“And what does your former boss’s villa have to do with me?” Roy slipped his hand into the pocket of his pants and removed a small plastic bottle with a thin white nozzle.

His eyes burned after watching the screens for a long time. Like hot sand poured into his corneas. And his vision seemed to be getting worse—he had to squint one eye then another constantly. It made sense to stop editing clips of Carmen for a while—they have too many patches, he thought.

Roy lifted the bottle above his upturned head, pulled his eyelid down, and gently squeezed the plastic bottle with his fingers. A drop of salvation fell from the bottle to his eye.

“How does it concern you? I’ll tell you, man: my boss wants you to shoot his villa and, of course, him. The swimming pool. The garden surrounding the villa. There’s a golf course and a lake with fucking swans. He’ll pay you well,” continued Walter, unbuttoning the holster on his chest and taking out his gun. “And besides the money, you’ll be able to make the useful acquaintance of the chief of the NYPD homicide unit. Don’t squander this networking opportunity, my friend; don’t get your nose in the air—be realistic!” Walter concluded with his favorite quote, an expression of his own life credo. He stood up and went to the safe to put away his gun.

Roy sat squeezing his eyes shut while thin drops of water trickled down his cheeks.

“Okay, I’ll think about it,” he answered.

“Or maybe you’re waiting for a proposal from Hollywood? Do you know, my friend, how many oddballs like you dream about fucking Hollywood?” continued Walter, who, it should be noted, didn’t have the least understanding of the life of artists or directors, aside from what he’d read between the covers of tabloids. “So, you shot a film, huh? Made some money and a golden statue, correct? And what next? Well, you put the statue on the shelf, made a couple of TV appearances, right, and they wrote up something in the newspaper. So what`s fucking next?” asked Walter, trying to raise the heavy curtain for him and reveal the real artistic life backstage.

“Fucking nothing comes next.” Roy quietly shrugged his shoulders. He wasn’t mad at Walter; he knew that it wasn’t a good idea, and maybe even indecent, to talk about art with some people.