Peter poured himself a glass of whiskey, shoved a stack of magazines off the coffee table and propped his feet up. He picked up a folder that was lying on the couch beside him and flipped it open. Inside were a large stack of photos Clint had given him to go through.
“Right,” he muttered. “Let’s get this over with.”
He tried to keep from looking at Layla too closely, as he carefully examined the backgrounds of each photo, looking for any sign of Alan.
Halfway through he poured himself a second glass. Picture after picture. His head was beginning to pound, but it wasn’t from the drinking. It was hard to see so many photos of her, many of them with other men, reminding him of all the worst times-
There was a knock on the door.
Feeling almost grateful for the break he tossed the folder back on to the couch and got up to answer the door.
“Matt. What are you doing here?”
Matt grinned and sidestepped him into the apartment. “I have some news.”
“Usually you call,” said Peter, watching Matt examine the mess that was the apartment.
“Yes, but I wanted to tell you this in person.” Matt moved towards the couch. Peter was there a split second later; picking up the photographs and shoving them back into the folder. He then tossed the folder into a drawer and turned to face Matt, wondering exactly how much of the pictures he had seen.
Matt stared at him for a second as if he were trying to figure out himself what he had seen and then something in Peter’s expression caused him to shake his head and shrug. “Anyways. I wanted to talk to you about Crocodiles.”
“Oh please tell me you mean the ones in the LA zoo, because I’ve had about enough of the ones in space and I thought the only good thing about the film being released was that I was done with it.” Peter slumped backwards onto the couch.
“I am talking about the ones in space.” Matt took a seat in an armchair. “But in a good way. As you know, the movie did okay. The network re-aired it a couple of times and it got a decent viewing. It was pretty standard ratings for a TV movie, nothing spectacular.”
“Yes I know. Why care? I got the paycheck, and that’s what I did it for. They won’t run it many more times and then everyone, hopefully myself included, can just forget it was ever made.”
“Actually it’s going to be a little harder to forget about then that.” Matt grinned.
Peter sat up straighter. “What are you talking about?”
“Peter, did you by any chance have a copy of the script in which you made various, shall we say ‘observations’ on the quality of the movie?”
There was a beat.
Peter cleared his throat a little nervously. “I might have written some comments into the margins of my script, yeah. How did you know?”
“What happened to it?” Matt prompted.
Peter shrugged. “I don’t know. I lost track of it the last day of filming. It must have gotten thrown out.”
“It didn’t. Someone took it and handed it over to this guy that runs a comedy channel on Youtube. He recorded the film and then recorded himself reading your commentary over it. It’s basically you riffing off your own film, just with someone else reading your comments.” Matt chuckled. “It’s actually pretty funny.”
“Okay, but it’s not a big deal right? I mean it’s just some guy on Youtube who did it, no one’s really going to hear about this?”
“Oh they’ve heard about it alright. He also uploaded the script itself online to prove it was actually you who wrote the snarking. The original video with your commentary? It got over 600,000 views before it got taken down for copyright infringement.”
“So it’s gone now?” said Peter hopefully. “No one can watch it anymore.”
“Please Peter, it’s the internet. Once it’s on there, it’s staying on there. The original upload got taken down but it’s already been uploaded by multiple other members not to mention finding its way onto other websites. It’s out there.”
Peter poured himself another drink. “Fantastic. So, how angry is the network?”
“Actually I just got off the phone with them an hour ago, and since they’ve already gotten a ton of mail requesting the movie be re-aired and request for info on the DVD release, they’re actually pretty okay with it. The writer and director on the other hand are slightly less thrilled. But this could be pretty good for you.”
“You’re telling me, that this movie might actually be slightly successful because I made fun of it?”
“Yeah. Crazier things have happened.”
Peter shook his head. “Personally I really just wanted the whole movie forgotten.”
Matt shook his head at the idea, beaming. “This good be good for Peter. I mean think about it. This could make you the face of B-horror films.”
“Wow, I’m overwhelmed at the prospect.” Peter rolled his eyes. “Personally I think calling this a B film is a bit generous. Z would be more accurate.”
“Listen to me, if you play your cards right, this could turn into a steady career for you. Right now you never know when or even if, another part is going to come your way. But something good has finally happened. People aren’t condemning you, there’s a story in the paper that has nothing to do with Layla.” Peter thought he saw Matt’s eyes briefly flicker to the drawer the photos had been tossed into. “People are laughing with you. People are saying you have a sense of humor. They’re focus on something other than the past and something that’s sort of positive.”
Peter rubbed his forehead tiredly. “If you say so.”
“I do,” said Matt eagerly. “I was up all night, reading comments, checking message boards, gaging reactions. I only learned about all this yesterday, but I’m very excited about this development. If people can associate you with this picture and you’re able to make it a success and help the network make a profit on the DVD sales, then they’ll want you back again for another movie. You can become the go to actor for-”
“Bad horror films? Really what’s next after Crocodiles in Space? Orangutans in the Ocean? Dinos on Mars? Can’t wait.”
Matt smiled, almost indulgingly. “But it’ll be steady paychecks. You’ll see Peter, this will be a good thing. You could have a real career again. Granted a different kind from when you were winning Oscars,” he admitted. “But still a career.”
The doorbell rang. Matt turned around, surprised. “Are you expecting someone?”