I seem to have been in somewhat of a Theatre mode these past two weeks. 😀
Something different coming soon; if you have any preferences please feel free to leave a comment. Suggestions are always welcome for short story topics. Thanks for reading.
‘That went well, didn’t it? Apart from the end of course.’
‘Yes, the audience seemed to like it. Made a change for me to play a villain; I haven’t done serious drama since I went to Hollywood.’
‘I know. Quite the famous celebrity now, aren’t you? I remember our first play together, two aspiring young actors, waiting to set the world alight. What made you come back?’
‘Well, at least one of us achieved our ambitions. Shame it didn’t work out for you. What are you doing now?’
‘Bits and pieces. I’ve still got my Equity card and occasionally get work as an extra. After that unfortunate accident I had to take a proper job to pay the mortgage. Jackie was expecting at the time. Julie would have been a teenager now.’
‘Oh yes, I remember Jackie. Pretty little thing. Used to be in the chorus. Terrible tragedy. Did they ever find the guy?’
‘No. Rumour has it he ran off to America. Apparently, he was celebrating his new film contract. Five times over the drink-driving limit so they say. Never stopped to see if they were alright. The hospital said if they had received help earlier they might have survived. You didn’t tell me what made you come back.’
‘Bit of nostalgia for the old country. My agent thought it would be a good idea to remind my British fans I hadn’t forgotten them. It was quite a surprise to bump into you here, the theatre where it all started.’
‘I wasn’t sure you’d remember me. I went through a bit of a bad time when I lost my family but this place was my salvation. You remember old George? He gave me a job as a cleaner. Insisted I signed up for AA. Got me through, took me back as caretaker and I’ve been here ever since. He even left me the theatre when he died two years ago. I owe him a lot.’
‘So, this is your place now? I saw your name on the letterhead but it didn’t register. I’ve met so many people in my career, it’s difficult to remember them all. Nice to catch up with old times but I really need to get back to my hotel. I’ve a long day tomorrow, meeting the press, doing the “Local boy made good” publicity bit. Can you call me a taxi? I haven’t got a licence at the moment so I didn’t bother to hire a car while I was here.’
‘Better than that, I’ll drop you back. How about one for the road? Large scotch wasn’t it?’
‘Just the one then. Need to get my beauty sleep before I face the cameras in the morning.’
The one became three, then five then six. My tonic water with ice and lemon was making me feel bloated so I could imagine the effect all the alcohol was having on him. Before he became totally incomprehensible I had my answer. In his drunken stupor he even admitted his over enthusiastic acting at the fight scene during the audition all those years ago had been inspired by spite. He had wanted Jackie for himself and been surprised when she turned him down. Would things have turned out differently if the fall hadn’t broken my leg and given him the opportunity as my understudy to take over the role which led to his stardom?
Looking at him now I found it in my heart to forgive him. The booze had destroyed his once handsome good looks, and from what I heard his life had not been a happy one. Married three times, on the verge of bankruptcy twice, he was now an ancient has-been struggling to find parts more suited to someone ten years his junior. Perhaps if he had accepted more mature roles he wouldn’t have ended up begging for favours in out of town theaters. At least I had something to show for my life and would always have the memory of those wonderful few years when I was first married.
There is an aura in a theatre even after the show has finished. Once the audience have left and the cleaners gone for the night, the echo of the applause still reverberates in the darkness, mingling with the unique smell that is show business. I switched off the glaring lights from the bar, leaving only the blue glow to guide me as I hauled him from the chair towards the rear stage door where the car was parked.
It was a struggle to manoeuvre a fifteen stone man into the passenger seat of the hire car but somehow I managed it. Locking up behind me I slid into the driver’s seat and headed towards the coast road leading to his hotel. At three in the morning there was no traffic, and even when I parked next to the solitary car on the cliff edge he continued snoring loudly. He barely stirred when I moved him behind the wheel, released the hand brake and for good measure dropped the half-empty whisky bottle onto the accelerator pedal under his feet. A gentle nudge and the car had already started rolling when I returned to my own car and drove home. The story didn’t hit the headlines until the evening editions.
Famous Hollywood actor dies in car accident.
The badly mangled body of Alistair Bright was discovered in his car at the foot of Upper Hill Cliffs this morning. Although born here, he spent most of his recent years in California pursuing his acting career where he won an Oscar several years ago for his performance in ‘Getting Tough.’ He was vising the UK to promote his career after scandal following his renowned heavy drinking led to his abrupt departure from Hollywood. Fittingly, his final performance took place last night, here in our very own theatre in the town where he was first discovered. Police have confirmed suicide and foul play have been ruled out, and the accident is contributed to the amount of alcohol found in his system. His body was identified by the Equity card found in his wallet nearby. The car belonged to a local hire company who have confirmed it was rented in Mr Bright’s name two days ago. Friends and former colleagues have expressed their condolences.
R.I.P. Alistair. A stolen part can be forgiven but the loss of my one true love and unborn child- Never.
© Voinks June 2018