at a party
she pulled me over to say hi to him. he moved the drink from one of his hands to the other before reaching out to shake her hand.
the two other guys around him looked at her with wide eyes and then narrowed them at me. i nodded.
‘this is randolph,’ she said. ‘he’s the director i was telling you about.’
i shook his hand. his hand was small but strong.
‘nice to meet you, randolph,’ i said.
‘yeah, it’s great to meet you,’ he said.
and we looked at each other.
i said, ‘so you’re a director, huh?’
he said, ‘yeah, just, you know, stupid small independent films.’ then he said, ‘probably nothing you’d be interested in.’
‘oh,’ i said, ‘neat.’
she looked at the two of us and then said, ‘randolph tell him about your newest film.’
‘yeah,’ i said, ‘please do.’
‘well,’ said randolph, ‘it’s a horror flick. but not in the conventional sense. i’m going for a sort of ‘lord of the flies’ meets ‘joe versus the volcano’ meets vampires, um, synchronicity.’
‘well that sounds… exciting,’ i said.
‘doesn’t it?’ he said.
she said, ‘i’d watch it.’
‘you know,’ randolph said, ‘you could probably star in it if you’d like.’
her jaw dropped. she said, ‘seriously?’
‘of course,’ he said. ‘i was actually thinking about you when i was writing one of the characters. the heroine, actually.’
‘are you for real?’ she asked.
now the two goons were looking at me again. then even randolph glanced at me.
‘i am,’ he said.
i sipped my scotch and turned towards the sound of the piano behind me. i tried to discern what the somber pianist was playing, but i couldn’t make it out over all the talk.
the whole room was engulfed in conversation. there wasn’t anyone dancing. many mouths were moving. hands were splaying out in different directions helping their owners picture their words. then laughter. such hysteric laughter.
i tugged my collar away from my neck. taking a gulp, i turned back.
the goons were smirking as randolph was taking another step towards her.
he was saying, ‘and then you’re standing there at the foot of the volcano. that’s when you hear this screeching. it’s like, “REEEEEEEEEEEEEK!’ and it’s coming through the trees. the leaves all start to shake. that’s when you know you have to either jump into the volcano or let the whole world die at the hands of these vampires.’
‘how the fuck,’ i said, ‘is that supposed to make sense?’
every one of them glared.
‘because,’ she said sternly, ‘the volcano has been waiting for the victor’s soul and since i’m the victor i have to die in the volcano. so the vampires will die.’
‘how will the vampires die?’
he said, ‘the volcano will erupt and destroy the vampire nest.’
‘why not just form a blockade around the island and wait for the volcano to erupt?’
she said, ‘it only erupts with the spark of the victor’s soul.’
‘that’s right,’ he said.
‘what the hell kind of volcano are we talking?’
‘listen,’ said randolph. ‘it’s not supposed to be ‘citizen kane.’ it’s supposed to be just an awesome movie.’
‘well, you’re right, it sounds terrific,’ i said.
‘i think so,’ she said.
‘sorry, just one more question: how’d the vampires end up on an island? aren’t they from transylvania? are they a different breed or what?’
‘yes,’ he said. ‘they’re clearly a different breed.’
she looked angry. the two goons sputtered out a short laugh in unison. randolph said, ‘so anyway.’
and they went on talking.
i took another drink. i tried to hear the piano over all the talk.
how did i ever let her talk me into california?