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47

Fleeced

Action! Jacques Harlow cried to Daphne.

They were in his sparsely furnished, high-ceilinged, drafty loft on a deserted street in lower Manhattan. Jacques had signaled one of his assistants to turn on a fog machine as Daphne sat on the floor, surrounded by darkness, and began to rhapsodize on the benefits and sorrows of selling her farm. Nat and Wendys sheep stood at attention on either side of her.

I look out over the moors, Daphne almost whispered, and my heart starts to sing

Wait! the cameraman shouted.

Wait! What do you mean wait? Jacques demanded. The director is the boss! The director calls action and the director calls cut. How could you forget such a thing?

Youre going to waste a lot of film. Im getting a bad reflection off the sheeps eyes.

So turn the sheep sideways and pull their bangs down, Jacques screamed impatiently.

Two weary production assistants hurried over. When they turned Dolly to face Daphne, one of her eyes fell out and rolled away into the darkness. As they frantically scrambled to feel around for it on the floor, Jacques screamed again. Dont worry about it! I dont care about the sheeps eyes. I only care whats going on in my actors eyes. Now turn the other sheep and lets go!

Bah-Bah in place on one side, Dolly on the other, Daphne was ready to start over. The two sheep now looked as though they were dying to hear what she had to say.

Action! Jacques cried again.

For the next six minutes, Daphne emoted over her characters sheep farm like nobodys business. At the end, sobbing, she lowered her head to the ground as Scarlett OHara had done so famously in Gone with the Wind.

Cut! Jacques cried, his voice trembling. He wiped a tear from his eye and ran over to embrace Daphne. I was so moved, he whispered in her ear as the crew broke into applause. Youre a magnificent actress. I want you to star in my next film.

Daphne was speechless. She hadnt felt this good in years. Both her personal and professional lives had been less than satisfactory. But all of a sudden, it seemed as if a whole new wonderful world was opening up to her. It sure beat stand-in work. Oh, Jacques, she finally mouthed as she laid her head against his shoulder.

Pumpkin sat seething in the corner. She stood up. Are we ready to shoot my final scene?

No! Jacques sneered. Daphne is going to do her monologue again for me. Her well is overflowing, and I want to capture more of it.

Yeah, well Im going outside for a cigarette, Pumpkin announced and turned on her heel.

Jacques gave Daphne a mischievous glance. Would you like Pumpkin to be your stand-in?

Daphne laughed as Jacques returned to his directors chair. She petted Dolly and Bah-Bah. Can you imagine how surprised your mommy and daddy would be to see that youve turned into movie stars?


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