PART I: BEFORE // Chapter Four: How He Grew Up: 1

But it was not to be. Somewhere, sometime in the middle of the night, Gil had a dream. He dreamed that he had been called to DeVille’s office to audition for a prized directing job. The next thing he knew, he was sitting in the office looking down at the floor and suddenly he realized he wasn’t wearing any pants. Embarrassed, he looked around quickly. Fortunately no one else seemed to be in the room except Miss Schoonover, who was busily typing with her back to him. He started to get up, panic making him want to flee as quickly as possible. But the minute he started to get up Miss Schoonover turned around and looked at him. As he quickly sat down again and tried to cover himself with his hands, he realized that the woman wasn’t Miss Schoonover at all, it was Natalie.

Fixing him with a bright smile and seeming to take no notice of his state of undress she said, “Go on in, Gil. They’re expecting you.” Then she stood up and made little kissy noises with her lips saying, “I just know you’ll get the job.”

Somewhat more encouraged, Gil got up, went to DeVille’s office door and opened it. He had gone no more than a step into the room, however, when he stopped, mouth gaping in amazement and horror, because there on DeVille’s long black leather couch were entwined the two naked bodies of DeVille and Harry.

“What are you standing there for, Hall?” barked DeVille over Harry’s smooth and naked shoulder. “Come on in.”

Gil noticed that DeVille had the stub of a thick black cigar at the corner of his mouth. Then Harry turned to look at him and said over his shoulder, “Yeah, Mr. Hall, the more the merrier.”

As they both began making come hither motions with their hands, the scene dissolved and Gil sat bolt upright in his bed, sweating profusely. He immediately turned on the light and looked at his little Baby Ben alarm clock. It was a few minutes after 3AM.

Gil shuddered. “That’s it for sleep tonight,” he thought, and got out of bed. Pacing about the apartment for several minutes, he began to feel a little chilly for the apartment had no heat. Quickly throwing on an old work shirt which he covered with a now ragged college sweatshirt, he then pulled on a pair of old jeans, socks and running shoes. He realized also in dressing that he was hungry. He hadn’t eaten, he remembered, since the party at DeVille’s nearly twelve hours ago. So, deciding to do something about it, and hopefully rid himself of the disturbing dream images, he strode over to a small table where he kept his keys, billfold and money (when he had any). Grabbing the aforementioned items and thrusting them into the pockets of his jeans, he took a twenty and stuffed it into his billfold. Money, he thought. It was good to have money. He was still unaccustomed to having anything remotely resembling disposable income. But now the knowledge of the twenty in his billfold made him feel free as a bird.

He went over and looked out the one street level window. He noticed that it was still dark outside. No surprise there, but it appeared to be dry and, he ascertained by putting his hand on the windowpane, not too chilly. So, throwing on a light jacket, he left the building in search of sustenance.

As he walked north on Alvarado towards MacArthur Park, he wondered about the strange dream he’d had. It was unlike him, he thought, to dream in this manner. He wondered also what it meant. What could be bothering him? Hell, he thought, I’m twenty-five, a normal red-blooded American man. I should be dreaming about naked women, not men. He shuddered again. He wondered if his feelings of revulsion might not be covering up some secret subconscious homosexual longings. He had read of cases in which homophobic men had been revealed as closet homosexuals themselves. The theory was, so he understood, that their hatred of homosexuals was really a combination of shame and guilt at being that way themselves. He shook his head. He wished he had someone he could talk to about this, but came up with nobody. He realized that he knew almost no one in Los Angeles. His film crew undoubtedly would just laugh at him and make a big joke about it.

He had now reached the intersection of Eighth and Wilshire where there were some shops and markets. Looking around, he spied a small diner that miraculously still looked open. As he approached it, this was confirmed by a sign above its window which read, “Open 24 Hours. Breakfast Served Always.” Without hesitation he entered, quickly scanned the menu board behind the counter and ordered the $1.99 Breakfast Special—Ham and Eggs with Toast, Hash Browns and Coffee. Within a few minutes, as the place was nearly deserted, he received his food and was sitting on a stool at the counter busily devouring it.

Upon finishing his meal he discovered that he felt better both physically, now that he had satisfied his appetite, and mentally, as the disturbing images had been dissolved by large forkfuls of fried ham and eggs and two cups of coffee.

Returning home he found it was still dark and still quiet. As his Timex told him it was only just after 4:30, he quickly pulled off his clothes, got back into bed and in no time was snoring peacefully.

He awoke at about noon on Saturday, feeling much refreshed and relieved that he had had no more dreams, at least that he could remember. The rest of the weekend he spent uneventfully, getting his sleep back into a normal pattern and catching up on some reading, so that by Monday morning he was as ready to go back to work as he had been the previous week.

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