Chapter 32 – As always
New York during the night always has a special charm, as if the cancan dance in the 1930s is performed in the 21s century on the Broadway stage. Even if you know that this is a dark place, even if you know that this is a quagmire of fame and fortune, you are still reluctant to leave, just letting yourself stay for a while.
The homeless man at the intersection of the street is cursing the Obama administration’s health care system; the men and women waiting at the red light next to him are laughing and joking, wearing thin garters and sexy stockings in the cold March wind; not far away, a woman was vomiting crazily, as if she wanted to throw up all her organs. while she was supporting herself with one hand on the Cadillac in the parking space, two steps behind a couple of friends are discussing where to go next to party; on the sidewalk, just after a day of hard work, white-collar workers are tightening their windbreaker, walking fast in those busy and gloomy streets……
It’s been a long time, really a long time. From the southern hemisphere of Australia back to the northern hemisphere of North America, the sight seemed to instantly plummet from heaven into hell. This sight made Renly feel somewhat unfamiliar to it and at the same time somewhat familiar.
Not far away, the low-key lemon-yellow neon lights of the Pioneer Village were drowned out by the colorful colors of the neighborhood, and the dark brown wooden gates exuded a vicissitudes and old-fashioned charm, while the yellowing newspapers in the display windows were telling the “new” news of the 1920s, making it seem out of place in the atmosphere of New York, yet wondrously compatible with Greenwich Village. That’s why old New Yorkers like Woody Allen have always been attracted to this area.
Surprisingly, Renly’s footsteps could not help but start to speed up, although he only lived in this city for three months, but he could smell the smell of home, is it because the gloomy weather here reminds him of the rainy London?
Pushing open the creaking heavy wooden door, a red curtain separating the reception room appeared in front of his eyes, and a warm breath rushed over his face, “Good evening, welcome to Pioneer Village.” The receptionist Janis Black’s familiar old smoky voice rang out immediately.
“Good evening, is there a seat available?” Renly showed a smile, standing next to his old acquaintance, Andy looked surprised, and was about to speak, but Renly put his finger on his lips and made a “shhh” gesture.
But unfortunately, Renly’s trick didn’t last long, as Janis looked up and then showed a big, pleasant smile, “Hey, man! You’re back!” Janis, who is fifty-five years old with a very corpulent figure, the typical pear-shaped figure of a middle-aged American woman who always prefers to sit behind the welcome desk if she can, but now she ran out with heavy strides and jubilation, giving Renly a big hug, “Jesus Christ, you look like a bumpkin that came from Australia.”
The cheerful banter made Renly burst out laughing, as Janis slapped him hard on the back, “Just how long have you been away? I have some trouble remembering the date you left.”
“That’s not the main point, the main point is that I’m back now, aren’t I?” Renly’s words made Janis nod her head in agreement. Renly had only worked here for three months, but had been away for over seven, and despite this, the deep imprint he had left on the bar could be clearly felt, as if he had never left.
Lifting the red curtain, Renly entered the interior of the bar. It was Wednesday, the bar was about half full, and on the stage a female singer sat on a high stool, humming a jazzy rousing tune. “Hey Renly, you’re back”, “Great actor, you finally showed up, I almost thought you had disappeared”, “Oh my god, the Australian natives actually released the hostage back”. Regulars sitting in their seat, enjoying the music saw the figure of Renly and greeted him. The seven months he was gone passed in a flash.
After Renly arrived at the bar, Neil Tuckson raised a glass of tequila high, and immediately put it on the table, the translucent alcohol spilled down, reflecting the color of the bar, “Welcome back! How about it, dare to accept the challenge? You’ve been in Australia for six months and you haven’t become as stupid and uninteresting as they are, have you?”
Renly did not answer, but raised his glass, lifting it high, turned towards the bar and gestured around, the familiar customers raised their glasses, while those unfamiliar guests watched the scene with interest, the free and intimate atmosphere of the Pioneer Village was vividly interpreted in this moment, and then Renly put the glass to his mouth, drained it, and then put the glass towards the bar directly and reversed it. It was empty.
“Bravo!” Cheers rang out from the audience, then everyone drank their own alcohol, and the jazz diva sitting on the stage couldn’t help herself from casting a glance towards the bar to witness the unexpected scene.
“So, what’s up with Steven Spielberg, anyway?” Neil inquired with a curious face, without any separation or special greeting, as if they were standing at the bar last night chatting while working.
Renly shrugged, “Asshole?” That blunt statement caused Neil to nod earnestly, agreeing, “I knew it.”
This was, of course, a joke. Steven stayed on the set in Australia for about a month and a half, as did Tom Hanks, and they spent almost every day in discussions with the executive producer, directors, writers, and cameramen to make sure the episode was on the right track in terms of the macro perspective, and when they came to the set, they were all around behind the monitors and fully engaged in their work.
Renly as an actor, had very limited contact with Steven and Tom who were producers, not to mention the opportunity to communicate. This gave Renly a rudimentary understanding of the position of producers, directors, and actors.
While they were conversing, a customer came over and ordered eight beers, Neil immediately turned on the tap next to him and began to fill the beer, one after the other on the bar table, lifting his chin and looking at Renly, “What are you waiting for, bring it to the guests.” That look, indeed, was the same as seven months ago, completely unchanged.
Renly put the backpack in his hand and placed it behind the counter – he had just gotten off the plane, and instead of going home, he came straight over to the bar, “Dumbass, when did you see me serve only four glasses? I’m not a little girl.” There was no jet lag, and Renly was getting back into the swing of things.
After all eight beers were tapped, Renly moved his hands, then opened his long fingers, he took four cups in one hand and another four in other, with all of the beer cups firmly in his grasp, he turned around and raised them high in the air, “Alcohol alert, alcohol alert.” While shouting, he quickly moved forward.
After delivering the beer, Renly greeted the other waiters in the bar, and when he returned to the counter again, he saw a smiling Stanley Charlson from afar, that kind smile with fatherly warmth, standing in place, waiting for his wandering son to return home. Renly walked up quickly and bumped Stanley’s shoulder hard, “Old man, I came all the way here for an interview today, I wonder if you’re still short of waiters?”
Filming of “The Pacific” series ended, and the paychecks came in one after another. But Renly knows that this payment was just the initial payment, in order to cope with the next promotional period, which is another huge expense, but also an investment for the future; so, before finding the next job, he needs to keep living like he always had, some things have changed, and some things have not.
“You are accepted!” Stanley shook his thick, index finger and said with a smile.
Renly also could not help but reveal a smile, although his relationship with Stanley is good, but the Pioneer Village is not a charity, after seven months away, things are bound to have changed a lot. Unexpectedly, after showing up for the first time in seven months he felt the same familiarity and intimacy he always felt in this place.
Isn’t such a life ten or a hundred times more exciting than the regular and strict to the minute schedule?
“By the way.” Renly remembered an important thing, “Neil, give me my backpack.” After taking the backpack from Neil’s hand, he set it on the counter, “These are the bracelets I learned to weave with the Australian natives.” Renly shook his right wrist, which carried a large string of blue and red bracelets, “Each one has a different symbolism.” Renly selected one from the inside and handed it to Stanley, “This one is a blessing for good health.”
Stanley took it, “Ah, you’re making me look like one of those studs running around the beach holding a surfboard.” That teasing remark caused Renly to burst out laughing.
Neil was even more nonchalant, picked out four or five, and tied them directly to his wrists, “Dude, is this the method you use to deceive those young and ignorant girls?”
“You know, even without that, I could easily find a date.” Renly’s confident reply made Neil choke, then he rolled his eyes and decided to ignore the guy with the unbearable smile in front of him. “Stanley, you don’t have to wear them, they’re just a blessing, and they don’t go well with your suit. You can hang it on your dresser mirror at home, that will suffice.”
Stanley, however, still tied the bracelet, as he smilingly patted Renly’s chest, “I love this gift, I’m sixty-five years old and some blessings are very important to me.” This made both Renly and Neil to smile, “But you know, I like the other gift more than this one.”
Renly froze, and then saw Stanley’s eyes cast in the direction of the stage, where the jazz diva had just finished her performance, “That was the last show of the night just now, but I think that tonight would be a good time for an encore.”
Renly pursed his lips and laughed lightly, helplessly spreading his hands, “So, my job starts tonight?”