There are some people you meet in life that are in the chorus of your story and they remain there indefinitely. Such was the case with Mikki Luckinbill for a time. I didn’t like her because she was irritating and was clearly shtuping her way to the middle, but didn’t dislike her either because that would involve caring.
Mikki was the quintessential divorcee who’s therapist suggested she try comedy. It was because Dr. Finkelstein, her Park Avenue shrink, was tired not only hearing about her successful Columbia psych professor ex who was bopping a TA, but about the crabs she got afterwards. According to her “act,” after the affair Mikki moved out of their Riverside Drive apartment and back into the home of her parents: a doctor father who emigrated from India and a debutante mother who went to Radcliffe when it existed and was “rather disappointed” when Mikki was rejected by all the schools she applied to and could only get into her safety, Skidmore.
Whenever she graced the stage, Mikki’s act was a monotonous monologue that couldn’t even pass as tragedy, because alas, tragedy is interesting. Listening to her after one minute made you consider slitting your wrists, and after five minutes you wanted to draw up a warm bath and then throw in the toaster.
Sucking onstage is one thing, but sucking off stage is another, and Mikki was the master at both. A student of Jed Kemp, a one time rising star who coked his comedy career away, he assured Mikki she would be the next great female comedy superstar next to Chelsea Handler. It wasn’t because Mikki had talent, it was because she was sleeping with him and would tell anyone who listened.
As his star student and paramour, Mikki was all over Jed’s website, giving testimonial videos clad in low cut dress that her melon breasts hung out of. Acting as his ambassador, she tried to recruit other comedians to be a part of this “school.” Then Mikki would try to get these students to sign their friends up for a discount, thus creating a pyramid scheme that exploited hopefuls. After a while, she said she wanted to dump Jed because he could only get her so far and wanted a bigger fish.
Mikki was hard to stomach, but we also never had a bad encounter. When I could I avoided her because she was annoying. If I saw her on the street we would exchange a quick hi and kept it there, because that’s how you treat a chorus person in your play, right?
However, Mikki was soon to be upgraded to guest star in a dramatic arc lasting several episodes. Enter Isaac Rabinowitz, my on again/off again flame who I had recently decided burned me for the last time. After a series of events the complicated relationship had lost it’s luster and appeal. Finally, to the relief of everyone around me, especially my mother, I ended it with Isaac once and for all.
Isaac did not take it well. After a text where he accused me of being “cold”, we had a long two hour phone conversation where I was forced to hear about Isaac’s feelings, and I kept telling him to eat shit and go to hell because I was sick of his mind games. Isaac said he wanted to be a part of my life as my friend because he liked me as a person, and I believed him because I felt some of the same.
Despite our differences, when it came to my comedy and my puppets Isaac was always in my corner. As a comedian, every joke writing instinct he had was completely and utterly wrong, but he had a sixth sense as to what bookers would like my act, how to approach them, and ideas on how to guide my career. In return, I was always gung ho to guest host his shitty open mic if he couldn’t make it. All and all, it was an awesome development, or so I felt.
Don’t get me wrong, Isaac could be a pick but at least he was an honorable one. Extending the olive branch, he invited me to do the guest spot at his open mic which meant I didn’t have to pay $5 to perform. Arriving at the club on that sweltering August day, it was a record breaking high. Not only was the place jammed with sweaty hopefuls, but the air conditioner was broken and the fans were going at full blast. To add to the ambiance, the place, which usually smelled like rotten urine, had an extra pungent odor.
I was icky and grungy, because in addition to the smelly scene the subway had broken and I was forced to trek thirty blocks with May Wilson in tow. My makeup was messed up and my clothes were stuck to my body. If that’s not a way to greet your most recent ex I don’t know what is. That’s when in walks Mikki Luckinbill with her jet black hair styled just so and wearing a low cut white dress, generous bosom bouncing with each step looking better than ever.
As his eyes caught site of her, Isaac ran over and was stuck to her for the rest of the night like Gorilla Glue, leaving his usual hosting corner so he could sit next to her. Smitten with his new squeeze, Isaac auspiciously placed his hand on her leg. I wanted to vomit. Why did it have to be her? On the other hand, it was making me realize I had done the right thing by ending it. I knew better than anyone how Isaac could be. Now he was Mikki’s problem.
Sunday Isaac texted me to have brunch as friends. My instincts told me not to go because the breakup was not only still fresh but I had just started seeing a new guy, Sean, two days before. Isaac and I were just friends, and if I wanted this friendship to work I had to give it a try, right?
I met Isaac at a diner in Murray Hill around the corner from his apartment that his millionaire father financed. As we ate, we talked comedy and our favorite mutual subject, The Marx Brothers. Bruch turned out to be more fun than I thought it was going to be. I said, “I forgot how much fun you were to hang out with.”
Isaac said, “Me too. I am glad we are friends, April. It’s weird because we used to date.” My instincts had been right after all, “Come on, April, you can’t just pretend we didn’t used to date.”
“I am doing it right now. It’s not that hard, Isaac,” I said.
“How can you say that? I still care about you.” Isaac said.
“Just stop with the games,” I said, angry at myself for not seeing this was the usual Isaac trap of him reeling me back in, me taking the bait, him hurting me and then the cycle repeating.
“Just so you know, I don’t want to get back with you anyway. I am seeing Mikki Luckinbill. We were talking about you. We both agreed you are self-absorbed, immature and are completely ruthless when it comes to your ambition.”
Now I officially had enough, “I think Mikki is a better match for you. She’s not funny and neither are you. And as for immature, I am looking right at him. So I am going to be the adult and end this once and for all. Have a nice life, Isaac because you are sure as hell dead to me.” I got up, threw my napkin down, and walked out onto the busy New York City Streets free of Isaac and his bullshit.
Two weeks later, Sean and I became engaged because why settle for a love triangle when you can have good old fashioned soul crushing codependency? Upon hearing about my engagement, Isaac became more determined than ever to win me back. He began texting furiously, telling me he was only with Mikki because he couldn’t have me, and if I said he the word he would dump her for real and we could be together. I ignored him and even went so far as to block his number.
To no ones shock except my own, Sean turned out to be a terrible fiancé. Even on it’s best day, the relationship was text book dysfunctional. Controlling and jealous, Sean made me choose between him and my puppets, and I chose him feeling it was time I forget my dreams and become a good wife. When Isaac heard about this development through mutual friends, he confronted Sean and the two nearly got into a fistfight.
Isaac blamed himself for this development in my life. He told anyone that would listen that had he been a better man to me I would never be engaged to Sean. Of course as usual, Isaac was making everything about himself. My bad decisions were my own and my own alone goshdarnit. Meanwhile, Isaac was still seeing Mikki who was growing to steadily resent me.
Back at the ranch, Mikki was not only becoming increasingly jealous of me, but tired of Isaac and his wandering eye. Sloppy as usual, Isaac left his laptop open. This led Mikki to discover that in addition to trying to win me back, Isaac was also seeing two other women: one was Emily, a childhood sweetheart, and the other was my former friend Sharon, who he would later go on to marry, and referred to her in their exchanges as his “girlfriend.” To compound the drama, Mikki had introduced Isaac to her family at Thanksgiving the week before. If this is making you dizzy reading this, try living it.
Mikki’s frustration came to head when she was onstage one night at a show Isaac had produced. Unable to contain her age any longer, Mikki exploded at Isaac confronting him about me, Emily, and Sharon. In front of a free comedy show audience, Isaac denied the accusations. This infuriated Mikki further as she laid into him about his epically small penis size. When her verbal assault was finished, she hopped off the stage, slapped him across the face, burst into tears and ran into the night. While I was not there to see it, witnesses claim this was the funniest thing either had ever done.
I eventually dumped Sean, picked up my puppets, and recommitted myself to becoming a professional ventriloquist. Fortunately I was able to shake that mistake, and it got me a Daily Mail UK article that went viral before COVID made it cool. Each of the other players in this dramatic story faded into the background.
That is, until years later when I saw Mikki at an audition. At first I was shocked because it had been so long, but I was also glad to see she was still in the game. She still looked the same, except the low cut clothing was replaced by an all black motif that most first year drama students wear to look tortured and emotive as they wax nostalgic about Shakespeare and Chekhov.
Because time plus distance equals comedy, I had developed a sense of humor about those painful early days and regarded them as coming of age follies. When I gave her the big hello, she looked at me as if I was the Baby Ruth that invaded her pool party. She said, “I will have you know that I am doing well. Really well. I have an MFA in Acting.”
Before I could respond back she snarled and stomped off. For the heck of it, I went to her facebook page to see what she had been to later that day. In a five paragraph rant, she talked about seeing “the ghost from her past who was the succubus who seduced her boyfriend once upon a moon.” Then she called me “fame hungry” and said I was used, “as a regular Method substitution for an evil person.”
In honor of the completion of Mikki’s MFA in Acting I will quote he late, great William Shakespeare, “Life is a tale told by an idiot. The sound and the fury signifying nothing.” With that, I logged off the computer and relegated her back into the chorus of my story.