Rise of Roxy Ch. 04byEgmontGrigor2011©
Mrs Smith looked up as Roxy entered and said, "It's about time you showed up."
"Then if I'm not welcome I'll go."
The tutor shuffled papers and muttered, "And how would that rebellious comment look on my report?"
"Oh so you spy for your masters?"
"I've heard you referred to as a hot little bitch. Silly me I thought that referred to your acting ability."
Roxy grinned and said then Mrs Smith should do her job and ensure Roxy was steered in the right direction to earn accolades for her acting ability. "I put in the work, I listen and respond to you and I attempt to attain your high standards."
"That you do darling, and perhaps you are the only actor with ability I've ever had who puts in 101% efforts and laps up my guidance so diligently. I should be grateful to have you."
"So since when have you recognized I have ability?"
Mrs Smith sighed and scolded herself, "Oh Mary, sometimes you open your mouth once too often."
"Is your name Mary?"
"God girl, before you went to Italy you used to engage in interesting conversation. We should turn back the clock. Come on, we are going to have a look at production in Studio A. You take the part as guest actor next week as an imposter to claims to be Lionel Dearborn's illegitimate daughter conceived twenty-four years earlier when he was an art student roaming Italy the summer after her graduated from art school. I requested the walk-on role be written especially for you so that my masters, as you call them, can ascertain whether you have what it takes or whether you should be banished to become a weathergirl.
"Omigod, Mrs Smith, Mary, you are brilliant."
Roxy rushed into Mrs Smith and hugged and kissed her, with Mrs Smith saying not to pester her like that and to stop smudging her lipstick.
"That stuff you smear over your lips isn't lipstick; it's a coating to suggest you have blood in your veins."
Mrs Smith cackled and said Roxy was such an idiot.
"I've never known anyone to take liberties with me like you do and get away with it."
"Not even Mr Smith?"
"No, especially not Mr Smith. God there you go again encouraging me to talk about my husband when it's well known I don't talk about him here at work."
"Mrs Smith you really ought to relax more and not be dictated by behavioral rules. Now come with me before you forget what we were about to do. You'd said we were going to Studio A."
Mrs Smith cackled and said, "Come with me you delinquent."
The stage crew was changing a set so the actors were hanging about. As soon as Mrs Smith entered Bert Clew rushed over and said, "Hi Mrs Smith."
"Good morning Lambert," she said and he winced. "How is your stage mother?"
"Well tempered today for a change," he grinned. "Hi Roxy, you are to play against me. Perhaps I should explain..."
"That you play the suave Lionel Dearborn, a hugely successful art dealer with a weakness for weak women. Your off-stage wife is Veronica who actually is an art dealer and your children are Mike who is fourteen and blonde bombshell Lilac is a four-year-old and your on-stage wife is Merrill Stone who is a philistine when it comes to art, her only interest being 'how much'. Your charismatic on-stage mother is veteran character actress Vivienne Hall is having a real ball playing this part because she loves verbal fighting and this script for The Dearborn Family was written for her and your character is a person who can't stand being told what to do. I think I should stop there."
Bert looked at Mrs Smith who shrugged
"So you are a regular viewer and read the women's gossip magazines."
"Not really on both counts. The TV drama drags too much for my taste and I glance at women's mags to keep up to date. No when I received a job at this TV station I researched all the regular productions just in case I was placed with any of them and I read up on all the regular actors, presenters and anchor people on news. That sort of stuff."
"Well in the case of your series Lambert, I only told Roxy about her walk-on role with you guys fifteen minutes ago and she has been with me all the time since, so couldn't have gone off to cram up about your show."
"Jesus you ought to relax Roxy. You'll blow an artery if you keep up that pressure."
Bert introduced Roxy to regular members of the cast and to the producer Tony Hopkins who smiled and said he looked forward to working with her.
"Oh thank you and it's so interesting in meeting you. I had the part of Caroline at high school in your play The School Delinquents. Your interweaving of characters kept us on our toes and was good experience for us."
"Goodness, I'd almost forgotten I'd written that. I guess you were the only high school to perform it."
"I think we were the fourteenth school to have taken it to the stage."
As Bert took Roxy back to Mrs Hall she said, "Is Tony gay?"
Bert laughed and said, "You are rather bright Roxy" and she took that to be approval.
Back at the office Mrs Smith unlocked a drawer and took out two copies of the script for Episode 111 of The Dearborn Family to be filmed Wednesday and Thursday of next week, with Friday set aside as a spare day in case of problems.
"Well with probably less than ten minutes before the cameras I can't see myself being any problem to production efficiency."
Mrs Smith said, "You might care to substitute 48 minutes for ten minutes. The entire episode is shot around you and involving all the regular characters as you move in to disrupt their lives."
Roxy turned a little pale.
"Darling be not afraid," Mrs Smith smiled. "I described your personality, some characteristics including your shortness of attention span and liking for humorous interaction with touches of tease and your tendency to sniff and your habit of scratching under your left armpit to the team of three scriptwriters. Further, Tony Hopkins style is to lightly direct and I've told him to allow you to get on with it. So, all in all, this should be a real breeze for you."
"I sniff, oh god. And scratch under my arm like a drain layer and I have a short attention span. Omigod. No I'm not afraid Mrs Smith. You have me terrified."
"Right that's enough bellyaching. The episode opens with you looking across the street at Dearborn Art Gallery. When filming the crew place a temporary sign over the sign on Robinson Art Gallery on Walton Street. You walk into the gallery and ask the only occupant is he your father. The guy smiles and says that's unlikely because until three years ago he'd lived in South Africa and anyway he thought he was no more than fifteen years older that Zoë, which is the name of the character you will play."
"Oh god. I'm to play a dumb blonde."
"You are under immense pressure to confront the person you suspect is your father and make a reasonable error in confronting the person before identifying who he is. You won't be wearing a blonde wig so forget about dumb blondes. You will be a 25- year old natural chestnut beauty with a masters in cosmetic science and you drive a battered yellow Porsche."
"Oooh and do I end up seducing Lionel Dearborn?"
"Oh if you find that offensive I could get the script changed."
"No Mrs Smith, that will be quite in character for Zoë I guess."
Roxy called Anne Baxley that evening and told her she had a part in The Dearborn Family next week that would screen on Saturday at 8:00.
"Omigod, Tom and I watch that series. How big a part?"
"Quite big. I gather it is the TV station trying me out in drama."
"Oh darling, this opportunity is so wonderful for you. Now just keep calm and do your best. I'll make sure we are home next Saturday and you must come for dinner at 6:00. Do you promise?"
"Yes that would be lovely Anne and the alternative would be to watch by myself. I will of course have seen previews but it's not the same as watching it on TV at home."
"Watching by yourself. Oh god darling that's not..."
"I'm off guys at the moment Anne. My career is on a boil right now. I am making friends with females and they tend to be less disruptive."
* * *
"Is it the house with the big party?" asked the cabbie and they turned into Tom and Anne's street.
Roxy went to say no but then said yes. Oh no, Anne was determined to place her niece in the limelight.
Hired students were pouring and serving drinks and females in cute bunny costumes were serving nibbles. There were perhaps sixty people in both rooms.
"Hold up everyone, here's my niece," Anne shouted excitedly as she spotted Roxy coming in through the kitchen door.
"Everyone this is my niece Roxanne," she said. "It is a great honor to have Roxanne here as our special guest this evening when she will later unleash her acting talents on to us."
"Hi everyone, please call me Roxy," Roxy interrupted. "Please don't over-expect when you see the show. I was just lucky to be given the chance to jump in front of the cameras with a formidable team of actors and the support team who've carved out a special niche with their show, The Dearborn Family. I learned today that the show is currently being screen in thirteen countries and that's pretty awesome for a TV station based in this city. Thank you everyone for coming. I know that my aunt can be pretty persuasive. Now where's a drink?"
Later when everyone sat watching one of the two big screens as the show ran, it didn't require next day's TV critics to announce that Channel 8 has developed yet another new outstanding actor.
Roxy played the part of a feisty young woman on a mission dynamically, mostly with impeccable timing and expressions and as the hour-long (including ads) show progressed she endeared herself to viewers as she recovered from her initial bad showing to the Dearborn family to gradually win their respect and admiration for gaining an education and the start of a promising career for herself after being abandoned by her solo mom when she was seven years old and her mom took up with an older man who didn't like kids. Against the family's wishes, Zoë talked Lionel Dearborn into having a DNA test and that proved that no way could he have been her father although he admitted having had an affair with Zoë's mother when they were at art school together.
Finally after three days super bitch, Lionel's mother, gave Zoë an attaché case full of money and ordered her out of the house. Zoë left town and when Lionel arrived home that evening he was furious with his mother for ordering Zoë out of the house. He calmed when his mother yelled she'd Zoë $20,000 but that relief turned to dismay a few minutes later when a courier called with the attaché case. Lionel grabbed the key off his mother and unlocked the case and held it up and out spewed bundle after bundle of $100 notes.
"Mother you are corrupt and heartless," he sobbed. "You attempted to buy off the only woman I've ever really loved. You have your damn money and at least Zoë found that I wasn't her father. Because of you I have a broken heart and that agony is I know I'll never have Zoë in my arms again."
"Oh get over it Lionel. Would you like coffee?"
Anne and most of her female friends were crying or at least looking somewhat shaken while the men were either looking awkward or grinning.
"Gee looking at those women," Roxy said to the group of men she was sitting with. "You'd not believe they had just been watching fiction TV."
"Was that on-screen sex real or phony Roxy?" asked a guy and a lively discussion followed.
There was a studio photo on the front page of the newspaper next morning of Roxy under the heading, 'Last Night's Magnificent TV Weep' and the lead story of the Entertainment section was: TV8's Roxy Lifts 'The Dearborn Family' Even Higher.
It really pleased Roxy to read that.
The huge smiles and cheery greetings Roxy received as she arrived at work thrilled her and she almost swaggered into Mrs Smith's office. She was informed, "Mr Smith really liked your performance and on the train coming here this morning I heard several people talking about your performance. You must be good."
"Mrs Smith as you know one swallow..."
"The mayor's wife, who happens to be my sister-in-law, called me not ten minutes ago to ask me to get you to be guest speaker at her annual fund-raising dinner."
"Oh no thanks, tell her no. I'm really not interested."
Roxy saw the horrified look on Mrs Smith's face and she did and abrupt switch. "On the other hand, I suppose I owe you a favor or two. Yes if the mayor's wife really wants me to speak I'll do it."
Mrs Smith's face ceased being so red.
She shuffled papers and said Mal wanted to see her.
"He's never in this early."
Mrs Smith sighed and said it was interesting to find Roxy now thought she knew how the TV station ran.
"I have no idea what you are talking about."
"It's Budget Meeting Day, the day twice a year when departments fight for a greater share of funding."
"I know I'm a wind-up model rather than a fully featured intelligent woman like you Mrs Smith but I fail to see how Budget Day has any link with me."
"Well some people around here dream and scheme and that why Drama is dubbed a creative art through and through, unlike Entertainment or News or Shows. Ever since the unedited shoots of Chapter 111 were thrown together the rush was viewed by Mal and his handpicked team and they were put to work once it was agreed you had it."
"If you find someone who knows, then tell me sweetheart. In the meantime it means undefined qualities."
Roxy asked suspiciously, "Why are you calling me sweetheart?"
"I suppose I've become emotional and you'll know that simply is not me. I've always been successful with new talent and understudies and this time with you I know you have taken me over the bar."
"Darling you just continue being nice and looking pretty and when a director says act you just act your little heart out. Off you go. Mal will be on edge as he and his select team have been working long hours on this."
"I suppose it's useless asking working on what and what is 'this'?"
"Off you go means exactly that you upstart."
Well Mrs Smith had really fired her up. Roxy walked off holding great expectations.
Mal looked at her and yawned. He looked terrible and reached for his coffee mug.
"No you don't," she yelled, snatching the mug from him and called to his PA.
She came running.
"Linda take this and please fetch me a hot towel and then go to the café and get a long glass of warm milk with the yolks of two eggs with the whites discarded whizzed into the milk and a dash of sweet chili sauce added and grab a big pot of plain yoghurt. I've had guys look like this when they've over-stretched on sex but Mal is just plain exhausted."
"Do what she says," he said to the mother of two teenagers. "I've not known Roxy here to not know what she's doing. How do guys manage to get that much sex?"
Mrs Rogers looked very embarrassed at that comment and hurried off with the coffee mug.
"Ah-ah. First you drink a big glass of water."
"Whisky might be better for me."
"God your wife married an idiot. Now drink all this before you speak to me."
"But I never drink water."
"Mal do you want me to fetch Mrs Smith in here?"
Roxy stood behind his chair massaging his neck muscles while he drank noisily.
"God you must have been a real devil when you were a boy."
Turning his head, Mal beamed at her.
"When you finish with my neck you may start on my dick."
"I'm sorry Mal I can't touch you sexually out of respect for your wife."
He scowled and said she didn't know his wife.
"Yes and that's why I have so much respect for her."
Linda hurried in a put down the milk and yoghurt and said in surprise, "Goodness you are looking better already. How has Roxy managed that?"
"She reminded me that I must have been naughty when I was a boy and reminded me to respect my wife."
"I don't understand Mal."
"I don't either and I don't know if even Mrs Smith really understands Roxy. But what she has and dishes out seems to work, doesn't it?"
"Well be a good boy and drink your milk. Roxy is stimulating you with protein and I wish I'd thought of doing that. Good girl Roxy."
"You two are a scream." Roxy laughed. "The studio should build a 30-minute Theatre around you two."
Mal and Linda looked at Roxy unsmilingly.
"Who told you?" Mal asked. "Mrs Smith wasn't briefed fully and the proposal has been under tight security."
"Well if you give me some details I would know what we are talking about?"
"Close the door Linda and return and hold Roxy by the shoulders."
Roxy complained that Mal shouldn't waste his energy playing silly games.
Linda returned to stand beside Roxy, but not touching her.
"Nick Robbins has demanded we push you into something immediately while you are running hot."
"Me running hot? Mal we ought to get you medically examined. The only thing was those couple of pieces in this morning's Herald and..."
"Your office is half full of flowers already and..."
"Mal you are ranting. I don't have an office. I hang out with Mrs Smith."
Linda smiled, "You have an office now on the Production floor. It has its own shower and toilet. Radio talkback is going crazy about you this morning. It's been all about you for more than an hour on Radio Limelight. And you are to be Lola Young's guest at 10:00 on Channel 8 this morning."
"You guys are crazy," Roxy snorted. "Nothing happens that fast apart from vomit."
Linda shifted away from Roxy but Mal grinned.
"That's my girl, expect the unexpected from Roxy," he said. "Linda, see how good she is off camera chatting spontaneously?"
"Yes but talking about vomit..."
"Yeah, originally spontaneous eh? It's a natural reflex with Roxy. She didn't say I looked over-exhausted from too long at the office. She likened it to a guy who'd ground into his woman one time too many and..."
"Yes, yes Mal. I get the picture. There's no need to embarrass me."
"Oh my apologies Linda. Roxy you've obvious heard the whisper that we are planning a comic series with you in the lead role called simply The PA?"
Roxy appeared momentarily shocked and then ran before Linda could move to hold her. She raced around the desk, pulled Mal on his chair out from his desk\, sat on his knee and kissed him, all of that accomplished in flash action.
"Omigod, how did you accomplish that? Seconds ago you were standing here beside me."
"It just happens Linda and I'm not meaning to embarrass you. Do you sit on Mal's knee often?"
Catching the change in Linda's appearance, Roxy jumped off Mal's knee and yelled she was just joking.
"You must think I'm a real slut Linda?"
Grasping her throat Linda said, "Well no. You are just a little too wild for me but actually I think you are very attractive and basically a really nice person."
"Oh Linda, thank you. That declaration means so much to me. You are very sweet." "I believe we've had enough femininity for just now. Roxy before I take this proposal to this morning's haggle meeting..."
"Yes Mal, I'll do it providing I can be myself, you know, sexy, a little foul-mouthed, provocative, whimsical and warm. The sort of stuff viewers warm to."
Mal nodded and said, "But what about the guys?"
"Just ensure that I appear before camera dressed to have them all wishing they could fuck me."
"Omigod," Linda groaned.
"Acting is all about make-believe Linda. I don't mean I wish to be dressed like a slut, just provocatively. That will be sufficient to hold male attention. As you know when they relax they become so uncomplicated."
Linda smiled weakly, nodding.
"Right boss show me the story line."
"How did you know we've got that far?"
"Well I don't believe you have become exhausted driving you people to get this proposal to presentation stage by sitting in that chair sucking your thumb."