PART III: AFTER // Chapter Ten: How He Ended the Beginning and Began the Ending: 5

Arriving at the office building on Sunset just off Wilcox which housed FineHall Productions, Gil parked in his special designated parking space. Attaching the club firmly to his steering wheel, he left the car and strolled into the building. His stride was that of a much more confident man than he had been yesterday or certainly last Friday. This time he knew exactly what he was about.

He hurried towards the bank of elevators, pausing just long enough at the security desk to exchange brief sports pleasantries, (“How ‘bout those Dodgers!”) with DeVon the huge black chief of security. Proceeding to the elevators, he once again used his private key to stop the elevator at the tenth floor and emerge into the reception area where he saw Georgie bustling about with a stack of forms while Rosie as usual manned the reception desk.

“Oh hi, Gil!” Georgie greeted him, looking up from her pile of papers. “So, you’re going to take my Rosie away from me, are you?” She asked this with a little frown of mock petulance.

“Yeah,” murmured Gil apologetically. “Rosie told you about it, huh?”

“Yes,” replied Georgie, then turning to Rosie, continued, “You know I’m in conflict over this, don’t you, dear? On the one hand, I’m really glad for your promotion or whatever you call it here,” she shot a disapproving glance at Gil. But she turned back to Rosie and smiled. “It couldn’t happen to a nicer girl. On the other hand though it means I’m going to have to break in another temp. And we worked so well together the past few weeks, it seems a shame.”

Rosie looked a little flustered. “I’m really sorry to put you to all this trouble Ms. Jordan—“

“Georgie,” she interrupted automatically.

“Georgie,” Rosie continued, “it really wasn’t my idea, you know, I’ve been very happy in my job here.”

Georgie went over to Rosie’s desk and took one of her hands in both of hers and said reassuringly, “It’s okay, hon, don’t mind me. I’m just, you know, a little sad at losing you, that’s all.”

At this point Gil cleared his throat and said, “Uh, ladies, this is a really touching scene but I’d like to get on with it. Are you ready,  Rosie?”

“Sure,” she replied, “anytime you guys are.”

In answer, Gil went over to Rosie’s desk, picked up the phone and punched in a three-digit number. After a brief pause he said, “Money? Gil here. I’m in reception. Is that contract for Rosie ready? Uh huh. Good, listen. We’ll be there in just a couple minutes, okay?” Then he hung up the phone.

Smiling at Rosie he crooked his arm. “Shall we?”

Rosie stood up, came around in front of the desk and looped her arm into his. “Sure, why not?”

Gil turned to Georgie and said, “Buzz us in, will you, dear?”

Georgie did so and without further comment they walked down the hall arm in arm and entered Money’s office.

Looking up, Money said, “Well, good afternoon folks.” He picked up a small stack of paper from his desk and said, “Here’s the contract, Ms. Battista, you can read it over if you want, but allow me to hit the high points first.”

“Okay by me,” Rosie shrugged, not mentioning the fact that she had never actually read a contract before, as none of her heretofore limited theater work had required it.

Money shuffled the papers as Gil and Rosie took chairs in front of Money’s desk and seated themselves. Then he handed Rosie a three-page contract, saying, “This is your copy. Let me, as I said, just hit the high points, then you can read it through if you wish and then hopefully sign it.”

“Okay, she said again, putting her copy down on her lap and giving her full attention to Money.

“Ahem,” he said, clearing his throat in a businesslike manner. “In case you don’t know, I am Theodore J. Mooney. Everyone however calls me Money.” Here he grinned at Gil who grinned back. “I am FineHall production’s Chief Financial Officer, among many other things. Now, as to your contract. What we have here is a simple Independent Contractor’s Agreement for the duration of one year. I’ve set it up to begin on July first, just a couple of weeks from now, as that is the beginning of a quarter and it’s better for bookkeeping purposes. That means that this contract will expire on June thirtieth, 1995—that’s next year—unless both parties renew the contract before its expiration date. The contract calls for a fee of fifty thousand dollars to be paid out monthly on the first of each month in the amount of—I’ll just round it off—a little over four thousand dollars. This can be paid to you by check or direct deposit to your bank in your name. You can give me these details later. Now as to the salient points. First, you will notice that as an independent contractor we withhold no federal taxes, no Social Security, no Workers Comp, or benefits or any kind. Many of our people who are under the same kind of contract prefer us to withhold a certain amount of money each month to put into an escrow account for tax purposes. If you wish us to do this for you, you can give me the details later. Otherwise, you will receive the full amount of slightly over four thousand per month. The second thing is, your job specification is to be—“ here Money looked at Gil for verification, then continued— “Script Consultant. Any work you do for us in terms of acting in a film will be paid extra according to the normal payment for such a part. Also, I understand from Gil that you are primarily interested in stage work rather than films.” Here Rosie nodded in agreement. “I refer you to Section 7-A on page 3 which states that any outside acting in which you engage will be permitted by FineHall as long as you schedule it as far in advance as possible and it does not interfere with any work you’re currently engaged in for FineHall.”

Here Gil broke in. “Don’t worry about that,” he told her. “I’m pretty sure we can schedule anything you do for us around any stage work you want to do as well as your acting classes.”

“Great,” she said, “that makes me feel much better.”

“There’s just one more major point as far as I’m concerned,” Money continued. “You may want to engage a theatrical agent if you don’t have one already. This will be done entirely at your expense and any agreements with this agent will be entirely separate from the work you do here. It would be a good idea to have any agent that you wish to engage contact my office and I will explain to him your status with our company. So,” he concluded, “why don’t you look it over and then we’ll all three sign both copies.”

“Gosh,” exclaimed Rosie, “this is all happening so fast. Have you got a pen? I’m going to sign right now. After all,” she winked at Gil, “if I don’t trust you guys now, I never will.”

And so they signed the contract and though Rosie didn’t k,now it yet, she was on her way.

Upon returning to the reception area where Georgie was now siting at the main desk going through a pile of nondescript-looking papers, Gil turned to Rosie and said, “Well, welcome aboard!” They shook hands perfunctorily, then Gil turned to Georgie and wisecracked, “Don’t worry, Georgie, you’re not losing an employee, you’re gaining a colleague.”

“All very well for both of you,” she responded somewhat acerbically, “but now I have to get busy and get more office help, now that you’ve taken away—“ and here she winked at Rosie— “my girl.”

Rosie blushed a little at this, then said reassuringly, “Don’t worry, Ms. Jordan, I’ll come in and help you all I can, that is—“ she took a quick look at Gil, whose expression was noncommittal— “whenever I have time.”

Georgie got up, came around from behind the desk and patted Rosie lovingly on the head. “Don’t worry, dear,” she said, “I’m going to have to get someone else anyway. Now, what was the name of that great temp agency you worked for?”

“Oh, uh, TempSolutions,” said Rosie. “And that reminds me, I’d better go down there right away and tell them I’m quitting.” She looked at Gil inquiringly. “Uh, so, what are my duties now that I’m no longer a temp secretary?”

“Well,” said Gil, “really, nothing right now, but since you bring it up I would like you here tomorrow morning by eleven for our pre-production meeting on Raising Ezekiel. At that time we’ll talk about what you’re going to do on this production and anything else that might come up. Also, I want you to meet the whole gang.”

“Well, in that case,” said Rosie, starting to leave, “I’d better go downtown and finalize things with my agency.” She looked again at Gil, this time with a slightly puzzled expression on her face. “You know,: she said, “I was just thinking, I don’t get paid until July first. I was kind of counting of a couple more weeks here, you know, to make ends meet? Now, I’m not sure what to do till the end of the month. And my rent’s gonna be due before then.”

Gil looked at her, a soft expression replacing his usual businesslike one. “You gotta point there,” he said. “I never thought of that. Tell you what.” He turned to Georgie and said, “Georgie, cut Ms. Batista here a check for two thousand dollars. Uh, charge it to the casual labor account for—oh, why not, Script Consultant.” Then he turned back to Rosie and said, “That should see you through okay, right?”

As Georgie took the checkbook out of the drawer and began to write, Rosie said, “Oh gosh, yes. That’s more than generous. Thank you so much.”

“Nonsense,” said Gil, attempting to affect a stern look but failing miserably. “I believe in paying people what they’re worth, that’s all.”

Georgie finished writing and signing the check and handed it over to Rosie saying, “Good luck, dear. Take care.”

“I will, and thanks for everything, Ms. Jordan. You’re just about the best boss I ever had.”

Then Gil snapped his fingers and said, “Hey, I know what. Why don’t I drive you downtown and you can take care of that temp thing and then hey, since you’ve got all that money, why don’t we go over to west Hollywood and find you a decent place to live. Heck, I’ll even help you move. But this time I’m gonna get the SUV.”

Rosie put her arms around him and gave him a big kiss. “That would be great, Uncle Gil,” she said rather demurely, and so saying they skipped out the door together.

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