My Unscripted Life(3)

By: Lauren Morrill


“What? It was like music to have a coma to,” she says, and shrugs.

I shoot Rob an apologetic smile and hold up his business card. “Thanks. I’ll have to check with my—” I stop myself just before I say “parents.” I barely look my seventeen-almost-eighteen years, so he has to know I’m in high school, but I don’t want to seem like a child. “I’ll think about it and get back to you.”

Rob nods. “You talk to your mom and dad and let me know,” he says. “Oh, and where’s a good place to eat around here?”

“The Diner,” Naz and I reply in unison.

“Best burgers in town,” I tell him, and point him down the road and around the corner and give him strict instructions to order the fries, extra crispy. He climbs back into the sports car and pulls away.

I watch the taillights disappear around the corner. “Okay, did that just happen, or am I having a stress-induced stroke?” I feel light and tingly, like I’m in that hazy space between dreaming and awake. Naz, on the other hand, looks completely nonplussed.

“You’re definitely having a stroke if you’re thinking of calling that guy,” she replies.

“What? Why? It’s not like I have anything else to do this summer.”

Naz winces at the reminder of our impending separation. Even though I told her over and over not to, I know she feels guilty for leaving me. It’s not her fault the admissions committee immediately recognized her science genius but found my art two rungs below amateur.

“I’m pretty sure doing nothing is better than getting ax-murdered by some ‘director,’ ” she says. This time she definitely hooks her fingers into air quotes.

“You just don’t like him because he’s a Yankees fan.” I wave the business card in her face. “He’s legit!”

She snatches it from my grasp. “Lemme see about this.” She holds the card in one hand and her phone in the other, typing the name in with her thumb. Within seconds, the screen is filled with links topped by a row of photos of the man who was just standing in front of us.

“Oh my God, is that—” I point, and Naz taps the tiny photo until it fills the screen with Rob in a sharp black tuxedo clutching a shiny golden statue.

“Okay, so he might be legit,” Naz says. She clicks back and opens his ScreenData page. The list of credits for movies and TV shows looks endless—stuff he’s written, directed, produced. Some of the titles I recognize, but there’s not much listed that I’ve actually seen. Mostly stuff that gets talked about on the public radio station my parents listen to, mentioned in the same breath as all the major movie awards and festivals. Like I said, I like movies, but I’m not much of a film buff. But just from looking, it’s clear he’s definitely legit.

I take the business card back from Naz and stare at the text. I may not have a best friend, and my future may still be in question, but I may have just solved the summer-plans problem.





INT. DEE’S KITCHEN

DEE is sitting at the kitchen table with her MOM and DAD.

The business card sits on the table in front of them.

DEE

Please?

MOM

Are you sure you wouldn’t rather take the admissions office job?

DEE

I’m going to pretend you didn’t say that.





Convincing my parents wasn’t nearly as difficult as I’d imagined. One look at Rob’s ScreenData page and they agreed to let me work on set. I suspect that I’d done enough moping since my Governor’s School rejection had arrived that they would have agreed to just about anything short of a pony to get me to perk up. And they’d only say no to a pony because it would trample my mother’s newly seeded lawn. Besides, working on a movie? With Milo Ritter? Yeah, that’s way better than a pony.

My dad did insist on getting on the phone with Rob (though I think he only managed to get through to his secretary) when I called about the job, and I also had to let him drive me to the studio on my first day (though my bike is in the rack on the back of the car to take me home). I tried to negotiate my way out of it, but it was no use. I think it was equal parts overprotective father and indie film fanboy that played into that decision.

“Turn here,” I say as we approach Roff Avenue.

“Are you sure?” The blinker clicks, quick, in time with my rapid heartbeat.

I’m sure. They’re the directions I gave Rob just a few days ago. We turn on Roff Avenue and bounce down the broken old road, past abandoned warehouses and overgrown factories. At the end of the road, an old office park emerges from the weeds. One of the buildings houses our local UPS depot, surrounded by brown trucks and eighteen-wheelers. Across the way is a drab warehouse with a red sign out front telling me it’s the home of Chiron, though I can’t even begin to guess what they do in there. The blue swishy logo gives no indication. There’s one more building on the lot, and though it has no sign, it must be my destination. I clutch the printout of the email from Rialto Productions. It has directions to production headquarters, along with a call time and some other information.