PART III: AFTER // Chapter Nine: How He Got Back Again: 5

By way of answer Gil began to sketch out his overall idea of the script that was and would be the basis for Water Over the Bridge. As he began to pace about the room, eyes turned toward the ceiling, he began to talk faster and faster, with each passing moment beginning to recall more and more of the thrill he had experienced upon seeing his potential film at that theater in the future.

After he had been at it for about half an hour Rosie held up her hand and pleaded, “Whoa, slow down. I’m taking this down as fast as I can, but I’m not a machine.”

Gil stopped pacing, blinked several times, and finally came back to focus on the present. “Oh,” he said apologetically, “I’m sorry if I was going too fast. I guess I just got inspired.”

“That’s great,” Rosie said, but she laid down her pen and notebook and stood up. “I think I know what will help,” she said. “Be back in a minute.” She went into the bedroom and came back a few minutes later with a small case that to Gil looked something like a cross between an attaché case and a narrow hatbox. She took it over to the writing desk on the other side of the room near the kitchenette, unzipped the case and took out a tiny little typewriter. “This is my baby,” she explained to Gil, “her name is Olive. That’s short for Olivetti. I found her in a pawnshop in San Diego when I was just starting high school. That was nearly ten years ago, and I’ve had her ever since. Not bad for twenty-five bucks, huh?” she said, scrolling a piece of typing paper into the machine. “I guess the owner was selling it cheap because it’s so small. But fortunately I’ve got small hands and fingers so it works just fine for me. I can do sixty-five, even seventy words per minute on this baby and keep it up for hours if necessary.”

Then she stood up, went back to the couch, and picked up the notebook again. “Just give me about half an hour to get all this down and then you can talk as fast as you want, okay?”

“Sure,” said Gil, sort of secretly relieved to be able to take a break himself. He had gotten through the main outline and was now mired in the slow process of describing the individual scenes. “Tell you what,” he told her, getting up himself, “I’ll just run downstairs and get us something to drink while I’m waiting. What would you like?”

“Just get me a couple of diet Pepsis if you would,” she replied without turning around, her fingers already flying over the keyboard.

Within ten minutes he had returned with a six-pack of diet Pepsi which he placed in the mini fridge, taking out one can and, opening it, set it beside her on the desk. Then he returned to the couch and sipped his can of Club Martini while he waited.

After his break, the work went much faster and by about twelve- thirty he had finished detailing the scenes and they both decided that this was a good time to break for lunch.

After having gone downstairs and seated themselves once again in the nearly empty dining room, Gil ordered a steak sandwich on sourdough with frontier fries, while Rosie chose the deluxe bacon cheeseburger also with the fries. Their orders were delivered within the few minutes that they had come to expect and, between ravenously devoured mouthfuls, they chatted about this and that like old friends even though their acquaintanceship had been a scant twenty-four hours.

After finishing their meal they ordered a thick double slice of chocolate cake and, upon receiving it, without further ado Gil signed the check, leaving a lavish tip for the extremely efficient but, alas, anonymous waiter. Upon returning to the room Gil put the cake in the fridge, having agreed with Rosie that it would serve nicely as a mid-afternoon snack.

By about four o’clock Gil figured he had roughed in enough dialogue and scene description that he was better than halfway through and, looking over at Rosie as if coming out of a trance, saw that she was beginning to noticeably droop and quickly called a halt. “Look at me,” he remarked with a chuckle. “What a slave driver I turned out to be, huh?”

She stopped typing and turned to face him, a quick smile lighting up her face. “Oh, I don’t mind,” she said, “I just love being part of, you know, the creative process. But,” she frowned slightly, “my fingers are getting worn to the bone. Maybe we could take a break for about fifteen minutes?” Gil leaned back and put his clasped hands behind his head, stretched and yawned. “I can do better than that,” he said. “Frankly, I think we’ve done enough work for one day. We’ve still got all day tomorrow, and I see no reason why we can’t finish it then. Meanwhile,” he tuned his head toward the kitchenette, “what say we attack that chocolate cake?”

Rosie made no protest but sprang up, went to the kitchenette and rummaged through cupboards and drawers, finally coming up with a couple of plates and forks. Then she opened the fridge, took out the cake and divided it. Finally she walked over and handed Gil a plate and he began to hungrily wolf down his half. He was surprised to be so ravenously hungry after the weird events of the previous evening’s (or three days’) debauch.

They quickly finished their cake. Then as Rosie collected the plates and forks and put them in the small sink Gil snapped his fingers and said, “Hey, I know.”

Turning to look at him she quipped, “What do you know?”

“I’ll bet you haven’t spent that money I gave you, right?”

She shrugged. “You should know. I haven’t left the hotel since we got here. What would I spend my money on?”

“We-ell,” Gil said slowly and teasingly, “I never met a woman yet who didn’t like to shop.”

They were both in a lighthearted and teasing mood as she replied, “You just said my middle name. There’s nothing I like better than shopping for clothes. When I’ve got the money, that is,” she added. “Which unfortunately is not all that often.”

Gil waved a hand imperiously and said, “Well then, what are you waiting for? Go and shop. I’m pretty sure that you can find some shops right here on the strip within walking distance, don’t you think?”

“Don’t worry about me,” she said. “I could find a cute little boutique in the Mojave Desert. But what will you do in the meantime?”

“Don’t worry about me,” he said. “After a hard day’s work I feel the need of a little liquid refreshment, if you know what I mean.”

She frowned at that. “Just do me a favor,” she pleaded, “and don’t get too drunk this time, okay?”

Gil stood up. “I promise,” he said, “scout’s honor.” He flashed the salute. “Two, maybe three drinks at the most, okay?”

“Well…okay,” she said, and scampered into the bedroom, coming back a scant few minutes later, having changed into a frilly blouse, skirt, light jacket and low-heeled pumps.

“Take your time,” Gil said as she breezed past him towards the door. “What say we meet back here in the room about seven and then go down for dinner?”

“Okay,” she grinned, already having opened the door. “Look out Las Claritas, here I come!” Then she closed the door behind her and Gil was left alone with his thoughts.

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