Monday, August 13, 2012

An Audience With the Queen

On the passenger side lay my notebook and pencil:
I drove along, lost, by the studio fence, 'til
a blonde girl yelled "Photoplay?"  In her arms she bore
Some scripts.  "For Miss Stanwyck?  Right through this door."

"That's Barbara."  She pointed.  "Some folks call her Missy.
She's down-to-earth, sweet, and not a bit prissy."
I took off my hat and walked over to her.
She sat down and smiled like I already knew her.

"Well, where to start?  When I was born, I was Ruby.
(If I only knew then what life planned to do to me!)
I grew up too quickly, an adult at four;
Mama was killed, then Pop bailed.  We were poor.
My nine-year-old sister watched me and my brother.
When she started to work, we got foster mothers."

She paused, and I offered a Lucky, a light.
She thanked me and exhaled.  "I worshiped Pearl White!
Dreamt only of stardom when I was fourteen.
I felt destined for show biz, the stage and the screen."

"By sixteen, I danced at The Strand and the Follies."
She smirked. "All those phonies, out getting their jollies."
"Those phonies?" I asked as I scribbled a note.
She nodded.  "My focus was different: a meal, a coat,
and working my way up the ladder of fame.
After that came 'The Noose', where I got my new name."

With that, Barbara faltered.  Her eyes glazed with tears.
"My goodness, I haven't thought about that in years.
That's where I met Rex.  May his soul rest in peace."
She regained her composure. "Don't print that, if you please."

"I moved on to pictures from Burlesque, my last play,
I married a friend that I met there - Frank Fay.
That's ended now.  Boy was that all a mistake.
But that's life; you move on.  You don't get a retake."

"And that brings us to now and that brings us to here."
I could tell she was finished.  She called past me.  "Dear!"
The blonde girl came over. "Please get my script, Alice."
(I peeked at the title.  It said "Stella Dallas".)

I stood up and offered my hand, and she took it.
"A pleasure," I told her, and meant it.  She shook it
and smiled at me warmly as I strode away.
A day in my life, for her life in a day.


kate gabrielle said...

This is fantastic!!

Flapper Flickers + Silent Stanzas said...

Thanks Kate! I had a lot of fun writing this -- it was like a little movie in my head. :)

Caftan Woman said...

Very nice. It made me smile and a little teary eyed at the same time.

Flapper Flickers + Silent Stanzas said...

Thanks, CW. Exactly the reaction I hoped for :)

FlickChick said...

This was just wonderful! I know I will be coming back to read it over again. Bravo!

Dayna Worthen said...

Fabulous tribute to the Fabulous Missy...we will never see her like gain!