AN UNSCHEDULED REWRITE

She winds her hands in his hair, long argent strands curling around her fingers .  The smell of tobacco and mint drifts from his lips.  What are you thinking about, he asks.  Don’t you know?   Strange how the sea cannot fathom the heart.

“CUT!!”  The director threw the script to the floor.  “What kind of dreck is this?” he bellowed.  “Get me the screenwriter!” 

His assistant scuttled to the door, making frantic motions with his arm until a slumped shouldered woman with tired eyes appeared and lowered it to his side.

“You called for me, Chief?”  She shuffled across the soundstage and pulled a battered laptop from her satchel.

“You call this passion?” he said, kicking the script her way.  “How can I make the audience pant when you don’t give me any heat?  Jesse!!” 

The assistant crept out from behind him.  “Gimme one of your Vicodin; I got a migraine”.  He swiped the pill from the assistant’s trembling hand, and washed it down with the last dregs of coffee in his mug. 

“Listen up, people, we got 6 hours to pull this together or we don’t make deadline!  And you two…” he said, glaring at the actors on the set bed, “at least try to look like you’re interested.  You’re actors for chrissakes…”

The writer raised the lid and began typing…

She rakes her fingers through his hair, long silken hanks that brush her face and curtain them off from the rest of the world.  She inhales deeply before looking into his eyes, searching for meaning within still tidal pools.  What are you thinking about, he whispers.  How much I love you.

“CUT!!!  No, no, NO!!  Not rom-com cornball bullshit!”

Again the script flew through the air and the hapless assistant scuttled to find the writer.  “If I had a bigger budget, I could have hired someone with talent, who knows what I want!  But, noooo… I’m stuck with a literature geek from Hyde Park! JESSE!!”

Jesse sprinted to his side. “Get on the phone and track down that writer from Vivid.”

“But, sir,” squeaked Jesse, iPhone in hand, “he writes porn.”  

“I don’t care if he’s a goddamn porn writer, at least he can write heat!!” The director leaned back into his chair and mumbled under his breath. “… two SAG nominations and now this… If that woman doesn’t torpedo my career, I don’t know what will.”

The writer stepped forward from the group standing paralyzed off-set.  They watched silently as she padded up to the director and opened her computer. 

“You sent for me, Chief?”

He turned with some effort to face her.   “Did I or did I not tell you that this is not a film for women?” asked he through clenched teeth.  “I don’t care about the psyche of this character, or any like her.  This is a man’s film.  It’s not even important that she thinks at all, only that she’s ready to go.  Got it?”

“Got it, Chief.”  

The director dismissed her with a wave and called for a twenty minute break.  The set was immediately abandoned as cast and crew fled outside to smoke and worry.   The writer sat quietly in the silence, recollecting her memories and tapping them onto the keyboard…

She twines her fingers through his hair, still damp from the shower.  He’ll need another one before she sends him home, damper still with sweat and longing.    What are you thinking about, he growls. There’s an off-shore storm roiling in his eyes.  How much I want you.

“Cut!  Print!”  The director’s shoulders sagged, but there was a trace of smile across his thin lips.  “There!” he said contentedly.   “Now was that so hard to do?

The writer shrugged and closed her computer.  Harder than you’ll ever know.

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