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Rick Jones finds a job.



Order & Chaos

Tired and somewhat irritated, Emerald makes his way back home. Now that the emergency has past, his personal life begins to intrude. Rick Jones is still without steady employment, and it seems likely he missed his opportunity with Beck. He begins to feel a bit anxious, but then stops himself. No one's ever made it in New York in just a matter of days.
    "Hey, Jones," the landlady, who is standing in the doorway to her apartment, says as Rick enters the scruffy-looking lobby. "I don't appreciate you havin visitors loiter around here." She jerks a fat thumb towards the far corner of the lobby.
    Sitting there is bleary eyed man with dark hair and a moustache, wearing an expensive but somewhat rumpled suit, a newspaper folded in his lap. He overhears the landlady and sees Rick, and then springs to his feet, a smile spreading across his face.
    "Rick Jones?" he says cheerfully. "You're a hard man to get in touch with. Name's O'Bryan. Robert O'Bryan. You'd called in to our offices about a job, asked for an appointment. You never showed. Mister Beck reviewed the questionnaire our secretary took from you. Noticed you got some musical talent, or so you say. Mister Beck is looking for a singer for his new picture. Got a few minutes to talk?"
    "Yes," Rick tells the man. "I can talk for a few minutes," he leads the man inside his apartment. "Can I offer you something?"
    O'Bryan shakes his head. "No, thank you. Listen, I don't want to take too much of your time right now. Here's the deal. Auditions so far have been a pain in the ass. Beck's letting the writers exercise creative control to include casting decisions. Big mistake, but, hey, it's not my picture, right? Those two prima donnas didn't liked anyone who came into to read for the singer part. It's not a big part, mind you. Just a couple of short scenes early in the flick, and then a longer scene—a singing bit—towards the end. You'll probably be involved in five, maybe six, days of shooting. You get the part, we'll pay $150 a day minimum. You're any good, there might be more dough involved. You want a shot? Thought you would. Come by our offices tomorrow morning. Eleven. You got a guitar, bring it."
    O'Bryan hands Rick a business card. Printed on it: Anvil Studios, Robert O'Bryan, Production Assistant, followed by a local address and phone number.
    The night passes in a dreamless haze, half awake and half asleep. Early the next morning Rick wakes up and pulls his slightly battered six-string guitar from its case and starts to play absently. He finally looks up at his clock, and realizing that the hours have flown by he bolts for the shower to clean up.
    With the crowded city traffic and his aging car Rick runs up to the roof of his building and dons his costume. Barely five minutes later he lands on the roof a building adjacent to the address on the card. Two minutes after that a slightly windswept Rick Jones walks into the offices of Anvil Studios. "Hello," he tells the receptionist. "My name is Rick Jones. I've got an appointment to see Quinten Beck and Robert O'Bryan."
    "Yes, Mr. Jones. Please have a seat. Mr. Beck will be with you shortly," the smarmy receptionist recites while pushing a button on the intercom. There is a buzz.
    And so Rick sits. The minutes tick by. Eventually, after nearly fifteen ticks, the door to Beck's office opens. A tall man, nearly six feet, with black hair and blue eyes stands there. He is wearing dark slacks and a white button up shirt, the sleeves of which are rolled up to his elbows. His tie is loosened, and the top button of his shirt undone. He is slender, but his exposed forearms are muscled; the man is obviously athletic. "Mr. Jones? Rick Jones? I'm Quentin Beck," he says, extending a hand. "Glad you could make it this time. Come in." Beck steps aside so Rick can enter the office. It is a nice enough affair, but still rather Spartan: a desk, a sofa, a few books on the bookshelves, a chair behind the desk and two more in front of it.
    "You want coffee? A soda?" Beck asks, and then pokes his head out the door. "Mrs. Abel, please get Mr. Jones a soda." Beck shuts the door. "You've already met Robbie." O'Bryan nods. "This is one of our writers."
    A shorter, heavier man rises from the sofa. He is older, probably in his mid to late 40s, with thinning black hair, oiled and combed back, revealing a pronounced widow's peak. He sports a short, neatly trimmed goatee and mustache. His broad forehead shadows his deep set eyes somewhat, and his aquiline nose looks like it may have been broken once.
    "Rick Jones, this is Karl Mordo," Beck introduces.
    "It is a pleasure to me you, Mr. Jones," he says in a smooth, thickly accented voice. "Would you care to sing for us?"
    Rick sets his guitar case on the desk in front of him and takes it out. Wishing himself luck Rick starts to play, and he starts to sing along with the music. He finds himself singing a tune made popular by Elvis Presley, and thinks to himself maybe this wasn't the best idea he's ever had.
    The three would-be movie moguls listen quietly. Mordo seems especially intent, his eyes closed, the fingers of left hand moving in time with the song. When Rick finishes, O'Bryan starts to clap.
    "Well, Karl, what do you think?" Beck asks.
    Mordo nods appreciatively. "The choice of song was a bit unorthodox, but the voice is good. There is depth, resonance. A little work with a coach, and he'll be able to handle the part."
    "Great!" O'Bryan exclaims. "Sounds like you're in, Rick. That is, if you want to be in, and who wouldn't, eh? This is going to be a great opportunity. We've signed Sue Storm and Martin Preston for the leads. You'll get some screen time with them. Your face and name associated with two of the hottest actors in Hollywood."
    Beck laughs. "You can stop the pitch, Robbie. Get Rick a script and a shooting schedule."
    Rick can hardly believe what he's hearing. "I'd love to be involved," he tells the men at the table. "Just tell me when you need me to start," Rick waits as O'Bryan retrieves a copy of the script. Rick puts his guitar back into its case and closes it.
    "Here you go, Rick!" O'Bryan gushes, handing the script to Jones. "You're parts are on the mint green pages, but you'll need to read the entire script. This stack here --" He hands Jones a second

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