A film is playing: The leading man has been caught and exposed as an adulterer by his spouse. End of movie and lights up, where a teenaged, 70s era, Paul Giamatti is seen watching the film at the cinema. Then, this is exposed to be the real end of the movie.
Lights up and I am sitting in the theater with my son and his childhood buddy and we are sitting next to our friends, Mr and Mrs. Paul and Rita Giamatti.
Rita Giamatti stands up and stretches and says to me, "Let's go out to the lobby, we need to talk."
"What about?" I ask.
"Let's just say I got a phone call recently and I want to check your phone."
That's all she said, but I knew what she meant, as I'd been having an affair with her husband. I played it cool, hustling the children to get their toys and shuffling out to the lobby dropping legos along the way and asking the boys to run back and retrieve them.
Turns out Paul and Rita had left the cinema and were waiting for us across the street. The kids and I dodged cars and met them on the other side. If it weren't for Paul's sad head hanging down and Rita's slightly strident look, you'd think nothing was the least bit wrong.
I handed my cell phone to Rita and we proceeded toward a restaurant. Along the way I was met by my friend and dinner partner, Joe Hurley. We fell behind the Giamatti's and kids and I filled him in on the news.
"So, Rita is going through my phone right now presumably looking for a number or text of some sort."
"Apparently she suspects Paul is having an affair."
"...with you," he fills in.
"Maybe" I say.
"And are you?"
"Well, I was. It was a while ago. Pretty much over for a while now. So I'm not sure what she's looking for on that phone."
We arrive at the restaurant and take our seats. The kids are embroiled in their toy games, and Rita hands me back my phone. She has a look that tells me that my phone and I are off the hook. She leans forward and speaks around Joe's distinctly uncomfortable positioning.
"It's been a hard time. We've mostly been separated these past few months."
"I didn't know that" I responded.
"A couple of months and still trying to figure out what to do next. It's unnerving,"she heaved.
"Wow, I'm so sorry. I did not know you guys had separated. "
* * * * *
Pacific Coast Highway. A blue sky day and I'm alone standing near some shops somewhere south of Malibou. A lean figure of a man is walking toward me, it's Eric Clapton.
I say, "What are you guitar player types doing in town. You're the second one I've seen".
He says, "We're all playing at that big concert down at the Crossroads."
"Ah, that makes sense, I just saw Jeff Beck go by, now it all adds up. "
Eric gives it a pause and then says, "You should come."
"I would, but Im heading over to see a friend," I say unconvincingly.
Eric turns around toward me, "You really should come hang out, hang out with me for the day."
"Really,.. hang out?"
"Really," he echos. "You look like you could use some kicks."
"I could, I could use some kicks", I say flatly.
"Well done then" he says giving me a big hug.
Meanwhile, the ocean has suddenly sent a slow and benevolent tsunami wave over all of Pacific Coast Highway. We are not in any danger but the ocean water has engulfed everyone around. I realize my shoes are off and I worry they'll be carried out to sea, so too my suitcase.
I holler over to Eric, who's swimming next to Richard Thompson. "You'd better grab your guitars, everything's getting pulled out to sea". And then I swim back toward my suitcase.