Chapter 55 – Calm and Unruffled
“600 cases of beer, 70 cases of whiskey, 40 cases of brandy, and 40 cases of tequila. Is the quantity correct?”
The delivery truck driver double-checked the invoice, as Renly stood next to him, holding the inventory list that he had just recorded in the warehouse. After verifying the numbers one by one, Renly nodded and said, “It’s correct!” He then took the invoice, signed his name in the receiving section, and asked, “What about the red wine? When will the Stanley’s reserved red wine arrive?”
“Next Monday,” the delivery truck driver replied skillfully. “Can you make it through this weekend?”
“No problem for this weekend,” Renly said after signing, handing the invoice to the driver, who tore off one copy and handed it back to Renly. “But please arrive on time on Monday. We’ll probably run out of stock by Thursday.” Although he said it would last until Thursday, the situation over the weekend was unpredictable, and they might run out of stock by Monday.
“Got it. We’ll definitely be on time,” the driver packed up and said with a smile, but he didn’t move his feet.
Renly was about to turn around when he saw the curious look on the driver’s face. He paused for a moment and smiled, thanking him. “Thank you for your hard work. I hope everything goes well today.”
As Renly was about to leave, the driver couldn’t resist and shouted, “You’re that guy, right? Renly?” Looking up, Renly could see the excitement on the driver’s face that he couldn’t contain. “Your performance was really good. Even a rough person like me could tell. It was really good!”
“Heh.” Blue smiled lightly. “That’s the best affirmation of my work.” He didn’t show any modesty or arrogance, and simply accepted the compliment.
“I never thought you would work here. I thought people like you are touring around while living under the spotlight,” the driver laughed heartily, with no malice, only curiosity. “I’m really looking forward to your next performance. It’s a waste for you to work here.” As he spoke, the driver turned around and sat back in the driver’s seat.
Renly’s eyebrows furrowed slightly, feeling something was off but couldn’t quite put a finger on it. Suddenly, a flash of inspiration struck him, and he jokingly said, “I never would have thought you are subscribed to HBO.” Most HBO subscribers are white-collar families, as blue-collar workers like truck drivers have little interest in it.
“HBO?” The driver laughed heartily and replied, “I am not subscribed to such an expensive and boring thing.” He seemed to have heard the best joke of the day, patted the steering wheel, and gave Renly a big smile. “Thanks for your help! I’ve got to go now. I still have three more deliveries to make!” With that, the truck started up and gradually left the alley behind Pioneer Village’s back door amidst the roaring sound of the engine.
Renly stood there and thought carefully. If the truck driver didn’t subscribe to HBO, then how did he know him? Afterwards, Renly shook his head to clear his cluttered thoughts. Just because the other person’s family didn’t subscribe to HBO didn’t mean he couldn’t watch “The Pacific” somewhere else. Perhaps he saw the essence of the series on YouTube or some other platform. It is now the age of Internet, and information could be spread quickly and widely. Anything is possible, right?
The strange feeling, he had just now was undoubtedly Renly’s own wild thoughts. He raised his right hand, rubbed his hair vigorously, and messed up the order of his slightly curled short hair, as if doing so would ease some of the weight on his mind.
After “The Pacific” aired, Renly’s life didn’t change much. Although discussions on the Internet and in the media were lively and intense, with heated gazes focused on the series, with Renly becoming the center of public opinion. But in fact, Renly himself didn’t feel the surge of that hype at all. It was as if the TV frenzy, the Internet surge, and the newspaper boiling were all irrelevant to Renly, like it was all happening in another country that was disconnected from real life, a country shrouded in a spotlight, while Renly continued to live outside that spotlight.
He still persisted in working in the Pioneer Village every day, still searching for acting opportunities outside of Broadway, and still persistently going to the American Actors’ Union to look for job opportunities. However, his rewards were very limited, with only two audition opportunities, one of which rejected him for being too young, and the other rejected him because his performance was too theatrical.
Strictly speaking, Renly’s current life was no different from before. The only difference was that occasionally on the street, he could meet people who recognized him and then with a happy face discuss the plot in a couple of sentences. That was all.
This is the first time Renly had personally experienced the subtle differences in the entertainment industry, especially between movies and TV shows. The level of attention brought by a successful movie and a successful TV series had a huge difference. Of course, this was only relative. During the heyday of “Friends,” any actor from that show could cause a sensation on the streets.
As a mini-series and also a mini-series broadcasted on a pay-per-view cable TV channel like HBO, “The Pacific” had even more limited influence.
Therefore, the online hot discussions, the media’s attention, and the ups and downs of the series broadcast didn’t really affect Renly in any way. He was more like an onlooker, just like any other ordinary viewer, watching the commotion on the small screen of the TV. That was truly a strange feeling.
No wonder people always say that it is not difficult to enter Hollywood, as long as you have a good appearance. However, it is extremely difficult to occupy a place in Hollywood, let alone reach the top of the Hollywood pyramid. Now, Renly was gradually beginning to have some realistic expectations.
Pushing open the back door, Renly walked all the way back to the front of the bar, looking around for the figure of Stanley. However, before finding Stanley, he saw a group of people gathered around a table, chattering and discussing, “What place is it now? What place is it now?” “Top fifty, definitely in the top fifty” … Then a muffled voice came from the crowd, which was completely inaudible outside of the group, followed by everyone raising their hands and cheering, “Wow!”
Renly couldn’t help but change his pace and walked towards the crowd, poking his head out and trying to join in. “What’s going on? What happened?”
Unexpectedly, when the people heard Renly’s voice, they all looked like they had seen a ghost, having a frightened expression. Then everyone started pushing and shoving him out, saying, “It’s nothing, it’s nothing”, “Just looking at…um…”, “Football!”, “Yes, football”… The frolicking voices became even more guilty, and their attempts to cover something up were quite obvious.
Renly didn’t resist and they managed to briefly push him out, as he was just waiting for everyone to relax. Then he turned around and calmly looked at his colleagues. The ambiguous smile on his lips made everyone avoid his gaze and not dare to meet Renly’s eyes. Seeing that Janice Blake still wanted to give excuses, Renly shook his head lightly and smiled, “You guys are worst people at hiding secrets in the world. Tell me, what’s going on? Instead of me guessing here, you might as well tell me voluntarily.”
Although his tone was light, there was an undeniable sense of authority, making everyone look at each other, but in the end no one spoke. Renly raised his chin and looked back, “Neil Tuckson, this is your last chance to confess. If you miss it, there won’t be another chance.”
This teasing tone could even be felt in Renly’s gentle smile, but Neil’s footsteps, who were preparing to sneak away, stopped in place, and he couldn’t help feeling a shiver down his spine. “Hehe.” Neil laughed twice and was ready to cover it all up, but then everyone looked at him together. Janice directly raised her voice and said, “It was Neil’s idea, all of it was Neil’s idea.”(T/N – Poor Neil.)
“Yes!” Others also raised their fingers one after another, pointing at Neil who was standing behind the crowd. It was obvious that they intended to let Neil take all the blame, and this scene become quite spectacular.
This made Neil hopping madly, “Guys, you can’t abandon me like this!” Neil hugged his laptop, “This is obviously a proposal that everyone agreed to, not just me! Stanley, where’s Stanley?” Looking left and right, Neil couldn’t find Stanley’s figure and he began to grit his teeth, “Renly, believe me, this was everyone’s idea. I’m just an executor, really.”
Renly was completely confused now, what’s going on? Why didn’t he have any idea about it?
However, Renly didn’t show it on his face and maintained his dignity, waiting for Neil to confess. Indeed, Neil opened his laptop and placed it on the table next to Renly. “Renly, are you ready for a surprise gift?” A gift? What does that mean? It’s still half a year away from his birthday! “Please take a look.” Neil said seriously and then turned the laptop screen towards Renly, finally revealing the mystery.
Renly sat down and looked carefully. The screen showed the iTunes page with the real-time single download chart. “What am I supposed to see now?” Renly scanned casually and didn’t understand. Neil pointed to the screen with his finger, and then Renly saw that line: “48, Cleopatra, Renly Hall.”
Renly’s mouth opened slightly in surprise. He had forgotten, completely forgotten, that he had recorded the “Cleopatra” digital audio as a gift for Stanley three months ago. Reny naturally assumed that this folk single would not cause any waves and would be quickly drowned out in the tide of countless singles. He didn’t even think about it when he saw the iTunes chart just now, and he never expected that he would see his single ranked in the top fifty of the download chart now. This was truly beyond his wildest dreams.
“Top fifty! Renly, can you see it? ‘Cleopatra’ is in the top fifty of iTunes instant download chart!” Neil exclaimed excitedly, his voice even trembling uncontrollably, “Next, it might even make it onto the Billboard singles chart!”
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