I got my Mel call this morning.
It was surprisingly early – only 6 AM in Hollywood, 9 by me. Of course, I just assume West Coast - Mel could have been calling from anywhere. It was a 666 area code, a cell phone I guess. But the signal was five by five.
"Hello, is this Jonathan?"
See, right there I knew it wasn't somebody I knew. My friends call me Jon, my family, Jonny. But something in the caller's voice told me it wasn't a sales pitch or collection agency. (They usually ask for "Mister Sobble.") Also, the guy sounded strangely familiar.
"Speaking," I said redundantly.
"This is Mel Gibson. We've never actually met, but - maybe you've seen some of my movies?"
Actually, we had met. Mel had stolen my girlfriend during a locally famous dust-up at the Wyoming State Fair back in the 80s. But I couldn't really expect a big star like him to remember – it was probably nothing to him. Anyway, water under the bridge and all that.
"Sure," I said. "You're that crazy guy from Lethal Weapon."
"Right, right, good on ya. Anyway, I got a lot of calls to make so I'll get straight to the point." He took a deep, sexiest-man-alive kind of breath. "I'm calling every Jew in the world to personally apologize for my recent conduct. It's not a plea bargain or community service or anything like that – I just feel it's the right thing to do."
"Thanks, Mel," I said, tearing up. He might be a crazed anti-Semitic non-Holocaust-denier-denier, but I've always said he's a great actor.
"I said some things," he went on, "well - you've said some things, we've all said some things" – here he barked one of those cute little half-Aussie, half-nuts giggles – "but I really stuck my foot in it this time and I wanted to personally apologize to you. Ah, Jonathan."
"I appreciate the gesture, Melvin," I said, "but you know, in my experience, what people say when they're drunk and angry is a reflection of what's in their deepest soul. They don't blurt out things they don't mean. It's exactly the opposite. They say things they really think but normally would put a lid on."
There was a long pause. I could hear Mel breathing. I was imagining him with face paint, on a horse. What a guy. What a stand-up, sit-down guy.