My Unscripted Life(2)

By: Lauren Morrill


The door opens and an older man steps out, his silver hair mussed, partly due to some intricate styling and partly due to the Yankees cap he keeps adjusting on and off his head as he glances up and down the street. His crisp, dark jeans, boat shoes, and white oxford tell me he’s not only not from around here, he’s from way out of town. I can see the shadow of his passenger through the dark tinted windows.

His frantic gaze settles upon Nazaneen and me, though Naz is oblivious. At this point it would take a real live New York Met walking up to our table and sitting down to get her attention.

“Excuse me,” the guy says, crossing the sidewalk to our table, “do you know where Roff Avenue is?” He holds up his phone. “My GPS keeps trying to get me to turn onto the train tracks.”

I immediately wonder why a handsome, well-dressed guy in an Audi is asking for directions to the part of downtown Wilder where one would stash a body, if there were ever any actual murders in our tiny town.

“Yes, sir, actually your GPS isn’t wrong. Roff is immediately after the train tracks.” I curve my hand sharply to the left to show him the turn. “It doesn’t even look like a road, but it’s there.”

He stares at me, his eyebrows knit together to form a little canyon of skepticism on his forehead.

“Just trust me and turn,” I assure him.

He looks down at his phone screen. “Thanks. You live around here?” Something about his clipped tone makes me think he’s not looking for any long answers, so I just nod.

“Well, listen, we’re going to be setting up production on a film here.” He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a black leather case, smaller than a wallet, and from it he produces a crisp white card and passes it to me. ROBERT LEWIN, it reads in shiny black letters, and underneath in italics, Producer, Director. I run my thumb over the raised letters and feel a rush of excitement through my core. This was not at all what I expected when he stepped out of the car. Lawyer? Sure. Doctor? Possibly. But a movie filming in Wilder? This is news that qualifies as a distraction. “We’re still looking to fill a couple PA spots. Just runner-type stuff, but still. If you’re looking for a summer internship, call my office. We can always use a few locals on set.”

It’s not as big a deal as an actual New York Met, but it’s enough to draw Naz’s attention from her phone screen and her floundering team. We’ve just heard that a movie is going to be filming in our small, so-sleepy-as-to-be-in-a-coma hometown.

Naz reaches for the card in my hand and flips it over, as if maybe she’s going to find the words “Just kidding!” printed on the other side.

“A movie? For real?” she asks.

“For real,” he replies. He sticks out his hand for me to shake. “Rob Lewin.” There’s a look on his face like maybe we might recognize the name, maybe even that we should, but I don’t. One glance over at Naz, who is giving him a purposely blank stare, tells me she doesn’t either. It’s not like we’re country bumpkins. We see plenty of movies. Once football season ends, it’s pretty much the only thing to do on a Friday night. And I could name most of the actors in them. I’ve just never really paid much attention to directors other than, you know, Steven Spielberg or Martin Scorsese (he’s a director, right?).

“Like, a real movie?” I ask.

“I don’t make fake ones,” he says.

Naz is still not convinced. “Who’s in this movie?” She manages to keep her hands from making the implied air quotes, but her voice betrays her heavy skepticism.

“Well, it stars Milo Ritter, and—” Rob begins.

“Oh my God,” I blurt out. My voice comes out as a whisper, which is good, because I worried it would be a shout.

“The singer?” Naz snorts. I know she’s thinking back to our slumber parties the summer between sixth and seventh grades, when we’d make up dances to Milo Ritter songs and perform them for her older sisters in their backyard. We both used to have a poster of him hugging a beagle puppy, his bright blue eyes and white smile beaming down at us from above our respective beds. He was only fifteen when he released his first album, so it was way too easy to crush on him.

Rob chuckles at the mix of shock and disdain. He glances over his shoulder, then back at us, his mouth quirked into a wry smile. “Yeah, the singer. He’s trying something new. This’ll be his first film.”

Naz chuckles too. She hands Rob’s card to me, apparently satisfied with his legitimacy. “Good thing,” she says. “His last album sucked out loud.”

“Naz!” I stare wide-eyed at her.