Paging Robin Mattson
Paging Robin Mattson
Last week I got the following phone message from my literary agent, Renée:
“I was just contacted,” she said, “by Anastasia Potemkin [not her real name] from Russian's MTV. They want to do a show about you.”
My God! MTV? Me? Really? Could it be that in Russia, I am a rock star?
Actually, no. I’d heard wrong; it wasn’t MTV, but NTV. Still, as Renée reminded me, my books have been translated into Russian and Serbian. So I e-mailed Anastasia saying, delighted to be on your show, blah, blah, please call to discuss.
Anastasia called instantly, from Moscow. “Miss Kozak, we are so excited!”
They love me! They really love me! My books will become huge in eastern Europe! I will earn out my advance! My children will go to Ivy League colleges!
“In fact,” Anastasia continues, “we are wondering, are you close with Robin Mattson?”
Robin Mattson? To quote Obi-Wan Kenobi, “Now there's a name I've not heard in a long, long time.”
“Yes, Robin and I were friends,” I said. “We worked together. On a soap called Santa Barbara.”
“We know. Gina Capwell and Mary, the nun. We wonder, do you have Robin Mattson’s phone number?”
“Because,” Anastasia says, “it will be amusing if you are to have a reunion with Robin and we will film this. In New York.”
The fog clears. This isn’t about my Big Literary Career. It’s about my Big 80’s Hair. These Russians are old soap fans.
See, in America we view soaps as the video equivalent of STAR magazine, marginally more acceptable than a pornography habit. But in Europe, our soaps are repackaged, maybe years after they’re shot, sometimes aired once a week, at night, and sometimes big hits. This explains my fan letters from people with names like Malgorzata and Gerwazy, 22 years after Mary the Nun was crushed to death by the giant neon letter “C.”
And it’s not just soaps. I once did a primetime series that 43 people in America watched, that ended up the Number One show in Norway. Months after it was cancelled, I got a free trip to Oslo (in January; it was cold) with my sister, compliments of Norwegian TV Guide.
Anyhow, I told Anastasia that yes, Robin Mattson and I had once been close. We weren’t just friends, we shared an on-camera lover on Santa Barbara (my employer/her stepson) and an off-camera guy (her lover/my lawyer). We met for lunch several times after I died, but, as happens in life, we lost track of each other. I suggested that Anastasia contact Screen Actors Guild, but Anastasia already had. No luck.
I asked around. So did Renée, who discovered that Robin had once had an agent named Henry Something. I e-mailed Henry. And waited.
Meanwhile, Moscow kept calling. Could I fly to New York on Thursday? Or Friday? The sooner the better, Anastasia explained, “Because we have had already the others from Santa Barbara. Only Robin and you are left.”
Great. I am the bottom of the soap barrel.
“But of course,” she said, “we must find Robin.”
Of course. No word from Henry, though, and Renée began to feel that my gumshoe abilities were better spent on my fiction (“can’t the KGB find Robin?”) whereas I, although I love New York, didn’t want to miss my 8-year old’s recitation of Turkey Poetry at the Lower School Thanksgiving Assembly. Friday came and went. No Robin. No NTV.
Robin? Robin? The Russians are coming. Are you out there?
Please call. Our fans await us.
p.s. I am forlorn because “True Blood” is over for this season.