It started with a text, “got work for you, call me asap” texts like this weren’t unusual by any means, but the last time I had answered one, I’d flown to Paris. When I arrived at the studio Adam was working in just three days before, I was told that the shoot had been cancelled, and Adam had been flown back to the UK two days ago.
I’d literally dropped everything, even giving up another smaller project that would clash with this one, and reluctantly, paid for a flight. I paid for a one way ticket, on the promise that my return ticket would be paid for when the project was done; emptying my savings account getting there. It was an embarrassing 14 hour wait, before my parents could send me the money to come home. I hated having to borrow money from them, and hated even more that I hadn’t ever been able to pay it back.
I tried calling Adam as soon as I got home, but his number just went straight to voicemail. It had been almost eight months since I last heard from him.
Adam and I grew up together, we lived on the same street. As kids, we played together, acting out scenes from our favourite tv shows. Movies were a big part of our lives and from a young age, we dreamed about making our own. We did most things together, we managed to get a paper route at the same news agent, and delivered papers to the houses we had once played in front of. We kept the job only long enough to buy a tiny, handheld camera we were able to use to create our own movies. I usually opted to stay behind the camera, while Adam would cavort in front of it, much the same way as when we were young.
After school came university, both studying at the same campus, with Adam graduating a year ahead of me. Upon graduating myself, Adam was working with a small production company, and had managed to line a job up for me. Working together, made us both work harder, earning a good reputation as we went. This kept both of us working constantly for a couple of years. We started branching out eventually, each finding our own projects, in our own chosen specialties. But still, we threw work to one another when we could, if we could.
I learned about a month after I got back from Paris, that Adam had been offered a full time post with an American production company. He’d left without telling anyone, just packed up and went, it was his mother who finally thought to get in touch with me. He was erratic like that, but he was good fun, spontaneous and impulsive. He had never been able to sit still, always moving from one place to the other, crashing on couches, sleeping in spare rooms. He bounced from project to project, and had worked with some of the bigger companies in the industry along the way.
I wasn’t a great traveller, so I didn’t take as many jobs out with the city, but I did earn enough to make the repayments on a flat, which I’d bought and remodelled with the help of my father. I took jobs with small production teams when I could get them; but when I couldn’t find work, I ran open mike nights in some of the local bars.
I had chosen not to respond to Adam’s first text, but he kept trying all day, making me turn my phone off completely. I didn’t turn it on again until I arrived home, only giving in, as I checked to find out if my partner had called. Adam had called me three times in the last hour alone, a fact that both worried and irked me. I stood scowling at the screen, my finger hovering over his name, before tapping the home button. I opened messages, opting for a text as I knew if I spoke to him, I’d end up saying yes. I have to admit, I knew that getting in touch, even if it was to tell him to fuck off, would just make him all the more persistent.
I didn’t hear from him again at all during the late afternoon, or into the early evening. After dinner my partner called, I told her about Adam’s weird behaviour, she wanted me to call him, just to make sure he was okay. I still felt bitter, and knowing that he was back in the UK and hadn’t gotten in touch until now didn’t help, but I told her I’d sleep on it. She was coming through in the evening tomorrow, to come hang out with me while I was working, something we did fairly often as we both got to drink for free, as long as they were soft drinks. We agreed to meet in George Square and make our way to the bar from there.
I played video games until midnight, then decided to turn in for the night, I was hoping to get up early to go to the gym, as this usually meant I’d do something with my day other than sitting around in my underwear, playing video games and drinking coffee until I had to get to work. Working evenings often made me run the risk of my days being much more unproductive.
I placed my phone on the nightstand as I always did, before heading to the bathroom, to get ready for bed. I stripped out of the clothes I was wearing, balling them up and throwing them into the corner, at the foot of an already full laundry hamper. I couldn’t help smirking as I could already hear my partner’s voice in my head, chastising me playfully for letting my laundry get so ‘out of hand’. I’d have to remember to do at least one load of laundry in the morning before heading to the gym. I dragged a toothbrush over my teeth, noticing bristles coming loose as I did so, it badly needed replacing. I was more than ready for bed, so I was irked when I saw the text notification glowing on the screen as I walked into my room. I didn’t have to check to know that it was Adam, it read,
“I need to talk to you. Now.”
I stood, looking at my phone and shivered slightly, not that it was cold, but the way that text was written. There was nothing playful about it, it was so… not Adam. I shrugged the feeling off, and put it down to the fact that I was still standing naked in the middle of a dark room, staring at the now black screen on my phone. I lay down, and turned my face to the ceiling, once again deciding to ignore him, to make him wait.
Adam had other plans, he began calling me, I stared intently at the ceiling as the phone vibrated and glowed inches from my face. It rang once. Twice. On the third call, I snatched the phone up before aggressively answering, “What?”
“Luca, why the fuck has it taken you all day to get back to me?”
His indignant tone did nothing for my already black mood towards him, I audibly spluttered and was just about to launch into a tirade of shit about his attitude, when he cut me off,
“Luca, I’m sorry. I really am. But, I need you, I’m in over my head in a project that… I can’t talk about this on the phone Luca, I need you to come to London. I need your help.”
There was something about that desperate tone in his voice that I had never heard before, it turned my blood to ice. I wanted nothing to do with anything that could make Adam sound that way, never the less, I could hear my voice say the words,
“When do you need me to leave?”
He uttered only one word, before hanging up,