Through Story 3

After I fixed her second flat, Anna parked her bike in my office every morning. I was coming in around noon and at the time and never saw her do it. I’d pass her work area and see her sitting at a workstation in there with the rest of the artists, generating storyboards. I never saw her smiling, but she had a quality that attracted me like a magnet. I made extra trips past the door.

On a Friday, after several weeks of this, I was hurrying back to my office in the late afternoon to balance my drug and alcohol levels. I was having trouble with my head, or my legs, or my fingers. I couldn’t tell which. The uppers and the downers in me were pulling in non-orthogonal directions but I couldn’t think straight enough to know what to do about it. My office door was open and Anna stood just inside holding her bike by the handlebars. She had her helmet on and her pantlegs were gathered up by bike gaiters.

I nodded and pushed past her to my desk. I felt her eyes on me.

“How are you?” I said over my shoulder. “I’m just…”

She was wheeling her bike out the door. I fumbled with my keys, trying to unlock my desk drawer while looking back at her. She pulled the door shut after her, with a click.

I lined up my pill bottles on the desktop and unscrewed their lids. How to proceed? I fished out a bottle of Jack Daniels from the drawer.

The phone on my desk purred.

“What are you doing down there?” Aaron said, when I picked it up. “Get back to the stage. Brad is ranting at the crew. Help him out. Help them out.”

“I’ll be there in a minute.”

“You’ll be there now.”

He hung up.

I dithered, took several deep drags from the bottle, and left it at that.

“I can’t say these lines,” Brad said to me when I got back.

“You can’t say Don’t go. I love you?”

“I can say Don’t go. I can’t say I love you.”

“Why not?” I said.

“This guy wouldn’t say that.”

“Well, then, just say Don’t go. Say it like you mean it. Say it like it will make her stop. Say it like you mean you’re in love with her.”

“I need more than that. Give me some words.”

“Don’t go. I… I’m hungry. Make my dinner first. Don’t go… I’m horny. I need you. That’s it, Brad. Don’t go. I need you.”

“Nah. He wouldn’t say I need you, either.”

“I want you?”

“No.”

“Don’t go. Stay.”

“Lame.”

“Don’t go. I… I have something to tell you.”

Brad perked up.

“Ok,” he said. “Now then.”

“So she hesitates,” I said. “She doesn’t look back but she says What?”

“Yeah,” Brad said. “And then what do I say?”

“You say, Come back in here. You say it strong. She comes back in. She says What? again.”

“Yeah? And?”

“And you say, I love you.”

“Oh for Christ’s sake,” Brad said. “Get the f**k out of here, will you?”

Later Aaron came down to my office.

“Miramar Palms,” he said. “I won’t take no for an answer.”

“I’ll write him the damn lines. I’ll do it right now. I’m feeling better.”

“Too late. He could see the shape you’re in. I can see the shape you’re in. Everybody can see the shape you’re in. It’s a useless shape. I can also see into that open drawer. Your visit to Miramar will be the studio’s treat.”

“I can’t go back there, Aaron. It almost killed me last time.”

“I’m driving you over there now.”

“Just like that? Without a suitcase? Without a toothbrush?”

“They’ve got plenty of your stuff from last time. You room is ready and waiting. It’s all set.”

I was already sweating. I reached into the open drawer and opened a random bottle and took out a couple of capsules and swallowed them. I picked up the Jack Daniels and drained it.

“That should hold you till we get there,” Aaron said, “barring traffic on the 405.”

“Tell the woman with the bike she can still  keep it here,” I said, handing him the key to the door.

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Through Story 2

My car was in the shop and I couldn’t afford to reclaim it until I cashed my paycheck at the end of the week. I was riding a bike to work that Al Silverstein had lent to me. It belonged to his daughter but she didn’t use it much anymore.

I came out to the bike rack at five – this was at Warners – and Anna was standing there, staring at a flat front tire. Silverstein’s daughter’s bike had a pouch behind the seat. I unsnapped the cover on it. Inside was a patch kit and bike tools. A pump was clipped to the frame.

“I’ll fix it for you,” I said.

I had seen her around visual effects but had never met her. Didn’t know her name yet, or anything about her. She looked at me as if she had heard of me – as if, for a second, she was debating whether it was worth it to say yes. But she nodded.

I fixed the flat, caused by a copper tack, pumped up the tire, turned the bike over to her. We left the lot together and both headed for Riverside Drive. She was in better shape than I was and riding a better bike and in no time, without a word, she was out of sight. I pedelled on and had made it to Mariposa when I saw her coming back. She crossed over to me and rode alongside.

“That was rude of me,” she said. “Thank you again for fixing my tire. I’ve got to get up to Glendale. I’m just in a hurry.”

I thanked her for being thoughtful and told her to go on, and she did.

The next day I walked through her department and saw her working on a storyboard at a computer. She didn’t look up as I passed. That evening, her tire was flat again. Another copper tack.

“Is someone building in your neighborhood?” I said. “Are you riding over by carpentry here on the lot?”

She shook her head.

“Somebody angry at you?”

She didn’t say no.

“From now on, you might park it in your office.”

“The hiring manager doesn’t allow it. He’s a jerk about it. I’m on a contract and if I make a fuss, he won’t call me again.”

“I can fix that for you.”

“You have quite a reputation around here.”

“Then park it my office,” I said.

Once again, we left Warners together.

“Can I buy you a drink on the way home?” I said.

“I don’t drink and drive, even on my bike.”

“Can I buy you a drink after you get home? Assuming that you live within walking distance of a bar or pub.”

“Let me ask you something,” she said, while we waited at a light. “Do you have a bottle in your bedroom?”

“Several.”

“Well, have a drink on me. I do have to hurry again.”

The light changed.

“At least give me a smile,” I said. “I haven’t seen one yet.”

“Give me a reason,” she said.

And in a blink I was pedeling alone again.

That was our meet cute.

Through Story 1

The TV shows that I watch all have through stories. I don’t care for one-off episodes. This blog needs a through story of its own.

What the story will not include:

Elle Fanning – The TMZ article is bullshit. You will not find my mug shot on The Smoking Gun. John Edwards, yes. Me, no. Not anymore. Hey, let me tell you something. You stalk a thirteen-year-old movie star, you’re going to spend one hell of a lot of time watching her sit with her tutor, trying without success to calculate the volume of a cone.

J. J. Abrams – All I’m saying is, you know the best bits in Lost and Fringe? Run your eyes down the writing credits. You see my name there? Of course you don’t.

Rehab facilities – They’ve got nice rooms, green lawns and stone paths through gardens. Good food, activities. AND YOU CAN’T GET A F-ING DRINK TO SAVE YOUR LIFE.

Perhaps my through story will talk about writing and how lonely it is when you do it for a living. Stephen King? There has to be something wrong with that guy, so many books, so many words. I spent one solid year doing all my writing at parties. My work suffered but I was never lonely. I’d still be doing it like that but I don’t get invited to parties anymore.

Perhaps my through story will  talk about Anna, who is a pre-visualization artist at Paramount. How we met, our ups and downs, where we are now in our relationship. I should call her first, though, and update her on all that.