Scott sighed, his right ring and index fingers tapping the ‘0’ and ‘N’ buttons on his laptop in rhythm, trying to drown out the pounding in his brain and give the illusion that he might possibly, maybe get something done today. Working in Hawaii wasn’t without its perks; the sun, the surf, beautiful beaches, even more beautiful women. An entire state designed and marketed to provide relaxation to the masses flocking towards it, and Scott was here, deep in the heart of it, with nothing on his mind but movement. It just wasn’t in his nature to stay still; ever since he was a kid, he had needed to be in motion, climbing on furniture, skateboarding, surfing, eventually being sated by his work, acting, writing, directing, anything and everything. In any other life, Scott truly believes that he would have been branded a workaholic, would have never come home from the office, been promoted to CFO before he was thirty, and sacrificed every chance for a healthy relationship in the process. In Hollywood, that is the norm; if you’re not married and divorced twice by the time you’re 40, you probably have to give up part of your pension. Scott’s never been married, but he’s been through enough bullshit in relationships to know that he doesn’t de-compartmentalize well. The day he finds the person who can live with that is the day they get married. Until then, he’s happy with what he’s got. Besides, actually having the time to write and plan new projects instead of rushing around to different events and doing interviews was as relaxed as Scott could get.
That is, relaxed when he could actually figure out what to write. Scott stretched lazily, bringing his hands up to clasp behind his head, leaning back in his chair, his faded skate shirt riding up ever so slightly, tan skin bordering denim. His blonde hair was unkempt, happy to be product-free for a few days, and Scott couldn’t help but run his hands through it, a compulsion he’s had to suppress since taking on the role of Danny “Danno” Williams, whose own slicked back locks do not allow for personal scalp massages on set, unless you wanted to inflict the wrath of ten hot-iron wielding hair stylists. Hawaii Five-0 was, without a doubt, one of the best decisions he’d ever made, career wise. Two years in, and the show had provided him a mass market appeal, a number of intriguing opportunities, not to mention a Golden Globe nomination; the awards might be bullshit, the winners often being bought and paid for, but it never hurts to have the moniker follow you around on press releases. It had all necessitated, however, a fairly permanent move to Hawaii, meaning that for the better part of the year, Scott was confined to the island, his beach house in Diamond Head his up-market Alcatraz. He wasn’t one to play the poor little rich boy angle, particularly when his experiences on Hawaii Five-0 have been nothing short of incredible, but the environment just did not lend itself to creativity. Not Scott Caan’s brand of creativity, anyway.
So that is how he spends his day off; staring at his computer screen, his eyes crossing at the stark whiteness juxtaposed against the jumbled mess inside his head that aches to be released and formed into something. It drives him insane, and at the end of the day, when all he has managed to write is one page of dialogue, he can only consider it an achievement, before diving off his balcony and straight into the pool.
He doesn’t intend to drown himself, but he can’t pretend it wouldn’t help.
Scott gives up early today, close to mid-morning, although considering he hasn’t slept in over 24 hours, it might as well be midnight. He clears away a layer of clothing from his floor, tossing it all in the laundry basket for later, moving to the kitchen, clearing away the empty beer bottles and take-away boxes plaguing every available surface. Scott has a cleaner, but she only comes twice a week; Scott can generally be left to look after himself, but when the days come and he has an idea for a story, his standards start to slip, particularly when the idea doesn’t want to manifest itself into words. He finds his dog, Dot, the beautiful black and white mutt, curled up on his balcony, ready to nap after a morning running around the back yard, amusing herself since her owner was too deep in his own head to take her out on a proper walk. Scott loves Dot; she is the perfect roommate, one that offers love and affection and none of the emotional distress. The only mess he’s found himself in during this relationship has been taking a walk without plastic bags. He doesn’t really care how fucked up it might be, it works for him.
The thing is that since leaving L.A., however many bikini babes approach him, he hasn’t felt the pull for anything long-term. He hasn’t exactly been celibate; shooting a primetime drama on an island the size of a postage stamp has many benefits, he’ll be the first to admit. But even the one night stands are becoming stale. Scott mentally and physically punches himself every night for his stupidity. his self-imposed orgasms not as satisfying as they should be. He wished desperately he knew what he wanted. There was only so much laundry a guy could do before a 3am call time.
Sighing, Scott grabbed his board and decided to head down to his stretch of beach, technically part of the Diamond Head Beach Park, but private enough that he could wipe out without it being caught on a hundred camera phones. He figured that if a little thrashing in the Hawaiian surf didn’t get his brain moving, nothing would. With one fleeting look and a middle finger to his laptop, he was gone.
A clear, sharp whistle pierced the air, followed by a cheery “Hey, Scotty!” in a deep, Australian-accented voice. Scott blew the salt water out of his nostrils, his body aching from tumbling through wave after wave, his board floating nearby. Grabbing it, he heads for the beach, where he finds Alex O’Loughlin, his best friend and co-star, sitting on the shore in a t-shirt and shorts, squinting up at him in unadulterated glee. With a high five and a hello, Scott leans against his board, and asks, “What, you come down to see me get my ass kicked?”
Laughing, Alex stands, wiping the sand from his cutoff jeans. “You should have told me you were heading out, I’d have come with.”
“Oh no way, you’re like some tanned surfing idol,” Scott mocks. “I’d probably have hit my head on a rock or something, while you, you would have ridden the wave all the way to the shore without getting that pretty little head wet.”
Alex throws his head back with a laugh. “What do you mean, you’ve been surfing for your entire life, mate!”
“Doesn’t matter, you’re Australian. That’s the trump card.” Tucking his board under his arm, Scott fell into step with Alex as they headed up the beach towards Scott’s house. Proximity and circumstance had made it necessary to get along, but thankfully, as their first week and one very long night at the Hawaiian Hilton had them inseparable, praying that the pilot would be picked up so they could come back and get paid to hang out on the regular.
“So what’s up? I thought you were incommunicado until tomorrow, I thought I’d see you on set.” Scott shifted the board to the other arm as they climbed up to the house, passing through the back security gate seeing them into Scott’s backyard. Dropping the board entirely, Scott flopped down on a deck chair, scratching Dot’s ears as Alex settled down across from him.
“Dana got me out of a few interviews today,” Alex said, referring to his publicist. He leaned back as Dot made her way over to him, hopping up on two legs to paw at his chest like she did her owner. Laughing, Alex rubbed her down, continuing. “They were only phone-ins, total bullshit, nothing they couldn’t get from the other guys. Just thought I’d pop over, see how the script was going.”
Scott’s face darkened at the reminder. The surf had done nothing to get his ideas out, the only beyond the realization that putting Lindsay Lohan in a bikini might not spell “box office success”. Or…any kind of success really. Now he was just bummed out.
“That bad, huh?” Alex, seeing the turn in Scott’s demeanor, supplies sympathetically. “How long have you been stuck?”
Scott sighs, “You’ve been away a week, so…6 days and 22 hours? I don’t know man, it’s like I have this idea of where I want to bring it, but the character isn’t letting me bring him there. This is the problem with being an actor and a writer, nothing is ever realistic enough.”
“Does anything help?”
“Well let’s see,” Scott kicks his feet up, leaning back in his chair, and counting off his fingers. “Surfing didn’t help, jogging didn’t help, writing everything that popped into my head didn’t work, though I think I came up with a good 'pineapple, pickle, and penis' joke.”
Alex laughs, covering his mouth apologetically as Scott sighs, “I don’t know man, it’s like nothing’s filtering through. The script is a work in progress stuck in progress, I should just toss it and start again.”
Alex, sitting up, reaches across to pat Scott reassuringly on the shoulder, gripping it tight and shaking loosely, as though to sift the doubt from his friend’s mind. “Come on, don’t give up yet. You just need something to get you going again.” Narrowing his eyes as though in deep thought, Alex stood, “I’ll put my mind to it, don’t worry. Now though, I came here for a reason. Beer?”
Scott nodded, watching Alex head for the kitchen, Dot in hot pursuit. As his two best friends padded away, Scott tapped his fingers on the soft, worn wood of his chair. It was reassuring knowing that at least two sentient beings had his back, even if he did feed one three times a day. He only had to feed Alex twice, tops.
“Scott, sorry, but if you move your head one more time, I may or may not burn you with this hair straightener!”
Scott jumped, having fallen asleep in the makeup chair for the fourth time in the last 30 minutes. The process of turning him into Danny doesn’t usually take that long, just some styling, a base coat of makeup, maybe a shave, but usually he’s in and out in 30 minutes. This morning, however, he is fighting a losing battle; truth be told, he is fucking exhausted.
“Sorry, Rita. You don’t happen to have caffeine and an IV drip to hook me up to back there, do you?”
Smiling, Rita goes back to transforming the nest that is Scott’s four-in-the-morning bedhead into Danny’s signature bouffant. “One of the PAs can help you out with that, I’m sure Mr. Caan. Five minutes and you’re done, just hold still.”
Scott drums a little on his thighs as Rita does her job. He’s in for what will probably a hellishly long day, and while he’s prepared, internally he just feels like a complete mess. It had been almost a week since he’s written anything, a week filled with work and stunts and routine. He knows it could be so much worse; that he could be stuck in a cubicle in Idaho, dreaming the Hollywood dream by night, trying desperately to get the words out. But it is brutally discouraging to be surrounding by the business from sunup to sundown without so much as a spark igniting his own creativity. There’s no other word for it – he’s stuck. He can barely even look at the script at this point. Every day he thinks about just deleting the file and going back to square one, but he knows, really deep down, that he has something; he just needs to latch onto it and pull it out of the cavern that is his brain. Alex said he’d think about it, think of a way to move the thing along. but honestly, until his writer’s block decides to take a break, there’s no point. Until then, Scott figures that he might as well put any frustration and aggression he has about it into his acting.
It’s a good thing that Danno has already been established with anger management issues.
Being freed from the straighter-wielding Rita, Scott heads to wardrobe before finally going to his trailer to wait for the call. All things considered, this is probably the best kind of cubicle in the world; small, but with all the comforts of home. No sooner had he sank into the couch did the door open again, a tall, muscled figure backlit by the rising sun.
“Morning yourself, sweetheart.” Letting the door slam behind him, Alex sits next to Scott, tossing script pages and notes onto the floor, taking up every available inch of the small sofa, his legs and feet settling into Scott’s lap. Scott eyes them, before turning to face Alex himself. “Comfy?” he asks.
“Very, thanks for asking,” Alex says, grinning his shark-like grin. “Ready for today?”
“Oh yeah, hanging in the background while you take down the big guys, thrilling stuff for me, thank you sir.”
“Hey, don’t get pissy with me, at least they still let you do your own stunts. God forbid I have a relapse or a broken back next. What’s wrong with you?”
Scott sighs, his hands resting on Alex’s ankles as they continue to crush him. Sneaky bastard, Scott thinks. Made sure I couldn’t get away. “I’m sorry man, I’m just…”
“Oh!” Alex says, suddenly realizing. “Still no progress on the script?”
“None. I haven’t written a thing in a week. It’s just…” Scott sighs, his head rolling onto his shoulder as he stares at Alex side on. “We’re here all day, and I’m just so exhausted by the time I get home, I don’t have the energy to get in the mindset. I crash for a couple hours at a time, and I keep waking up in a panic because I’m so afraid an idea is going to come to me while I’m asleep, I don’t want to miss it.” Scott makes fists with his hands, wanting to tear at his hair and scrub at his face, but knowing that he can’t; he isn’t even supposed to be in his own body right now, but pouring all of this out to Alex is goddamn therapeutic.
“Don’t get me wrong,” Scott continues, his voice softening as he tries not to get too worked up. “I love the work, seriously. But at the end of the day, I don’t want to come to set everyday, point a gun, say a few lines, and leave to do nothing. I want to be able to do my own thing too.”
Alex surveys Scott as he comes back down from his rant, before – “I guess it’s true what they say about Hollywood kids. You guys are spoiled rotten.”
Scott’s head snaps up, suddenly more alert than he’s been in three days. “Excuse me?”
Alex shrugs, his body relaxed, his eyes bright, prepared for a fight if it comes down to it. “You heard me. Seriously Scott? You’re a tv star, you’ve proved yourself as an actor, and a writer, you have every opportunity open to you right now, don’t tell me you fucking resent it because you don’t feel like an artist!”
Scott attempts to stand up, but remains pinned under Alex’s tree-trunk legs. Scott’s no lightweight, but it’s six o’clock in the morning, and he hasn’t even had coffee yet. “I can’t believe you’re saying this to me right now.”
Hey, look, all I’m saying is, deal with the cards you’re dealt.” Alex cuts him off. “Don’t start hating your life because one piece is out of place, just fix it!”
Sighing, Scott rolls his eyes, staring at the ceiling. “How?”
“I haven’t figured it out yet. But I will.” Alex smiles. “And so will you. Just don’t put yourself down, and cut the moody shit. You’ll live.” Scott swats at him with one hand, just barely coming within inches of Alex’s smug face. Still grinning, Alex swings his legs back onto the floor, easing the pressure off of Scott’s legs.
“Come on artist.” Alex teased. “Let’s go kick some ass.”
Scott followed behind, slightly stunned by the series of events. He creates a folder in his brain, filing their conversation away for later. He had a feeling that his character was about to get a wake up call.
For the first time in a week, he wishes he had thought to bring his laptop.
Alex believes he has the solution to Scott's problem. Consider this Adventure Number One, or How Scott learned how to relinquish control to the tall knife wielding Australian.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Scott stretched his arms up, grasping his hands above his head with a yawn. The whole week had passed without incident, and without complaint because he seemed to actually be getting something done. He still hadn’t managed to get past 10 pages, but he put that down to long shooting days and mismanaged time. By Thursday night, he had been wrapped for the week, gone home, played with Dot, and proceeded to sit at his laptop for the next 24 hours. The only difference between now and a week ago was that his brain was actually beginning to cooperate, and while he’d like to take all of the credit, it was really Alex’s doing; some of the choice words he’d had with Scott on Monday had made their way into the script for good, Scott figured. At long last, his dry spell was over.
He still had one huge problem; the characters weren’t there. He couldn’t seem to get the faces in his mind, only their basic characteristics and actions. Obviously The Writer was based on himself. Scott had always put far too much of himself into his characters, even the ones he didn’t write; Danno was gaining more of Scott’s mannerisms with every passing episode, thanks to his frequent ad-libs and open collaboration with the writers. The Writer was going to be a little more lost than Scott was (or so he hoped), but it was undeniably him. The critics would probably nail him for being one-dimensional and self-serving once it all went to film, but he didn’t give a shit. His problem was The Muse. He’d been planning on writing a love story, but thanks to Alex’s influence, the character felt more like a friend than the siren he had originally envisioned. Again Scott thought he was getting too far away from his original plan, that he should delete the file and start again. But the progress he was making was too encouraging to abandon; he wanted to see it through. He knew he would eventually have to start over, that he would have to build in facial features and gender identification and other bullshit, but for now, the words were coming. The characters would hopefully follow.
“Knock knock!” A voice (certainly not an actual knock) came from the hall; Alex, of course, laden with shopping bags and his own dog, Dusty, barking her hellos to the house and Scott and, of course, Dot. Scott rushes forward, grabbing the bags out of Alex’s arms, as Dusty and Dot jumped and prodded each other.
“And to what do I owe this home invasion?” Scott rolls his eyes, dragging the bags into the kitchen with Alex in tow.
“Shut up, if you didn’t want to be disturbed, you wouldn’t have given me a key.”
“That was for emergencies only, and I reserve the right to confiscate it at any time, without notice.” Scott eyes the pile of food stacked in front of him; everything from vegetables and pork to chocolate spread. Alex moves around the kitchen with ease, unpacking everything and setting it over Scott’s already limited counter space. “What, are you a delivery service now?”
“How’s the writing going?”
“Don’t change the subject, asshole, what’s with the grub?”
Alex smirks. Finding himself caught out, he explains, “I think I’ve figured out your problem with the script.”
“What does that have to do with –“
“Patience, grasshopper,” Alex interrupts with his own patented eye roll. “Let me fucking finish, alright? You’ve lived here for 18 months over two years, yeah? How much of Hawaii have you actually seen?”
Scott thinks for a second, trying to nail down any excursions or experiences that weren’t a part of shooting. While they’ve used (and re-used) just about every interesting locale in the state, the experience of them all were somewhat marred by the cameras and equipment and onlookers.
“I’ll take your silence as a victory,” Alex says, the “told-you-so” tone not lost on Scott. “I know you Scotty. You surf, you write, you shoot, and you sleep, and you barely do any of the last one. You’re trying to write about the guy re-discovering life, putting away all the other shit in his world for new experiences? I don’t care how good you are Scott; you can’t just imagine life from your desk. At least one third of it has to be experienced first hand.”
Scott could not be sure whether his disbelief stemmed from the words coming out of Alex’s mouth, or from his own realization that they were actually kind of true. He stared at Alex, braced against the kitchen countertops, his hands brushing against spinach leaves and peaches. It was hard to resent the guy, Scott admitted begrudgingly, knowing full well that Alex was only ever genuine, in both actions and words. After all, his advice had worked the last time; maybe it was time Scott took a chance.
“So what did you have in mind?”
Scott rolls his eyes as Alex’s grin reappears, bigger and brighter than ever. Scott couldn’t help but realize that his best friend was actually the fucking shark from “Finding Nemo”, accent and all.
“I am going to help you rediscover this island. Whenever you have the time, we'll try something new, or something you haven't done in a while." Scott considered Alex's proposal, thinking that at the very least, it would get him out of the house for an hour or two a week. "I only have one condition," Alex continued, he eyes fixed on Scott, searching for some indication of what Scott was thinking. "You don't get a say in what we do. I pick the adventure, you have to do it, no matter what, no negotiations or exceptions."
Scott hesitated; it's no secret that he's a control freak, but Alex was playing right into his insecurities; damn, but did the man know how to get a writer's mind going.
"Question: does all of this," Scott asked, gesturing towards the food, "count as Adventure Number one?"
“If you want it to,” says Alex, going back to unpacking the bags. “I am going to treat you to something I know for a fact you haven’t had in years.” Scott’s mind wandered, though perhaps a little too far down the dirt-path than he really should have.
“A home cooked-meal.
Oh. “That explains the catering truck worth of food then.” Scott said, surveying the piles of food, everything from spinach to peaches, spread across every available surface.
“I’m going to make you some traditional Australian cuisine.”
“Whoa whoa whoa, wait, I thought we were talking experience not death sentence!” Scott points a finger at Alex as though he has betrayed him. “Besides, the movie’s set in Hawaii, remember? What happened to authentic island experiences?”
“Number one, I am an excellent cook,” Alex shoots back in mock offence as he ties on an apron, “and number two, you haven’t lived until you’ve tried dim sim.” He grabs a knife and starts chopping some kind of…vegetable? Scott isn’t sure what he’s gotten himself into, but at this point, he figures that it’s eat or be eaten.
“Alright, fine, but if the next words out of your mouth are ‘let’s put a shrimp on the barbie’, so help me God, Alex, you’re out of here.” Scott says, finally relinquishing control of his domain over to Alex; as if he’d had the choice. “Actually, let’s put a full ban on seafood for now. Fish are friends – “
“Not food,” Alex glances up, he eyes glinting with amusement.
I AM SO SORRY for how long it took to update this piece. Believe me, the irony of having writer's block over a piece named "Writer's Block" is not lost on me.
Just so everyone knows, it may take a while to update again. I'll try to be better at it, but I'm currently working on a few projects, as well as my full time job, so whatever time I can find for it, I'll make it.
Thank you so much for all the wonderful feedback, I hope you're all enjoying the story!