I’m still in first draft mode, but it’s going awesome and I wanted to share a bit of it. We’re in 1944, roughly five years after Jack 4.1. and three years before Bette 4.0

“What do you want, Caroline?” Jack asked, still attempting to watch the movie. He’d seen it half a dozen times already, and knew every shot and every set up, but he enjoyed it more with each viewing.

“Who is Bernie Zuckerman?” she asked, still watching the screen and taking long drags from her Chesterfield. Jack froze. He knew this would happen eventually but he’d hoped it wouldn’t be so soon. He still had work to do. He was just getting started.

“Who?” Jack responded, knowing full well that he was caught and that she already knew the answer, but he had to try.

“Every couple of weeks two or three checks are deposited into your bank account. They’re from a company called Peppermint Bay Productions and are signed by Bernie Zuckerman. I’ve looked into Peppermint Bay Productions and I can’t quite figure out what exactly it is they do. Care to elaborate?”

She was looking at him now, the light from the screen dancing across her eyes.

“Would you two please shut the hell up?” a voice hissed at them. Jack and Caroline both looked at who’d spoken. It was the man from two rows up, turned around in his seat and glaring at them. Caroline looked back at Jack, a wildness in her eyes that excited him. She crushed her cigarette out in the armrest ashtray.

“One moment please,” Caroline said to Jack, as she stood and walked along the row of seats, down to the row where the couple were sitting, and then directly up to them. He watched as she bent forward and whispered, first in the man’s ear, and then the woman’s. Jack desperately wanted to know what she was saying. She stood up straight again.

“Do we understand each other?” Caroline asked, her hands on her hips, standing in front of the couple. They both nodded emphatically. She walked back around and reclaimed her seat next to Jack.

“What did you — ”

“Shhh.” Caroline interrupted him. After almost a minute of awkward silence, the couple gathered their coats and hats and shuffled out of the theater. Caroline shook her head and lit another Chesterfield. That woman smoked more than anyone he’d ever met.

“There was a time not that long ago, right here in California, when I could have hung that cocksucker from the rafters by his guts and danced under his raining blood while his little girlfriend cried in the corner,” she shrugged. “C’est la vie.”

Jack laughed.

“Parlez-vous français?” he asked.

“No. Who the fuck is Bernie Zuckerman?”


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