Summary: What's a nice gal and guy from River Run doing in a strange place like Hollywood? That's the question that Jeff Metcalf keeps asking himself. This very short story was inspired by "Szabo's Travels" and is written from Jeff's POV.
Disclaimer: "Homefront" characters belong to their creators. No copyright infringement intended. No profit is being made. Some of the dialogue that appears in this story is not my own, but belongs to the writer of the Homefront episode "Szabo's Travels".
Author: Tracy Diane Miller
Now I know how that turkey felt.
I guess I should explain. See, Hank and Sarah, Mom and Al, and Ginger and me entered a dance contest at the Roadhouse. The first place prize was a screen test in Hollywood. Mom and Al won an honorable mention- a turkey. Mom would tell you that that bird was God's way of providing for us in our time of need since we weren't sure if we could even afford to have a turkey this year. I remember when Linda carried that turkey into the house and placed it on the kitchen table. Good Lord! That was the biggest bird that I've ever seen in my life! And it would definitely feed all of us Metcalfs for a long time to come. That is, assuming that one of us was brave enough to kill it.
So, there was this big bird sitting on our kitchen table with all of us staring at it. Wonder if it knew that it didn't belong, that it's only purpose for being in our house was to become our Thanksgiving dinner?
That's how I feel right now. Okay, so I'm not going to become anyone's "dinner", but all those other dance contest winners from all over the country (all those guys and dames decked out) were looking at Ginger and me like we were a couple of buckeyes. Well, I guess we are, in a way. Look at me...in Hollywood? What am I doing in a screwy place like this anyway? I don't belong here. I want to be a ballplayer not an actor. But Ginger and me won the dance contest and this screen test. It's her dream to become a movie star. I remember when we were in Toledo and she told me how much she wanted to go to Hollywood someday, how much she wanted to become an actress. I can't say that I understand any of this, but I want her to be happy. That's why I'm here. Because I love her.
Eddie is our chaperone. He's a funny guy. Not funny like in "ha ha", but funny as in interesting. I think that he's been doing this chaperone thing forever and he gets a kick out of all of these wannabes coming from no name towns with stars in their eyes thinking that they're going to be the next Robert Taylor or Joan Crawford. Joan Crawford is a swell dame. And Ginger really likes Robert Taylor. Calls him dreamy. What do I think about Robert Taylor? I think that he's pretty screwy. I don't understand why Ginger makes such a big deal over that guy. And Eddie sees most of us as losers anyway, that we don't have a snowball's chance in...well, that there's no way we're going to win this screen test. He gave us a list of rules a mile long (I thought that I was back in Catholic school for a minute with all his "do's" and "don'ts). Bottom line...if we mess up and break the rules, we'll be sent back home at our own expense.
Ginger called her mother to let her know that we arrived here safely. She also told her mother about our chaperone. Well, actually, she lied to her mother about the chaperone. When I confronted her about the lie, she said that her mother had a weak heart. Guess she didn't want her to know the truth. I'm not saying that it's right or anything to lie, especially to your mother, but you'd have to know Mrs. Szabo and then you'd understand why Ginger sometimes lies to her mother.
We got the scene that we're supposed to memorize for the screen test. The guys are "Man Number One" and the dames are "Woman Number One". Some screwy names to give characters in a movie, huh? I can just see Ginger signing autographs or winning her Academy Award for her brilliant work as "Woman Number One". Told you that Hollywood was a screwy place. And after spending all that money on dance lessons and all that time practicing, there isn't even any dancing in the scene! Well, at least there aren't any big words to learn.
We went downstairs to the bar in the hotel to rehearse the scene. Guess a lot of the other contestants had the same idea because the place was crawling with all these other guys and dames, smoking and learning their lines. What? I didn't mention the smoking? It's part of the scene..."Man Number One" sits next to "Woman Number One" at a bar and lights up. "Woman Number Woman" says to the bartender "Bartender, the gentleman is buying." And "Man Number One" takes drag and answers "I thought the seat was free" to which "Woman Number One" says "The seat's free, the view is pricey" and "Man Number One" responds "but worth it." Don't laugh that's what in the script along with some other screwy stuff about fishing. I laughed and Ginger told me to be serious. She even made me light the cigarette. I don't smoke. I almost choked on that thing. And to think some guy probably got paid big bucks to write this junk. The only good part in the scene was when "Man Number One" got to grab the dame and kiss her. I don't mind that part. Don't mind it one little bit. I hope that we can keep practicing that part, just to be sure that I get it right.
Eddie came by and said that we were doing it all wrong. He rehearsed the scene with Ginger. I watched him then I tried to do the scene just like he said to do it. But I was still doing it wrong. I said Ginger's line and then I ended up putting down my change (the money was part of the scene's prop) when she was talking. Eddie said that you never put your props down when someone is saying a line because then the audience can't hear the words. Makes sense, I guess.
It seems as if we rehearsed that stupid scene a million times. I'm even getting better taking a drag from the cigarette and I'm not putting the prop down on Ginger's lines anymore. And the best part of the whole scene is the kissing.
A part of me wants us to win this screen test because I know that's what Ginger wants. But another part of me prays that we lose. Does that make any sense? I know that Ginger wants to be a movie star, but I'm worried about what'll happen to us if she succeeds at her dream. I don't want to be movie star. Like I said, I want to be a ballplayer not an actor. Acting is a screwy line of work for a grown man. I don't belong in Hollywood and neither does Ginger. I just wish that she'd see that.
It's getting late. I guess I better get ready for bed. Tomorrow is the big day. Even with all the rehearsing we've done, I'm still nervous I guess. Ginger is swell... and I have to admit, that she is a good actress, but I don't want to make a fool out of myself in front of all those people and with that camera sticking in my face. I guess that it could be worse.
At least I don't have to dance.