Kim Basinger was wearing a white satin bathrobe and nothing else. She was barefoot, having emerged from the wall-to-wall pink tumbled marble tiled shower that was the size of a small Manhattan condominium. The shower had a window that overlooked lower Beverly Hills and Century City beyond. The two triangular buildings of Century City comprising the ABC Entertainment Center were twinkling in the dark blue light of an unusually clear Los Angeles evening. Basinger was patting down her wet blond hair in the spacious bathroom with three sinks, his, hers and god knows what the third sink was for. Typical Beverly Hills excess, the real estate broker admitted when Basinger bought the house a few years ago. It wasn't the only excess in the house. The gymnasium, the recording studio (which Basinger didn’t use), the screening room (which Basinger used to watch the Today Show), the lap pool, the exterior pool, the tennis court, the tree house, and the hidden bars in each of the six bedrooms; even Ireland's bedroom had a hidden bar. Ireland was Basinger's ten-year old daughter she had with Alec Baldwin, a name she preferred not to think of. Of course, Ireland's hidden bar was stocked with soy packs and bottled water as well as a stack of Tofutti Cuties, not alcohol. That is not to say that the other bars did not have alcohol. Wine, actually, was Basinger’s preferred drink, and bottles of the stuff were in all the hidden bars. Pinot Grigio is what Basinger really liked. But she had to watch it. It tended to go to her head in a way that you don’t want to know.
Basinger was home alone tonight because Baldwin was visiting with Ireland, an arrangement she had been fighting in court because she was convinced that Baldwin was trying to turn Ireland against her. Indeed, she was even successful at getting the court to order Alec Baldwin to see a court-appointed psychiatrist to determine with Baldwin in fact had such a proclivity. Baldwin remained a resident of New York, thank god, and so his visits were limited somewhat by distance. But Baldwin was almost weekly on a commercial flight back and forth, if not to see Ireland then to appear in court. Of course, the occasional movie had him in Los Angeles as well.
Frankly, it annoyed the shit out of Basinger that Baldwin was working more than she was. She had the Oscar, not Baldwin. And yet for some reason Baldwin had a pile of movie offers. Baldwin had made a career decision to work as an actor rather than be a movie star and the business strategy was paying off. Basinger refused to manage herself as anything less than a movie star, and her strategy had left her with little to show for it. Her money demands were significantly more than Baldwin's, and notwithstanding her Oscar and the obvious fact that she had kept in marvelous physical condition without plastic surgery, the offers were just not coming in. Out of shape Baldwin was getting offers. Gorgeous Basinger was not. Sexism, Basinger thought. Male actors can age and continue to get work. Look at Jack Nicholson, for chrissake. The guy smokes and drinks and is fat and totally out of shape, no doubt on heart medication, and he can work any fucking time he wants.
This did not please Basinger, and by now she had worked herself up into a lather of anger as she slipped on her tight blue jeans that, quite frankly, were not so tight because she was thin and taut, an accomplishment that seemed to have gone unnoticed for a fifty-two year old woman. Everyone swoons over Madonna. Big deal. Let them check out Kim Basinger, five years older than Madonna. Screw Madonna. Basinger got into a white tank top and walked out of the bathroom, barefoot, into her large bedroom and out into the long hallway that led to the staircase which curved down to the circular foyer of her Mission-style stone house. When she reached the top of the stairs, she looked down. Her eyes went wide and she froze.
"What the fuck--what the fuck are you doing here? And where's Ireland?" asked Basinger.
"She's at her friend's house. -- I came to talk to you," said Alec Baldwin.
"We have nothing to talk about," said Kim Basinger. Basinger stood there at the top of the stairs, afraid to come down and confront Alec Baldwin in close proximity. She preferred to keep him at a distance. Baldwin always seemed like he was capable of violence, always on the edge, though he never struck her nor threatened to do so. Indeed, when Basinger accused him of being potentially violent, Baldwin would brag that he held onto his violent potentiality because it was good for his acting, but that he would never act out on it because it would diffuse his work. Bullshit acting jibe, is what Basinger thought.
"Look, Kim, I have no interest in talking Ireland into anything but being positive in life, certainly not to turn her against you," said Baldwin. Baldwin was totally pissed off that the court had ordered him to see a psychologist to make a determination whether he was inclined to bad mouth Ireland's mother, but he decided to take the high road and try to appeal to his ex-wife personally and calmly.
"You are trespassing. This is breaking and entry," said Basinger.
"I didn't break anything. All I want to do is make peace, move on, for the better of us all," said Baldwin.
"Bullshit. You are trying to fucking trick me. You are trying to mess with my head. I am not going to let you mess with my head anymore, Alec. No fucking way," said Basinger.
Basinger was starting to lose it. She got this way whenever Ireland was with Alec Baldwin, and now with Alec Baldwin standing in her house, in the privacy of her home, Basinger's brain neurons were misfiring, causing her to lose control of her mouth.
It was ironic, Baldwin thought, that he was the one accused of potential violence when it was Basinger all along who made threats, threw objects in the air, broke dishes, hurled a vase once, and even slammed her car into a stone wall just two feet from where Baldwin was standing. But Baldwin never brought these incidents up in court. He knew that Basinger had had psychiatric problems in the past with her agoraphobia, and so he thought it unfair to use it against her.
"Get the fuck out of my house. Get the fuck out of here before I call the police. The judge is going to hear about this. The judge is going to hear about this. Sneaking into my home to accost me. Fuck, you are sick. You are sick. You should be locked up," said Basinger in one quick clip.
Baldwin was starting to regret the idea of having a normal conversation with Kim.
"Kim. Kim, please listen to me. Ireland suggested that I speak with you. She wants us to get along," said Baldwin.
"See. See. See. You are trying to turn her against me. You admit it. You admit it. You bastard. The judge is going to hear about this. The judge is going to hear about this," spewed Basinger as she started to walk down the long curved staircase holding the banister with both hands to avoid falling. Basinger on the banister, thought Baldwin. She was always on the banister, on the edge, about to explode. It was unharnessed turmoil that Basinger could use if she knew how to channel it into her acting with greater regularity and control. Baldwin always thought that Kim's best work was in the feature film Final Analysis where she played a psycho.
"I will leave if you want me to. I swear. I am not here to fight. I am here to connect," said Baldwin.
"Did you fucking hear me. Did you fucking goddamn here me you sick sack of shit. I want you to leave," said Basinger as she reached the bottom step.
"OK. OK. I'll leave. I'll leave. But really Kim, remember when we used to be able to talk," said Baldwin.
"I didn't get ugly. I left you because I had to. You hear me. Because I had to. And then you fucking take it personally. You take it personally. You got ugly with all sorts of shit. I did not get ugly. I felt bad. I felt bad. But you couldn't understand. You just couldn't have a little fucking compassion about what I was going through," yelled Basinger at a volume that was a bit loud to take.
Baldwin had to use a deep well of will power to either not laugh or not strike Basinger in the face with his fist. Of course, he would never hit her. But quite frankly, if anyone had brought him close to violence, it was Kim Basinger. But, unfortunately, in Baldwin's focus on not lashing out at Kim Basinger, a smile made its way to his face. Baldwin caught it too late.
"You're fucking laughing at me. You're laughing at me. You're laughing at me. You came here to mock me. To make fun of me. You think I am shit, don't you? You always thought you were better than me. Always. Like you had something to teach me. But get this fuckhead, I know more than you. I am wiser than you. I have more than you. I have more than you. And the fucking judge is going to hear about this. Now get the fuck out of here." Kim Basinger was now screaming and spitting saliva and shaking her arms.
"I'm leaving. I'm leaving," said Baldwin. Before he turned, Baldwin glanced at Kim and was reminded about how unbelievably beautiful Kim Basinger was. You would never know she was 52 years old. Kim’s body did not seem to have lost anything with time. If at all, she seemed to grow younger and stronger. A fleeting memory of Basinger’s wildness in bed, her almost animal-like sexual hunger gave Baldwin a tinge of saddness at the whole affair. The lost times, the missed moments. What was left was Ireland, their daughter.
"You are fucking damn straight you are leaving, you shit head," said Basinger, getting the last word in as Baldwin turned and caught a glimpse of Kim Basinger's Oscar statuette in a glass case hanging on the stone wall of the foyer. "I have more than you. I have more than you." Kim's words rang in Baldwin's head as he left the front door and gently closed it behind him, trying not show any anger.