The car sped freely up the narrow highway that overlooked the choppy Pacific waters. It was an unseasonably cool day in southern California, and it looked like rain.
“Quite a day, huh?” Mike said, without looking at Mel who was staring through the window, watching the waves break on the cliffs below.
“It’s cold. I don’t like it. But, what are you going to do?” Mel said.
Mike eased his foot onto the accelerator and let the engine sing. He doubled the speed limit as he navigated the sharp turns.
“How about this car, Mel? I just got it yesterday, pretty nice, no?” He said, over the engine.
“She is cherry,” Mel said, while pulling his cigarettes from his breast pocket.
He lit his cigarette and let the smoke seep through the dry crack between his lips. He labored over the script that was given to him just the day before, it was curled, torn, and stained with coffee now. Massaging his head, he let out a frustrated grunt.
“What is this script? It’s nonsense.” He said, dropping it onto his lap.
Mike smiled at the sound of this as he maneuvered through another turn.
“I don’t know. I think it’s pretty good. It’s a good story, and I think there are some good lines for all of us in there.”
Mel crossed his arms and watched out the window as the scenery flashed past him. The ocean was a little further from sight now, and the grass along side the road was a little taller.
“Here I am, a long way from home.” He said.
“What’s that Mel?”
He let out a solemn sigh and paused for a moment.
“Nothing kid, just keep driving.”
Mike smiled again. He was often amused by Mel.
“Why the hell are we shooting these scenes way the hell out here?” Mel said, while bracing himself as Mike roared through another turn.
“You haven’t seen it yet. Just wait until you see what Mitchell has in store for us.”
“We could have shot the whole thing on the lot. You’d be amazed at what those set builders can do. This? This is just a waste of time if you ask me.”
Mel felt nauseated. He closed his eyes for a moment.
“You get to meet Mindy today Mel, wait until you see her.”
“Who?” He asked, griping the rolled up script a little tighter.
“Mindy, my costar, the one I told you about? She’s a little new to the game but man, let me tell you, she is incredible, wait until you see her Mel, you’ll wish you were thirty years younger.”
“If I were thirty years younger, I’d still be an old man.”
He rested his head back with his eyes still closed. It started to rain, tapping the window beside him. He wondered what Mindy looked like.
She was a blonde. He was sure of it. She had bright red lips and eyes like wide open spaces. He watched her dance circles around him as the band played its slow romantic tune. Feeling dangerous, she approached him. So bold was she to even touch his hand as she said in a soft, smoky voice;
“I hope I’m not interrupting your staring by asking you to dance.”
Mel took a long drag from his cigarette, and without so much as a smile replied;
“Why not at all,” He said. I’m sure I can keep staring at you while we dance.”
He stood up with her hand in his and approached the dance floor just as the director yelled “cut.” The lights came up and the circus of the movie set commenced.
He opened his eyes and looked through the window again, the ocean was barely in sight now, and the road side was dotted with fruit stands and turn off points. He rested his head against the window and listened to the hum of the engine.
“You know the first time I was on this road was in 1952?”
“Really, that long ago? Must have been something.”
“I had just finished a little picture called Here on Earth with Margaret Ingblaum and she and I drove up here one afternoon to celebrate.”
He looked at the road, as if he were tracing his steps.
“I was 20 years old, the first time I had ever been out of Minnesota.”
The vague hint of a smile broke across his face.
“It was different then. Boy, was it ever.”
“What’s that, Mel?”
“Nothing kid, just the incoherent ramblings of an old man.”
He unrolled the script and leafed through the torn and folded pages.
He wondered what the location looked like.