He sat down with a huff and tipped all of the pens onto the desk and proceeded to organize them by color: black to blue to red. This was the worst part of the night. The flourescents overhead gave him a headache by 7 o'clock and the constant driving back and forth from the office to the movie set didn't help either. But the fridge was stocked and he had finally adjusted his chair to the perfect resistance, so four more hours wouldn't hurt.
"Hey," Jen whispered. "Hey, you!"
Dan cocked his head and cast a quick glance over his shoulder. The production office was nearly empty and he was pretty sure he was the only guy in the building. Their eyes met and Jen frantically gestured with her free hand as she reached into one of her desk drawers.
He looked around at the hollow offices and empty chairs. They were supposed to be waiting for the call from set to let them know when shooting was over, but someone always forgot. The last item on the end-of-the-day checklist. *He glanced anxiously at the phone, willing it to ring, beep, anything to avoid a confrontation with his supervisor.
She grabbed what must have been keys since they jingled as she walked past his desk, tapping his chair on her way to the unused stairs. The production company leased the lower level of a five story brick building downtown, across from a Presbyterian church and a Starbucks- the lifeblood of America even in the city of dreams. Dan hung his head and followed her, certain she was going to let him know in excruciating detail all the mistakes he had made that day. The coffee without creamer? The 100 extra copies he made? The wrong size shoes he picked up for the props department? The movie business wasn't as easy as he thought.
He trudged up the steps after her, their sneakers scuffing in perfect tandem up five flights, but he stopped short when he reached the last step and the open door. Before him was a summer evening's paradise: a sky electrified with colors and clouds and the whole twinkling city before him. It seemed to stretch forever, melding at the horizon into the fading sun and beginning again as cloud formations built across the sky.
"Pretty snazzy, huh?" Jen grinned.
"I have my phone connected to the landline- as soon as they call I'll get it on this so we don't have to go back downstairs." She shook her iPhone in reference.
"Do you do this every night?" he asked, turning slowly to soak in the 360 degree view.
"Every night in the summer. It's the only time that everyone's out of the office when the sun sets."
"Wow. This is great."
She fell into one of the plastic lawn chairs littering the roof. "Don't let today get you down. We all start as assistants- unless we're suck ups. We know where you've been, how you feel. This is one of the only jobs you can get fired for guacamole when the boss asked for nacho cheese. But things like this make it worth it."
"This and the movie, right?"
"Yeah, but sometimes the movie is a piece of crap. But you do it because it's what you want to do. Every project is a step. And every step gets you closer to where you want to be." She gestured to the chair beside her.
"Where do you want to be, Dan?"
*Soooo that was a little longer than five minutes. But once I started I couldn't stop. At least there was no editing! Go on, Greg. Find a spelling mistake. I dare you.