Book Excerpt

     The cameras are set now – Michael Beck and me facing off in the harsh white light. Walter’s in his director’s chair, chewing on a toothpick. Baxley’s talking us through the beats in a quiet voice, “All right, you got this. You want to rehearse it once at full speed, or you ready to shoot one?”

     “Let’s go for it,” says Michael.

     I nod in agreement.

     So, we find our marks in the patchy grass, and face off, bats ready, and Sosna calls the roll, Walter grunts, “Action.”

     And Michael Beck rushes me, swinging hard, and I counter and it’s fast and violent and right in the thick of it I’m thinking, Jesus this is fucking fast, keep up, Jesus H! Ducking, swinging, blocking, blocking again, the bats cracking against each other and now I’ve got Swan backed up against the tree and I swing for his head and he ducks under it – my bat cracking – ash on elm, and bouncing off and me spinning away, turning to see Swan coming at me, swinging his bat into my ribs - one, two three shots – and suddenly I’m on my back in the grass and I hear Walter grunt, “Cut,” and Sosna shout, “Cut, cut!” And now Michael Beck is there, leaning in on me.

     “Rob, you okay?”

     I’m gasping to get some air into my lungs. “Yeah,” I say, but to me it sounds like a quack. “Yeah,” I say again, then add, “God, that was fast! Did that seem fast to you?!”

     Michael grins down at me, “Yeah, it was fast, man. That was fast.”

     I get to my feet, vaguely aware that my ribs are on fire. But I’m exhilarated, and so is Michael Beck. We pulled it off. We nailed it. First take. We turn to Walter Hill – Herr Director – expecting applause. Or at least a nod of approval. A grunt maybe…

     “Do it again,” says Walter.