PART I: BEFORE // Chapter Three: How He Met Her: 1

The rest of the weekend Gil spent happily hanging out in his little garden-level room on Alvarado. Before he had left the offices of Stupendous Pictures late Saturday afternoon, DeVille had slipped him without comment another expense check. Upon leaving the office and looking at it more closely, Gil was pleasantly surprised to see that it was for the full amount of two hundred dollars, even though he and DeVille had agreed he would only be working through Wednesday. Apparently the man was simply relieved that Gil had not tried to get more expense money out of him.

So the following Monday on the set as usual Gil employed the same procedure as he had the previous Monday: getting Harry to cash his check for him. All went smoothly that day, and Tuesday and Wednesday as well. In fact, by midday on Wednesday Gil found himself with what he figured was at least four or five hours of usable footage. Therefore he decided to give his crew a break, giving everyone the rest of the week off at one o’clock, thereby allowing them to beat most of the heavy pre-Thanksgiving traffic. His crew of course was overjoyed, calling him the best director they had ever worked with.

Thus when Gil got home at around mid-afternoon, he found he still had about two hundred fifty dollars in his pocket and nothing really to do for the next four and a half days, except to attend DeVille’s party on Friday. Harry had already told him that he would pick him up around two, and again cautioned Gil to control his hunger until he got there. “That’s one thing I’ll say for DeVille,” Harry commented. “Whenever he throws a party, there’s always plenty of food and drink to go around. You won’t be disappointed. It’ll be well worth the wait.” So Gil promised to be good and Harry gave him a wave, got in the car and drove off again.

The first thing Gil did with his newly-acquired wealth was to locate the manager of his rooming house and pay the man the entire one hundred dollars rent for the month of December. The manager was so taken by surprise at this largesse from a tenant who for years had had a spotty record of payment at best, that he brought out a bottle of cheap brandy from under the counter and offered Gil a holiday drink. Gil took it gratefully, ignoring its rather foul taste, preferring to concentrate instead on the warmth with which it suffused his body.

The next morning, Thanksgiving day, Gil decided to live dangerously and go around the corner on Beverly to a medium-priced restaurant that he had often passed, wishing he could afford to partake. A sign in the window read, “Thanksgiving Dinner Special—Turkey and All the Trimmings—Only $9.95”. That’s for me, Gil thought, and entered the restaurant, where he was soon enjoying the first traditional Thanksgiving dinner he’d had since leaving home several years ago. Thus satisfied, he went up the street to a movie theater that was showing a Bergman double feature, and lost himself in the man’s cinematic artistry for the rest of the afternoon.

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