Originally published on November 6, 2015 in Fiction
A career decision for Lily.
Lily's Last Hurrah
Mr. Goldwyn worked his cigar around to the other side of his mouth and tried to think of something that would make Lily listen to reason. “Y'can't go on doin ingenues the rest of your life Lily. You ain't Shoiley Temple y'know, y'got nine miles of rough road on you.” He went on, (in his usual brusque manner) to placate her and make her aware of the unpleasant fact that her starlet days were over.
“There's mother roles, the older sister … lookit Meryl Streep and Glenn Close … dynamite box office broads, Lily. Just think how nice it'll be to walk around not suckin' in yer gut.”
Lily stood at the mirror in the drop dead black evening gown and turned around slowly. “That so? How do you like those onions, Sam? Prime stuff, huh?” She was determined to get the part that Hedy Lamarr made famous in “Ecstasy” eighty years ago.
Sam sighed and put his half-finished cigar in the ash tray and leaned back. “Where'd ja dig that up, Lily … in wardrobe? Ain't that the dress Hedy wore back in '33?” He looked at Lily critically … for a forty four year old broad she hadn't gone to pot yet. But he knew what the press would do to her … they'd tear her to shreds. They had the same blood lust that sharks have––just the smell of it in the water and they be on her like a pack of wolves. Then he reached for a pencil … “Hey, that was good,” he said to himself, double entendre, like the French say … I'll have to write that down.”
“Lily, we've been through a lot together. Maybe me more than you … but the fans'll judge you by your looks, they don't care what the hell I look like. They'll pick you apart. They'll zero in on that wart on your shoulder and the way you grab the arms of the chair when you try to stand up.” He picked the cigar out of the ash tray again and re-lit it. “Lily, I love ya like I would an older daughter, and I don't want some two-bit word jockey pokin holes in ya, git me?”
“I'm not ready to be mature, Sam. I want a fling at this Ecstasy part … I'm good for one or two more skin flics. It'll set me up for “What's My Line” on TV.”
“She's a trouper,” Sam muttered to himself. “Geez, that's a shame Lily. Looie Mayer and me had'ja all set up fer the 'Last Days of Cleopatra' epic next year, we're lookin' fer the men to play Mark Antony and Julius Caesar … thinkin' maybe Tom Cruse and Brad Pitt … ”
Lily stopped her strut in mid-stride – turned, and stared at Sam Goldwyn … “Well now. let's not be hasty. Everything's negotiable.”