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1

 

Lunatics Are My Specialty

 

 

 

(beginning of excerpt)

 

            The phone rings. Pick it up and say, “Hello?”

            “Mr. Fields, please.”

            “Speaking.”

            “Mr. Fields, Nightingale Casting calling.”

            Blood just kicked into overdrive. “Yes.”

            “Hi, Mr. Fields. Do you think you could come down to our offices in about two weeks, say around noon? We’d like you to take a screen test. The character is Brock Hudson. The production is Professional Lunacy. Would you be available … thirteen days from now?”

            Find voice. “Sure. No problem.”

            “Great. Just come to the same auditorium you were at this afternoon.”

            “Yes. Excellent. Thank you.”

            Dead air.

            Hang up the phone, no longer thinking about sex. Feel like I just got laid. Several aspects of my apartment seem different than they did before the phone rang. The picture on the wall, of a bowl of fruit, suddenly seems like something unworthy of an abandoned building, much less my apartment. Every grain of dirt in the carpet sits up and sings to me. Only now do I realize that I moved in here a year ago, and I’ve never dusted.

            I am thirty-eight years old, and I will die of starvation if I do not walk away with this role.

            Play crazy…

            First thing I try to do is separate myself from reality. It’s a perfect exercise. Pretend the call did not just happen. Ignore the fire in the veins and pick up the paper again, anything. Go outside, go grocery shopping, anything. Let crazy roll around in the back of my head for a while, slowly sinking in.

            Page five of Variety, halfway down. “Actor’s Teacher. On-set or location training available with less than one hour’s notice. Call…”

            The phone is in my hand and I am dialing. All thoughts of the world, the past, the times, and life after death are gone.

            One ring: “Actor’s Teacher. How may I direct your call?”

            “Yeah, hi. I need an actor’s teacher, I have a—”

            The phone is ringing again. One ring: “Donovan here.”

            “Uh, hi. My name’s Thomas Fields. I’m an actor and I saw your ad in the paper and—”

            “Do you already have the part?”

            “Um, no.”

            “What is the part, sir?”

            “They want me to play somebody who’s crazy—”

            “No, problem, Mr. Fields. If you would please meet me at the diner on the corner of Tenth and Fern Hill, one hour from now, say, ten-thirty. Sound good?”

            “Sure, but about your rates?”

            “No worries, Mr. Fields. You’ve come to the right place.”

            Dead phone.

 

 

*                 *                *

 

 

No one in the place but a black guy wearing shades, drinking something from a mug, an old woman who will spend tonight in the streets again.

            And a man in a business suit. He smiles as I enter, waves to me. “Ah, Mr. Fields. It’s a pleasure.” He extends his hand. “My name is Donovan Fenn. Now, what seems to be your situation?”

            “They want me to play someone crazy, and I’m not feeling it. And I really—”

            “What kind of crazy, Mr. Fields?”

            “I don’t know, I haven’t seen the script yet. I don’t know if I will until I go in for the next reading.”

            “Okay, so you need to get through an audition.”

            I nod.

            “No problem, Mr. Fields. Lunatics happen to be my specialty. When is your audition?”

            “End of next week at the Nightingale Agency.”

            “Okay. Not long but maybe long enough. Let’s go.” He stands, gathering his camel’s hair topcoat from the back of the chair.

            “Wait. Where are we going?”

            Donovan smiles, putting on his overcoat. “We’re going crazy, Mr. Fields. Isn’t that what you came for?"

 

(end of excerpt)                                                    Script Conversion

 

 

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 Welcome                    Biography of D. R. Nelson                    History of Haven Publications                           My Books               My Scripts

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