Willet, Chapter 3, Part III

If you are new to this series here is the link to Chapter 1 Part I.

Chapter 3, Part III

I’m amazed that the coyote is lying near the fire with his head on his front paws one eye barely open keeping an eye on me.

“What’s your name?” His eyes open wide ears perking up. “Chuck? are you a Chuck? What’s up Chuck?” I say smiling, he doesn’t think it’s so funny, opening his eyes and pinning his ears back. “Okay, Okay. How bout Wilfred? You know, the pot smoking dog?” He raises his head and cocks it to one side as his ears come forward. “Wilfred then. That’s as good a name as any. Well you’re more than welcome to hang here by the fire, but I better climb this tree and get into bed before I get too stiff.”

Climbing the tree with bourbon in me proves more difficult than I expect. I’m a light weight and only have had lean protein in my system, what I wouldn’t do for some carbs. French bread would be a dream. The ascent takes a bit but I nestle into my cocoon and can still see the stars through the small opening at the top of the hammock. A long streak shoots through the sky brighter than any meteor I’ve ever seen. Making a wish I close my eyes and fall quickly into a slumber.

She got out of the pool and walked over to the chaise as the crane followed her from the moment her head broke the surface of the water and ended looking across her to the towel boy at the bar. It wasn’t a complex shot and shouldn’t have taken the four takes we already did, but once the crane overshot it’s mark because the dolly grip stumbled on a cup that an extra had left on the ground. One take the actress stayed under the water a beat too long and it screwed up the timing and the other two times the director didn’t like how she had played it. I stepped out of my video tent and looked at the director.

“That one was spot on.”  I yelled.

The Director nodded. “Yeah, I think we should push in.”

“Okay, do you want to still hold a piece of her? Or do you want it to be clean?”

“I think we can be clean.” His tone was more of a question than an answer, but I didn’t want to hold a piece of her any way. The last shot was an over.

“Great.” I said walking closer in. “Alright, give me the camera here, Kurt punch in and give me a cowboy on him and pull back to a close up while he steps forward letting him out of frame camera left.”

“Copy that.” Kurt said “Jamie punch in to 75 mils on the lens.” Kurt started working the wheels to adjust the frame as the dolly grip and the crane tech swung the arm and chassis forward. “He guys I lost power.” Kurt said while playing with the wheels on the remote head, they were spinning freely and the camera wasn’t moving.

As he said that the lights I had giving the actress backlight went out. “Aw, crap. Tucker we lost power. This might take a minute to re-strike the light.” Tucker was our first AD and would have to figure out how to keep the actress on set while we got power back up . Especially since she wasn’t on camera. She wouldn’t want to hang around in a bikini if she didn’t have to.

Tucker looked to Mary. “Mary can we get Ms. Fennishaw a robe while we wait.” By we, he meant Mary. “How long?” He looked to me for answers.

“Not sure, let me see what’s up.” Everything was dead. All the electronics in everything everywhere. It was at that moment we saw the plane. It just fell, it was in a spinning free fall about two miles off shore. We all watched as it plunged into the ocean. It was far enough off shore that we knew there was nothing we could do. Some thought the Coast Guard would soon be there to pick up any survivors, I knew there wouldn’t be any.

The ‘how long’ Tucker was asking about became forever. We realized it was something bigger than just the generators we had, it was universal. All the power at the hotel we were shooting at was dead, every generator on every truck and trailer went out, everyone’s cel phone went blank all happening simultaneously. The elevators died so we couldn’t even bring the gear down to the trucks, let alone use the lift gates to get the gear up into the trucks.   It had happened only minutes before we were supposed to have lunch and the caterers had everything ready so we all just went to lunch. It was a strange state to be in because we were shocked at the plane crash and mystified about the power going out.

I immediately thought EMP. Why else would independent power supplies like cars got out? But there was no nuclear blast. Everything seemed normal.

The caterer had cooked steaks on the grill. I sat with the producers and Tucker trying to debate what we should do, we wouldn’t be able to finish the days work. After much deliberation and debate the producers had us gather up all the gear and stage it as neatly and consolidated as possible so when the power came back on we wouldn’t impact the guests of the hotel. Those poor security guards sat there watching the equipment for god knows how long.

Looking back I can’t imagine the Hell those guests must have gone through being away from home on a vacation and suddenly the world ends. We knew something monumental had happened because every vehicle on the Pacific Coast Highway and on every side street came to a rolling stop dying where inertia allowed it. The hotel offered us rooms at a discount if we wanted someplace to crash until the power came back on but having a bad feeling about the severity of the situation I turned the offer down. The vans wouldn’t work to get us back to crew parking, it was surreal walking the mile down the boardwalk towards my car. People were still having fun on the beach while people sat on the hoods of their cars in the middle of PCH. I knew my car wouldn’t work but I needed to get to my car to get my bag. Ever since Katrina I’ve kept a 72 hour bag in the trunk of my car.

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