And I can’t give the reason why I should ever want to die

Rebecca, the director, flipped through a script. Katie asked me, “How old am I? Guess.”

“No way I’m gonna guess,” I said. “Any answer I give is wrong. This is a dangerous game.”

“Come on, guess,” she said again.

“Um? Twenty three?” I asked, and Katie laughed. I said, “No? Twenty seven?”

“I just turned twenty-one,” she said.

At this instant I stopped time and said: “Damn. I guess I have Hollywood to thank for what we’re about to do. I’m old enough to be your father, genetically speaking. All thirty-six year old guys fantasize about making out with twenty-one year old girls, so technically I should be horny as a three-horned ram, but there’s at least a continent and one or two oceans between the fantasy and the deed. When it’s on television, it’s culturally acceptable, but this is not pre-recorded; here we are. It’s just that you’re barely a woman yet, and so I feel like the oldest creepiest most uncomfortable guy in the world right now.”

“Did you say something?” asked Katie.

“No,” I said.

“How old are you?” Katie asked me.

“I will die before I speak the truth,” I said.

“So are you two ready to block the kissing scene?” said Rebecca, one finger in the script.

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