No Wolves in Los Angeles

By (author)M S Lawson

When top Hollywood star Clarise Chalmers met a writer of trashy military SF William Moreland in a bar, she knew he was not her type at all – that type being a rich, successful film star type, or maybe a handsome billionaire.


No Wolves In Los Angeles

When top Hollywood star Clarise Chalmers met a writer of trashy military SF William Moreland in a bar, she knew he was not her type at all – that type being a rich, successful film star type, or maybe a handsome billionaire. But he made a lot of sense in suggesting new approaches to problems she faced, so she hired him as an advisor on a per-day basis while warning him that he was not to get any romantic ideas. Anyway, she already had a boyfriend, another top star. Fresh from a disastrous relationship with an aspiring actress, Will took Clarise at her word. But she should have warned herself.


When Meghan Kowalski’s father read Little Red Riding Hood to his daughter, he was amused by the illustration of the big bad wolf in the bedtime storybook the family used. This showed a suave, smiling wolf dressed in a suit hailing Little Red Riding Hood on the way to her grandmother’s place.

“You might meet lots of wolves when you are older,” said Kowalska senior, as he thought that his Meghan might have inherited much from his mother who had been a beauty queen in her day.

“You mean there are wolves around here?” exclaimed little Meghan.

“No, no wolves now,” said her father. “I meant that you might meet them later, when you are older.”

“There are wolves, then,” said Meghan, looking at the bedroom window in alarm, thinking that there might be wolves right outside.

“No, no, no wolves around here,” said Mr Kowalski, sorry he had made this adult comment. “There are no wolves in Los Angeles.” That was where the family happened to live. “None at all.”

This calmed little Meghan enough to listen to the rest of the story – a sanitised version with the grandmother locked in the closet rather than eaten – although she still found the wolf scary. As she grew up, however, she lost her fear of wolves in dark forests, especially as there were no forests near her up-scale LA suburb. Instead, she became absorbed in school and her friends including Connie Leighton, who also showed promise of being able to catch men’s eyes when she got older.

There were sleepovers and shared confidences which developed into confessions of secret crushes and talk about fending off unwanted attention from boys. Then Meghan took drama and was told that she could act. She also took singing lessons and thought she could sing. Connie took singing lessons and was told that she could sing. She also took drama classes and thought she could act. The two girls competed for the lead role of Blanche DuBois in the school’s production of Tennessee William’s classic A Streetcar Named Desire. Meghan won and turned the play into a triumph, much to Connie’s dismay. They competed in a local singing contest which Connie won hands down, wowing the crowd, with Meghan coming a distant fourth, mainly on her looks, much to her dismay.

Now each other’s nemesis the two girls competed for Prom Queen which, to Meghan’s fury, Connie won handily on a school-wide popular vote despite Meghan campaigning hard and having developed into a stunning blonde who was already getting regular modelling work. She had been discovered by a modeling agent at sixteen while at a street fair with her mother. The now not little Megan took the defeat so personally that she even told the principal that the election must have been fixed. This accusation enraged the Leighton family and embarrassed her father, who had to work hard to smooth over wounded feelings. He wondered what had happened to the girl who had to be reassured over wolves.

Both girls easily got into the American Academy of Dramatic Arts joining Connie’s older brother Ty, also a singer. Meghan dated Ty for a time, infuriating Connie who was still sore about the vote rigging allegation, then dumped him, which infuriated her even more. She accused Megan of deliberately breaking her brother’s heart. Meghan moved on to a good looking senior with acting talent she met during a staging of Macbeth, only for the boy to drop her in favour of dating Connie, whom he met during the musical theatre programme. Meghan accused Connie of deliberately stealing her boyfriend. Meanwhile, just as Mr Kowalski had warned many years before, both girls discovered that there were plenty of male wolves.

Soon after, Connie dropped out of college and all contact with Meghan in favour of fronting a band performing mainly covers in high schools, hotels, and bars, anywhere there was an audience and a dance floor. That band eventually dissolved but Connie and the drummer found two guitarists with some original material. She had an affair and a hit single with one of the guitarists before the affair, fame and drugs tore the group apart, but not before an agent scouted her for a band to showcase material from a rising songwriter. For Connie could sing, and that counted for something in the music business. The first hit was helped by a video so salacious it had to be re-edited to meet the requirements of the censors and prompted a concerned call from Connie’s mother.

“It’s the music business Ma,” said Connie.

The video helped push that first single up the charts which was followed by another, solid hit by the rising star who found she had a knack for spotting potential chart toppers. Suddenly Connie Leighton was in the big time.

Meanwhile, the bank that Mr Kowalski had worked for as a senior executive hit major trouble and the stress of picking up the pieces, plus a lung infection, brought on a latent heart condition. His wife and two daughters, Meghan and the somewhat younger Madison, then discovered that Mr Kowalski had put the family’s fortune, plus money borrowed against the family home, into the collapsed bank. On top of this, a long-standing family friend and financial advisor also caught in the bank disaster responded to the crisis by stealing his client’s money, including Meghan’s accumulated modelling fees, and vanishing. Meghan’s father should have also warned his daughter, and himself, about wolves in the financial world.

The Kowalskis were abruptly reduced to a miserable two-bedroom apartment and to having to borrow from family to pay for a modest funeral. Meghan’s degree was abandoned in favour of full-time modeling work, and her mother was forced to take a sales assistant job in an antique furniture store. A keen golfer, Mrs Kowalski also had to give up her expensive golf club membership, declining a well-meant but humiliating offer from friends to pay her dues until she was on her feet.

Fortunately, Meghan was a modeling natural knowing instinctively how to work with the camera. She put off moving to the fashion industry capital of New York to see her mother and sister through the tough time, but remaining in the movie heartland proved an advantage in that she was handed a one-off role in a sitcom, for which she reluctantly took the name Clarise Chalmers.

“It’s branding,” said the agent she had at the time. “No one pays to see shows with a Meghan Kowalski in it, but they will pay to see a Clarise Chalmers.”

As acting and screen presence still counted for a lot in Hollywood, not to mention Meghan-turned-Clarise’s considerable beauty, the one-off appearance turned into a recurring role with one episode featuring a shower scene so salacious that her mother expressed concern.

“It’s Hollywood, mother,” said Clarise-Meghan.



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