The car appears in front of Cartwright’s Mercantile as planned.
On cue, Mr. Cartwright opens his shop door in his bathrobe and steps out on the sidewalk to examine the car. We overhear Mr. Cartwright saying, “What the….” He then circles the auto twice, kneeling to touch the colored paint (We assume he wanted to know if the paint was still wet. He wipes his fingers on his bathrobe.). He reaches up to check if potted plants on the roof of the auto were real (Again he wipes his fingers on his bathrobe. All going as planned.).
A few onlookers stop to look at Mr. Cartwright in his bathrobe standing in front of the car. Some shake their heads and move away. However (and this is a big however,), our old woman stops and peers into the passenger side window, something Mr. Cartwright failed to do (How did he miss this? Check notes.). Our old woman turns to scream at Mr. Cartwright. He does not see her gun (Perfect!).
Wait for it…. Yes, Mr. Cartwright is down. Job Done.
We lived in Hollywood then, on a quiet, tree-lined street in the early nineteen fifties. It was a time when cars and people moved slower, a time of subtle changes. Back then, it was just the three of us. My father was trying to be a writer. He wrote in the early morning reliving the war, the keys of his typewriter snapping down on paper for three or four hours, then he drank all afternoon trying to forget the war, my mother, and me. My mother served drinks at the Interlude Club on Hollywood Boulevard five nights a week. “My one chance,” she told me, “to do something.”
After school I waited for her backstage, did my homework, and watched. I was watching that night when Mr. Rosenberg took my mother’s arm in a familiar way. I looked at him and I looked at my mother in her new red dress, how beautiful she looked, so happy. That night Mr. Rosenberg winked at me with a broad smile before leading my mother away.