Su, ‘nam, me.

So I knew Su, we were kinda friends. We’d met as members of a group of people who got together in a cafe twice a month. We were writers, we weren’t professional, fully fledged writers, but Su and I were two people writing stories and poems who sometimes thought to compare ourselves to writers. With a view to help bolster this belief, we attended a collective of like-minded folk.
We barely met outside of the group meetings, when we did, it was at a designated bar after a meeting had finished. A smaller number of group members would sit around a large wooden table, chewing over the evening’s feedback session. It served as an opportunity to express views  a little more loosely, to joke around and get to know each other. As with any social gathering, several smaller enclaves would form, carrying on with a particular topic of conversation or developing new ones.
If you were like me, you might well fall silent at some point. Like when your day or week had caught up with you, your arm and leg muscles deciding lethargy the only response. Perhaps like me, you’d find this physical fatigue accompanied by a mental dissociation, taking you to an isolated and underwater world of echo sounds and viscous gravity. When you look around, you view people in conversation without registering the words they speak. You hear laughter, see expressions of surprise, both feigned or real, each punctuating sentences for precise effect.
Most profoundly of all, you find yourself alone.
That is until, by chance your eyes meet with somebody carried on the current as far away as you are, heading out east encouraged by a gusting jet stream. What happens next seems like no one else sees what’s happening. Movement synchronising frame by frame in a two-person populated world. Did he just smile then, did she just smile back? nobody asks.
Su is young, my blood is red but Su is young enough for me to know not to cross any kind of line with her. Did I smile? Yes, I smiled, fleetingly so. I can’t see my own face, I can’t be sure if it relaxed a little and softened somewhat like hers had, but I’d guess it had done.
“I have a plan.” She tells me, no attempt made to quell a new and subversive-looking smile.
“You have a plan?” Our two worlds meld together.
“A plan, yes.”
“What kind of plan?” I ask.
“The idea occurred to me while I’d been reading up about George Lucas and the beginnings of Star Wars.”
“Oh?” I’m unsure if she’s being serious or not.
Su empties the remaining tonic water into her glass, shaking it vigorously to extract the last few drops.
“In the early 70s, he’d wanted to make an anti Vietnam war film.”
“Okay.” I know this to be true.
“The war had recently concluded. Anyone even vaguely interested at the time would have understood the U.S. to have lost the war.”
“Except, initially they went into some kind of historical denial over it.” I say.
“Well, that’s one way to put it. For Lucas, it meant he couldn’t find anyone to fund the project. When you look back on the era, you can see it took until nineteen seventy eight with ‘Deer Hunter’ and another year after that for ‘Apocalypse Now’ until American introspection over the war appeared in film.” Elbows on the table, Su is clasping her hands together in front of her, extending two pinkies with tips touching to form a triangular shape pointing in my direction.
“I guess that’s pretty telling,” I say, “rewind to the early to mid-1940s and already Second World War movies were being made.”
“This is true.” Su says, “So Lucas goes for a major re-adaptation, taking the story and throwing it off into a galaxy far, far away.” A graceful imitation of a frisbee-throw follows.
“Okay,” I say, “I guess with the race into space, America was enjoying way more success.”
“Indeed they were and they were winning and by then,” Su continued, “Sci-Fi had broken away from the previous decades risible output. The alarmist, little green men shenanigans had ceased and been replaced by a considered approach.”
“Kubrick 2001 fall-out.” I say.
“Quite, and even better, within Star Wars he’d been able to cast America as the evil empire and the Viet Cong as the rebel alliance without the people who ended up bankrolling the film ever realising.” Su drew in a large mouthful of gin mixed with tonic and watched my reaction carefully.
“Okay,” I say, “so what’s all this got to do with your plan? I’m intrigued.”
“Well, it isn’t to write a screenplay for an actual Vietnam war story, set in space.” Su says, spinning around the remaining ice-cubes inside her near empty glass. “I-don’t-know, but when I read about the back-story to getting Star Wars off the ground and just how long film projects take from inception to the final cut, it got me thinking: What if I learnt of blockbuster film concepts earlier enough, so I could write my own imagining of a screenplay into a story and self-publish? Then, I’d sue the fuckers for copyright before their film comes out.”
“You’d have to be able to write something up pretty quickly,” I say, deploying a cautionary tone, “and it’d have to be convincing.”
“Wouldn’t you if there was a chance of a $200,000 settlement waiting up ahead? By the time they are all set to go, the film company won’t want to get held up by a battle over artistic copyright. They’ll seek to settle, it would cost them multiples of a pay-out figure if distribution were delayed.”
“I’d love to ride shotgun with you on this project.” I say.
“In so many words, that’s what I’d hoped you’d propose. I’ll need some support along the way which will see you with 20% of the takings. I’ll only do it a few times and then move on.” Su says, turning her head to face upwards at the night sky.
“Okay,” I say, as a great wave of exhilaration washes through me, “so when do we start?” We both look around our immediate vicinity and notice everyone has gone home.
“Now seem like a good time?” Su says.

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