Story Boarding

We’d sit at the same table every other Saturday morning at the Beverly Hills Hotel. I’d draw on the back of placemats, the linen kind with scalloped edges. He’d bring his screenplay and lay it out on the tablecloth, waiting. We waited for Rose to fill his coffee mug.

Light streamed in through large windows overlooking the outdoor patio which we never ventured onto because Rose’s section was inside, and we only sat where Rose could pay attention to Dad. She had light red, wavy, teased hair. She applied blue shadow above her brown eyes. Her waitress uniform matched the pink walls and her pencil skirt fell just below her knees. I liked Rose. I liked her the most of all the waitresses. She was prettier than the one at Nate N'Als who scooped my bagels just right. I never knew her name. She always seemed mad we were there.

Dad picked out our table. We'd arrived at our usual: 8:00am. Our booth was along the back wall. We had to beat the brunch crowd. Rose handed me a glass of semi worn crayons as Dad flipped over his mug for her. “Fill’er up.” I set to drawing a rainbow, plugging my ears from Rose and Dad’s flirtations.

“Rose, you make the best coffee in town.”

She inspected my drawing when she came back with my apple juice. “That’s a pretty rainbow, is that a pot at the end?”

I nodded, swapping out the brown crayon for a yellow one to fill in the gold.

“Show Rose how you can story board,” Dad said. “She reads scripts for me. Then draws the scenes,” he added, syrup between words. Rose said she would be right back to take our order.

Dad opened up the screenplay and talked to me about what he was going to change. He wasn't happy with the middle part, he said. He talked to me about Act 2 a lot. The tricky act, he always said. He showed off the script to Rose when she got back, by holding it up so she could read the title page.. I rolled my eyes under my messy hair in my face. I wanted to play connect the dots but instead, Dad slid TheJames Dean Story in front of me. "No more rainbows, honey. Time to work."

He pointed to a scene., “This one. The opening. Draw it, honey. So Rose can see it when she brings our pancakes.” Rose took our orders.

Ext. Open Stretch of Road - Route 466 – Day

I worked on a bird’s eye view of the road, a Porsche, the intersection at Route 41 and an oncoming vehicle in the distance. It would be my best work yet. It would be everything a bird’s eye can take in, I thought. I was going to need more placemats, though. And a red crayon. You can’t fit a crash scene onto just one placemat, scalloped edges or no...