Monday, April 2, 2007

Marjorie Smith

Marjorie Smith is a freelance writer and editor who likes participating in Foolish Words because you don't have to finish what you start.

Donna Lou deChris hurried to the Seedy Bean immediately after work, as she did every day. She ordered her hazelnut latte, put on her shades and slouched into her regular chair at her regular table with the insouciance she knew marked her as very experienced.

She wished there were mirrors on the wall of the Seedy Bean so she could check to be sure that the experience she evinced was as an actress, and not as a typist in a yogurt brokerage, her day job. Bozeman was full of filmmakers – not just students from the university but authentic Hollywood types eager to cash in on the Big Sky on the Big Screen. One day soon someone would spot her and catapult her to stardom.

She recalled her childhood naiveté when she had spent every daylight hour in the front yard looking cute, waiting for Samuel Goldwyn Mayer to drive by and recognize her as the next Shirley Temple. She had learned a great deal about geography in the interim.

Now, at 25, she knew that a front yard in Absaroka, Montana, was no place to be discovered. The Seedy Bean on Main Street in Bozeman – that’s where producers hung out.

Donna Lou carefully wiped foam off her slightly lopsided lips and reapplied lip gloss before continuing to sip, projecting her image – bored, sophisticated and glamorous. Perhaps it was just as well that there weren’t mirrors on the walls - it was
easier to feel glamorous from inside her face rather than from the outside where she would be confronted with her single eyebrow, mismatched eyes, and cheekbones buried in mounds of pudginess – to say nothing of her bulbous nose. But hey, with talent, anything was possible.

In the Rolodex of her mind, she flipped through memories of her stint as a film actress three years ago when she had been approached at this very table by an intense young man who needed to replace a cast member in his junior film. “I originally saw this part as being for an old man,” he told her, “but I think I can use you.”

It had been the most wonderful experience of her life. The whole thing – the days of filming on snowy Bozeman streets wearing soggy bedroom slippers and ugly knee high stockings, the student makeup artist patting powder on her fevered brow, the hours spent huddling in a huge pile of fallen leaves while someone crashed through it driving a car much too fast
whereupon she would pop out, usually unbloodied, providing the comic relief the story required. And of course, the intensely passionate if brief love affair with the author-director, whose name was Gary Geek.

“Ah, Gary,” Donna Lou sighed, closing her eyes, reliving scenes of unbridled passion. Oh, why did she have to be such a nitpicker! For the thousandth time she recalled that final argument. She just couldn’t let him go through life under the mistaken impression that anteaters were reptiles. But why had she made such a big deal of it? She’d screamed at him right out there on Main Street, “Tits, Gary! They have tits!”

Gary Geek had strode away from her, never to return. She knew he had gone on to graduate and hightailed it to Hollywood where he would one day be famous, or at least employed, and here she sat, at the same table in the Seedy Bean, waiting to be discovered.

A large tear oozed out of her brown eye and plopped into her latte and she opened her eyes to search for a Kleenex. And there, standing beside her table were two men: a strange-looking little man and a tall, handsome man of the Native American persuasion... or so Donna Lou assumed since he wore his hair in long black braids.

“Excuse me,” said that smaller man. “Are you by any chance an actress?”


Sam Louden said...

Here the plot takes a step, albeit a small step, into the thinly veiled Leaf and Bean. This place is not only a Bozemonic temple and practically a character in itself, it also is the four-time gracious host of the Foolish Words. At last it gets its due face time. While the story becomes more thuroughly mired in Bozeman, the pangolin paradox is more blatantly exposed. From now on, Sweet Banana Tail II is pretty much no longer identified as a lizard. I still wonder about her self-image; does SBT II know she is a mammal? The text is not entirely clear on how the animal feels about our wrestlings with her identity. Perhaps that is the natural reaction; only humans get all that hung up on the tags and labels we use to define ourselves and others.
In a highly polished chapter, Marjorie puts the pangolin in place with two more characters, one of whom is destined for greatness.

Ray Sikorski said...

Marjorie told me her entry was somewhat based on her experience landing a part in a student film just by sitting there at the Bean.

Note: The first Foolish Words reading took place at the Shoebox Theater in the Emerson. (Does that still exist?)

Sam Louden said...

The first Foolish Words took place at both the Leaf and Bean and the Shoe Box. I believe the Shoe Box got the sack and is now a gallery or something.

Ray Sikorski said...

Sheesh, had I left town by the time you read at the Bean? Or did I read at the Bean and don't remember it? I just remember being squashed in the Shoebox.