I thought about all the money I spend on my animals, and in a dangerous moment of optimism, I thought, "Why CAN'T one of mine be a star?" I thought about my menagerie, the personalities involved, and I made the call.
"How you guys feel about rabbits?"
"Sure. Come on in."
I imagined I'd bring in a rabbit, they'd put the info. in their file, and when someone needed a rabbit, they'd call, and I'd collect a check.
So last Sunday I packed Leroy into his carrier and headed for River North to the model talent agency. We had the first appointment. We entered a waiting room full of chairs, and I proceeded to fill out a one-page form. Name, species, breed. I was asked to check the kind of work the pet would do. I chose print, video, movies. I contemplated "stunt," but thought better of it.
They asked whether my pet had any special training or skills. Unable to think of anything (Is afraid of my slippers?), I felt disloyal, so I settled for "Types 40 WPM with 0% accuracy."
I was greeted by a poor man's Tony Soprano, and Leroy and I were ushered into his office. He'd had some rabbit clients, he said, but they'd passed away. He encouraged me to take Leroy out and let him roam while we talked. I did, keeping an eye on the electrical cords. Leroy hopped to a potted plant in the corner and watched us. I looked at the photos of perky young women in bikinis and deliberately charming children on the wall behind Tony.
He explained what they do, how they send pictures to clients, rabbits tend to be used for print, etc. etc. So the next part was to take Leroy's head shots, and the photographer's fee was $80.
My stomach dropped. How could I have not considered this? Of COURSE Leroy needed professional shots - that's how he'd be marketed. What I wanted to say was, "I'm unemployed! If I'm going to spend money, it will be on a badly needed leg wax, not freaking rabbit photos! I was doing this for a lark!"
Instead I said, "Sure, fine."
So Leroy and I found ourselves with photographer Cam (I swear this was his name) in the photo room. Leroy was placed on a table covered with blue fabric in front of a wall painted blue, with photography lighting and equipment ready to go. Leroy sat still, clearly uncertain of it all, but he's a good boy, and Cam got some good shots. At one point Cam picked Leroy up and snuggled him -- Leroy has this effect on people, and he allows snuggling. I was glad I'd left Amie at home; by that point she'd have rocketed off Cam's shoulder and been on the elevator heading for the street, my car keys in her mouth.
So I paid and next week I go back to review the photos with Tony Soprano. The good news is that I'll get a disc of them, so I will get something.
On the way home, I couldn't help but feel that Leroy was staring at me reproachfully.
"Hey, I spared you the stunt work," I said.