Glamorama

Page 195

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"What's that?" I ask, motioning to the tape in his hand. "Dailies?"

"Not exactly," he says.

I realize something. "Does Bobby know you're here?"

He looks away apprehensively.

"I think you should leave," I'm saying. "If Bobby doesn't know you're here I think you should leave."

"Victor," the director says. "I've debated showing you this." He pauses briefly. He decides something and shuffles toward a large-screen TV that's ensconced in a white-oak armoire across from the bed I'm shivering in. "But in light of what's about to happen, I think it's probably imperative that you view this."

"Hey, hey, wait," I'm saying. "No, please, don't-"

"I really think you should see this, Victor."

"Why?" I'm pleading, afraid. "Why?"

"This isn't for you," he says. "This is for someone else's benefit."

He blows confetti off the tape before slipping it into the VCR below the TV. "We think that Bobby Hughes is getting out of hand."

I'm wrapping myself in a comforter, freezing, steam pouring from my mouth because of how cold it is in the house.

"I think things need to be reduced for you," the director says. "In order for you to... see things clearly." He pauses, checks something on the VCR's console. "Otherwise we'll be shooting this all year."

"I don't think I have the energy to watch this."

"It's short," the director says. "You still have some semblance of an attention span left. I checked."

"But I might get confused," I say, pleading. "I might get thrown off-"

"Thrown off what?" the director snaps. "You're not even on anything to get thrown off of."

He presses Play on the console. I motion for him to sit next to me on the bed because I'm getting so tense I need to hold his hand even though he's wearing leather gloves, and he lets me.

Blackness on the screen blooms into random footage of Bobby.

Bobby on Boulevard du Montparnasse. Bobby sitting in La Coupole. Bobby heading down the Champs Elyssees. Bobby taking notes while waiting for the Vivienne Westwood show to begin, sitting in a giant room in the basement of the Louvre. Bobby crossing Rue de Rivoli. Bobby crossing Quai des Celestins. He's turning down Rue de l'Hotel-de-Ville. He enters the metro station at Pont Marie. He's on a train, grabbing an overhead handrail as the train slowly enters the Sully-Morland station. A shot of Bobby on an Air Inter flight from Paris to Marseilles, reading a copy of Le Figaro. Bobby's picking up a rental car at the Provence airport.

"What are these? Highlights?" I'm asking, relaxing a little.

"Shh. Just watch," the director says.

"Bobby doesn't know you're showing me this," I ask again. "Does he?"

Bobby gets off a plane that just landed at Le Bourget airport.

Bobby walks along the Place des Voyages and into a restaurant called Benoit.

Bobby in the tunnel on the Place de l'Alma, near its east end, crouching by the concrete divider that separates the eastbound and westbound lanes.

Suddenly a scene I don't remember shooting. Cafe Flore. It's only me in the shot and I'm tan, wearing white, my hair slicked back, and I'm looking for a waitress.

"This cappuccino sucks, dude," I'm muttering. "Where's the froth?" A boom mike is visible above my head.

A voice-Bobby's-says, "We're not here for the cappuccino, Victor."

"Maybe you're not, baby, but I want some froth."

A shot of a line of schoolgirls singing as they walk along Rue Saint-Honore.

Then static.

And then a close-up: airplane tickets to Tel Aviv.

Bobby's outside Dschungel, a club in Berlin, calling a girl a slut. A famous American football player is idling behind him.

Bobby in front of a Jewish synagogue in Istanbul.

Bobby wearing a skullcap. Bobby praying in Hebrew.

Bobby at the Saudi embassy in Bangkok.

Bobby drifting out of a bungalow in Tripoli, walking past a discarded radio antenna, an expensive Nikon camera swinging around his neck. A group of men follow him, wearing head scarves, holding Samsonite briefcases.

Someone singing a love song in Arabic plays over the sound track.

Bobby hops into a battered Mercedes 450SEL. A Toyota bus with bulletproof windows trails the Mercedes as it heads into a dark, vast desert.

The camera pans to a bulldozer scooping out a giant pit.

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