Single Chapter Story
“PJ’s having trouble convincing the studio to turn the
script into a blockbuster,” Jack Moore admits, “So…everyone’s cool with a low-budget
Wray Nerely is flabbergasted.
So not only would he be roped back into Spectrum, but he would have to
do it for less pay? He looks around the
screening room, which doubles as Jack’s living room, and sees the rest of the
cast is as speechless as Wray. The room
is very neat and contemporary…what one would expect at the mansion of an A-list
movie star. Jack himself isn’t there, as
usual, but speaking through a FaceTime being displayed on his TV.
“Wha-,” Wray sputters, his body almost in spasms, “No, no! Everyone isn’t cool, I’m not cool. I am definitely UNcool!”
“Damn straight, you’re uncool,” Stutter mutters. His camouflage military cap barely hides the look of scorn on Stutter’s face.
“Jack,” Wray pleads, turning his attention back to Jack and the TV, “I got into this because…well, I…”
He has trouble saying the word. “Luuuuhvvvuuhh…Spectrum,” Wray strains to speak, “But also, because I was told this was going to be a big-budget thing.”
“Well, that’s still what I’m shooting for,” Jack states hopefully, “But some studios want the film recast in exchange for a higher production. And hey, less money is worth it to keep the band together, right?”
Jack’s blue eyes give the group his best “puppy dog” look. Wray looks blankly at the screen, and then looks around the room. Stutter is giving him a death glare as he sharpens what appears to be a combat knife. Tiffany is downing a bottle of vodka, as Brenda cheers her on. A look of horror spreads across Wray’s face, as he realizes what he is getting into.
However, then Wray sees Faith, who smiles and gives him a friendly wave. He relaxes a bit, and starts to wave back. However, Dawn appears behind Faith, with a creepy smile on her face. Dawn, thinking the wave is for her, gives Wray a look that mixes “I love you…probably too much” and “I might stab you later”. Wray, clearly unsettled, puts down his hand immediately and decides that is the last straw.
“Uh, buddy,” Jack asks, having been waiting for a reply this whole time, “You still there, Wray?” He gives Wray a quizzical look.
Wray takes a look back at the other cast members, then back at the screen, and replies: “Nope.”
He runs out of the room, fumbling for his cell phone. He grabs it and speed-dials his agent, Tuk D. Moyninran. He nervously paces the floor of Jack’s kitchen, which is just as modern and clean.
“Hey, Wray,” Tuk answers cheerfully, “How’s my sort of a star?”
“Tuk, I don’t know… this film has been so stressful,” Wray confesses, “Just…having to work with these guys again…”
Wray suddenly stops pacing, realizing what Tuk just said. “Wait,” Wray demands, “What do you mean ‘sort of’ star?!”
“Not important,” Tuk quickly covers his tracks and pivots, “Anyways, your timing is perfect…have I got a role for you!”
“Oh God, please,” Wray moans, “No more science fiction…I can’t do two science fiction films back-to-back! I will kill myself…I mean it!” He resumes his frantic pacing.
“Oh, okay,” Tuk teases, “Just thought you might enjoy a trip to a galaxy far, far away…”
“Wait, a trip to a…” Wray replies, confused and completely oblivious to the reference, “You mean, like Macau?”
“Oh, for God’s sake…” Tuk interrupts, “It’s STAR WARS, moron!”
There is a long pause as Wray suddenly stops pacing, and gazes off into the distance, mouth agape.
“Wray,” Tuk inquires, “You still there, buddy?”
“Star Wars?” Wray whispers, as if saying it aloud might make it disappear.
“Star Wars,” Tuk eagerly confirms.
“Oh my GOD,” Wray shouts out, unable to contain his joy, “I’m going to be in STAR WARS!!!” He suddenly looks back towards the other room, afraid the cast inside may have heard him.
“That’s right,” Tuk brags, “Am I the best agent in the world, or am I the best?”
“Oh ho,” Wray agrees, gleefully, “YOU are the best!”
“Now, keep in mind,” Tuk confides, “You have to be available for the audition in a month.”
Wray is stunned at this news. It all seems too good to be true. He suddenly realizes what he needs to make the audition. “I have to get out of Spectrum,” Wray realizes, getting an idea, “Go ahead and tell them I’ll do it. Call you right back!” He slightly runs out of the kitchen, doing a happy little jump on his way out. He strolls back into the screening room, trying to act natural, yet failing with a silly grin on his face.
“Hey, uh, Jack,” Wray greets the TV, unusually happy, “Buddy!”
“Hey, Wray,” Jack responds, oblivious to Wray’s demeanor, “So, you’re good if it’s a TV movie?”
“Oh, sure, whatever,” Wray replies, no longer paying attention, “Hey, listen…I was hoping we could make a few changes to the script? Regarding my character?”
“To Cash?” Jack asks curiously, “What kind of changes?”
“Yeah, see I’ve been thinking,” Wray answers hurriedly with a long-winded excuse, “I believe the best utility of the character would be for him to sacrifice himself to a high ideal, and give a little gravitas to the enterprise.”
The whole room stares at Wray, not expecting this kind of in-depth character development. Jack stares at Wray from across the screen, no longer paying attention to the road. A car horn is heard, and the screen image shakes as Jack swerves out of the way, snapping everyone out of the trance. Faith is the first to speak.
“Wow,” Faith responds, amazed, “That was beautiful, Wray.”
“You really think so?” Wray asks, clearly happy that Faith is impressed.
“So,” Jack asks, trying to decipher Wray’s words, “A noble death?”
“Yes, a noble death,” Wray confirms, “A noble death…VERY early in production!”
“NO!” Dawn shouts, clearly terrified of losing Wray. Her eyes are wide and she is visibly shaking, which only increases Wray’s determination to get out of the Spectrum movie.
“But Wray,” Jack cautions, “Less screen time means a smaller paycheck. And if we kill off Cash, then he can’t appear in any sequels.”
“But that’s great…” Wray starts, but then quickly covers his tracks, “…It’ll show just how serious the situation has gotten for our heroes.”
“Hmm, you know what…” Jack ponders. He then suddenly gets very enthusiastic. “I like it! People will love Cash even more than they already do!”
Wray, with an incredibly forced grin, mutters under his breath, “Oh God, I hope not…”
“Okay then,” Jack confirms, “So that means we can wrap up your scenes in a few weeks and continue with the rest of the cast.”
“A few weeks,” Wray echoes excitedly, “Great! Just a moment…” Wray runs out of the room again and calls Tuk.
“Wray, buddy,” Tuk answers, “So you’re on for Star Wars?”
“Oh, Hell yes!” Wray enthusiastically replies, “What do I do now?”
“Now we just wait to hear back from the director,” Tuk answers, “Oh, and the best part? You get to ride the rides for free, as a Disney employee!”
Wray is understandably confused. “Well…okay,” Wray cautiously begins, “I’m not sure if being in a Star Wars movie makes you a Walt Disney Studios employee.”
“Movie,” Tuk asks, very puzzled, “What movie?”
“The Star Wars spin-off film?” Wray asks, deeply worried now.
“Oh my GOD,” Tuk gasps, very impressed, “How did you get a role in a Star Wars spin-off film?”
“Wha…no,” Wray answers, “That’s what you were just offering me!” A look of horror spreads across his face.
“Ohhh,” Tuk answers, as he realizes what Wray is talking about, “No, no: the role is as a Jedi in that ‘Star Wars’ stage show at Disneyland. You know, where you train the kids as Padawans, and they all get lightsabers.”
“Ooh, my daughter was in that one time,” Tuk rambles
on, “And she was SO cute…”
“STOP!” Wray interrupts, his voice cracking as he shouts, “Are you telling me that this part is for a lame theme park attraction?!”
“Hey man,” Tuk answers defensively, “There is nothing lame about bringing dozens of kids the wonder and happiness of Star Wars…”
Wray stands there in the kitchen, paralyzed by this unwelcome revelation, the cell phone to his ear. Tuk continues rambling on about the greatness of Star Wars, unaware that Wray has stopped listening. Wray suddenly realizes what a horrible mistake he’s made.
“JACK!!!” Wray shouts as he runs back into the screening room, “I’m not okay with a TV film! And put Cash back in! PUT CASH BACK IN!!!”