INT. GOUDGE RESTAURANT. NIGHT.
As Holly stepped into The Goudge Restaurant she felt instantly overwhelmed by glass and gold. Glass chandeliers set on a gold colored ceiling. Wineglasses on gold colored table clothes. Mirrors set into golden frames.
A woman came up and offered to take her coat. Slightly dazed, Holly handed it to her. Nervously she ran a hand down the side of her dress as she glanced at what the other diners were wearing. She had dressed fancily but she knew instantly every single person in here had dressed at far more expense.
The maître d’ approached her.
“Do you have a reservation?”
“I’m here to meet someone.”
The man consulted his book. “May I have their name?”
“Victor McCall?” Holly was fairly certain she had never felt more like an imposter in her entire life.
“Ah,” the man closed his book and smiled at her. “Mr. McCall is already seated. I’ll show you to his table.”
He led her away from the entrance and through the tables to one near the middle of the room. Victor glanced up, saw her, and rose to his feet as the maître d’ pulled out her chair for her.
“Sorry if you’ve been waiting,” she said, taking a seat.
“It hasn’t been ten minutes,” he assured her.
“If you’ll allow me,” said the maître d’ handing each of them a menu. “The waiter will be right over to serve you drinks.”
As the maître d’ walked away, Holly tentatively opened the menu. She felt her mouth drop open as she glanced at the prices. She certainly hoped McCall was going to pay… she’d have to share it between Amy’s card and hers, and she didn’t know how she’d pay Amy back. Besides, somehow this didn’t seem like the type of place where you handed two credit cards to the waiter and told him to charge your meal between the two of them.
She looked over at Victor who was studying his menu. Maybe she could get away with just ordering an appetizer?
She glanced around the restaurant.
Somehow she didn’t think so.
As she looked around the room she accidently made eye contact with someone a few tables away. It was a man. All she was able to process about him was his dark brown hair in thick waves and then she forced herself to look away.
Peter forced himself to pull his gaze away from the pretty red haired across the room and focused on the man in front of him. Matt Wilson was often jovial looking with an incredibly infections grin. He was in his forties but didn’t look a day over thirty-five and he’d been Peter’s agent for fourteen years. At the moment Matt was looking at him expectantly.
“Peter, are you even listening to me?”
Peter blinked and then sighed, picking up his wine glass and taking a drink. “Sorry. What did you say Matt?”
“I asked you,” said Matt frowning at him, “What you had thought of the script.”
“Ah. The script.” Peter took another, longer drink. “It was certainly…something.”
“I know!” agreed Matt enthusiastically. “There was some great stuff in it. The scene where your character blows out the hanger deck! I think that could become a classic.”
“I didn’t actually read that part,” commented Peter.
“Why not? You skipped it?” asked Matt confused.
“No,” said Peter slowly, “I just stopped reading at page ten after I realized the title wasn’t a metaphor.”
Matt opened his mouth to respond and then shut it again. A full minute passed as he considered this. “What could it have been a metaphor for?” he asked eventually, sounding doubtful.
“I couldn’t think of anything either but hope springs eternal and anything would have been better then Crocodiles in Space, actually being about crocodiles in space.”
“Why shouldn’t crocodiles be in space?” argued Matt. “Everything else has been. Leprechauns, Jason Voorhees, Dracula. Why not crocodiles?”
“Because they’re crocodiles!” Peter shook his head. “Crocodiles. If you don’t understand why they shouldn’t be out in space you need a refresher course in science.”
“If snakes can go on planes, crocodiles can go in space.”
“At least on a plane snakes are only thirty thousand feet above where they’re actually supposed to be. The crocodiles are flying out in deep space. How did they even get there? Why didn’t deep space kill them?”
“Well if you had read the whole thing you would know why they’re out there. Besides as far as I know NASA has never let loose a crocodile out in deep space. For all we know, it could survive.”
Peter gave Matt a look. “That’s your argument for why the script isn’t completely insane? NASA hasn’t shot a crocodile into space?”
“Come on. It’s only a made for TV movie,” said Matt, switching tactics. “Plus your role is the sidekick that actually survives.”
“Oh joy. They don’t even want me for the lead.” Peter poured himself another glass of wine.
“Please Peter. Just consider auditioning.”
“Auditioning?” Peter put his glass down with a thud. “I’m supposed to audition for this? Oh come on! I can’t believe you’re actually pushing for this! You’re got to be crazy! There has to be something better!”
“There’s not,” said Matt firmly. “There isn’t anything better. There isn’t anything else at all. There’s this and there’s nothing. Pick one.”
Peter blinked. It wasn’t normal for Matt to snap. Tough love wasn’t his style.
The two men sat looking at each other for a long moment and then Matt sighed. “Look Peter. I’m sorry. I don’t mean to be harsh here but you know it’s true. No one wants you. You’re persona non grata. And you know I’ve tried. I’ve fought for you. I’ve called in every favor and pulled every string I could. But there’s only so much I can do against public opinion, major public opinion. This whole business is built on public opinion and it’s against you really, really strongly. That saying ‘there’s no such thing as bad publicity’, that’s bull. Look Peter, I know you need the money. And yes, of course I know that Crocodiles in Space is probably not going to be the next Space Odyssey 2001. But it’s a job. And right now that’s what you need.”
Abruptly Peter pushed back from the table and stood up.
“Peter,” Matt pleaded “Don’t go. Let’s talk. Come on, we’ve already ordered.”
“I need some air.” Peter made for the back door near the restrooms.