Chapter Six of Below the Line a saga that begins with a prologue—a little life, interrupted
And then they saw everything under the sky perfectly.
After that, they thanked the Maker, Modeler:
double thanks, triple thanks
that we’ve been formed, we’ve been given
our mouths, our faces,
we speak, we listen,
we wonder, we move,
our knowledge is good, we’ve understood
what is far and near,
and we’ve seen what is great and small
under the sky, on the earth,
Thanks to you we’ve been formed,
we’ve come to be made and modeled,
our grandmother, our grandfather..."
________from The Popul Vuh: The Book of the Dawn of Life
Wendy and Rosita got to Tres Caballeros first. Rosita drove. Parking on the street in front of the restaurant was always difficult during the traditional noon hour, which never really started before 1:30. But being with the Americans, who liked to eat earlier, Rosita found the suburban street with its grassy divider almost empty. None of the mariachis—and only a few of the kitchen help—had yet arrived. They would have the popular eatery to themselves.
Tres Caballeros was a gringo’s dream of a Mexican restaurant: it was done frontier-style, buffalo heads on the walls, antlers, multiple portraits in oil, watercolor, and bronze of the three horsemen of the situation, and enough tackroom paraphernalia to stock a small rodeo. In a word: quaint. The dining room was huge, with long tables seating perhaps two hundred-fifty "family-style." The ceiling was solid skylight. Its movable ultraviolet panels were the most modern thing about the place.
"Wow!" said Wendy, who’d never been here before. Wendy was a twenty-five year-old woman who looked small-town, but who in fact had seen a good deal of the world, having assisted Don North on at least a dozen location pictures. Like Don, she called North Palm Beach home, though she seldom inhabited the small condo she’d bought two years ago for more than a couple of weeks.
Eight years out of college—University of Florida, class of ’76—too plain, too heavy, and too much of a hard worker to be a cheerleader, Wendy Stafford had aspirations of being a venture capitalist. She’d made a good beginning: she had a net worth of over two hundred thousand dollars, starting, basically, from zero after she’d paid off her student loan. Accounting gave Wendy a salary, but her investments brought her income. Of course, with Don North as mentor, anybody could learn the rules of the money game. You couldn’t help it. The man could shame a pickpocket into itemizing deductions.
"¡Senoritas!" The host, a homey dark little man in white frilled shirt and black vest, would ordinarily frown on two unescorted women, especially at such an early hour, but he recognized Rosita as one of the Chiliverde regulars.
"¡Hola!" answered Wendy brightly. "¡Quatras personas, por favor!"
"¡Si! You would perhaps prefer the front room. He is very quiet there! I will tell your friends where you are."
"¡Bueno! Gracias," said Wendy. She was determined to learn the language as best she could during her stay. Rosita smiled.
Wendy and Rosita had become friends quickly. They shared a common language: the treacherous forked tongue of film finance. From their first midnight posting the day after Christmas, when Rosita noted—on her own accord and with only a cursory glance at the bottom line—that UNTITLED was at least fifteen per cent under-budgeted, they had acknowledged that their next few months together would be like trench warfare. Wendy and Rosita were two of UNTITLED’s unheralded footsoldiers. Without them, the generals couldn’t even take the field.
They were ushered into a separate area at the front of the restaurant. The host spoke to a waiter who was idling nearby, no doubt slightly put out he’d be starting his day’s work a lot earlier than usual. The ladies were attractive however, so he smiled graciously:
"Dos margaritas grandes, por favor," said Rosita.
"¡Si! Two big margaritas!" He clicked his heels together smartly, laid red and white checked napkins across their laps with a flourish, and was gone.
"This is nice," said Wendy, attracted especially to the horses which were everywhere.
"We come here all the time with Americans," said Rosita. "They think it is typical. It is not, of course, but the food is quite good and there is lots of it"
Wendy checked her watch. They had ducked out of the office just as Judy had made her frantic call to Miyahyah.
"I hope Judy and Don don’t cancel."
"I don’t see how she can stand it."
"You know. Working with a crazy man."
"You think Gerry is a crazy man, un hombre loco?"
"Judging from my limited experience with men, and my even more limited experience with Gerry, yeah, I’d have to say he’s loony."
"But he’s the producer!"
"Strike one," said Wendy. "You have to be un hombre loco to be a producer, I think."
Rosita thought about it. Wendy continued:
"If somebody gave you two million dollars, would you make a film with it? No. The odds of your film being successful and giving you any kind of return are so limited it’s unbelievable. And you’d never see any profit anyway, not with the studio bookkeeping. Don calls it 'Creative Larceny.' He says you’re nuts if you don’t take your money up front."
"If someone gave me two million dollars," said Rosita, "I would build a hotel on the road to the pyramids. With a restaurant, and a swimming pool and a nice little gift shop where I would sell authentic Indian handicrafts. And with cable television in every room."
"You see," said Wendy, "you show good business sense. Now let me ask you, if you saw fifteen, twenty percent on your investment, you’d be happy, right?"
Rosita shook her head adamantly:
"No. The financial climate of my country is too precarious. The money would have to come from Americans. In dollars, fifteen percent is very good. Conservative, but I would accept it."
"That’s why producers are loco. There isn’t a producer in Hollywood who would accept a fifteen percent return. The Blockbuster Mentality.
Rosita lit a cigarette, a Virginia Slim, and listened.
"In the last ten years or so, a film that doesn’t do five or ten times its negative cost is considered a failure. The studios aren’t happy with an honest fifteen percent after taxes. They need eighty million or a hundred million dollars domestic. So they don’t make small films that will gross, say, six or eight million. They're only looking for RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, or E.T. It’s very depressing..."
"Do you think UNTITLED is a RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK?"
Wendy lit a Marlboro Light, watching the smoke curl up towards the skylights.
"Fortunately, I don’t have to predict what a film is going to do. And I’m glad, cause nobody can. Do you know why UNTITLED is being made?"
Rosita shook her head.
"Because the studio managed to put a package together. The 'package' is really the only thing the money men understand. To begin with, you’ve got a studio that has lost maybe 250 million dollars in the last two years. They don’t want to think that maybe management has made a mistake, or maybe ten or twelve mistakes. Management doesn’t make mistakes. They only get bad data. From their research, the public, from the theatre owners, and from the things they read in the trades: people are watching cassettes instead of going to films; video games are where kids spend their money; people want fantasy films, or escapist films, or you name it—whatever kinds of stuff the studio isn’t doing."
"Here you are ladies—¡Dos Margaritas Grandes!"
The waiter waved his hand back and forth in not exactly mock-macho annoyance at the cigarette smoke. The girls ignored him. He left.
"This is good!" Wendy sipped and Rosita nodded. "I feel a lot better."
Wendy checked her watch again, then continued:
"So some dope gets the bright idea that with the right movie, they can recoup all 250 million at once, with foreign and ancillary sales, right?"
"Maybe, maybe not."
"Right. It’s a crapshoot. They take a look at what’s happened in the past, which I consider a mistake, cause if you’re selling to kids—and for some reason they think they are—the kids don’t care what’s happened in the past, they only wanna be knocked out of their socks by something they haven’t seen before."
"So, by past performance, the studio figures series are the way to go. You’ve got STAR WARS. You’ve got ROCKY. You’ve got FRIDAY THE 13TH PARTS 1, 2, AND 69."
"You’ve got HALLOWEEN—"
"You’ve got the picture. But the Big Daddy of them all, the most sure-fired series in the history of motion pictures is..."
She cocked her head and waited.
Rosita hunched her shoulders down and squinted through her ci-garette smoke:
"Absolutely. Sure fire, no-can-lose investment!" said Wendy. "You put your money in LIGHTMAN and you live to invest another day. 'Now,' says the studio, 'how can we come up with another LIGHTMAN?' Enter Gerry Gold."
"¡El Hombre Loco!"
"Si. Eight years ago, Gerry bought the rights to a bunch of paperbacks—there are sixty-five of these books—called The Death Dealer. Do you know these books?"
Rosita shook her head.
"But you’ve read UNTITLED?"
"Well Jeff Brock is The Death Dealer. Gerry put some money together and he wrote a script. It wasn’t very good, so he wrote another script. Still no takers, mostly cause Jerry’s just an unknown guy, right?"
"Unh hunh. And un hombre loco."
"Eight years go by, but Gerry doesn’t give up. He’s like a terrier who smells rabbit around there somewhere. Now here is where Gerry gets his gold star: He goes to Anthony Essex, the guy who made a buncha LIGHTMANs and two or three thousand other action pictures with bigger-than-life heroes, and Anthony, he doesn’t have to make any movies at all any more. If fact, judging from the little dealings I’ve had with him, he’s real tired of the movie business period, cause it can really sap your spirit, right?"
"Ok," said Wendy, sipping her drink. "But for some reason, Anthony gets real excited about THE DEATH DEALER. He sees something he likes; he’s got a sense for these things, and he agrees to get involved if Gerry will get a third rewrite on the script, with Anthony’s input. Presto—all of a sudden Gerry Gold has got a package."
"And he got lucky, cause he hooked up with a studio that was desperate for a Sure Thing."
"And we have a Sure Thing?"
"Rosita, with Jeff Brock, Rand Macintosh and Deirdre Malone, this is as sure as things get in an imperfect world."
Rosita nodded, impressed in spite of herself.
"And personally," confided Wendy as she drained her margarita, "if I was the studio, I wouldn’t give a rat’s ass how far over budget we go. The worse thing that can happen is they’ll take the overage out of Jerry’s producer’s fee, and then they’ll take his points. The studio, I bet, is willing to let Gerry go nuts down here, but they're counting on Anthony’s class and his pride to keep that from happening. Oh waiter!" she called, motioning to the two margaritas, "un otra vez, por favor!"
Rosita polished off her own margarita with a toss of her pretty head. She turned to watch the waiter exit with their glasses.
"Nice buns!" said Wendy, who had a natural attraction to tight black pants.
"Ta dah!" Don North greeted his office mates with a flourish and open arms. Judy was close behind him, looking definitely down in the dumps.
"Make that four, amigo!" Don called to the waiter.
"Oh no, Don," said Judy, "I don’t want—"
"Don’t fret, Sweepea," said Don. "I can do two of those babies before the guacamole. Y guacamole, Señor!" He called to the waiter who was hustling towards the bar. "Mucho guacamole!"
Don straddled the chair opposite Wendy, sitting with his back to the windows.
"We gringos love our guack, hunh Rosita?" He grabbed a menu, a pair of plywood boards stained mahogany with faux parchment between them. Rosita smiled indulgently. "Let’s see...whatever do we have...."
Judy had not seated herself. She stood rather forlorn between Wendy and Rosita.
"Come on, Judy!" yelped Don. "Siddown for cripe’s sake. The dude’s got himself a free chopper ride to the statue and all the tacos he can eat! Siddown!"
"Here, Judy," Wendy offered the chair to her right. "Are you OK?"
"Yeah.." said Judy, whose face bore the brunt of the lie and her concern. "I just hope Jerry’s OK."
"He’s OK!" insisted Don. "He’s OK! Coulda happened to any of us. I coulda died in the cab ride over here this morning. These guys are all nuts. They all drive like their balls are on fire. Unh, sorry Rosita," he said, though it was obvious from the mischievous smile on her face she was more amused than embarrassed. Wendy was staring at Don like he was the most thoughtless man in the hemisphere.
"Hey! Lighten up, Stafford!" whined Don. "I'm just striving 'towards more picturesque speech,' OK?"
"O Kaay?" queried Wendy, mocking him.
"I'm sorry we’re late," said Judy. "We were unavoidably detained."
"I’ll say!" chortled Don. "We bought us two more vehicles this morning!"
He did his Colonel Kilgore impression, twisting an imaginary cavalry hat just so:
"'Some day this war’s gonna end.'"
"I must say, Mr. North," said Wendy amiably," You’re very chipper this afternoon."
"I must say, Miss Stafford, that I look forward to gorging myself on some dead meat here. God knows when we’ll have the chance again, hunh?"
He took an overly-healthy slug of water from an ice-filled glass sitting in front of him. If anybody had ever said 'don’t drink the water' to Don North, they obviously didn’t know their man.
"So what are you chickies having, besides a little tête-à-tête?"
"We chickies are having a hard time deciding," answered Wendy. "I assume you’ll be devouring the 'trough of the day'?"
"She loves me." Don winked to Rosita. "We enjoy an adversarial relationship."
"I'm thinking of starting my diet today," said Judy.
"Hon! Hon! Ya gotta eat somethin'! The meeting could go till midnight," Don reminded, "though I will be doing my personal best to fly us on out of there by nine. Try the albóndigas. I hear they're great."
Judy relented. She got hungry when she was anxious. The way things were going, she’d come out of UNTITLED looking more than a little like the Goodyear Blimp. The thought kept her up at night. She could see herself floating over the Hollywood sign at sunset, the words FAT FAT FAT rolling down her breasts and blinking across her distended belly and down along her thighs to her thickened ankles, alternating red and green lights, all night long, across the L.A. Basin: FAT FAT FAT. When she stayed up late, she ate. It was a vicious cycle, familiar enough to many women, and men, but nonetheless completely unsettling for Judy Silver, who had precious little room on a five-foot frame for an extra pound or ten.
The Stump Syndrome, her brother Roger had called her unfortunate inclination. For a sensitive nine-year-old who wanted to be a ballerina, having an older brother with a gift for alliteration and harassment throwing nicknames like "Moo" and "BB"—for Baby Battleship, at a time when Brigitte Bardot was queen of the cinema—was more than painful; it was a curse from a malicious and no-doubt skinny God.
Of course, adolescence brought more agonizing permutations. Now she could be fat in different places, alternatively, from week to week. One day, at around sixteen, fat struck forever, irrevocably, in two places: her bust—which wasn’t all bad, she had to admit, and her butt. The end result? Judy Silver had a perfect hourglass figure—just like the beauties in Edison’s Gay 90’s Kinetoscope. She was a hundred years out of fashion, but she wore a 36 D bra. Roger called her DD—for Dynamic Duo.
The sixties happened at the same time. All around her, for a decade, flaxen-haired women in tight blue jeans with flat chests under broadcloth blouses got the guys. You wouldn’t know it to look at her today, but in 1965, fresh out of a miserable three years of high school, Judy dropped out, with a resounding plotz!
She ate more acid in four years at Berkeley than the Grateful Dead. She balled her way through most of the Political Science Department and all of the Philosophy majors—male and female—primarily because ole BB, ole DD Silver was now considered "zoftig"—and a terrific hash connection.
None of this did her anything but good. You could look it up. She was a straight-A student, though officially she had never enrolled. She was more popular on Telegraph Avenue than Owsley and Tim Leary combined. She weighed 98 pounds stripped. She had never had a venereal disease. And, the best thing of all, considering the times: she could go braless with the best of them. The Dynamic Duo had a set of Cooper’s Ligaments that wouldn’t quit.
Roger had mentioned this one day during his residency at UCLA. They called 'em Cooper’s Droopers in Med School. For whatever reason—perhaps it had something to do with her Bay Area childhood, where she had the Golden Gate Bridge for inspiration—you could land an F-14 on Judy’s décolletage. In Mexico she could be more than zoftig, she could be queen. The Mexicans loved her tits.
Judy could feel the very cute waiter hovering over her like a Sea Stallion feeling for the rolling, pitching, brine-soaked deck of the U.S.S. Enterprise. She reached towards the cigarette Rosita offered her—Virginia Slim, smoke of the woman who played like a man. She was thinking of Martina Navratilova as her right breast brushed the waiter’s leg. Judy had a complicated mind, no doubt about that. The waiter’s leg stiffened. She sipped at a Margarita; she wasn’t sure it was hers, and nobody cared anyway. She was wondering if the statue was modeled after a real woman….
It could have been the acid. Conventional LSD use as a source of deviant behavior, though how do you define deviant behavior? Was a week-long fuckathon with a Rhodes Scholar in a pup tent in San Rafael deviant?
Judy had been the mistress of a particle physicist at Livermore Lab for six months, but they had never made love. And she had been faithful to him. That had to count for something. Crazy, maybe.
She sailed to Bora Bora on June 5th, 1968, right after Bobby Kennedy, with a man she met that very afternoon in front of the Sausalito Inn. She sold her half-interest in an island there to Marlon Brando. She did not try to seduce him. What about that?
Acid must have made her fall for Gerry. Acid and some weird Karmic concatenation. Falling for Gerry was deviant. Judy drew slowly on her Slim while the conversation raged back and forth across the table. Money jokes. Don could be so damned charming....
Yes. She fell hard for Gerry Gold when he was young and she was younger and here they were, eight years later, barely speaking to each other over nothing—over a goddamned movie, which was about the silliest thing you could do with your precious time here on this earth.
Judy didn’t know why she had this compulsion to make movies. When you took the long view, movies were nothing compared to...anything. Heart surgery. Astronomy. Gardening for that matter. Marriage, raising a family; certainly they were more important than movies.
It was movies, not acid, that made her move in with Gerry when he had his first place in Venice, the place with the ducks in the backyard and the canals that smelled of shit and the crude oil that leeched out of the Hughes Corporation’s tanks nearby. Gerry was making movies, little ones to be sure, but movies nonetheless, all by himself. He was like a magician in those days. He would meet a man who knew a man who had some money and the first man had a story and Gerry knew a cinematographer and in three months' time there would be a film with Gerry's name on it. And the film would bring him a living. And he would move out of the little Venice house after he fell in love with one of his "angels" and that was Judy’s bi-coastal period where she flew to New York every week, sometimes twice a week, cause Marilyn would never think of leaving the museums and the theatres and—most especially—Jerry’s mother. Gerry returned to his first love, photography, for a while there and Judy had produced the films herself: the biker films and the S&M softcore films and the cheap science-fiction soft-core S&M biker films, and here she was—on the eve of her first real movie....
"Sweepea..." Don’s voiced floated up against her consciousness. She felt warm. Flushed. "You better have another one a those for what ails ya, darlin’."
He motioned to Judy’s glass—it was her glass—which was empty but for the silty accumulation of slush at the bottom and the salt she had not touched around the rim. "Another round, Amigo!" said Don to the waiter who was staring at Judy's breasts. She looked him square in the eye and smiled.
"Pretty hot, hunh cowboy?" she queried, pretending, just slightly, to be a little drunk.
"Si," said the waiter. "You would like to order now?"
Judy was about to order his great big fat dark greasy prick—def-inite deviant behavior—but Don bailed her out with:
"Nachos! Bring us nachos, senor! Nachos y taquitos!"
The waiter smiled indulgently at Judy and then at Don. What a group of perfect fools. Today they have callos a la madrilena and empanada gallega and rinones al jerez, and these idiots are filling up on taco chips and cheese. They were from Estudio Chiliverde too. They would be lousy tippers and drunk as can be in half an hour. They would leave enough food on the table to feed the poor children of the neighborhood and their pets. But the waiter smiled. He smiled and he spoke loud and rapidly to the bartender. The restaurant still had no other patrons. At least he could run up their bill. Soften them up with tequila so the mariachis could move in and sing and play them out of their dolores.
Judy had stopped taking drugs when she met Gerry. Even then he was a health-nut, before it was trendy even. Of course, Gerry was paranoid that he would drop dead of arteriosclerosis at forty like his father had; that was why he biked and tennised and skied and spent all that money on all those health clubs on both coasts. Privately, Judy held that Jerry’s mother had been the main reason his dad checked out so early. Who could live with such a woman? But Gerry jogged and discoed and skated...and suddenly it crossed Judy’s mind that Gerry had lost interest in her because she didn’t have an aerobics body. He had moved on to Marilyn and the others because Judy was an Edison Kinetoscope Girl in a FLASHDANCE world. This thought made her sad. She could feel the hot breath of anxiety tinged with guilt and self-loathing creeping towards her.
She sipped at a drink; she knew it wasn’t her own. The voices of Rosita and Don and Wendy boomed at her, but she ignored them; she didn’t hear them or she didn’t want to hear them. Producers are good at excluding people from their lives. They have to be, or they’d never get anything done. Everybody wants something from a producer. Being a producer is a lot like being a pope who happens to moon-light as a hooker.
Her friends’ voices washed over her and around her and Judy smiled. She thought she could hear the first tentative notes of a trumpet warming up somewhere in a back room. Then there was the ragged rasquedo of a guitar. The mariachis. She smiled again, recalling Anthony’s remark one night in a little bar off Melrose, not far from Paramount, at a time when they thought Paramount might distribute UNTITLED in a negative pickup deal. Wishful goddamn thinking, she realized now: Paramount, at the same time it had released FLASHDANCE, FOOTLOOSE, INDIANA JONES, and STAYING ALIVE. Even mighty Paramount had succumbed—however briefly—to the lure of a perennial, to the idea of the possibility of another LIGHTMAN.
Anthony was speaking of producers. Gerry was there. The three of them were drunk, of course, though with Anthony it was often diffi-cult to tell. They were well into the cognac, at any rate. Gerry was so taken with Anthony he’d forgotten he didn’t—or couldn’t—drink.
"To be a producer," Anthony spoke in his perfectly-modulated, Etonian diplomat’s voice," one needs the Patience of Job, the Charm of the Devil, the Luck of the Irish and the Hide of an Elephant. He—" and here he winked at Judy, in deference to her sex, "—has to be able to tap dance with one leg tied behind him, play the violin with one hand in your pocket, and have no prick of conscience about slitting his grandmother’s throat." Sir John Gielgud could not have spoken it better, with more thrilling emphasis on the 'your' before 'pocket,' with more heart-rending irony on 'prick of conscience.'
Anthony had stared meaningfully, questioningly, back and forth between Judy and Gerry for long seconds before downing his ar-mangnac and asking: "D'ya think yer up to it mates?"
The question wasn’t rhetorical. Anthony Essex knew he was signing on for a fearsome ride to God knows where. He would be counting, Judy imagined, on all the help that she and Gerry could give him. She, in fact, wasn’t sure that she was up for it. She had never done anything this big before, any-thing with such potential for sheer disaster. But Gerry, God bless his Lower East Side, CCNY chutzpah, Gerry had promptly shot right back with a 'you betchur ass, Tony!', clinked the director’s glass, and fallen head first onto the table, dead drunk to the world and oblivious to Anthony’s reply: "I detest the name 'Tony'...."
The next day they had a deal. By the end of the week they had a studio. And here they were, many months later and two thousand miles from Melrose, many million dollars waiting, like so many racehorses at the starting gate, for that hoary cliché that nonetheless beat at the chambers of Judy’s heart fierce as life itself: lights, camera, action—"
"Ta ta ta doompa doomp doomp doomp ta ta dooop!" Horrible, mistuned, arhythmic mariachi music blasted Judy alert. Sixteen men stood before her, singing in four part harmony, dressed in black caballero outfits with silver trim and large black sombreros. To a man they wore mustaches. To a man they were staring at her breasts.
The two trumpet players had musical ears. They adjusted the slides on their instruments alternately, working towards a pitch they could agree on. The big bass guitar rattled the fillings in Judy's teeth. Its strings were thick as licorice whips. She couldn’t make out the words to the tune, but what did it matter?
Don North was positively aglow across the table. He was conduct-ing the musicians, waving his arms dangerously close to a squadron of empty margarita glasses in front of him, singing along in that curiously tuneless way he had, the way, she imagined, all football players must sing authentic Mexican mariachi songs.
Rosita and Wendy were illuminated by their drinks. The guitar players flirted shamelessly with them too. Judy hit upon a very clever idea: why should she bother to try and eat with this din going on? This impromptu luncheon had Major Diet Potential. She smiled again at the waiter who—could it be?—was setting yet another drink in front of her, and reached into her purse for something, anything that had 'antihistamine' written on it. Judy Silver got bloated when she consumed large amounts of alcohol. She got bloated and her face and chest broke out in hives. She and Don and the girls had come for a nice little lunch, and she'd be damned if she’d have these mariachis looking at her beautiful breasts covered with welts that looked like spider bites.
"¡Arriba!" she shouted, having discovered a bottle of Sudafed next to her diaphragm, and waving the bottle so Don could see she was ready for some serious drinking:
"¡Viva la musica!"
On Hollywood and filmmaking:
Below the Line
sex drugs and divorce
a little life, interrupted
- Hecho en Mejico
- Sam's Song
- Hemingway and Fortuna
- Hummingbird on the Left
- The Long and Drunken Afternoon
- Safe in the Lap of the Gods
- Quetzal Birds in Love
- Angela in Paradise
- And the machine ran backwards
a secondhand coffin
how to act
Right. Me and Herman Melville
Scylla and Charybdis Approximately
snowflakes and nylon
I could've kissed Orson Welles
the broken dreams of Orson Welles
the last time I saw Orson Welles
The Other Side of the Wind
Below the Line
Final Cut Pro
king of the queens
Kubrick polishes a turd
movies from space
Persistence of Vision
Apocalypse Now Redux
The Jazz Singer
We Were Soldiers