Tuesday. Just another beautiful morning in Hollywood, California. The sun came in through the window behind me. It was always sunny. It had been sunny for as long as I could remember. Which currently was about two hours, ten minutes, and a handful of seconds not worth mentioning.
I sat at the table in the computer room. I was reading the Daily News. Around me Ada clicked and her lights flashed and her tapes spun. We were killing time while we waited for a job to come in. It was August 10, 1965. I knew that was the date because it was printed across the top of the newspaper in a very convenient manner.
There was a headline splashed all the way across the front page and the article that went with it was all about a film called Red Lucky. That got my attention. Movies, even in this town, rarely merited such prime newspaper real estate. I was obliged, I felt, to keep reading just to see what all the hoopla was. “Listen to this,” I said. Ada made a sound like she was putting out a cigarette in an ashtray that was in need of emptying, and then the sound was gone. If it had ever been there in the first place.
“If it’s about President Kennedy and his trip to Cuba, I’m not interested,” she said. Her voice came from somewhere near the ceiling. I wasn’t quite sure where exactly. I was sitting right inside of her.
I frowned, or at least it felt like I did. I scanned the front page again and saw what she was talking about: a piece – relegated to the bottom half – that was a lot of hot puff about Kennedy’s weeklong visit to Havana and how well the negotiations were going to put some good old American-made nuclear missiles down there. Just in case. After reading it I wasn’t quite sure whether I was supposed to hang a Stars and Stripes out of the office window or not.
Huh. Ada was right. When all was said and done, world affairs were a little beyond my interests, too.
“So,” I said, “do you want to hear about this cinematic marvel of the modern age or not?” “Sure, why not?” I found my place and I started reading. It was pretty interesting, actually. This was no ordinary movie – Red Lucky not only had an A-list cast assembled from across different studios, which I figured was quite something
What would a science fiction story written by Raymond Chandler look like? this thrilling speculative noir follows the Pi turned hit man Ray, the last robot in the world.
given most studios seemed to be at each other’s throats most of the time with their actors tied up in exclusive contracts as tight as Ada’s purse strings, but was going to be the first national film premiere, the picture beamed into theaters all over the country thanks to some new development in cinematic magic. The red-carpet premiere was due to be held at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre this coming Friday, but regular folk could grab a ticket and popcorn and take up space in theaters in twenty cities stretching from here to New York.
Seemed like a neat idea. I wondered if Ada could maybe give me the night off and I could go take a look. There were three other theaters in LA alone hosting the opening night beam-in. Couldn’t hurt to ask so that’s what I did.
“It’s been quiet, Ada,” I said, then I stopped as I wondered if it really had been quiet or whether that was just me not remembering being busy, but I’d started my query so I decided to finish it. “And if it’s quiet I think I should be allowed to go to the movies. It’s not like I need to be on call. We don’t get much in the way of last-minute assassination requests.”
At this Ada laughed and for a moment I saw an older woman with big hair leaning back in a leather chair with her stockinged feet up on a wooden desk and a cigarette burning toward the fingers of her right hand.
Hollywood, California. Summer, 1965. A girl called Eva. A robot called Ray. A missing movie star to find… and a diabolical masterplan to thwart.
Adam Christopher is a novelist, comic writer, and award-winning editor. Adam is the author of The Burning Dark, official tie-in novels based on the hit CBS television show Elementary, as well as co-writer of The Shield for Dark Circle Comics. Born in New Zealand, he has lived in Great Britain since 2006. He tweets to 6,000 followers as @ghostfinder.