This is a Kung Fu, the Legend Continues story based on the "Flying Fists of Fury II" episode in which the star, Wolf Gannett, is a dead ringer for Peter. All movies have premiers, even bad ones.
Limo Ride Meditations
Wolf Gannett was concentrating on rapidly dropping Tetris blocks. Sure, there were newer games, even more sophisticated hand-held gaming systems but to Wolf nothing could ever beat the Game Boy and its contribution to gaming history, Tetris. Easy to learn, it demanded total devotion to the task at hand so other things wouldn't clutter the mind. Unexpectedly, the screen filled up and Wolf made an exasperated noise. Back to reality. One of the few shortcomings of Tetris was the speed at which you could play a game. The distraction didn't last long. But its simple rules, its clear objective was, well almost Zen.
Wolf glanced at the other passenger sharing his limo. Detective Peter Caine, a recent acquaintance and dead ringer for Wolf himself. That was how they had met. Wolf's movie, Flying Fists of Fury II, had been besieged by problems and accidents. So many in fact, the movie company had become suspicious and called in the police. By a strange coincidence, Peter Caine had looked enough like Wolf to be his stand-in so it had provided a perfect cover. The bad guys had been caught, the movie had been finished, and now here they both were riding to the premiere.
Zen, yeah, the kid should know Zen. His father was a Shaolin Priest and part Chinese. Heck, the kid was part Chinese but didn't look it. Well, of course he didn't, he looked like Wolf. Not that it would matter of course, Wolf had based his career on martial arts after all. Although he had to admit he liked the fighting stuff and didn't care squat about the philosophy. It looked good, it was sexy fighting, perfect for the movies and picking up chicks. But Wolf wasn't fooled, he knew this kid and his father could fight rings around him. They were into the deep stuff, kind of like that guy he used to watch on TV as a kid.
He found himself fascinated by Peter. The two of them had talked a little about their pasts one evening after a few beers. Wolf had thought he was the one with the colorful upbringing but this kid had him beat hands down. Separated from his father, raised in an orphanage, then by a police captain, reunited with his father again - sheesh. All Wolf had was the stereotypical rough childhood with a father who drank too much and a mother who could care less. And the best part of all, the one fact that made the biggest impression upon Wolf was that Peter had grown up in a monastery. A Shaolin monastery - in America - in the 20th century! It was bizarre. It was, well, it could be - a movie.
"Does it?" Peter was asking.
Wolf blinked. "Does it what?"
Peter grinned. "Make you nervous - the premier. I don't think you've heard a word I've said."
"Thinking." Wolf grunted. One word sentences were his trademark. Caine, on the other hand, seemed more inclined to use his entire vocabulary, which was rather large, any chance he could get. Somehow the idea of this kid in a monastery where nobody seemed to say much of anything was unreal. He was dying to ask about it but somehow he felt there were some painful memories in that direction.
"So does it make you nervous?"
Wolf gave up on the Game Boy. "No, not really." That wasn't entirely true, of course, but there was no sense admitting to it.
"I'm nervous and it's not even my movie."
"Well, you had a lot to do with it, Kid, so you have a right. But I can tell you right now, it's a waste of energy. Once it leaves the cutting room, there's no going back." Why did he keep calling Peter Kid when they couldn't have been more than a couple years apart? Hell, for all he knew he could be younger than Peter but there was something indefinable, something young about this detective. Wolf felt older, even though Peter had certainly been through enough to add a couple of years. But then Peter had his father. Wolf couldn't deny he had a rather strange feeling when Peter was around Kwai Chang Caine. He didn't want to call it jealousy, but it sort of felt like it. How many times had he wished his father was around, that he had come home and seen love in his father's eyes instead of annoyance? Martial arts had been his release then. He would be the toughest bad dude around, bar none. He didn't need his father, he could have any woman he wanted. Only he somehow wondered if things would have been different if Kwai Chang Caine had been his teacher instead of the rough and tumble instructor whose whole philosophy could be summed up in the words 'kick butt.' No one had ever tried to discuss deeper ideas with Wolf and he didn't miss it. At least he didn't think so. And he certainly didn't want to be a priest. Although he had decided Caine was anything but uncool. There was a massive sense of control inside the man that had been missing from any individual Wolf had ever encountered in his rambunctious early life and in the overstimulated society of Hollywood. The words 'inner peace' sounded so corny, Wolf didn't even want to use them in his thoughts but it was the only description that seemed to fit Caine. And it was that which Wolf found himself craving, just a little, in his own life. Wolf didn't have inner anything. He strove not to think. Things were good - he had plenty of money, he could have women whenever he wanted them, he had people hanging around him who were just there to make him feel good. It was only sometimes in the dead of night that his mind wandered into corners Wolf thought it had no business going. What would he do when he was too old to be Wolf? He had never kidded himself on the size of his acting range. He spent his money as fast as he could make it and his women were like him, good bodies out to live hard and die young. Only as he got older the concept seemed less and less attractive.
He glanced over at Peter again. In the final analysis, the only thing they shared was looks and martial arts. Peter was in a career you could stay in until you wanted to retire. He'd probably get married someday, have a bunch of kids, remodel the basement into a family room. Well, maybe. There was something a little unsettled about Peter too. He had a feeling maybe he wasn't destined for the 'house in the suburbs, 2.5 kinds scene' but he still thought his life would be more stable, maybe even more interesting. Now that was depressing. By all rights, Peter should be the one wishing he were Wolf and not Wolf wishing...
Wolf grabbed for the champagne, not believing that he had even entertained such a thought. Everyone wanted to be him - well, maybe unless they were already Alec Baldwin or something. "You want a drink?" he croaked.
"Sure. I guess you always celebrate before a premier."
Wolf didn't bother to correct him. He celebrated like this a lot. Why hold back when years down the road, he'd have some nosy doctor telling him what he couldn't do? He might as well enjoy it while he was young enough for it not to kill him. He had downed his drink before Peter had even raised his to his lips.
Peter raised an eyebrow. "Did you taste that at all?"
"Taste, hell. I can drink champagne for breakfast if I want to." Immediately Wolf realized it was a stupid thing to say. He didn't have to justify himself and Peter wasn't giving him a hard time. He was basically arguing with himself.
"Sorry, Kid - Peter. Maybe I am nervous. I don't guess you ever get used to seeing yourself in close-ups 20 feet tall."
"Haven't thought of it that way." There was a silence. "What are you going to do next?"
"Don't know for sure." Wolf looked out at the city going past the window. "Just what gets offered and for how much. You know, in this business you have to take it a day at a time." What he didn't say was that there was always an awful feeling in the pit of his stomach, even when ideas were being bandied around, that didn't go away until he actually signed a contract for a new movie. He didn't want to wake up one morning and suddenly realize the offers had quit coming in. "Your dad going to be at the premier?"
"I think so. If you can picture Pop in a movie theater."
Wolf shrugged. What he could picture was himself sitting with Caine and Peter. It was both a tempting and frightening thought. Tempting because well, there was something relaxing and peaceful about being close to Caine. Frightening because - Wolf couldn't figure that one out. Caine seemed to be able to look inside of him, to see his insecurities and fears. And the darnest thing was he made Wolf want to see those fears, to bring them out and look them over. It was as if the priest knew there were unresolved things inside, and wouldn't flinch if Wolf threw them out for once. He could see himself confessing that he had cut his father off, refused to give him money even when he asked for it because the bastard had been so hateful to him when growing up. That his mother had split when he was 19 and he had never even tried to find her. If she knew her son was Wolf Gannett she hadn't contacted him. And he told himself he didn't care. Good grief, even just thinking of Caine was making him dredge up subconscious junk he hadn't allowed to surface in years. Maybe hanging out with Petey and his father wasn't such a hot idea. No, why ruin a good thing? He just wouldn't attend the premier - he didn't enjoy them anyway.
He realized the car had stopped. Crunch time. When Peter asked him if he was going in he almost said yes, then told him he never went to his own premiers. A half truth. He had offered Peter a job which he had not accepted, of course. Peter had roots apparently - close friends and a father who loved him. Wolf had - well, Wolf.
He watched Peter walk into the theater in the rear view mirror. He almost did the unWolf-like thing of changing his mind and getting out of the car but his common sense kicked in. The chauffeur was watching him.
Once again underway, he tried to play a game of Tetris but ended up throwing the unit on the seat. He had a headache. Maybe he'd forget all this mess when he got away from it. When he was back in Hollywood with predators like himself. Or maybe he would find himself some lonely night surprising the kid with a phone call and flying out for a visit. He would see what happened. If he could get back in his old groove, fine. If he couldn't get these guys out of his head, well, he'd see. It all came down to karma.