Mission City, California 2023

Mission City, California 2023

September 8th, 2023 – Friday

4:17 AM – Garrick pulls onto the lot in his truck and shows the security guard his pass for New Frontier Films. They had seen Garrick or “Gary” as his badge stated like a quoted middle name leave only six hours ago from his fourteenth 12+ hour day.

“Sir, did you forget something?”

Garrick smiles, “Mornin’ Sam, no just this is the final set piece for the film’s final scene, oh here’s your favorite drink,” Garrick hands Sam his hot caramel/vanilla latte which every security guard seems stunned someone with his status doesn’t send his aid to do this, “I’ve only got three more days to finish the set so we don’t have to overspend the CGI budget, and that will make a tri-fecta of 3 for 3 films on time and on or under budget!”

Garrick winks at Sam as he makes a faux hat nod and drives forward.

As the barrier bar lowers behind his truck Sam turns back to his partner in the gatehouse operating the bar, “Hey Sam, that coffee has a wierd cup cozy?” Sam looked down and saw it was wrapped in a $100 dollar bill. As he pulled it off and set the coffee down he turned to go and return it. However, some wording caught his attention. On the bill Garrick wrote, ‘Thanks for being you and keeping us safe, buy the new kid a cup.’ He showed it to his partner he was training and the young guy’s eyes went wide!

“See, I am not lying he treats everyone he meets like they’re his best friends! Absolutely, the nicest guy I ever met!”

The new guy asked if he’s single, Sam shrugged, “He’s worked three films and no one has ever seen him with a significant other longer than a few days, and every tabloid reporter they talked to writes each of them all left saying they were “friend-zoned” before they knew what hit them. No one publicly has cracked him, ever!” The new guy called bullshit but Sam said that meant no coffee later and the new guy’s tune changed toot sweet!

9:01 AM –
Brandon Mallic, at 6’5″ tall has always struck an imposing figure, the bionic right arm and left leg from prior military work did not hurt the reputation one bit. His sister, Constance Mallic, is 5’8″ tall is a stark contrast to her brother. Brandon hates it when she has to visit the set because she resembles a Playboy playmate from 4 years ago. Brandon is very protective of her and has only found a handful of people that treat her as a person rather than the person he stresses (more than he might need to) is “just” a resemblance. What he loves about Garrick is that his landlord/employee has always looked her in the eye! Not even video footage has ever caught Garrick ever checking his sister out. What he hates about Garrick is his sister fawning over him from a distance. They both know had Garrick not leased that building to them this deal, these three movies, and employing a completely Norwood workforce from their home sub-district would’ve never happened! Brandon is aware that Garrick needed a second chance as much as they need a start however, neither of them were prepared for how much work he would consistently put in. His sister would be on-site for the final scene filming so the robotics control can be monitored by Garrick and her for the practical effects.

[BLEEP – Txt alert]

‘If he’s working over 10 hours days again Brandon, so help me! I will…LOTS OF PAIN!’

[RINGS] “Goddammit Constance! I’m not his big brother and you two aren’t fucking dating. No… No it wasn’t a challenge! Constance! Stop, stop, fine I will ask, but he’s a grown fucking man! Get on the damn plane or you’ll miss your flight!” [CLICK]


Over the PA system, “Mr. Mallic, while I treasure your benevolent presence, if you scream during the testing I will drop a sand bag on your head!”

Gary, quit fucking with me! I need you to get Constance at the airport today she’s anxious and likes you more!

A sand bag with green CGI tracker dots all over it falls from ceiling ten feet to the left of Brandon!

Shitty aim, Gary!

Over the PA system, “It was a warning shot, manners, remember?”

Brandon looked up past the lattice work tracks and then saw the bags, all of them tied to fall through the lattice track gaps! He walked over and saw that the set might be ready today! The huge tank of the Emperor Gestalt Mecha-Lord’s brain pool! On one of the planks leading to the dais was the robot hero, artificial intelligence, Veritas, in his assumed cyborg body. When Gary told him he could cut his build time to one third in order to offset the CGI budget and voice over actors. Brandon agreed and then only when Constance called him on it wondered how?

Garrick got a hold of finance and had everything over his normal salary divided up among those willing to work the hours he needed them to! Garrick was still getting a salary from Mallic Robotics. The movie was paying him $147,000 for this film as the Lead Solution Architect, plus a half point of the film in gross sales, profit sharing, and a hefty cash bonus which conservatively came up to roughly $780,000! If ‘Veritas Rising’ did better than ‘Wrath of the Mecha Lords’ that could be well over a million dollars! It meant a $20,000 to $23,000 bonus to each and every person that would say yes to his plan. When he brought the offer to the crew they all agreed and began working 14 hour shifts, in three waves to have overlap coming and going! Rotated single days off per week and a medical staff on hand to help with any illness so people never called off sick. Craft services also was included and everyone worked to make sure people were fed and hydrated well.

Brandon could not believe what he did in almost three weeks which was quoted at nine, minimum! He made his way up to the control booth as the director and actors were at another table going over lines and referencing the set nearing completion. He finally found Gary, his aid, Horace Sharma, whom was selected by Gary to head QA during the first film. Novia, his second assistant, was a Cuban girl that had a prosthetic leg Gary made her if she agreed to make sure he adhered to his schedule. No less than four times people thought they were dating, only Brandon knew she did in fact have a crush on him. She was also the only person to ever record him saying he was “broken” and not capable of such endeavors. She gave Brandon the MP3 device because he kept her crush a secret.

Novia, how long has he been here today?

The look on her face is a mixture of admiration and righteous anger, “Voy a apuñalar a este muchacho blanco caliente, que me está volviendo loco!” Brandon nodded, both of them knew Gary did not know Spanish.

Gary, I said I would ask when did you get here, today?

“I know, the whole damn set heard your call, Mr. Mallic. About 40 minutes before Sam got off shift.”

Horace buries his head in his work while Novia and Brandon look at each other, their eyes grow slowly wider since Gary left only 6 hours before that! When he left last night it had been another of his god only knows how many 16-hour shift stints. Spanish and English profanity began to stream out as Garrick turns around, “Shut up! Either we get this done today and you keep Constance away in meetings or I will take her up on that dinner rain-check, your call!” Even with 14 hour shifts no one worked more hours or harder than their boss whom 16-18 hour days were his regular schedule.

Brandon nods, turns while flipping Gary off realizing he only made the dinner offer a rain-check at Brandon’s request. Gary is also the only other person to know that Constance did pose for a magazine under a stage name. This was to help get the seed money for her contribution match of Brandon’s that founded their company. Gary explained needing to keep things professional and it would always be a rain-check they might cash one day. He told Brandon after her offer and his reply he never intended to cash it. Saying what he did clearly meant he was getting mad that his insane work schedule to keep the company in good standing did not appear appreciated. Brandon headed off to two other sales meetings to discuss figures for the toy line and the addition in the credits urging donations to charities like the Giving Tree.

Taking the golf cart across the lot he wondered how someone so smart could not realize how many women and even a fair share of men wanted a piece of him? He had talked with him and watched him do what he called ‘schmoozing’ with people enough to realize it was second nature. It was probably a fair part of what kept him alive in prison during those three years. Brandon had gone back and read up on Cuthbert Faulkner in a lot of detail and one thing stood out in his investigation. Cuthbert, may have been quite the player given the hints of various scandals, but he never left his wife, Cynthia. It would seem his father knew what he was doing with the ladies but never realized how much or how often Gary was watching and learning from him.

February 5th, 2024 – Monday

8:33 AM – Brandon was looking over proposals when his sister barged in, “Where’s Gary I can’t find him?”

Brandon sighs and remembers the above moment, “Constance, he’s been scheduled for 9 AM for over 4 months now. Currently you have 27 minutes of opportunity to learn patience.”

She inhales like a dragon getting ready to breathe fire, “Are you working him on some long project?”

Brandon smirks, “Constance, I have work to do. Just call him besides I think he’s got either one or two girls he dating now.” Brandon took a bit more satisfaction in twisting his sister up than he should have. “You could try dating someone yourself you know. If you had paid attention more you’d see what the gym is doing for Gary, taller, broader, chest as hard as Veritas itself!”

Eyes narrow like daggers toward Brandon, “You’re such a dick Brandon, fine I’ll bug Horace, he’ll know when he gets here. I need some info to get your reports done or your 2 o’clock meeting is going to be real short.” She stormed out in a suit cut and tailored for her figure. Clearly, word of Gary’s new physique has gotten around the office. Brandon smiled as he rang his secretary, “Novia, would you tell Horace I’ll buy lunch if he does Gary watch today.”

She giggles that knowing understanding, “Sure.”


Art by: AZ_Artisan


3 Replies to “Mission City, California 2023”

  1. You know I might be more worried about navigating dating Constance. Her brother should know from the cut of that suit she means business. “wink wink” 🙂 😉

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