AN:

There's a link that details and expounds on the story a bit more. Check the first chapter.

This comes with a soundtrack too.

Link: https[:] / / [open] [spotify] .com[/]user/kelychristmas/playlist/19R0qTYJrgGmou8bEIwUOf

Too-da-loo!


Lick for Luck

pages (1) to (7)


READING. . .


TRACK: 2/12

TIME: 0:02 / 4:03


At the beginning of it all, none of them had any factors to boast about, nothing worth remembering—no stories, no friends, and nothing personal that they had achieved.

Elizabeth Wright was an unsuccessful actress with nothing serious under her belt. She only starred in a couple of indie films, but those were nothing to be proud about, and she was insanely poor. Always eating Chinese takeout for dinner with an unmistakable glee that was embarrassing for her age, she was twenty-two.

Though at least, she had dreams, she supposes. Her parents didn't want her out here, somewhere in the sadder, poorer parts of California, but she lied and said she was gonna do something with her life.

She hasn't—and she probably won't.

She was a square-faced, skinny-framed procrastinator.

On the other hand, Andrew Kirk honestly believed almost every lie—and every exaggeration—that came out of his mouth. He was twenty-one, a stuntman, and had little to no necessary skills in anything else. He could strum up a few of the songs from Room on Fire on the guitar, but that was about it. He was as stunningly charismatic as the lies that came out of his mouth.

Fortunately, he wasn't as ill-developed as he seemed. He had his own place, living in a small studio room with his iguana named Charles, and he did nothing but listen to music and drink coca-cola all day. The bottom of his sofa was most likely littered with bags of chips and stale pastries.

He was a diamond-faced, lanky-framed exaggerator.

However, William Babcock was the most successful of them all.

He was a twenty-year-old that worked at some small market always littered with elderly Chinese women while holding a stressful side job as an errand boy on the same film as Elizabeth and Andrew.

He lived with his father, who was probably a horrible person in his lifetime but he paid no mind to that. William still loved him and dreamed to become the man his dad could have been. Working at a restaurant, cooking the fish he catches, he was a bright, blue-eyed dreamer. Elizabeth was jealous and Andrew was annoyed.

He was a puffy-faced, averagely-framed dreamer.

Consequently, it never really made any sense for them to all meet, but they did.

It moved into motion about a month ago.

The sky had been brighter than it had been all year. There was a strong breeze whipping around and blowing everyone's hair back, behind their ears and behind their necks. Each of them had been in California for a while now, but were, suddenly, quite unraveled by the weather that day. It was nicer than usual, fainter, they noticed.

Working on a small budget film about some girl, her dog, and a boy that keeps chasing her to retrieve something inside of her dog's collar, they were all, somewhat, connected. There was a lot of action in it for such a small, simple idea, but still, Andrew found himself having little to no fun on a film like that. Elizabeth only had a small role in the film—as the boy's horrible, possessive girlfriend.

She managed to pass by Andrew just once, only briefly, when they were filming on the same day. Walking off to isolate herself into her trailer, she was idly wandering, and, of course, Andrew was still off looking for a snack—with a small bag of Fritos in his hand already.

Elizabeth had her eyes focused on the world around her, on all of the people walking back and forth, on all of the side discussions assistants were having with managers, and some crewmen moving plants from one place to the other.

Andrew was bobbing his head to nothing but the song stuck in there. Some Justin Timberlake song, he remembers now, probably Sexyback.

The girl didn't exactly mean to bump into him. Already fiddling with her hands in her blue sweater, she was out of body—out of awareness. Under the bright radiance of the sun, she also couldn't see much.

Naturally, she ended up bumping into him. Some chips flew out of his hand. His eyes, no longer focused on what's in front of him, turned to her.

"Sorry," she mumbled, looking up only for a second.

Andrew didn't really care. He simply moved forward without noticing a single thing that slipped from her mouth. He was intent on getting an orange from the snack table.

On the other hand, William had a whole dozen coffees in his grip when he walked into the distance that was between the two. He was intent on not slipping a single thing. He didn't even notice he passed by anyone, except danger and unemployment. Jittery with his fingers, he juggled the coffees around in his arms and tried to find a better way of handling them. However, he was still uncomfortable and he was still nervous.

Among the madness of all the different directions of focused, desperate crew members, each of them went a separate way.

The light beaming from above the moving crowd was hot. If you looked closely enough, you could see each of them squinting their eyes, moving in completely different manners. While Elizabeth was quiet and introspecting on all of the chaos around her, while finding herself in a divided group of crew members, Andrew was bobbing into a small blue tent far, far away from her. William was just stumbling and curving around the moving ocean of individuals around him.

None of them knew about the course of events that were set to happen—or the close call to death that would result in their meeting; their linear lines seemingly connecting.

Though, they didn't officially meet until a couple of weeks later when the movie was close to a finish.

Several actors and actresses were already off the set, on their way home, and all of the unimportant additions to the movie were still filming—for whatever reason. It just so happened that they were all unimportant as one another and that whatever fork in the road had let them to their simple lives were also going to lead them together.

It was kind of fate.


"We need you in the prop room," they were all told, separately, but at the same time.

Elizabeth was standing on the sidelines, just watching the crewmen work, by a potted plant. She wasn't chewing on anything, even when she imagined a piece of gum in her pocket. At some point, she thinks she remembers William walking past her in a nervous daze.

At the time, she was wearing a tightly buttoned pea coat with a dalmatian-like print all over it. It looked horrible on her, in her opinion, but she wasn't the costume designer for the film so what did she know? She simply held herself tight-lipped and did the job. As opinionated as she was, if she could say so herself, it took quite a lot to keep her mouth shut, especially when she really believed in something.

She remembered just a couple months ago when the time came for her to read the script. She almost suggested that they tweak her lines—she didn't like how they villanized her character just so that her cheating boyfriend would be more understood—and they could have fired her almost for just that. She's entirely grateful she managed to encourage herself to shut up. However, now, quietly, in a bored fashion, she just waited for herself to matter.

It was moving from noon to night and she, kind of, wanted to head home. Instead, she found herself still present here—still on the sidelines—even when they didn't need her to be.

Eventually, a blonde lady, with a headset over her head, walked up to her, pointing behind herself. "We need you in the prop room."

She sighed out and turned away from her. Her shoulders had been swinging from side to side, which was an act of boredom, but they stopped immediately when she turned.

Andrew was, somewhere else, kicking his legs off a box.

He was bored.

The entire time they filmed this movie he was practically useless, just throwing himself off of limited heights, and pretending to be shaken by how exciting it all seemed, and well... it wasn't. He was looking for a thrill. He had signed onto this movie with the hopes of challenging himself, challenging his comfort zone, which was stupid, to say the least. Though, to be honest, Andrew didn't really have a comfort zone. He had a will-I-won't-I zone that he continuously teetered off of.

Always waiting for the next broken bone, ripped muscle, and fully formed scar, he found he actually couldn't remember the number of areas in his body that he's broken, sprained, or hurt. Something about that made him unnaturally satisfied.

He'd been incredibly reckless enough to hurt himself an innumerable amount of times and he's only twenty-one.

In his blue hoodie, dark jeans, and checkered vans, Andrew felt like a true rock star—and he really, really wasn't, especially not with that how he never seemed to matter.

"We need you in the prop room," he heard from beside him, only glancing at the man with brunette hair, before jumping to his feet and turning sideways to the prop area.

On the other hand, William was still pacing around aimlessly, just looming and watching.

He was very, very far from the set, he could admit. The boy hadn't meant to wander around until he was no longer easy to find, but there was just so much chaos—and they never stopped needing him. They always wanted a cup of this or a cup of that. It made him feel small to be needed for nothing bigger than a cup of coffee or a donut.

As of a result, he was just standing under a fire escape, quietly waiting for his thoughts to come back to him.

It had been a while since he got to just think—even, sometimes, at home, he believed. He was often lucky to be able to sit and register the present. As introverted as he was, he always ached to just sit at home, look up at the ceiling, and think. Daydream, he pushed even further.

William loved to daydream—about anything too.

Somewhere in his daydreams, all baby blue and hazy, he was a prince—and yeah, he was aware of how silly and horribly cheesy that was. He had his own horse that he could ride into the hills and jungles with. No, he commanded, he wasn't thinking about all the princesses he could be with. He was thinking about the way the sunset reflected across the ocean water. He was thinking about how great it was to own his own land, his own castle, and his own animals that he could walk along with. Sometimes, they talked, William admitted.

Sometimes, he never did.

"Will!" He heard suddenly from beside him. "What are you doing here, man? We've been looking for you everywhere! We need you in the prop room!"

William sighed in surprise. "Oh, I—I'm sorry. I'm on my way."

The shaggy-haired, gangly brunette nodded condescendingly—which he deserved. "Yeah, you should be."

Quickly, he started on his feet and made his way around the man. He tried not to punch himself mentally—his father kept telling him to not be so horrible to himself anymore and that he wasn't allowed to be mean—but he did. It's what he deserved anyway, he thought.

Soon enough, all three of them found themselves in a small, cluttered prop room with no else to be found. Of course, they all thought, no one's here.

"Nice," Andrew mumbled to himself.

Elizabeth was in a corner by the door, keeping to herself, and eyeing her unevenly painted nails—some just bitten. She didn't say a word, but neither did William.

The small room was divided into three—though they couldn't really tell—aisles of racks. Clothes were strewn all over the place, which made it look entirely smaller since it was about as big as a storage room, and there were some chairs huddled in a corner. The three racks of colorfully, bizarrely patterned clothes and fabrics were an interesting eye-sore for anyone who walked in. Andrew stood by the rack in the middle with his hands in his pockets and eyebrows raised in an uncomfortable restlessness. By the last rack, in front of the door, William stood awkwardly turning and swinging in his spot.

No one was talking to each other.

Naturally, Andrew had to speak up. He was the catalyst that pushed most things into action—even if the reaction was negative.

"This is just boring," he sighed out, before he looked around and then at the duo, suddenly paying mind to his words, "We've been standing around here for twenty minutes and no one's here—I think we should steal some stuff."

"Wha—"

"No—what—are you stupid?" Elizabeth began, lurching her head forward. "We could get in trouble—you could get in trouble."

"Um," he exaggeratedly followed, "no one's here, no one's gonna see. We could steal some cool stuff, shove it into your jacket and my hoodie, and then, like, say some homeless guy took it."

"Right," Elizabeth sarcastically commented, "because they're gonna believed a homeless guy wandered on set. Are you as slow as you look?"

"Yeah," William began, "that doesn't sound believable. It's not worth it either. Some of this stuff is pre-owned and, obviously, cheap. We're not gonna get anything for it—"

"Yeah, cause that's what matters," the girl interrupted, looking at both boys incredulously.

"First of all, it's not about what we steal—it's primarily for revenge, duh," Andrew elaborated, taking his hands out of his pocket. "Second of all, we're not gonna get caught if we're fast and unambitious. Third of all, you can make a fashion statement out of anything—fashion isn't about what you wear, it's about why you wear it. Stealing would be a pretty rad reason, I think."

"Are you high?" Elizabeth narrowed her eyes and crossed her arms. William was silent, probably agreeing with her in his mind. "I just—I'm concerned for your well-being because you've obviously shown yourself to not be as slow as you look—which is tremendously so."

"I'm concerned for your un-being! Humanity is nothing without a little bit of chaos," Andrew pointed out as if he was stating a fact, "so, let's just steal some stuff, alright? I'm stealing some stuff. You can... do whatever the hell you want to do, but I suggest you take something."

Then, suddenly, he turned back again. "Also, I'm not slow! I know how to play Sudoku."

Elizabeth narrowed her eyes in disbelief.

William suddenly nodded. Taking a step forward into an aisle, he silently followed. Andrew already made his way into his own horrible mission.

Tragically, she found herself having to make a decision on whether she was going to play it safe or not. She wanted to play it safe, but also she wanted revenge, she noted. Her mind was tingling with emotionafter Andrew's horrible, but accurate sentiments about revenge. She felt like a pawn this whole time. Everyone else on set had such an importance, moving and whirling around her, and she never seemed to matter. It's not like she wanted to because that's not what it was about, but mostly it's that she wanted a... pace, a focus to attend to.

They always let her standby—always pushed her to the sidelines when everyone else had a place in the line. It was infuriating to her sense of purpose, she realized.

Her eyebrows wriggled as she fought with herself until she, eventually, gave in. "Oh, all right. What-the-hell-ever," she said out loud, prompting a light "Yeah!" from a faraway Andrew.

"There is some awesome stuff over here," he said quickly after, his voice shrouded in the layers of clothes, fabrics, and clutter around him, "and you'd definitely like this horrible sweater."

Elizabeth immediately moved in his direction. The small lights from above shined on her tightly spun bun at the back of her head.

"Oh, that is really nice," she cooed a couple seconds later, colliding with his shoulder.

Behind them, back to the first rack, William was gazing at a green checkered jacket that was hanging. His hands were hovering the soft, but rough fabric in his hands, before he even looked at it.

He never had a problem with the entire idea. Stealing for revenge, he thought, that was enough reason for his sanity. He knew he'd kick himself for it later anyway.

Leaning forward to clutch the jacket in his hands and possibly store it into his own brown coat, William suddenly fell over a small box.

It was just an ordinary shoe box—brown, labeled by a brand, nothing special, nothing strange—and still, he was interested, he found. Squatting down and picking it up in his hands, hesitantly, slowly, William opened up the cardboard lid. He didn't expect to see anything nifty inside, but he couldn't ever fight his curiosity.

It was his strongest emotion—and vice.

Then, he looked into the box and instantly regretted it.

"Hey guys," William tentatively began.

"What?" They asked in unison, still eyeing the same outfit they were a minute ago—together.

"I, uh," he stuttered over himself, "I think I just found out why curiosity killed the cat."


TRACK: 5/12

TIME: 0:00 / 3:21


It was a coin.

A gold coin.

They couldn't believe the way the dynamic of the situation had it just changed.

Sitting across from William, Andrew and Elizabeth stared at the coin on the diner table. Somewhere in the background, a radio song was blaring. Plenty of chatter drowned out the tune just a bit, but not a lot of people were circling their area. They were seated at the back of some pizza parlor with checkered red and white tiles as well as red booths and shiny, plastic handles on everything. Besides the big, gold coin, two mustard and ketchup bottles stood in the middle of the table with some napkin dispensers.

Everything looked old and new at the same time as if maintenance was regular, but renovation wasn't.

Elizabeth clicked her tongue and looked up at both boys. "I think we need to put it back."

Last night, William chucked the thing into his pocket and they scattered out of the prop rooms. When they were scolded for not being there, they were then apparently shrugged off as well because many those people had already left set—and those were the ones that were supposed to sort out the situation that night.

William couldn't sleep with the coin in his grasp, but neither could Andrew or Elizabeth—for different reasons. She didn't feel particularly safe with that in his hands; he seemed all too similar to a child. Andrew, on the other hand, was just dreaming of all the riches, which shattered when she declared her opinion.

Under the dim light of the window's radiance, he shook with fervor.

"No, we should keep it," he whispered, his head lurched in her direction, "I mean, what if someone noticed it was gone? We could go to jail. You'd always be known as that one failed actress from that one horribly written dog movie who stole out of greed. You even dressed like Cruella de Vil yesterday—I mean, was that jacket even real? Dalmatian print? Black heels? Everyone would laugh at the all of the coincidences."

He stuck his hands out in her direction. "We need to keep it. We should keep it. I fight that we keep it."

"No! We could serve more time for lying," she fought back, whispering a bit louder.

"Yeah, but not if we never tell a soul," Andrew continued.

"What? That's totally reckless—"

"It's reckless to suddenly grow morality—"

"We are not keeping—"

"Yes, we are—"

"Guys!" William suddenly shouted, his eyes still as soft as they were before. Elizabeth could never fight with him... Andrew, on the other hand. "I found the coin! I did it—and I—I... want to keep it."

"Yes!"

"No!"

"Well, I mean," he stammered, "I want to keep it, but I also want to share it. I never would have found it without Andrew. And, y—yeah, it's risky to keep it, but... nobody knows what's in that box. It was an ordinary shoe box and it was basically forgotten. I asked the prop manager—"

"You what?" They both almost shouted, close to throwing their heads across the table—literally and figuratively.

"Calm down," he began, waving his hands as a gesture, "I asked the prop manager about a shoe box that I accidentally "fell" on and that I was looking to recycle for "environmental" purposes," every added lie, he bent his fingers in air quotes, "and she had no idea about a shoe box. She said all shoes were out and neatly organized for actors to wear. Anything in or out of the shoe box was empty—and not her concern," he excitedly elaborated, waiting for the two other peers to facially react.

Andrew was ecstatic. "So we keep it?"

Elizabeth said nothing, moving her head back, because she wanted no part of their horrible plan. She was comfortable with her Chinese takeout.

"Yeah," William answered, before leaning his head a bit back. "But not if Elizabeth is not in on it. I want her to keep it."

"What?" She reflexively jerked back. "Why?"

"I don't trust myself," he simply stated, "and I don't trust Andrew—"

"Hey!" The other boy defensively blurted.

"I—I'm not the most rational person in the world—" William began elaborating.

"Obviously," Elizabeth admitted, rolling her eyes.

"And so, I need you, okay?" He looked into her eyes. She was getting so nervous just thinking about the responsibility. "We all get a third of the makings of it. I mean, it looks like a really, really old coin. It's not new and there's a bit of a discoloration to it. That's a good and bad thing and we can make it work."

Elizabeth was silent. Andrew was bursting beside her. She didn't know what to do, but this was a great opportunity. She just needed to really think about it—and be rational about it. "I don't know, I'd have to think," she muttered, throwing her body back, "this is very risky stuff and I just started the second season of Weird Science," she admitted, annoyed.

Andrew expressively flexed his eyebrows next to her. "I still haven't finished the movie," he blurted.

"You need to get on that, you're missing an era," she quickly quipped.

Conversely, William sighed. "We don't have much time. At some point, I'm going to have to go home and I'll—I'll put it somewhere and it'll be gone," he confessed, his eyes going wide from anxiousness. Elizabeth could sink into the deal, but it just didn't seem smart yet. She had to think about it, she reasoned.

"I can't, alright? But," she paused for a moment, "I'll think about it—"

"Oh, come on, Liza," Andrew groaned out beside her. William simply sighed.

"It's Elizabeth," she corrected, sticking her finger in the air, "and I can't just sign onto the deal, alright? I'll think about it. I'll call and... we'll see."

"Elizabeth, seriously?" William slung his head sideways.

"Yes, alright? Now, come on, let's eat, I'm starving," she quickly began, moving her eyes away from the boys and onto the waiters moving around. William could fight with her, but that would go nowhere—even Andrew could see. Besides, he liked her company and he wouldn't want to aggravate that. He barely had any friends in California since he moved out here with his dad. This was good, he concluded, be patient.

"Fine," he sighed out, picking up his head.

By the time, the menus came around. William was actually hungry and he gawked at all the options silently.

It was here he seemed to notice how different they all were from each other. While his eyes blew up from the amount of mouth-watering options, Elizabeth critically, vocally analyzed all of them out loud while making silly, grimaced faces whenever something sounded too oily or ridiculous. He caught himself snorting one time when she held onto a recoiled facial expression for a good two minutes.

On the other hand, Andrew simply rolled over every option and declared, "That's not real—that's just not real," whenever an option seemed too bizarre and delicious at the same time—or if it was disgusting and bizarre at the same time. Elizabeth had to nudge him from how often it came out his lips. William couldn't tell if they would ever get along—if they ever did all become platonically connected or personally connected.

Either way, they all said nothing about the deal for the rest of the meal. Each of them just tried to make normal conversation with one another in the midst of the madness. There were some productive conversations here and there, but nothing real, he noticed. It wasn't awkward, but it wasn't exactly easy yet.

It was, however, better than being alone.


TRACK: 6/12

TIME: 0:00 / 4:59


Andrew couldn't, for the life of him, understand why he wasn't responsible for the coin.

About an hour later, somewhere far on the descent of a hill, he was on his way back to his father's trailer. The light in his eyes almost bothered him, but he was still reeling from everything that happened yesterday and today. He was, suddenly, as important as any other character in a film, but it still bothered him that William couldn't pick him because he thought he would lose the coin. It's not like he cared about the quiet boy's opinion, but... it bothered him.

Couldn't he be responsible? He asked himself.

Crunching the dirt, rocks, and rubble under his feet, he let his body loosen and flail slightly as he walked down the hill. He was as lanky and as gangly as they come so that could be a dangerous decision, but he liked the way he was slightly out of control when gravity tugged and pulled at him down the hill, especially when the trees shook and swayed behind him. It eased him a bit, he admitted, especially if he had a hard day at work—or a hard day all around.

He almost thought back to high school at that. He always had hard days back there, Andrew groaned. He had hard days everywhere. He couldn't remember the last time he had anyone that liked him enough to give him good days.

However, he didn't really care to focus on that. He cared to know why he couldn't have the coin. Couldn't he be a wildcard? He thought to himself. He could be this super, duper responsible guy who, like, is rational and stuff. Only, Andrew knew that wasn't really the case.

He guessed it didn't really matter anyway. Sighing, trudging on, he made his way into the woods and, soon enough, into his father's trailer.

Somewhere far away, Elizabeth was curled up on her red couch, eating Chinese takeout, and switching through the various channels.

She had wanted to watch Weird Science, but it didn't feel right anymore.

Her mind was forcing her to think now... about the coin.

Her life could change with that coin involved. Money always brought more problems into people's lives instead of fixing it. Elizabeth had enough sense to say no, but that wasn't true to herself, was it? That was comfortable, cowardly safety. She was too self-aware to know that was wrong to do, especially when she knew how her actions worked. She could be running away by trying to be rational, couldn't she? She wasn't like William... or Andrew.

Andrew could probably throw his hands up in the air and involve himself in any scandal he liked. There was such a gift to that that she was almost jealous. He was unafraid of chaos—she was afraid of chaos.

Dipping her fork into the plastic container with the only blue, television light reflecting across her meal, Elizabeth felt so certain suddenly. She hadn't made a decision yet—of course not—but she was a bit more sure than she was before. In a situation like this, in a situation that involved stepping outside of her red little box, Elizabeth had to look to a source that was a bit more... uncaged than she was. Freer, uncontrolled.

Consequently, if Andrew would do it then... perhaps... maybe...

Elizabeth sighed.

She would still have to think, but, at least, the decision was clearer now.

On the contrary, William wasn't thinking as much as the other two were.

He had his hands on a green leaf, somewhere far, but cluttered, in the middle of a vegetable market—his favorable side job.

He was supposed to be checking the leaves, or, rather, turnips for any sign of dryness, staleness, or just aging. They had been outside for a while now, just glittering in water for weeks, and he passed through the two aisles frequently, checking habitually. It was one of the only times he wasn't in commotion—what with his father and errands, his job on set and errands, and his place in the market and errands.

He felt like the conveyor belt on an assembly line. Always moving, always sliding, William worked for everybody else.

He had no problem with that—really—but... sometimes, he needed a bit of silence.

Though maybe, William needed too much silence, he feared.

He was so comfortable in his own mind. Was it just becoming some sort of deluded call for complete isolation until the world disappeared from his grasp? He never really knew himself. William wasn't as receptive as Elizabeth seemed to be of herself—or as confident and as capable as Andrew seemed to be.

He had his dreams only.

Lifting his head up, squinting to see through the white plastic tent fixture from above, William noticed it was getting late. It had been hours since they met up at the restaurant. He didn't know when Elizabeth was going to call him, but he did give her his house phone number. She probably arrived home hours ago herself.

Maybe she was calling right now—though, William doubted it. He removed his finger from the turnip leaves in his hands and stood up straight.

Rubbing his pocket, he felt for the coin. It was still there, luckily, of course. He hadn't been doing much all day so the coin was safe, but it was only a matter of time.

Elizabeth should have believed William was as inept as he claimed to be.

He's a dreamer—an obsessive one—but he's not a liar.