He sipped a bit of the coffee and burned his tongue right away. It was too hot and he was in a hurry, so nothing different could have happened. He decided to put at least half the pot he had made in a thermos and just take that in the car. It was pitch black outside and the van would pick him up in any minute.
Of course he hadn’t had any sleep at all. He usually went to sleep very late and he had in the auditorium at five in the morning, with didn’t really gave him much time to do anything. He decided to not even try to sleep and shower and get ready at around two of the morning, se he could have breakfast before they came to pick him up at 3:30 AM.
But as things that shouldn’t happen always find a way of becoming truth, he dozed off for a while and he lost the time to have a proper breakfast, which resulted in him burning his tongue and running around his house like an idiot. The van arrived only minutes afterwards so he just took his thermos with him and went as fast as he could, although the elevator apparently had a problem with that, as it felt it took double the time to get to the ground floor.
There he finally met the man that drove the van, who he apologized to. The man didn’t even acknowledge that an explained him that he needed to check him for envelops, microphones, cameras and so on. The poor guy that hadn’t slept more than half an hour wasn’t sure he was getting what the driver of the van was telling him. The man attempted to touch him but he just pulled apart in fear.
- “It’s for security, Mr. Thomas!”
Somehow, that enunciation woke him up a bit and he decided to stay very still as the man checked his pockets (jacket and pants), felt everything he had to feel and even asked him to take off his shoes. He complied to everything as if he was in a boot camp which made them loose about fifteen minutes of their time, that he had thought to be precious. After checking the shoes and even the socks, the man finally told him to follow him to the van.
Mr. Thomas sat down in the far back, not wanting to talk at all with that man during the ride. After all, it was a half-hour drive from his house to the headquarters of the services firm where they had to pick up a suitcase that had all the information they needed by five in the morning in the theatre. He knew he wasn’t the only idiot waking up at such time of the day and that made him feel a little better about himself. So when the van started moving towards the highway, he was a bit more awake than before.
As they travelled through an unusual cold morning in Los Angeles, light still absent, he decided to finally have some coffee and just enjoy the ride. He decided to pay attention to the world and the world revealed itself to him in a way he had never seen. After all, it wasn’t everyday that he woke up at this time of day, when every single person that was up seemed to have a certain thing about them.
The driver was the first in that list. He was a very tall guy, the kind that when they bend over it looks ridiculous. When he was checking Mr. Thomas’s shoes, his body contorted in the most funny shape ever and the owner of those shoes almost laughs, partially because of the time of day but also because tall people always looked funny in the simplest positions. Besides his height, he had this weird thing where the mustache was the same color of his hair, which was blonde, but the eyebrows were very black. Somehow it looked odd, as if he was a big Mr. Potato Head.
The next person that drew his attention was a lady on the street. They stopped in a red light for a while and he saw this elderly woman, body curved as it was humanly possible, walking her Chihuahua in the middle of the night. What was curious about the woman was not at all the fact that she was walking her dog at that time, which he knew to be very common among dog owners, but that she was wearing the strangest combination of clothing. She had a large overcoat, the color of flamingos. Under that she had a flowery shirt that looked too big for her, kaki shorts and fluffy sleepers with a baseball cap crowning her head.
She was a sight to behold and that was only for a couple of minutes, before they got in the highway and he only saw some cars and a couple of dead pigeons that had been killed by crazed drivers or just by people that had not realized that birds wee not the brightest creatures in the universe. When he saw those bodies, he couldn’t stop thinking about the poor man or woman that had to clean that up from the asphalt of the highway as his or her job. That thought made him realize he was a very lucky guy with a very good job and that he had no right to complain about something as silly as waking up early in the morning.
It seemed that in no time they were in downtown Los Angeles, stopping in almost every stupid traffic light. He saw his watch nervously, telling himself that if he was a couple of minutes late it wouldn’t really be that big of problem as the show began a little later than five. But then he remembered he had to pass the information to the people than made a nice little presentation video for people at home to get what the presenters were saying. He worried again when he thought of this.
It was right then when they finally got to the skyscraper where the services offices were located. He got out of the van and remembered what they had told him: he had to go the information desk and ask for Tamara Parks. Then, they would direct him to the top floor where Ms. Parks would give him the briefcase with all the information they needed in the theater.
So he did just that. The man at the information desk was a security guard; obviously the person that tactually worked there had not yet arrived. The man gave him a badge and told him to take the middle elevator and press the button to the top floor. Said elevator took forever to arrive and also to get up there. It seemed to be going for ages. He checked his watch several times and repeated to himself that they were on time and that the theater was not that far away. He realized the elevator had a mirror so he decided to check his suit for stains or anything unusual, his teeth and his face. It was right then the elevator decided to stop and open.
This startled him but no one was outside waiting. He had to walk to an office and wait there in a waiting room for the woman. But he didn’t have to wait at all. She was there and greeted him with a big smile that he would be unable to do at that time of day. She asked him to follow her to a conference room and there he found the briefcase but also two big guys, with black glasses and earpieces. Somehow, it was funny to see them there, as if they were thing to put in a room like plants or statues.
Ms. Parks explained they were the security team assigned to join him to the theater to ensure all the information got there safely and that only the people that had to see it saw it and no one else. They checked everything in five minutes and then they were good to go. He left the smiling Parks in the top floor but was joined in the elevator by the two big guys who didn’t smile at all.
He was a bit relieved when he got to the van and this time the driver decided to speed up as he realized time was running short. The theater was not far away and, with the presence of the two big guys, Mr. Thomas had no opportunity to see the outside world, mainly because he was trapped between those two mountains that were apparently people.
Exactly at five in the morning, they pulled off outside the theater and there was already someone waiting, telling her they were a bit late which was a lie. Apparently people there were very stressed. The four of them walked, almost jogged, to the theater and there straight to the master room when a lonely woman was waiting for them behind a computer. It was Mr. Thomas job to only look at her work like crazy for the next twenty minutes, helped only by another man.
When the presentation was done, Thomas’s work was done. The big men would guard the briefcase and he could just sit in the back of the theater and hear the name of the nominees from there. At that point, he was finally awake and also very excited because he knew he was part of something that meant a lot to many people and that was, somehow, the pinnacle of their efforts and the most coveted prize in the cinema industry.