Trainwreck - A Very Guilty Pleasure

Chapter 2: Drama!

"A fireman? Wow." Devin sat on the large sofa next to Ike. He sipped from his glass of red wine. "That’s kind of dangerous, isn’t it?"

Ike stared at the waifish, handsome newcomer. "It can be, but we’re careful."

Ben watched the pair and how Devin kept touching the big man. It was supposed to be innocent, but Ben knew better. His husband loved big, capable men and he never hid the fact.

Every time we go somewhere! I need to start asking first. Oh, by the way, is your partner over six feet? Because if he is, mine will be all over him within thirty seconds of our arrival. Ben kicked the coffee table ‘accidentally’ causing snack dishes and glasses to clatter. "Oh, shit. I’m sorry. I thought I’d just go see if Frank needs any help in the kitchen."

Ike had reached out to keep his beer bottle from falling. He smiled. "Hey, sorry. No, no. Listen you sit and relax with Devin here. I’ll go and check on Frank." The big man got to his feet and walked out to the kitchen.

Ben eyed Devin.

"What?" Devin glowered back.

"Do you need to do that? Every time we go anywhere. You start," Ben whispered. He was tired from all of the hours they had put in to get the pilot done in time. He knew he was cranky but he couldn't help it.

"What do I start?"

Ben rolled his eyes. "Really? I’m surprised his dick is still in his pants."

Devin was about to reply when their hosts returned. "So, come on, and we’ll eat. I hope you guys like chicken." Frank motioned them toward their casual dining room.

Dinner was pleasant and chatty, though Ben avoided dealing with Devin as much as possible. The latter didn’t seem to notice as he was preoccupied with the big, sexy fireman. Ike seemed to be enjoying the attention, a fact that did not escape Frank.

"Ike, can you help me? Ike!"

"Yeah?" Ike pulled his eyes away from Devin.

Frank gripped the edge of the table and repeated, "Can you help me in the kitchen, please?" Ben saw the effects of their overwork in Frank too. They had been run ragged over the last ten days, desperate to make their deadline.

"Yeah, sure." Ike got to his feet and grabbed a couple of plates, then followed Frank.

"This … this is why we have zero friends, Dev." Ben glared at his partner. "Do you have to do this right in front of me and the guy’s husband?"

"What are you talking about? I’m just talking to …"

Ben had just opened his mouth to speak when Frank returned. He smiled. "Let’s move back to the living room … it’s nearly showtime!"

"I can hardly wait to see our work on there, Frank. It’s going to be a hit; I can feel it." Ben picked up a few of the dishes.

"Just leave the rest for now, thanks, Ben. Let’s just get our coffee and watch."

"Oh, okay."

Once they were seated on the sofa, after Frank squeezed himself in between Devin and Ike, he turned on the TV and found SNET.

Ben was literally on the edge of his seat as the opening credits rolled. "Oh, look! Our names are there …"

&&&

As the Houseboat Floats - Episode One

Scene: Tom and Gerry’s living room.

Tom enters a dingy room of an obviously older apartment. He sighs melodramatically. "Oh, Gerry, baby I am so tired of this place and this town."

Gerry peers up at his boyfriend from a sofa that has seen better days. "Me too, Tom. What can we do? We can move, but where do you want to go?"

"Oh, Gerry? Can we? Would you do that for me?" Tom drops beside Gerry. "I love you so much."

Gerry smiles and takes his boyfriend’s hand. "I love you too. Of course, we can move. How about to a place on the water? It’s so romantic."

"Oh, yes." Tom gazes upward. "I can see that now. The gently rocking boat, the full moon."

Gerry holds his boyfriend close. "Let’s do it, Tom. Let’s move."

Scene: Two Months Later … The couple stand on a dock, checking out their new home.

"What is it, Gerry?"

"Well, it’s sort of a houseboat but it doesn’t move. There are two living spaces in it."

"Oh, I see. Which is ours?" Tom takes a few steps forward.

As they stand and take in the sights, the owner of the dock and marina, Lou, comes out to speak to the newcomers. He is a large man, ruggedly handsome, older and prowls rather than walks. He takes in the two younger, fit men and Lou grins as he approaches them.

"Can I help you, boys?"

&&&

Devin’s eyes were glued to the television. Around him, despite their best efforts, the exhausted Ben and Frank had fallen asleep. He gazed over at the fireman. Ike was not sleeping. When their eyes connected, Ike gestured to the kitchen and Devin nodded. They stepped quietly by their sleeping husbands, and Ike led Devin out through the glass doors onto the deck.

"So." Ike stared down at Devin. He leaned against the railing in the cool October evening and smiled. "Do you and Ben play? With others, I mean."

Devin wet his lips. "We have an agreement. I can mess around, oral only… and he doesn't want to hear about it."

Ike straightened and stepped over next to him. "That a fact?" He stuck his thumbs into his pockets, so now his fingers bracketed his ample package.

Devin couldn't help but watch. "Yeah. Ah, how about you guys?"

Ike shrugged. "What Frank doesn't know won't hurt him."

Devin felt a thrill associated with knowing what they both wanted was taboo. "Well"—he put a hand on the big man's chest—"let's just keep it quiet then."

They kissed and Devin wasted no more time in unzipping Ike’s denims. He pulled out the hardening member, licked his lips and said, "Now that is a cock."

Somewhat later, Ike smiled down at the kneeling Devin. "You have some oral talent, boy. I’d like to see what else you can do." The fireman helped the smaller man up. They kissed. "Can we see each other again?"

"I’d like that a lot." I like being in the arms of a real man. "I’ll give you my number."

Ike grinned. "Perfect." He pulled out his phone, and they shared information. "Thanks, Dev. Listen, let’s collect up the dishes, and stack the machine. They’ll wake up soon."

Devin nodded. "Sure. Hey, I love Ben. He’s a good guy … it’s just our sex-life is pretty tame. We're both really bottoms and he just can’t give me what I want always … or ever."

Ike's eyes were hungry. "I understand that. I can give you what you need." He cocked his head. "So, does that mean you want to stretch the agreement you've got with Ben?" Ike rubbed his now-covered dick. "I'd love to use this on that hot ass of yours."

Devin hated how much he liked the sound of that. "Fuck." He ran a hand through his dark hair. "I … I don't know."

"We’ll work out something so they don’t find out. I don’t want to hurt them either, but I need a good bottom." Ike wrinkled his nose. "Frank hates bottoming, and that's just not as much fun as it should be—for anybody." He grinned. "You'd be saving him from a real chore."

Devin chuckled. "Maybe."

They hastily cleaned themselves up, filled the dishwasher and cleaned the kitchen.

Out in the living room, the sounds of cleaning and quiet talk from the kitchen woke Frank and Ben.

"Oh, god, we slept through our own show!" Frank groaned and scrubbed his face.

Ben yawned. "Well, what I saw, I liked!"

The pair got up and went in search of their mates. As they entered the kitchen, Ike turned around from where he was prepping the coffee maker.

"Hey, good morning, you two."

Devin grinned. He’d finished plating the pastries they’d brought as their contribution to the evening. "Just in time … everything is done in here!" He quickly flitted to Ike’s side.

"Thanks, you two, for clearing up and getting this ready. It’s great," Frank said, happily surprised by the initiative.

The foursome sat in the living room, going over the evening and the show. The men comfortably chatted with each other.

After he finished his coffee, Ben reached over and patted his husband’s leg. "You ready?"

"Yeah. It’s getting late." Devin reached for and squeezed Ben’s hand. "It’s been great meeting you both. But we have a bit of a drive."

"It was terrific having you." Ike grinned at Devin and then turned to his man. "Great evening, right, babe?"

Nodding, Frank smiled also. He rose to his feet as their guests did. "It was. We should do this again."

After a few more minutes talking at the door, Ben and Devin said goodnight and drove home.

Once home, Ben crawled into bed with Devin. The boat rocked gently and Ben slipped his arm around his husband. "Thanks for coming with me. Sleep well." He kissed Devin, stopped and stared, and kissed him again. "You smell funny."

"I do? Funny how?"

"Well, if I didn't know better …" Ben wrinkled his nose. "It’s almost like—"

Devin coughed and threw back the covers. "I’ll wash my face."

Ben had thought those days were behind Devin. "Use mouthwash too!" Deeply disappointed, he turned away from Devin’s side of the bed, unconsciously curling into a ball.

&&&

The next workday did not start serenely for Terrence.

"Get those two up here, and I mean NOW!" Gail shouted into the intercom. "And after you get a hold of them, you get your big ass in here. I want to see those test panel results!"

Two minutes later, Terrence tapped and then entered. He carried a file, which he was flipping through. "The writers are on their way up, ma’am."

Moments before, in Writer’s Room 8, Frank had been telling Ben about his evening after they’d left. "So Ike let me top, and he’s all agreeable, which is weird. Then we’re going at it … I’ve got about three more minutes before I … well … before I’m done, and I notice the prick is asleep!" Frank sighed deeply. He said to Ben, "Sorry … that’s way too much info."

I know why he was so agreeable … because my husband’s belly was full of his … Ben regarded Frank sympathetically. "It’s fine. I mean, you telling me, is fine. I’m sorry it happened." Ben debated saying more, then went for it. "Ah, Devin and I sort of have this agreement. He can play, as long as he sticks to oral." Ben's misery and embarrassment were plain on his face. "I'm pretty sure it happened, probably when we fell asleep. I'm sorry, really."

Frank sighed. It didn't seem like a surprise to him that Ike had strayed. "Yeah, well, I'm not an idiot. I know Ike fools around when he can. It's why I make him get tested every three months. Thanks for telling me.” Frank reached for the ringing phone. "Writer’s 8 … um, yes. We’ll be right there."

"Who’s that?"

Frank swallowed. "Her toady. She wants us up there five minutes ago."

&&&

Gail was pacing in front of her floor-to-ceiling windows. "Did you watch that? That … that boat thing? Did any of the panelists manage to stay awake?" Gail speared Terrence with a furious expression.

"I … I’m not su—"

"I was awake. And do you know why?" Gail did not wait for an answer. "Because I like to see where my money is going. I did not expect to see it going down the drain!"

Outside their boss’ slightly open door, Frank and Ben’s eyes met. Frank whispered, "Shit."

Terrence flipped a few pages as he read the test panel feedback. "Uh." His eyes were locked on the page. I’m sure this wasn’t what I saw when I read it last night! But … damn.

'Uh' was not a word that typically came from Terrence, and Gail cocked her head. "What?"

"Madam, there has been a mistake. The feedback from the test panels for Broken Girl Ranch and As the Houseboat Floats were mixed up." He actually looked pained. "We canceled the wrong show."

Gail let out a screech. "Where are those two hacks?"

"Did you hear that?” Frank said softly. “The only reason we are here is because ..."

"Yeah, I heard," Ben said from behind his hands.

Frank chose that moment to knock on the door. He pushed it open.

Gail saw her least favourite writers and yelled, "Get in here and sit down!"

Terrence had continued to read while Gail raged. "All may not be lost, Madam. Seems the panelists loved Lou."

Ben and Frank sat in the two hard-backed chairs in front of Gail’s desk.

Ben felt faint. It can’t have been that bad! Well, we both slept through most of it but not from boredom. It’s their fault though; we should have stuck with the ranch story I wrote.

Frank opened his notebook and laid a sharp pencil in its gutter. This is an amazing job. I hope we can fix this.

Gail retook her seat while Terrence stood behind her on the left. She smoothed the paper which sat before her on the desk. She gazed at each writer for a long moment. "Well, this is a fine mess. I am stuck with you two."

She got up to resume pacing. "What type of shows are they watching these days? What books are popular?"

Ben and Frank turned to each other as if to say Is she asking us?

But Gail continued. "Zombies are everywhere, there are lots of mainstream fairy tale and supernatural shows. And the self-publishers seem to love these shifter things. Terrence, what the hell is a shifter anyway?"

Terrence touched his hair and then replied, "Were-creatures of one sort or another. Were-chimps, were-elephants, but it seems that the most popular are were-wolves, madam."

Gail stopped her pacing. "That’s it! That is the answer. Which character from that yawn-fest last night did they like?"

"Lou, Madam. He was the owner of the houseboat and the marina, I believe."

"Lou … Louis? No … oh, what is that? Lupine? No that’s a flower. Lupus is a disease." Gail was mumbling as she returned to her desk and lit a cigarette. "Lupus! Wolf … Lupe. Lou will be Lupe!"

Ben turned to Frank and whispered.

Gail noticed. "What the hell did you say?"

"I’m saying you want to make my … our work into a supernatural ..."

"You’re damn right." Gail blew smoke. "We will give ‘em what they want to see! Not that tired mess from last night." The rake-thin woman turned to her assistant. "I want those two … Tom and Gerry … gone or made into side characters. I hated them, and so did the test panel."

"As Madam wishes." Terrance made notes.

A sick feeling twisted in Ben's belly. "Wait. We don't get a say here?" He hoped for some support from his partner. "I mean, we have to write this stuff. I don't know if I can write about, ah, werewolves, and things like that."

Frank cleared his throat. "I … I think we can work with this, Ben." He nodded. "Yeah, let's give it a shot. I mean, you heard Gail—we bombed."

Ben blinked at Frank. "That isn't true!" He crossed his arms over his chest. "Just because the test panel didn't—"

"You bombed." Gail stood up and walked to the window overlooking her eighteen-storied view of downtown. She peered over her shoulder and pointed at Frank and Ben in turn. "That one's a good writer; and you've got experience on a boat. That's why you're both here. Figure out how to make it work. You're under contract for a season, but I'll be damned if it's a season filled with episodes like the pilot!"

Ben felt as if he'd been slugged. "I … I'm just a boat consultant?"

"No. No, Ben." Frank tried to help. "That's not what she's saying."

"Oh, I'm sure you can help get the scenes written too. You seem to know your grammar well enough to help Frank." Terrence's derisive tone nearly made Ben snap.

"What the fu—" Ben had started to get to his feet.

Frank pulled his ticked-off partner off back down. "Um, Ben … Ben, I really think we need to give this new storyline a chance."

Ben, who had been glaring at his boss’ assistant, reluctantly turned his head to stare at Frank. "You do … really? Supernatural?"

"Yeah, buddy. I think we really need to."

Gail, who had watched all of these exchanges, exclaimed, "Do you want to write for TV, Ben? If so, you'd better get your ass in gear and your heart off your sleeve. You had better also realize your strengths and weaknesses!"

Returning to her desk, she lit another cigarette and sat heavily. The tobacco and paper crackled as she sucked the air through the tube harshly. With the cigarette between her middle and index finger, she pointed at Ben and winced a little when smoke drifted into her eye. "And something else ... neither of you are God’s Gift. So get over it. Realize that we pair writers as partners for a reason. So stop the prima-donna routine. Get out of my office and down to yours, and do some goddamn work!"

Frank stood and pulled Ben to his feet. "Thanks, Gail. We … um … we're going. We’ll write that new supernatural pilot, er … installment."

Stumbling along after his partner, Ben gave one more evil stare at Terrence, who held the door.

Terrence fired a parting shot. "And make it sexy too!"

&&&

"Fuck them!" Ben paced in their office. "They wouldn't know good if it slapped them across their smug faces!"

Frank hit the power button, and his computer began to warm up. "Ben, I know you're upset, but we gotta start on the next episode. Like, now."

"No, you heard them. You gotta start on the next episode." Ben gritted his teeth. "I'm just a boat consultant, remember?"

"That's not true." Frank stepped close. "I need your help."

"No, you don't." Ben put on his jacket. "Call me when you need to know something about boats. I'm going home. You can tell them I left. I hope they fire me." They both knew as long as the episodes were produced at the rate specified in their contract, they would continue to be employed. But Ben was pissed, and nothing was exactly clear at the moment.

Frank watched him leave and made a sad, frustrated noise as the door closed behind his partner. "Well, shit." He pulled out his chair and sat, staring at the blank screen for episode two. "Okay, so what was it that they said? Sexy, werewolf, supernatural." His nose wrinkled. "And write Tom and Gerry out of the story."

Frank felt terrible about that part. Those were Ben's characters and he had put a lot of thought and effort into them. True, they came off as a bit one dimensional and uninteresting to the test panel, but Ben was trying to play the long game with their roles. He sat back in his chair, thinking.

"Okay." The barest glimmer of an idea began to form around Ben's doomed characters. "Okay, maybe there's a way to save them and make Gail happy too."

Frank bit his lip and began to type.

&&&

Two hours later, Ben glared at his half-filled glass. An early fall storm had rolled in and painted the Toronto sky in black and gray thunderheads. Lightning flashed, followed by the accompanying thunderclap shortly after.

He sat at a window-side table in the dark little bar near the dock. It was where he and Devin had first met. The Coxswain's Nest did not exactly offer highbrow drinking, and at first Ben had looked down his nose at the working man's joint. But it was near his old home and had grown on him.

"Oh, of course," Ben growled at the weather and swirled his drink. He worked his way through his fourth rum and coke. As the rain began to patter against the windowpane, Ben checked his phone again. "Where the fuck are you, Devin?" His text from a half-hour ago had gone unanswered.

The first time he had been to the bar was a few years back. He just finished the manuscript for his book and had taken himself out to celebrate. It was the first time he had met his husband, who had been there drowning his sorrows after being dumped by his ex. After a few drinks, one thing had led to another, and they left the place together. They'd been paired up since.

Ben tried to call Devin. It rang until it went to voicemail. "Devin, where the hell are you? I'm at the Coxswain's. Can you come get me, please? It's pouring, and I … I just need you." He hung up and let his phone clatter to the tabletop. Ben propped his head on his hand and stared outside at the steadily increasing rainfall.

Ben sipped his drink until it had disappeared. His hand remained on the glass with its slowly melting ice.

"Hey." The barback's voice startled him. Ben’s bleary eyes found the dark-haired fellow who had stopped by his table. "Sorry. You want another? Rum and coke, right?"

Ben buzzed hard from the drinks. "Fuck it. Why not?"

The barback took his empty glass. Soon another filled with his drink of choice appeared at Ben's elbow. He took a sip of the strong beverage.

Another half-hour saw Ben slumped in his seat. "Buddy?" The barback had returned and stared with some worry at him. "Hey, we can't serve anymore to you. You got anybody to come get you?"

Ben nodded. "Yeah, I called 'im." Ben glared at his phone. "Bastard hasn't called back."

"Well, you got anybody else?"

A wild flood of emotion threatened to overwhelm Ben. "N-no. Not really." He inhaled. "Wait. Maybe."

&&&

Frank squinted through the water sheeting on his windshield. Ben had just called, and now Frank was on the way to pick him up from the bar.

There were some real doubts swimming through Frank's mind. He could write dialogue and scenes well enough, but stitching them together into a logical plot was something he struggled to do. He had watched Ben write, and the man had a gift for planning a story that Frank didn't. When Ben walked out, Frank had a deep sense that they were doomed to fail.

He's totally fucking me over. This is a great job. I really need this job. Fuck.

Frank felt as if his life was swirling out of control. First, his suspicions concerning Ike and Devin ate at him. His firefighter husband was suddenly secretive of his schedule and phone, and that had happened right after Ben and Devin were over. Now, Frank's work on the soap was in jeopardy too.

Ben had walked to the bar from their office earlier in the day, so it wasn't far. The rain and traffic made things harder than they otherwise would have been, but Frank soon drove past the front of the place. Of course, there was no street parking, so he pulled into the closest paid lot he could find.

Frank dashed from his car through the rain. It only took about thirty seconds for him to enter the bar, but he was already soaked from the downpour. He shook himself like a dog, and peered around the dark interior. He spied his partner on the end stool at the bar.

"Ben? You okay?"

Grinning, Ben grabbed Frank’s forearm and pulled him on the barstool next to him. "Yesh, no. I am pished off. I cannot find my so-called hushband. So I … Frankie, you are my only friend." Ben switched from true confessions to gazing at Frank like a confused cocker spaniel. "You’re wet … why are you all wet?"

"It’s pouring out." Frank gently pried the glass from Ben’s hand. "I think you’ve had enough."

"You think show? Okay."

"It's just ginger ale." The bartender smiled at the pair. "We cut him off a little bit ago."

"Oh, okay. Thanks for that." Frank focused on Ben. "Hey. You know, it’s not so late. Let’s stop and buy some food and coffee. Then come back to work with me. I’ve written a lot but I need you to help me. Please, Ben?"

Ben had come to his senses slightly. "You really do? Need me, I mean?"

"Shit, yes. Come and help me knit this pony together. Of course, I need you."

Ben struggled. "Not heard that in a while."

Frank flinched. "Well, you're hearing it now."

"Big Macs first?"

"Yeah, we’ll go there, no problem."

"Okay, Frank. Thanks for coming." Ben stood up and pulled on his jacket.

&&&

As the Houseboat Floats (Supernatural Episode 1)

Scene: A small waterfront wharf on a river. The store, gas pumps, and small dock belong to Lupe Guidry.

Lupe hands change to a young woman. He licks his lips as saliva runs from the corner of his mouth. Under his breath he whispers, "Here you go, lamb chop."

Grossed out, the young woman grabs her change from the hairy hand and nearly runs from the store.

Grinning broadly, the owner turns to his waiting new tenants. The man’s oversized white teeth makes one of them, Tom, stare even harder at his well-built dockman’s body. Lupe winks at the boy.

Tom flushes red.

"So, y’all owes me a month's deposit on da houseboat."

Gerry pulls an envelope from his neat designer bag. "I have the cash, just like you asked for." He notices their new landlord drooling … then turning around Gerry sees his boyfriend wide-eyed and smiling.

Clearing his throat loudly, Gerry slams the money on the counter while kicking his boyfriend in the shin.

"OW! Gerry, what the … ?"

Lupe licks his lips very suggestively and snatches up the cash. "Right, boys. Why don’t I shows you your new home for da month?"

The three walk out of the shot together, and the scene fades to black.

—Commercial break—

Scene: Things resume outside as they walk to the houseboat. Lupe is talking.

"Don’ts worry about makin’ too much noise. Hehe … me, I likes to listen."

Tom is all smiles as he ogles the studly older man.

"Y’all have da back part of dis nice big boat, and I lives up in da front." Lupe gives the key to Gerry, who unlocks the door and goes in.

Tom moves to follow, but Lupe pulls him back. The big man whispers to him, "Yous like big guys?"

Tom nods, and Lupe takes his hand and rubs it on his crotch. "Yous can come an plays wit my baseball bat anytime."

From inside comes Gerry’s voice, "Tom!"

Tom lingers near Lupe, his hand still on the man’s groin. He smiles prettily at the bigger man. "Okay, I like to play."

Lupe leans close to the boy’s neck. "Well, tells me when yous want it. Lupe'll give it to you, on top, under, and over."

Gerry appears at the doorway. "Tom! Get in here and help me unpack."

Tom pulls himself away from Lupe to join his boyfriend. From outside, Lupe shouts. "Welcome aboard, boys!"

—Commercial break—

Scene: opens with a full moon shot; it is a cloudless night. The camera pans over the lit lake, then to the back deck of the houseboat. Tom and Gerry sit together, each with a glass of wine.

Overhead there is a meteor shower.

"Gerry, this is so romantic. Let’s go inside and …."

Gerry looks up. "Just a few more minutes. It’s so cool."

They hear a wolf howl, and it sounds close.

Tom casts around wildly. "Did you hear that? It sounds like it’s next door!"

Gerry giggles. "You think Mr. Guidry is a wolf? I know he acts like one, but …."

Suddenly, there are several splashes into the lake (and glowing comet bits fall onto Gerry).

Gerry jumps up, howling in pain. "Ow, damn it. What the hell???"

Tom appears concerned. "Babe?"

"What is going on? Let’s get inside!"

They run inside. Gerry pulls off his shirt, which has a dime-sized burn in it. A bit of metal/rock falls to the floor. Tom bends to pick it up.

"What the heck …"

"Tom ... can you get some ice, please? This really hurts." Gerry is focused on his chest, as there is a wet bloody burn mark there.

Tom notices and runs to the kitchenette. He returns with ice and some bandages. We leave the pair at their little table, with Tom trying to repair his boyfriend.

—Commercial break—

Scene: It is morning. Lupe is on deck, shirtless, on his side of the boat. He rubs his arms and drops the brown hair that comes off into the lake. He does the same with his ears. Lupe is just pulling a form-fitting t-shirt on when Tom comes out.

"Hey, good morning, Mr. Guidry."

Lupe peers down at the handsome younger man. "Mornin’. Yous man be inside?" Lupe wets his lips with a long tongue.

"Yes, he’s still sleeping."

Lupe chuckles. "Right now, I needs to open the shop. But later, why don’t you comes over … for coffee, like?"

Tom grins broadly. "Oh … um sure, thank you."

Their well-built landlord walks toward the young man. He stops and slips a big hand around the boy and squeezes his ass. "You and me. We can plays real nice."

"Yeah, I bet, Mr. Guidry."

"You can call me Lupe, sweet boy."

Tom licks his lips and replies, "Thanks Mr. … Lupe. I’d like that." He reaches back and squeezes Lupes hand.

From inside comes a weak call. "Tom … Tom. Please can you help me?"

"Coming, Gerry."

"You man needs you. Comes over later and Lupe will looks after you."

Tom grins broadly and goes inside the houseboat. "Oh, my god! Gerry!"

&&&

"Let’s take it again from scene four, please, people." The assistant director clapped his hands.

"Terrence, I thought I told them to get rid of those two boys?" Gail sat with her assistant, watching the rehearsal for the shooting of the episode. She cast an irritated glance at Frank and Ben where they stood near the director to watch the shoot.

"It’s my understanding they are being … how shall I say, madam? Repurposed. The writers promise that they will have smaller, more interesting parts."

Gail lit a cigarette, drawing on it violently. "They better! Now, be quiet. I want to see the rehearsal."

Terrence sat back in his chair. Silently.

The scene proceeded. Gail slowly leaned forward more as the scene ran, focused like a laser on the actors.

"Oh, my god! Gerry!"

"And ... Cut!" the director called. He clapped his hands. "Nice work, people. We’re done for tonight."

Gail was on her feet. She tossed her cigarette to the floor. "What? What happened to Gerry? That's it?"

Terrence put out the cigarette with his toe. "Yes." He smiled. "I believe our hack writers have written their first cliffhanger, madam?"

After glaring at her P. A., Gail swept from the set. "Get me the next script!'

Terrence bent to pick up the cigarette butt. "Oh yes, madam. It's not finished, but I’ll just use the time machine!"

Gail sighed. Just before she entered the elevator to leave the floor, Ben could have sworn he saw the slightest smile on her thin lips.

&&&&

 

Authors' Note: 

We think the title of the chapter really says it.

Wayne and I did something different here. The soap is written in present tense to show a sort of immediacy, while the rest of the story is written in past tense.

Next update is next Monday. Thanks for reading. Please, let us know what you think of the chapter!