“Well, thanks, director, for the company. Gracias. See ya on the beach! Buenos noches.” She tossed her cigarette away and playfully wiggled her fingers goodbye.

Roy returned home. He went into Nick’s room first. He quietly took the stuffed leopard from the child’s arms, pulled the sheet up to his son’s small shoulders, and stroked his hair. And… he caught himself thinking this sentimental mise en scene of fatherly love so banal. It’s an eternal stock image: a child sleeps sweetly in his bed while his loving father strokes his head.

The fan blades buzzed in the windows. Roy went into the bedroom. Michelle was there, dressed in black panties, her small breasts exposed. The desk lamp was on. Roy sat next to his wife.

“Did you have a nice walk?” Michelle put down her fashion magazine and held out her slightly tanned hand to her husband. “Jack called, by the way. He wants to know how it’s going and asked you to return his call. Maybe he has an interesting offer for you. After all, you’re a star in great demand now.”

Roy stroked his wife’s hips and looked pensively at the empty wall in front of him.

“Call in to work and take a week off,” she continued. “It’s worth thinking about a change in environment. Don`t you think it`s time to leave this foolish hotel security job; you’re a film director.” Michelle moved closer to the wall, making room for him next to her on the bed.

“I’m going home to get my video equipment tomorrow,” he said, his voice soft but decisive.


Chapter 3


Their new neighbors were Jeffrey, Esther, and five-year-old Moshe.

The head of the family was forty years old. He was thin and a little taller than average. He always wore a stale white shirt with crumpled trousers. It seemed he was balding, though it’s impossible to say for sure because he was always in a yarmulke or hat. Jeff’s long, bearded face broke out in unhealthy red spots. In general, he was a typical middle-aged Hassidic man.