“It’s just up ahead.”

“Are you sure?”

Jax stopped and turned to his friend.

“You don’t trust me?”

“You know I trust you, it’s just…” Beans faded and stared at the ground.

“Just what?”

“I just think… I think we’ve already been that way.”

“The jungle gets pretty confusing kid, sure, but we haven’t been this way.” Jax said.

“We can try it.”

“Look, it’s getting dark. If we’re not there soon, the guards will be out and we’ll be out of luck.” Jax look back at his compass. “I’m positive it’s this way.”

“Okay boss, let’s do it.”

Jax cut through hanging branches until he found the cave they had been looking for. “Beans, watch out.” Jax reached out and grabbed Beans by the belt.

“Thanks boss, I totally missed that ravine.”

“We have to get across.” Jax looked at Bean’s belt still in his hand. “Beans, you’ve given me an idea! Take off your belt.”

“What?” Beans exclaimed.

“We need it to get across.”

“I don’t understand.”

“It’ll be just like a rope swing back at the lake. See that branch up there? All we have to do is tie it off and with enough momentum, jump to the other side.”

“I don’t know…”

“There it is again. You don’t trust me, do you?”

Beans sheepishly undid his belt. “You’re right. It’s our only option.”

Jax quickly fashioned a knot and tugged on the secured belt. “I’ll go first,” he said. Jax stepped back, far enough to pull the belt taught. He tugged again, and then took a deep breath, before running forward. At the edge of the ravine, he leapt forward. The belt swung him high in the air, and at the apex, he let go, aiming for the other side. His hands reached out and he grasped at nothing. He had come up short, and continued to fall, until he landed on a blue safety mat.

“Cut!” The director yelled. With glasses askew, he walked up to the actor on the floor. “Frank,” he said. “What’s going on?”

“I can do it Jones, I swear. I just need a better grip next time, I think.”

“Look, we can get your double in here and be done in no time.”

“No,” Frank interrupted. “I can do it myself.”

“I’ll give you three more shots, but after that, we have to move on.”

“That’s fine Jones, that’s all I need. One probably.”

Jones reached out his hand and Frank grabbed it, standing on set. “I just need 5, okay?”

“Yeah, sure Frank. Make good use of it, okay?”

Frank nodded as Jones turned to the rest of the crew and shouted in a way that made everyone disperse, except Brian, who was playing Beans, who walked up next to Frank headed for a table in the back.

“You all right, Frank?”

“Yeah,” he said, nursing his back. “I’m fine, why?”

“Well, it’s just we’ve done a few takes and I’m starting to wonder why you won’t just let your double step in and do it.”

“I’m a professional, Brian. This is what I do. It’s what we do. I’m not going to let a man 20 years younger than me just step in and start taking things from me. I used to do this all the time.”

“It’s literally his job, Frank. It’s not a big deal.”

“I can do this. It’s what I built my career off of.”

“Yeah, maybe 20 years ago.”

“Would you like to go over the ravine first, Beans?” Frank said, sarcastically.

“Yeah, I’m not thrilled about the role, but I’ll take what I can get.”

“Remember when we’d work on something and it was immediately a blockbuster.” Franke gazed up at the ceiling, just now noticing that a few scattered lights were flickering, and most of the drop ceiling above was busted. “How’d we end up here?”

“Moves fast, you know?”

Frank picked up a banana from the table and started peeling it. “Yeah, but this dialogue…” He shook his head.

“I mean, it could be a lot worse. Remember any of the early dreck you were in?”

“I try not to, no.”

“Man, it’s a cycle, you know? Start off with crap, work your way up, and then when they’re done with you, you’re stuck with crap again.”

Frank chuckled. “At least my character isn’t named Beans.”

Brian just shook his head. “Whatever you say, Jax.” He walked back toward set as the crew began to assemble.

Frank quickly finished his banana and tossed the peel in the nearby, nearly full garbage bin, before following Brian. He stood on his mark and let hair, makeup, and wardrobe do their things before clearing his throat and licking his lips. He watched Jones from his chair, and waited for the queue. Prep work all done. Sound checked and confirmed. He psyched himself up for the swing again. This time, he knew he could make it. His eyes glued to the director until he finally yelled out, “Action!”

WantWant toto bebe partpart ofof thethe New Fiction Society? ContactContact usus