“Okay, amigo. It`s nice to talk with you, but I have to go to work tomorrow early in the morning. Sorry.”

She stood up and walked away. Roy followed her.

“Is it true you’re a famous filmmaker?”

“Yes, I’m a director. But I’m not sure how famous I am. Anyhow, I’m no Kubrick or Scorsese yet. How did you know I make films?”

“In Sea Gate everyone knows everything about everybody and gossips constantly. If you hear something about me, don’t be surprised.”

“But I know without hearing any rumors that your favorite actress is Salma Hayek. You remind me of her in some ways. You have the same temperament and a similar style. Am I right?”

“No, you’re not!” Carmen answered sharply, clearly ruffled by the fact that some stranger was trying to intrude on her inner sanctum.

“Di-ing… di-ing…” the iron clinger in the beacon casing knocked dully and pitifully.

“And what about your films? They’re all about the mafia, I suppose?”

“No, they’re about children.”

“Children? I saw you yesterday with your son at the beach. You`re a caring papa.” Carmen said this and for some reason went silent.

They’d already reached the bluff. Roy climbed up and extended his hand down to Carmen. But it seemed she didn’t notice his offer of help: she deftly placed her foot on an exposed root, grabbed the iron post, and, in a flash, sprung up like a strong cat. She brushed the sand off her pants. They both slipped through the hole in the fence and walk up the path.

“Here we are.”

The windows of her house were dark, and a sconce on the wall near the outside door was lit. Near the porch steps was a jasmine bush. The air suddenly felt stuffy to Roy. The farrago of the scent of ocean, flowers, cigarette smoke, and engine oil from the basement now rushes through his nostrils to his head.