PART I: BEFORE // Chapter Four: How He Grew Up: 2

So when Harry rang his doorbell at the usual 7:30 Monday morning Gil was his normal self and Harry apparently the same. He was dressed impeccably as usual in his chauffeur’s costume and his manner was both respectful and noncommittal. Gil prudently decided to mention neither his dream nor Harry’s performance at DeVille’s Thanksgiving Party, and so the two of them drove to the staging area as usual.

They had been lucky with the weather so far in that even though it was the first few days of December it had yet to rain. Gil thought that even though DeVille had allowed him another two weeks of shooting, he could probably wrap it up in one.

As it turned out he was fortunate to be ahead of schedule because by Wednesday his luck had run out. At about midday it had started to rain, and the forecast called for intermittent but persistent showers for the rest of the week. Gil called a hasty meeting with the crew inside the sound truck, and when Sam and Dave and Mike had brought in the cameras and cables and rest of the equipment, Gil pondered how to proceed.

“I really think we’ve got enough footage on this project,” Gil told the group. “But I’ve got to get in touch with DeVille and find out for sure.”

Harry, who had been included in the conference and was sitting on a folding chair somewhat away from the others, now spoke up. “No problem there, Mr. Hall,” he said. “We can use my car phone.”

“You have a car phone?” Gil said in amazement, for he had never heard of such a luxury item before. “I never noticed it.”

“That’s because you always sit in back,” Harry reminded him. “But if you want, I’ll go get the car right now and pull it right up to the truck so you won’t have to get wet.”

“Great,” said Gil. “Go get it by all means.”

Harry did and was back with the limo in a scant five minutes. He then motioned Gil to climb into the front seat and took the phone’s receiver from the dashboard receptacle. “I’ll call him at the office,” Harry said. “I only hope he hasn’t gone to lunch yet.” He turned to Gil and grinned. “Mr. DeVille’s very big on lunches, you know,” he said, making a drinking motion with his right hand.

Gil smiled politely at Harry’s wry comment as the latter began to dial a number on the dashboard phone. Harry waited a few seconds and then said, “Hello, Miss Schoonover? This is Harry calling from the limo. Is Mr. DeVille still in?” He nodded a few times. “Good. Good. Put me through, would you?” Another few seconds, then “Mr. DeVille? This is Harry. Good. I’ll put him on.” He handed the receiver to Gil who had to move toward him to avoid stretching out the short cord.

“Mr. DeVille? This is Gil Hall. As you may have noticed, we’ve run into a little problem with the weather. I want to know how to proceed.” He listened for a second, then added quickly, “I think we’ve got enough footage so that we can wrap this thing, with your permission.”

DeVille’s voice was uncharacteristically mild and agreeable. “Sure, sure, Hall,” he said absently. “Been expecting this. How much good stuff you get the last couple days?”

Gil thought for a moment. “I’d say probably four to six hours.”

“That’s good enough for me, kid,” was the quick response. “That should definitely put us over the top. Tell you what I’m gonna do. Bring the latest footage to the office before five today. Harry’ll drive you. I’m busy the rest of the afternoon. Good thing you caught me. I’m just about to go have lunch with Heston. Be busy the rest of the afternoon probably. But tomorrow afternoon I’ll call my editor and we’ll go over all the footage by the end of the weekend. Now, here’s the deal. I’m betting ten to one that we’re covered. Tell the guys that they can take at least the rest of the week off, and tell them not to worry, they’ll get paid for the rest of the week and next week too, unless something comes up. As for you, if you don’t hear from me by Sunday evening, come to my office Monday morning and you can pick up your check. And I wanna say in advance thanks for a job well done. You need a reference use me anytime.” Then a little gruffly, as if to deny the sentiment in the last part of his speech, he concluded with, “Got all that straight, Hall?”

Gil assured him that he did, said his goodbyes and thanks, and handed the receiver back to Harry.

Then they both got out of the limo and went back into the sound truck where the other four men were waiting expectantly. “Fellas,” Gil announced, “as far as I know it now, this is officially a wrap.” There was no response from the group until Gil added, “And Mr. DeVille says you’ll all get paid for the next week and a half,” at which they began cheering, slapping each other on the back and taking turns pumping Gil’s hand until he began to lose the feeling in his fingers.

Gil turned to Harry. “Harry,” he said magnanimously,  pulling a twenty dollar bill from his pocket, “this is now a wrap party. Go thou and get us food and a case of beer.”

There was more cheering and hand pumping as Harry, who was quite used to this kind of thing, took the twenty from Gil and slipped out the truck’s door. In fifteen minutes he was back with the required items and, with rain falling all around the truck and beating on its roof, the little party began in earnest.

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