by Carla Buckley – December 2012
“But I’m a classically trained actor Darling” I cry at my agent down the phone. First Class Performers more like underclass career destroyers. Last year I was Hamlet, Dorian Grey and Al Capone, this year I’ve been a promotional mouse for Big Cheese – “The big tube of cheese you can squeeze”, I grimace as I remember the irritating jingle. And now this, the latest deposit on the top of the dump I call it. I’m thin, moustached and have two bad knees and they expect me to heap them up with spoilt little brats.
“I don’t think this is for me, I was thinking more Richard the Third, what about that role, it’s more me” I reply.
With her American twang, she says that “Santa, performed well, over the holidays, could sure help your cv”, explaining that it would be good for my career, will show versatility.
‘I don’t care. How am I meant to show my face in acting circles again after spending Panto season as a discount store ‘Santa’?’ I shout in my head mimicking her annoying accent. Father Christmas, all those years at drama school and I’m to be the man in the red suit. “No thanks, no way, never!” I say loud and clear. “I can’t go and tell everyone that all I’ve done this year is Big Cheese and Santa, they laughed at Big Cheese, what will happen to me if I mention Santa? If I take this contract, I will never get another job again!” I shout. My veins protrude outwards from my neck and I feel the heat rising across my face.
“You actors are so dramatic,” she replies, “its good money and only for four weeks. You weren’t chosen for Richard the Third so that one’s a no go sweet pea” she replies. Annoyed I let the call hang in silence, “You don’t have to tell your friends, they won’t recognise you in the costume”. I think about it, my last bank statement was hundreds overdrawn and the rent is due. But this is my art.
“I couldn’t lower myself, find another Santa” I say slamming the phone down hard. Santa my hairy butt. I pace the floor then sit against the wall; I run the conversation in my head again. Before I know it the afternoon sun has turned to wintery afternoon darkness. Continuing to pace, in the dark alone, the phone rings. Running to the cradle, I snatch it and hold it to my ear. Maybe Richard the third has come up. “Hello, you called back” I shout.
“I said I would, I know I said I would over a week ago but you know things have been busy” Bill droned in his dense cockney accent. “I got good news man” he says.
“I got bad news” I reply, “No work at all over Christmas at all. That boot called me again with another rubbish job, I told her where to stick her job” I laugh. Bill laughs uncontrollably.
“I’m proud of you man, I’d tell her too” Bill always cheers me up, the only person in the world I can feel superior to.
“What’s your news then?” I ask
“Well, it’s like this. I got a job as a store Santa for a month. I was just so chuffed, I thought great, that’ll take me right through to Christmas”. I stop laughing; there was no go back on that job now. I laugh to myself, glad I never took it. After all, Bill is the right calibre of actor for that job. But then I kick myself, I turned it down, I could have been a secret Santa, worked under a pseudonym, got paid and begun again with serious acting in January. I’m speechless.
“Man, you still there?” Bill asks.
“Yes, that’s great news Bill”
“That’s not the news, there’s more” he laughs.
“More? Go on then” I reply
“I got offered the part of Richard the Third so I’m gonna be Santa and Richard the Third. It’s great ain’t it?” he laughs.
“Yeah, I got it. All on my own. I think that new agent lady likes me. I was the only one she put forward, said I was dramatic and the best they’d seen”
“I’ve got to go” I reply as I place the phone down on Bill. He’s got Santa and Richard the Third. How? I ask. Slamming my fist onto the floor below, a bang is returned. “Bloody neighbours” I shout hoping that they heard, then the phone rings again. I grab the handset “What!”
“I hadn’t finished. I was thinkin’ of you and I thought, seein’ as you need the dough, thought I would call and see if you wanted Santa. Only I’ve got loads to do for Richard the Third” he says, no laughing this time. “Come on Santa Baby, what do you say? If you can’t do it for the money, then do it to help an old pal out, I need you. I can’t do it all”
“I’ll do Richard the Third for you instead” I say hopeful, “You could still be Santa”.
Bill laughs, “I do love your jokes. What is it then? To be or not to be – Santa that is?”
I think hard, Mind racing with conflict. Career suicide or means to an end. Thinking of the rent due and the overdraft. Could put up with the brats for a month and be all ho, ho, ho. “Okay, only to help you out. Make sure you tell everyone it was because you asked, tell the agent the same. I’ll collect the paperwork tomorrow” I reply. Doing it for Bill I think as I place the handset down with a grin.
“Yes, Andrew Lloyd Webber, I would love to take the part. That, I only took that to help a
friend out. T’is all, t’is all”. Maybe not, I think I’ll have to be a Secret Santa.
Not as humorous but if you like a crime thriller with some romance, check out my latest novel Whispers Beneath the Pines.
Whispers beneath the Pines
Twenty two year old classroom assistant Eve leaves England for sunny Turkey with her four childhood friends and Kevin; her first love who she hasn’t seen for six years. The group plan to have one last adventure before they have to finally relent to adulthood. What they think will be a week of sun, parties and romance soon becomes sinister when they take a trip to the mountainous province of MÜgla for the day.
Eve soon realises that things are not what they seem. She sees that something isn’t right but her friends are oblivious. Can she convince them all before it’s too late?
Available on Amazon.com too. Free if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited.