"So, kid, what’s eating at you, anyway?” the old man asked.
The kid sighed, shoved his hands deep into his overall pockets and said, “I don’t know, it’s just that I don’t feel like I’m going anywhere in my career. My part, it’s just so small. The whole production could go on without me and no one would even notice.”
The old man smiled, patted the kid on the back, and reassured him, “We all felt that way at some point along the way, son. I remember when I first started out. My first three jobs were to get rid of stuff after the whole thing was over. Can you imagine how I felt as I dragged stuff to the burn pits?” He watched the kid for a moment and then continued, “But slowly, I got better parts, more important parts. Until now, look at me. I’m in charge.”
“So, just because I’m the cleanup guy doesn’t mean I don’t have a future with the crew, is that what you're saying?” the kid asked.
The old man shook free a cigarette from his pack, lit it, and responded, “That’s it exactly. I’ve got a spot for you in Wardrobe for our next job in Georgia. And if you do well there, well, there’s another job in Alabama after that needing a good Make-up assistant.” He inhaled, exhaled, and continued, “So you see, it’s just one step at a time up the ladder. By this time three years from now, you’ll be sitting here talking to some youngster, just like I’m talking to you now.”
The kid was getting excited now. “Do you think I’ll ever get to do the dangerous stuff, like driving?”
“Sure, why not. That takes a bit more training, but I think we can get you penciled-in for that this Winter,” the old man assured him. “And don’t forget Sound and Props. Those can be real important skills to have in your career. Why, I remember one job I had that relied completely on Sound and Props for its success. And I had the skills to pull it off and that’s where I got noticed by the money guys, you know, the ones behind all of these jobs were doing.”
“Really, Sound and Props are that important sometimes, huh? Which job was that, anyway?” the kid wondered.
The old man stubbed out his cigarette and took out another one before replying. A distant look came over him as he remembered the day, “Oh, it was a late November day in '63, down in Dallas. I was just a kid then, much like you. It was my job to be on this little grassy knoll and do my Sound and Prop thing. Pretty simple, but to tell you the truth, I was kind of nervous.”
“You, nervous? Wow, hard to believe. Dallas, huh? Never been there myself. This job we’re doing here in Delaware is the farthest from home I’ve ever been.” Then, the kid smiled, and ended with, “But I’m feeling much better about my career now since we’ve had this talk. You’ve given me hope.”
The old man smiled and jokingly pulled down on the brim of the kid’s red cap a bit. “You’re alright, kid. Just do your job today like you’ve been told and you will make out fine. Remember to burn everything, including the uniforms, the identification cards, and the phones. Everything! You got that!”
“Burn everything, right!” the kid responded. “And then we’ll all meet back across the border next week. Thanks again for the pep talk.”
“Sure, kid, hasta manana,” the old man said, smiling kindly, knowing full well that this was the last time he’d ever see the kid alive. Too bad, he thought, the kid seemed okay.