But what does it all mean?
Melanie crouches to close Wendel's eyes. Pause. Still crouching she looks up at Randall.
It means you were right. He was murdered.
[Fade to black]
From somewhere within our cluster of actors came a low whistle of approval. It might even have been me, I wasn't sure. There'd been a lot of dissension over the change in writers. The word on the street was that Caine Khagan-Smith was a pain in the ass. A control freak. Insane. Apparently, and this had yet to be confirmed, the man had been a suspect in the murder of an actress on the set of Professor Why.
Some of it was true, the man thrived on the unease of others, but damn he knew how to write a script. Granted there were some alterations, my character's background underwent some changes, and his role in the show had been shifted a little, but it took Randall in an exciting direction. I felt the tiniest bit bad for Caine. I'm sure he deserved every bit of vitriol thrown him by the cast, but the man had talent and everyone seemed to disregard that in favor of wondering whether he could he actually be killed. A few of the crewmen seemed to think the man's hate might be enough to defy death itself.
I might have had a slight bias, or lack thereof. Mine was one of the few roles that seemed to have escaped relatively unscathed, and so I wasn't predisposed to commit homicide. There also wasn't quite as much at stake for me. The other actors on set were just that: actors. Real actors. Career actors. They did this for a living. It was what they went to school for. I was just a teacher who was lucky in his choice of friends. If I was sacked I had another to return to. A plan B.
"So," Caine crooned, "any questions? Comments? Cries of outrage?" That last question he directed at Aaliyah, who seemed more than willing to give him something, but a look from Ms. Anderson kept her in her seat.
"No? Fantastic. I'll be wherever the rest of you aren't. Good day."
The door hard barely finished closing before Aaliyah slammed a fist on the table.
"This is outrageous!" she spat. "I was hired to be the lead, Ms. Anderson. I should have lines on every page! And now, that man has... has downgraded me to little more than a-"
Ms. Anderson stood slowly, calmly. It was a calm that truly deserved to be described as "dangerous," and silence fell instantly.
"I'm growing tired of saying it Miss Greene, so this will be the last time. If Caine had his way, you would have no lines. As it stands, you owe me for each and every word that your character has the privilege to utter on this show. Is that clear? Good."
"Everybody get some rest," Ms. Anderson said to the rest of us. "We start filming tomorrow. Ahead of schedule, by some miracle of the universe. Be prepared. We're done for today."
And, like Caine, she too was gone, Kate hot on her heels.
Aaliyah stood and huffed away without a word, breaking a spell as she did so. The room came alive with quiet conversation and shufflings as the cast and crew went their seperate ways. Jack Lynch, the man, the myth, the legend, murmured something to the director, Alex and the two moved off, followed closely by... was it Kamala?
Everyone here seemed to know someone else from one thing or another and as such, had no need to make any new friends yet. It was still pretty early in our season though. Things were hectic, so I didn't take it too personally. Never did. It was a short walk to my car, and from there, another few minutes to the hotel I was staying at. I never expected my acting career to go beyond the first few years, so there was still no trailer with my name on it. After this show things would quiet down. That's what I'd been telling myself since my first role nearly four years ago.
Maybe this would be the show that finally pushed me to buy a mobile home.
"In three hundred yards... turn left," informed my gps in its electronic, british accent. I was only American unfortunately, but my gps didn't know that. Neither did my Australian Siri.
I decided to shake things up a little bit, and turned right instead, looking for someplace to eat. It was only a few seconds before a spacey-looking coffeeshop caught my eye.
Admiral Snackbar. I was sold.
Stepping inside felt like stepping into the Mos Eisley cantina itself. The staff were all in costume. Some of the patrons were too. It was dark, which was a good thing nowadays. Made it easier to avoid the press. I never dealt with them unless I had a prank planned, and right now I was quite unprepared, having run into a small group yesterday morning. I put up my hood as I neared the counter, and figured that'd be enough. After placing an order for Darth Taters I found an unoccupied booth along the wall.
I was probably three or four bites into my Darth Taters when a form slid into the seat across from me.
"Going somewhere, Rider?"
I blinked, my head snapping left and right as I searched for stormtroopers. Or worse, paparazzi.
"Oh! Hey, I'm sorry! Sorry! It's... I'm not a... I'm just a fan!"
My eyes narrowed, and I leaned forward until there was barely an inch between our faces.
It the stranger's time to blink, a consternated frown causing her eyebrows to bunch up and her lips to to purse.
"I'm only kidding," I said, sitting back with a laugh, "what can I do for you? You hungry?"
"Are you... asking me to eat with you?"
"Sure! On one condition."
The fan froze, waiting for me to speak. I leaned forward again.
"If someone points a camera at me, you must protect me with your life."
"Dinner is on me then! What do you want? The Tatooweenies sounded pretty good..."