It’s six in the morning and fireworks are going off. I can hear the cracking and popping of rockets. I’m cuddling in my crib with my black Baby Talk to Me doll. She’s my best friend because Betty, our housekeeper gave her to me. I give her a kiss as another round of fireworks erupts like a volcano. I can hear everything but can’t see over the tiled roof. I get up and try to open the door. It’s locked from the outside. There’s a chain to prevent me from escaping. I’ve done this before. It’s what my big brothers call a jailbreak.

“Jailbreak,” the therapist interrupts.

“Yes,” I answered. “My first escape was at seven months old. They found me at the bottom of the shallow end of the swimming pool. My oldest sister Pam dove in and pulled me out. She was eight years old. She hit me on the back until I coughed up water and sucked in a breath of fresh air. She was so beautiful, long brown hair, beautiful brown eyes. To me, she was perfect. A few months later when I drowned in the pool again, Pammy came to the rescue once more. To everyone’s disbelief, I resurrected like the humble king of man himself. Pam received a fake gold medal from Mommy and Daddy and a week later, my older brother Louie took a turn tossing me in. This time, it was in the deep end. Louie, seven years old, watched fascinated as I fought to swim and instead, sank lifeless to the drain. This time Daddy saved me. He leapt in wearing his red pajamas and after resuscitating me, Daddy beat Louie unconscious and nicknamed me Rasputin.”

“Rasputin,” the therapist asks?

I answer, “Rasputin was a repulsive hypnotist rumored to have brainwashed the Russian Imperial family into doing his will through the use of hypno-therapy. They say he defied and survived dozens of assassinations on his life before they killed the beast by poisoning, drowning, hanging, beating, and finally shooting the fucker in the forehead. I did personally survive three drownings by age two. Who knew years later I’d get into hypnotherapy and start predicting the future left and right. I guess if you minus the beard and the balls, we’ve got the same eyes.”

The therapist merely smiles at my juvenile witticism and says, “Let’s get back to the drownings. There wasn’t a fence between the house and the pool?”

I said, “In 1967? Are you out of your mind? My parents didn’t want to put up a shitty fence. We’re talking about spending at least three grand in 1967 when you could buy an Impala V8 coupe for that price. Anyway, how’s a fence going to stop evil Louie? And let me say this, I don’t even remember these ‘drownings.’ My family joked about them so much they became programmed memories. They were Cohen survival stories.”

The therapist wants to know what that means. I say, “Look, instead of going down a rabbit hole, mind if I finish answering the first question; my most violent childhood memory?”

“Oh, I’m sorry,” says the therapist. I say nothing. The therapist remains professionally silent. I continue, “Okay I’m four years old and back in my walk-in closet bedroom, where I’m in the middle of my latest great escape. I’m using my doll as my secret get-out-of-jail-free-card. I slip her miniature hand into the crack of the locked door. I lift her up to the blue painted metal chain standing in the way of my freedom and the precious thing catches it and slips it off the lock. This is why she is my favorite doll. I rush out of my room and through Pammy’s room that’s adjacent to me. Her door didn’t lock like mine, so out I go. I rounded the second floor then dashed down the cast iron staircase mommy and I almost died on while we were pregnant. The sound of fireworks turns into a barrage of what must be the finale. I’m yelling, “They did all this without me. I’m the youngest. I get left out of everything. Well, not this time!”

I rushed over and pulled the huge Spanish front door open with both hands. It took all my four-year-old strength and when it swung ajar I was looking at anything but fireworks. It’s a bloody massacre in progress. There’re half a dozen dead bodies floating in the swimming pool. The waterhole is dirty green and running red with blood. A dead man riddled with bullets lays sprawled face up across the diving board. Blood is dripping from the back of his head. I turned to see a group of screaming black gangsters in three-piece suits raging towards me. One dude had a machete, a bunch of them had pistols and all of them were sporting twelve-inch-high afros. Some of these intruders were jumping off the roof with Tommy guns and rolling onto the front lawn like a fleet of Black James Bonds.

They’re engaging in this shootout with the ugliest old white guys I’ve ever seen. Warts! Blood! Blubber and polyester! It’s an unimaginable nightmare. I start screaming and can’t stop. The black guys with machine guns stop running. I see them mouthing these words in slow motion; “Holy shit!”

My Daddy, the great Larry Cohen cries out, but Daddy’s bawling, “Cut, Cut, Cut!"

This one minor incident got me blackballed from Hollywood for life! I'm Jill Gatsby and I'm here to tell you, you're right. Life is murder and here's my story to prove it.

Murder on the Set by J Gatsby
Murder on the Set by J Gatsby
From J Gatsby's Murder on the Set
From J Gatsby's Murder on the Set
Buy it today Murder on the Set b y J Gatsby
Buy it today Murder on the Set b y J Gatsby


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