Room Temperature


Image: Roman, Wikicommons

The little studio is pressed into the back of the yard, and the yard is trashed by flowers. The actor and the audio producer speak as we walk. The actor is tall and long-legged; he moves as if he were in the final steps of descending a sheer rock wall and at the same time turning from the wall to drop his hand down on your shoulder and smile at you. The afternoon air is filled with a dream of light.

Inside the studio, where it is dim and cool, the actor puts himself into a hidden room. He leans out twice: once, to give me the bottle of water they’ve put out for him, because I am thirsty; once to pull my chair closer so that I can see the men work. Then he closes the door and his body is gone, taken off his voice like a husk off corn.

The studio walls are slick with screens. The producer pulls best takes down from the red range of audio and the takes turn blue; “That’s an A right there,” agrees the director. “Got it. Wow. Holy shit.” The men watch the red sound with yogic concentration. They joke and the producer’s face breaks into a laugh like a rock breaks into a geode.

They discuss their options: “Too much air,” thinks the director.
“Yeah,” says the producer, and tells the actor, “Too much air on that one.”
“Sorry, dude,” says the director to the actor, “can we have you move a little bit off the mic?”
“I can’t hear you when you both press the button at the same time,” says the actor’s voice.

A break. The actor asks for water. The producer rises for the mini-fridge then stops himself: “I’ll go get something room temperature,” to protect the actor’s throat.

We rest outside in the kind sun. The director stands in the doorway in a ballcap and black. The producer’s dog comes and puts its head on my knee. The actor is a body again, unrolled over the cabana, his feet spread out along the ground.

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