The Road To Rove

The Road To Rove

So I am on my way to the airport and then off to Florida. Rove has a home there and we are going to meet and discuss the campaign. Karl’s really insistent about keeping this whole campaign business very hush-hush. I’m sitting in the passenger seat in one of my more low-key rides, smoking a cigar and doing Sudoku while Manolo drives.

The thing that not a lot of people know about Karl is that he works best at night, shrouded in darkness and secrecy, listening to the sound of rain and thunder, and the frightened screams of innocent children that he’s recorded and transfered onto vinyl. He’s the slimiest bastard alive, and I need him on my side. I don’t have a choice.

But there’s something else. Just before I left the house I’d gotten a call from my old buddy Paul Verhoeven. I like Paul. He’s a simple guy with simple tastes. He’s into big guns and tits, and he’s very open and honest about it. For a guy trying to make a living in Hollywood, that’s very refreshing.

“Arnold? It’s Paul. Can you talk?”

“Sure buddy, what’s up?”

“I just got the news. The fucking bastards are remaking Total Recall.”

“Paul, buddy, don’t be ridiculous. No one’s remaking our super-smash-hit box office movie Total Recall. I mean, think about it, I’m not even dead yet! And what the fuck are they gonna call it? Total Remake? HATM HATM HATM!”

“Dude, listen to me. They’re doing it.”

“Who’s doing it?”

“Columbia.”

“So who’s behind it?”

“I don’t know. And no one’s talking. Spielberg, Lucas… no one’s returning my calls. I gave them Sharon Stone’s tits in 35mm and they’re my best friends. Now I need something from them, and they don’t know me. Bunch of fuckers.”

“Paul, relax. It’s just another shitty remake. Don’t worry about it.”

“It’s not just another shitty remake. People are keeping their mouths shut because they’re scared. Someone’s got to them.”

“You’re being paranoid. Who the hell would do something like that?”

“My guess is it’s the same bastards behind the shitty Terminator TV series, and the new shitty Terminator sequels, and the impending shitty Predator reboot. Fucking McG. Fucking Rodriguez. They’re just tools. This is just the beginning, Arnold. They’re gonna do it to everything you’ve ever made, everything you love and hold dear to your heart. The Running Man, Commando, Red Heat, Conan…”

“No. Not Conan…”

“Someone’s gunning for you, pal. You’ve done something to piss them off, and now they’re letting you know. You’re at the center of it all, baby. This is all about you.”

“…”

“Arnold, you still there?”

“Yeah Paul, sorry, still here. So what do you think I should do?”

“Nothing, yet. We need to find out who these bastards are. I’ll keep making calls and asking around. Someone’s gonna talk, sooner or later.”

“All right. Be careful.”

“I will. Watch your back, pal.”

“Thanks buddy.”

The conversation is still weighing heavily on my mind, because Paul is the last person in the world to be spooked by anything. I once saw him face down a gang of heroin mules in Oaxaca with nothing but a broken mescal bottle and a hooker’s stiletto high heel. Something doesn’t feel right.

The Dodge is fast approaching a red light up ahead. “Manolo – don’t stop – run the light.”

“Que?” Manolo asks, making puzzled eye contact through the rear-view mirror.

“Run the fucking light.” Manolo speeds through the intersection and I turn to look over my shoulder to see if anyone is following. I’m surprised to see a black Chevy Blazer accelerate to follow us through it.

I take a deep pull from my cigar. What the fuck is happening?

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