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کتاب: زندگی در چند بخش / فصل 56

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  • زمان مطالعه 6 دقیقه
  • سطح خیلی سخت

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متن انگلیسی فصل

Crime Victim

Albuquerque was as central to the show as any person or character. Shooting there, I got to know the place well; its friendly people, stark beauty, and quirky charms will always have a place in my heart.

Even though it’s New Mexico’s largest city, Albuquerque is a small town, really, set in a wide valley in the high desert, flanked on the east side by the Sandia Mountains. Sandia means watermelon in Spanish, and it’s true that the mountains take on a gorgeous watermelon hue when they catch the glow of the setting sun. Sandia Crest is the highest point in Albuquerque, about 10,500 feet above sea level. During the spring and summer, whenever I had a day off from work, I would hike the area. Crisp air, pine trees, strenuous trails. Not what you expect when you think of the desert, but at this elevation the topography changes completely. During winter, there is snow.

I drove up to the top one winter day. An observation platform allows for a 360-degree panoramic view of Albuquerque to the west, Santa Fe to the north, and vast deserts to the east and south. It’s a beautiful thing to stand up high and see the great seam where nature and civilization meet. But it’s cold at 10,500 feet, so I couldn’t stand it for more than a few minutes before it was back to the car. Only when I got inside my warm car—it wasn’t so warm.

I noticed bits of glass on the dashboard. I looked over and saw a gaping hole in the passenger-side window. My shoulder bag was gone. I jumped out of the car and looked around. The only people nearby were a family I’d seen earlier taking pictures. Could it have been them? They shrugged and said they hadn’t seen anyone near my car. I’d been gone maybe five minutes, and the parking lot was visible from the observation deck, only about forty yards away. I’d been looking in the very direction of my car when it happened.

My shoulder bag was gone. Shit. The contents included my iPad, plus a hard copy of the second episode of our last season.

I contacted Sony to tell them about the script, and the two other electronic scripts on my iPad, and then I drove to the sheriff’s station in Tijeras. It was closed. Small town! Taped to the door was a note: “This station is closed during off hours. If this is an emergency, call 911. If this is not an emergency, call [a local number] and leave a detailed message of the incident. Include your name—spelled out—and your contact information, and a sheriff’s deputy will return your call soon. Thank you.”

As I drove to the dealership to get the window repaired, I called the nonemergency sheriff’s line and left my detailed message as instructed. Blah blah blah, my name is C-R-A-N-S-T-O-N. I left my number and hung up.

Then in January 2013 we were shooting a scene in the episode titled “To’hajiilee.” Walt pays a visit to Andrea (beautifully played by Emily Rios) to convince her to lure Jesse over to the house so that neo-Nazis can kill him for his treachery. (He’d broken the one rule criminals hold dear: You don’t rat.)

It was a bright day in Albuquerque when Ollie, one of the great grips on the show, said to me, “Hey, did you talk to that guy who’s working as an extra with us today?”

“No,” I said, “why?”

“Because he spoke to the dude who broke into your car and stole your stuff.”

I walked over to the guy, who was sitting in his car. That day it was actually his car that was the extra, driving up and back on the street during takes. Movies and TV shows always use this technique for filming. Without background people and cars (controlled by the production) the frame would look empty and unreal.

I introduced myself and asked him about what Ollie had told me. He hesitated at first, but after a few minutes he broke down and said: “We were hangin’ at a strip club Wednesday morning . . .”

“Hanging at a strip club on Wednesday morning?”

“Yeah. And the dude comes up and says, ‘Hey, I got some Breaking Bad stuff—you interested in buying?’?”

He told me that he mentioned to the dude that he occasionally works with the show. “And the dude just took off.” I asked if he knew the dude’s name. After some hesitation he said, “Yes, his name is Xavier.”

I said, “Do you know where we can find Xavier?”

He said that Xavier was currently being held at the downtown MDC (Municipal Detention Center) on another charge, and that he thought that “Xavier comes from a whole B&E family. That’s what they do.”

A family. I thought back to the family I’d seen on the mountain. Was that family Xavier’s?

I relayed this information to the sheriff’s office immediately. They moved quickly to question Xavier, and charged him, and then the case moved through the system with glacial speed. I don’t know that the extra was right about his family, but eventually I heard that Xavier got a year of home confinement for this crime and two others. The punishment seemed light to me, but maybe a brutal stretch of wearing an electronic ankle bracelet would teach him a lesson.

Later, in March 2013, as we were shooting the very last episode of Breaking Bad, the break-in story erupted from what seemed like every possible news outlet. Networks, local stations, websites, blogs, everywhere. “FINAL EPISODE SCRIPT OF BREAKING BAD WAS STOLEN!”

Wait, what?

On Good Morning America, the hosts sat on the couch discussing this heinous crime, all hoping that the missing script wouldn’t be revealed and spoil the ending.

In other news: “The dramatic audiotape of Bryan Cranston’s 911 call for help!”

What?! It wasn’t a 911 call. I calmly followed instructions from the Mayberry-like sheriff’s station to the letter. But the world was told I’d hit the panic button. I even caught flack on social media for tying up the 911 system for a nonemergency. Untrue. Innocent. But guilty, in the court of pop-culture opinion.

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