Counterfeit Lottery

  • Publisher: Timberlake Press
  • Series: The Lily Handy Caper, Book 1
  • Release Date: October 1, 2012
  • eBook ISBN: 0982884753
  • Print ISBN: 978-0982884751
  • Genre: Comedy Suspense
  • Available Formats: eBook, Print
Lily Handy has problems...

Lily Handy has problems. Her agent hanged himself in the shower, her television series has been cancelled, and her self-esteem is badly flagging. When she goes to Brandauers department store to redeem a free cosmetic gift, she finds instead that someone has dropped the twenty million dollar Tanzanian diamond into the pocket of her Lauren Bacall trench coat. The thief is trying to retrieve it, Lily’s acting class, especially the mob connected Jonnie Bizotti, and the exotic dancer, Casey Bennett are trying to help, but when Lily gets too close for comfort, bodies start showing up and Lily realizes she better find the thief before she ends up in someone’s pocket.

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“If you want to bet on a sure thing when it comes to great reading entertainment, Counterfeit Lottery is for you. S.A. Stolinsky transports Carl Hiaasen’s ribald South Florida crime world to Los Angeles, only edgier and even more satirically scathing in a way that only Hollywood can produce. Donald Westlake may be gone, but thanks to Stolinsky the comic caper novel is alive and well. A major debut that’s side-splitting, laugh out loud, zany fun.” — Jon Land, bestselling author of the Caitlin Strong series “S.A.’s writing is like her heroine— witty, charming, compelling, and a little bit naughty. She takes the idea of a caper romp to a new level with a quirky look at the characters of Los Angeles and its environs… It would be a crime to miss it.” — C.E. Lawrence, author of the critically acclaimed Lee Campbell thrillers, Silent Screams, Silent Victim, Silent Kills and Silent Slaughter “With LILY HANDY, Stolinsky has written a knockout first novel. Witty, suspenseful, featuring great, entertaining characters, wannabe actress (S.A. knows that territory) Lily finds herself unexpectedly in possession of a priceless, world-famous diamon, and because of it, Lily and her buds are in very deep doo-doo. A truly fun read! — Thomas B. Sawyer, author of No Place To Run



© S.A. Stolinsky 2012, All Rights Reserved

Chapter 1
“No, no, my agent’s dead?” I screamed into the phone. “I just signed with him last night. You’re sure he just doesn’t want me? Lily Handy. He called me Lil.” “I know who you are, ma’am. He’s dead,” Sammy, Mr. McNulty’s trusted caretaker told me, patiently. George, my husband, stared at me across the breakfast table, egg white dripping from his lips. He mopped it up with a paper napkin and continued to stare at me. I listened to the voice at the other end carefully so as not to miss one word that might enlighten me, give me a clue why the first agent who ever signed me, Clovis McNulty, agent to the stars, was suddenly dead, and my shot at being the great all-American actress was fading yet again. “How did he die?” I groaned. “He was ninety-eight years old, ma’am. He just sort of up and died.” “No, no one just up and dies. What is this, the old West? This is the twenty-first century, they have diagnoses. I mean I knew he was wheelchair bound when I met him last night — all those fuzzy brown blankets across his lap. Does this mean that I won’t get lines in the series?” “Well, if you must know, they discovered him in the shower. He had a cord around his neck.” There was a pause. I took in the information. “You can come and pick up your pictures and resume any time, Miss Handy,” Sammy said with finality. He hung up. I looked across the breakfast table at George and told him what Sammy had just said. “How the hell did a man that age climb up on the stool, string the cord around the shower head, put his head into the noose and then jump off the stool?” “Erotic asphyxiation,” George said, looking at me sympathetically. “That is absolutely disgusting. He hung himself in the shower while — doing himself?” George wiped his face and got up. “It’s usually kids that do that. But older people need sex, too. Maybe someone hoisted him up in the shower and he fell off the stool and got a concussion.” George, always the optimist. “Well, I’ve got to go, a big post to do today. Old man Brandauer, the guy that owns all those fancy ladies stores, was brought in last night. Autopsy will take most of the morning. I’ll get the blood work and the slides sent off today.” George was the deputy medical examiner for L.A. County. He kissed me on the nose and put on his blazer. God he was good looking. I sat sipping my orange juice. I couldn’t eat. My mind was still on “float.” I watched him as he slid his stethoscope into his pocket. “I can give you some money,” George said. “No. I want to be able to make my own money. This is humiliating, living off of you, doing nothing except waiting for an agent to me up, promise me lines in a series and then sexing himself to death!” I started wailing. Normally, I can hold that stuff off, but I’d waited five long years to start establishing myself as a working actress. And I was going nowhere fast. “I mean, babe,” I wailed, “Mr. McNulty didn’t look well, he looked, you know, really old, up in years, but he was still high spirited. Sammy wheels him around or at least wheeled him around.” George shook his head in commiseration and picked up the car keys from the ashtray on the washing machine. “Don’t expect me before six tonight.” He left through the garage. I heard the car start up and then he was gone. I bolted off the chair and opened the refrigerator. My bottle of Chablis was half finished. I looked at the clock. Nine in the morning. Oh, well, like my best friend and acting buddy, Jovana Lawrence, always said, it’s howdydoody time somewhere. I poured a flute and took a sip. I trudged back upstairs into the bedroom and called her. “But Jo, now I’ll never get lines. And I don’t have enough credits to get a big agent right away. He took me because Richard Bizotti put in the good word for me and got me that series. Rich is connected.” “He is not.” “Of course he is. I’m telling you. He brags about it all the time in class. Oh hell, let’s not argue about that right now.” I could hear Jo sigh. She always sighed when she thought she had the answer, and the rest of us plebeians were just dopes. “McNulty handled actors in the 1930s. “Nobody knows him now,” she said, her English accent getting thicker with self-righteousness. “He was still an agent. He knew all the producers. And, he was going to try and get me a speaking part, instead of all that ‘ugging’ and sputtering. Oh, I’m sick.” I held the phone away from my ear as my friend screamed back at me. “Clovis McNulty wasn’t composmentis. He probably jerked off with an actress with less credits than you, who wanted him to ‘handle’ her too.” “Yeah, well, I don’t do that to get work, okay? And, and I wasn’t aware anyone had less credits than I do. Listen, I’ve got to get to my fitting. We’re shooting the fourth episode next week and they’re creating three or four new cave woman outfits for me. All dark, brown fur.” I took another drink and burbled something about being in class tonight and hung up. Her commiserations hadn’t helped. Richard had gotten me a real chance in the television series, Cave Man, about a man who had fallen out of a tree in the twenty-first century and fallen into a cave where he’d lived a hundred lifetimes ago. I got the part of his wife. There was no dialogue, but a lot of “ugging” which is called “business” in the industry, which is just as important as dialogue. Three episodes were already in the can, and they would be aired later in the year. I laid back on the bed feeling guilty. I shouldn’t be sleeping in the middle of the morning anyway. I thought about crying, but I really didn’t know poor Mr. McNulty that well. Richard was trying to leave his “family” in Vegas for the bright lights of Hollywood, and had gotten waylaid when a drug cartel used him as a “chemist” to check the purity of their product. He got to know all the big players in Hollywood. Richard had his lab in an abandoned horse barn off the 15 Freeway. He’d just left when the cops came in and threw the top brass of the gang in the slammer. Richard had introduced me to a producer, who introduced me to a casting director, and I landed the series without an agent. That’s when Mr. McNulty picked me up. And shock of shocks, the old agent signed me without even seeing me. Over the phone he’d said he could tell by my voice I had stardom in me. I finally met him for the first time last night. How could he do that to himself? I took a drink in his honor. I looked over at my closet. I didn’t need to dress up for a wardrobe fitting, I was just going to show up and they’d take measurements. The phone rang. I answered. “Jo?” “No, Miss Handy, this is the Cave Man production office. We’re sorry, but we’re not going to need you to come in today.” “Why not, has the shooting schedule been pushed up?” “No, Ho-un. The series has been cancelled.” I stood, my mouth agape, the phone hanging on my shoulder. I thought about fainting. “No, no, that can’t be. Is it because Mr. McNulty died?” “Who, Hon?” “My agent? I mean, I thought we had six more episodes already ordered.” “They did, but the suits upstairs decided to can us. We’ll work together again, I’m sure. Bye.” She hung up. And that did it. I took another drink. I had to make something of my life. Being a great actress, a star, meant I’d be remembered by the kids in high school who never knew I existed. It meant feeling like I was somebody. I could see my face on magazine covers, stories about how I lived, how I created my roles and what my interests were. Where George and I went skiing. It all made me important. My self-esteem was flagging badly. Now I’d have to submit my picture and resume all over again, and that isn’t cool in Hollywood. Kind of like jumping over studio fences to hand-deliver pictures and resumes to whatever producer you can find. I heard the mail truck stop in front of my house at about ten o’clock. I fell off my bed and tumbled downstairs. Getting the mail is one of the more exciting moments in my daily life. So, wine flute in hand, I headed for the front door. The mailwoman waved at me and tooted as she drove slowly to the next house. No bills, but I had gotten a postcard from Brandauers Westwood store, which was a block from the UCLA campus, offering a free gift in the cosmetics department, a lipstick and two eye shadows. That got me totally jazzed. I didn’t need more cosmetics; I’m a relatively young thirty-two year-old actress. I had enough makeup to start my own company. But the gift was free. Free made a difference. A free gift was just what I needed to perk me up. I turned the postcard over in my hand as I lumbered back upstairs and got onto my bed. I sighed. What the hell? I had nothing to do all day. Acting class was at six-thirty. Richard had cancelled the rehearsal for this afternoon, saying he had important business with his uncle in Vegas, which meant he’d be hitting the twenty-one tables. It left me with nothing to do. I leaned back on the pillow. I was gearing myself to get up to go to Brandauers. Recently I’d been listening to various renditions of “Nearer My God to Thee” on YouTube, and reading the obituaries in the Times. I had to know what others had done with their lives. Mine felt so empty. My husband was seriously considering taking me to a mental health clinic to talk to a therapist about depression. I pulled myself out of bed, pinched my cheeks for color, put on a pink lipstick and pressed the ice cold wine flute against the bags under my eyes to minimize them. Brandauers was only ten minutes away. And a whole lot cheaper than therapy. I put on my jeans, a tee-shirt, my long tan trench coat, and my gorgeous Kate Spade gray boots. I put my hands in my pockets like Lauren Bacall in To Have or Have Not. I got in the car and drove west. A free gift was worth it.

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