The smell of smoke hung in the air at the spot in Stoner Woods, but the guys had respectfully stashed the wares by the time Grady and Denny got there. They all made their greetings and then stood in a circle blowing into their hands as if to warm them, even though it was over sixty degrees outside.
One by one, Grady announced the assignments. Doug would be in charge of auditions. Wes would be in charge of set construction. Jason would be in charge of promotions.
“I don’t know anything about auditions,” Doug said. He was always much quicker to speak up at night than in the day because his teeth weren’t as easy to see in the dark. Jason and Wes muttered in consent about the lack of expertise.
Grady ignored the complaints. “You’ll figure it out. I have faith in you.”
Doug shook his head but said no more. What kind of jerk argues with a dying friend’s last wishes? “What’s the movie even about, anyway?”
“It’s sort of an action flick,” Grady said. “But it’s got horror, too, and some comedy. A little romance, too.” He looked from boy to boy, smirking at their confusion. “Plus some cowboys and some science fiction stuff.”
“A little bit of everything mashed together.” Wes scoffed. “It’s a Franken-movie.”
Grady smiled. “Franken-movie. I like that.”
Nothing more was said. No matter what any of them might have felt about the situation, the one character trait they all held in spades was loyalty. Years of shared embarrassment, anxiety, and torment had cemented them together as family.
Jason nodded at Denny. “What about the dork? Doesn’t he get a job?”
“He’s lead cameraman. I was going to talk to him about it after we were done. So, unless there’s some more questions, do you guys mind taking off? I’ve got some private stuff to go over with him.”
After a few more mandatory wisecracks, the boys left. They walked down the trail kicking and punching each other.
“A cameraman?” Denny whined. “That’s the big secret?”
Grady watched to make sure the others weren’t milling around within earshot. He knelt to look Denny in the eye and explained, “It’s the most important job of all, man. The lead cameraman is the only person besides me that gets to know the secret.”
Denny waited a moment before throwing his hands up in exasperation. “Well, what the heck is the secret?”
Grady checked over his shoulder one more time. “The secret is that the movie isn’t about what everyone else thinks it’s about. It’s something completely, totally different.”
An impish grin spread over Denny’s face. He looked like a miniature lunatic in the moonlight.
“Come on, you little psycho.” Grady grabbed his little brother’s collar and dragged him down the trail. “We’re eating dinner together with Mom tonight. If you say one smart ass thing about the food I swear that I’m going to wedgie you so hard you’ll taste underwear.”
“That’s not much of a threat,” Denny said. “My underwear tastes better than Mom’s food.”
Copyright 2020 Jeff Suwak
Continue to Part 6