I asked, stating the obvious.
“No,” she said, shaking her head, her soft voice fluttering in my ears, “shall we just go in, it's fucking freezing.” I laughed at her, the cursing sounding so foreign coming from such a gorgeous woman. I offered her my arm and led her into the brightly lit pub. It was a modern looking place with comfy leather seats scattered around glass tables with soft lights glowing beneath the glass. The bar had a varnished wooden front and was decorated with chrome. It was quite quiet just now, but the night was still young, only a couple of people lounged around the bar, chatting amicably with the bartenders.
I led Sarah over to a table and showed her to a seat.
“Well, well, well, quite the gentleman aren't we?” She said with a giggle. I laughed, and said modestly
“I try. Now what can I get you to drink m'lady?” I took her order of a vodka and lemonade, left her and walked to the bar.
After paying for and collecting our drinks I wandered back over to Sarah and asked what was keeping the others,
“Dunno, but it's their own fault that we get a head start on them.” She said, with a mischievous grin. She took a sip of her drink and stared at me, her bright blue eyes alive with energy,
“So tell me a bit about yourself?” I laughed again, took a swig of my drink (vodka with lemon and lime) and took a deep breath, which made her laugh,
“Well, I was born in Scotland, I grew up, I became an actor, never really made it big-time, and so I do stunts and small parts.” I grinned, “Your turn.” She copied my deep breath,
“I was born and raised in Ontario, I'm 24, 25 in August. I made my acting debut in 1992, been acting ever since. What you drinking?” I laughed at the randomness of this question and told her, “ha, what a girly drink.” She said, stealing my drink for a quick taste. She muttered her approval and I laughed again.
“Anyone special in your life?” She asked me, I laughed dryly,
“Not really, I don't really find the time. I was seeing a girl back home a while back, but it just fell apart cos I was never really around. You?”
“Na, I'm not really looking for anyone though.”
Soon we were just finishing our 5th round, still no sign of the others, though I hadn't really noticed. I was just happy to be spending time with someone so provocatively dressed as Sarah. I couldn't help looking at her as she talked and drank, I found myself intoxicated by her (as well as the alcohol). I was getting past the tipsy stage and getting much closer to the absolutely bladdered stage, probably something to do with me being a light-weight. Sarah stood up and made her way to the bar again, no doubt for another round of drinks. I watched her go, her perfectly shaped ass swaying from side to side. I tore my gaze off her, before I started to get excited. When she returned with the drinks, she also has a tray with 10 shots brought over by a waiter. I winced at the sight of the small, incredibly potent, glasses of alcohol.
She had the waiter place the tray on the table and began to separate the shots,
“This is called a line up,” she was organising the glasses into two rows of 5, “you down the 5 of these as quickly as you can. First to finish gets to dare the other.” I laughed at the childishness of it, but agreed.
She took the first shot from her line, and I took mine. They were a sickly green colour.
“Cheers.” We said in unison, clinking our glasses together. I opened my throat and tipped the alcohol down in, the sour apple taste flooding my mouth, burning my throat. I winced, then noticed that Sarah was already on her second shot. I lifted the second shot and poured sour cherry. Third, a minty concoction. I was catching up with Sarah, who was just reaching for her 4th. I grabbed my fourth as she swallowed hers. I was treated to a fiery burn as tequila slid down my throat. We both grabbed our 5th, a deathly black liquid. Sarah ran her foot up my thigh, and landed it on my crotch, distracting me enough to allow her to finish. I shot her a dirty look and downed the disgusting absinthe.
“That's just cheating!” She flashed me an evil grin and laughed,
“I didn't say anything in the rules about distracting your opponent!”
“Yea well, still…..” I laughed, completely inebriated.
“Well, tell you what, since I cheated, why don't I let you off the hook with the dare?” I stuck my tongue out at her and stood up, stumbling to the side slightly, trying to catch my balance, much to Sarah's amusement. My face flushed a bit and I went to the toilet.
Standing in front of the toilet, I watched as the wall span in front of me, thinking how funny it was that the wall was having as much trouble staying still as I was. I quickly washed my hands, splashing water onto my polo shirt by accident, and slowly walked back to find another guy sitting next to Sarah, obviously a bit to close for her comfort. I walked over to him and tapped him on the shoulder,
“S'cuse me,” I said in my broadest Scottish accent, people tend to be wary of Scots for some reason, no idea why though, “but your sittin' next tae ma girl!”
“Your girl?” He replied, “Well I don't see your name on her.” I got angry at this and curled my fist, throwing it into his face, catching him in the jaw. His seat toppled backwards and crashed to the floor, causing the rest of the customers to turn around and look. I turned to Sarah and smiled,
“Better?” She laughed, still with a shocked look on her face.
“Much,” she said, “let's get out of here.” I noticed that a bartender was coming over, no doubt intent on throwing us out anyway. I helped her out of her seat and guided her towards the door.
Suddenly someone grabbed me from behind and shoved me forward into the doorframe, my nose and face crashing into the solid wood beams. I tasted blood, and turned to face my assailant. It was the man who had been chatting to Sarah, obviously not still recovering. He grabbed me by the collar and forced me back into the doorframe again. Pain flashed up my back, even through the alcohol. I brought my knee up into his stomach, knocking the air out of him. He doubled over and released me. I took advantage, bringing my elbow crashing into the back of his neck. He crashed onto the floor, unconscious. I wiped my lips and nose clean of blood and limped outside.
Outside the bar, it was dark; closer to 9pm. Sarah looked at my face, assessing the damage, her soft hands tilting my face around.
“Nothing to bad. Still as handsome as ever.” I laughed as she tapped my nose cheekily. I rubbed my back where it had collided with the doorframe.
“Aaww, does it hurt. My knight in shining armour? You saved me from the evil pervert.” I laughed again.
“Maybe it just needs some attention from my beautiful princess?” I replied. She giggled and took my arm.
“Let's go back to my room and maybe I can rub it better for you?” She winked at me.
Back at Sarah's hotel room, I sat on the sofa, nursing another drink in my hands. Sarah came in from the bathroom with a wet towel, which she dabbed onto my face, wiping up the worst of the blood.
“Let's get you out of this bloody polo.” I took off my blood-stained polo shirt and revealed my torso to her. She wolf-whistled at me and I guffawed. I turned around and asked her to look at my back.
“It's a bit red, and there are a few cuts and bruises, but it should be fine.” She placed her hands on my back, rubbing it gently. I felt my breath catch in my lungs at her soft touch on my naked torso. She let her hands linger on my back, and I slowly turned to her, holding her hands to my chest. I stared into her soft eyes and pulled her into me, locking her lips to mine.
I held my lips there for a second and then came to my senses.
“Oh Jesus, I'm so sorry. I…I…”
“Shut up, and kiss me again.” She said. I grinned and leaned in again, wrapping my arms around her, feeling the smooth skin of her back. I opened my mouth a bit and welcomed her tongue into my mouth. Our lips rubbed against each other as our tongues danced together. My hands ran across her back and her arms draped across my shoulders and neck, her fingers playing with my hair. She was intoxicating; her sweet scent filled my nostrils, her soft lips pressed into mine.