“Is Pris coming?” I say, dropping my bag on the chair across from Perry.
“Why, miss her already?” Perry shakes her head. “You only saw her yesterday, Travis, shame on you, trying to woo her away like that. And after running out on us, too. Rude.”
“Darren’s sick,” I tell her. Again.
“Oh, Pris and I were nearly there ourselves, listening to how much good you’re doing for the world, so that explains that,” Perry says. She raises one eyebrow, and other than that, nothing.
I shake my head at her, and go to get my coffee.
Tony hands me my usual and swipes my card before looking up from the register and staring.
“Hi, Tony,” I say.
“Fox,” he says. “Your schedule changed.”
“Yes,” I agree.
“You’re stalking me,” he accuses.
“You’re not tired,” he accuses, again, “you changed schedules at the exact same time I did, only you’re not tired. You’re not stalking me, you’re taunting me.”
“Sorry,” I say, “I may have a little advantage, you know, I get the military-grade shit.”
He sighs, bringing his hand to his forehead. “And me stuck with just coffee.”
“Don’t knock coffee,” I say, “coffee is the backbone of the industry.”
He chuckles and sends me on my way.
“Do you get better coffee when you flirt with the barista?” Perry asks me.
“I’d think you’d know the answer to that better than I would,” I retort.
“Couldn’t tell you,” Perry says, “I never don’t flirt, so I don’t have a control sample.”
“I didn’t have time to flirt,” I say, “he handed me my coffee before he even noticed I was there.”
“Spent a little long there for the Sunday after-church rush,” Perry scolds.
I look around the only mostly-full coffee shop. “Yeah, it’s so busy.”
Perry looks Tony up and down. “Well, I can see your interest. He new?”
“That’s Tony, Perry,” I tell her.
“So you do know him,” she says.
I sigh. “That’s the same one we always have, Perry.”
“No,” she says, “he works Saturdays, not Sundays.”
“His schedule changed, Perry, that’s what we were talking about,” I say.
“Boring as hell,” she says, “let’s talk about my new film.”
“Alright,” I concede, “anyone I know involved?”
“Yes, but, unfortunately, no one you know who didn’t also make me sign a thing,” she tells me, “I mean, except for Pris, obviously, and Sarah, you’ve met Sarah, right? And Natalie.”
“Sarah the costume designer?” I ask, and don’t question who the hell Natalie is, “the one who makes the interview-variants of all the suits?”
“No, that’s Tara,” she says, “you’re hopeless. Sarah’s the sound tech. Not the one in charge, I mean, the competent one. Hopefully I can fire the other guy.”
“Right,” I agree.
“Natalie’s my new assistant,” she reminds me.
“Based on a memoir,” she says, laughing, and I may have missed the first half of that sentence, but with Perry, it’s sometimes hard to tell.
“God, I hate those,” I agree.
“Only, you know, very ’80’s, right?” she says, “we’re wondering whether to revamp everything, set it now, glam it up a little, much more fictionalized, or just go for retro factor.”
“Probably sell better if you modernize,” I say, “but it’s going to piss off your memoirist.”
“Right? Win-win,” Perry tells me. “I keep telling people we need to claim it’s set in the eighties, have the logos and everything, and pretty much just set it now. Best of everything.”
“Well, that’ll sell tickets,” I agree.
Perry sighs. “Yeah, I know, I think we’re going real high-brow with this. The book won awards, every single fucking person will have you know; they’re hoping to grab onto its coattails.”
“Are you allowed to tell me what book?” I ask.
“Oh, yeah, there’s already announcements all over,” Perry says, “but since you don’t follow the memoirs, I doubt you’ve read it, and it was one of the ‘just a normal person’ ones, no one famous.”
“Not that you’re not going to work big names into the movie, somehow,” I say.
Perry laughs. “There was a hell of a lot of name-dropping in the book, and critics loved the shit out of that, who am I to say it’s not valid art?”
“Do you ever do any kind of project anymore where you don’t judge the shit out of every single person involved?” I ask her.
“Not since school, Trav,” Perry says, with a wistful sigh, “I’m going on sabbatical and doing an art film as soon as I can get someone suitably famous yet unpretentious lined up.”
“That’ll happen,” I say.
Perry throws her straw wrapper at me. “Look, amazing lofts don’t just buy themselves without you selling out.”
“Yeah, or you could just ask your parents,” I say, “since, come to think of it, they actually could get you that unpretentious celebrity you want, I’m sure.”
Perry rolls her eyes. “There’s selling out and there’s selling out, Fox, I’m surprised at you.”
“No, you’re not,” I say.
Perry laughs. “You always did like my parents more than they deserve.”
“Well, they liked me,” I say. “Or, at least, they thought we were going to get married and thought it was completely adorable and didn’t want to jinx it.”
“They thought they ought to show how accepting they were of all the wide array of diverse and exotic people in the world, you mean,” Perry says.
“They never would’ve let us get married,” Perry adds.
“Yes, because you were so set on that one,” I say.
Perry elbows me in the ribs. “You could do worse than me.”
“I certainly could,” I tell her.
She snorts. “You did do worse than me.”
I narrow my eyes at her and stick out my tongue.
She waves a hand. “The piece I’m setting up – and yes, I do know I’m not going to be able to do it as low budget as all that – it’s going to be set during the first incarnation of the WHC.”
“During World War Two?” I ask.
Perry shakes her head. “No, the original incarnation, when they were still police, maybe just right after World War One, when everyone was busy going a little nuts over everything.”
“Alright,” I say, “who’s the focus, or no one famous?”
“Probably not anyone famous,” she says, “I’m hesitant to use any real people at all, actually, since the setting’s more for symbolism than anything.”
“Is it a triptych this time?” I ask her, “tell me it’s not another triptych.”
“It’s not,” she protests, “it was going to follow a couple guys who became friends after enlisting. Before enlisting, probably, actually. I don’t know. I’ll have to research military history some.”
“No action, no romance,” I say, “Priscilla will be so pleased.”
“There’ll be a little bit of action,” Perry says, “not that much, but a little. As for the romance, I don’t know, I could work in a bunch of sex, but then I’d better bump up the timeline.”
“Lovely,” I say.
“You think I should set it during World War Two? I was thinking maybe an angsty subplot in there, but if it’s going to be a big thing, probably during the war,” Perry muses. “One or the other.”
“You haven’t even told me the plot, yet,” I say.
“Haven’t finished the details,” Perry dismisses my point. “Have to finish filling them in, and that’s going to be very different whether or not it’s during a war. Only half the script’s written.”
“I’d probably be able to tell you more if I read it,” I offer.
She grins at me and presses a bunch of buttons on her phone without even looking at it.