She was humming in the next room; the languorous melody suited the tropical heat as the tattered red remnants of the sun slowly slid into the river. The breeze blowing up from the gulf carried the evening bells from the Catedral de Nuestra Senora de Refugio and caused the crimson hibiscus to shudder in the dying sun.
"It's lovely." Her voice spilled over his head like her auburn hair as she bent down gesturing beyond him at the dying day.
"But my view is lovelier still, Mrs. Singer." Jeffery pulled her in to his arms. Together on the warm terra cotta tiles, red light glinting off new gold, joy began to rise in her heart like a rose.
Maple stared at her reflection in the mirror. There was no getting around it. It was brassy, brazen, brilliant…and the last time she was going to let Annie in 13G practice on her.
"Well as long as I've got the oranges, might as well have the whole fruit basket!"
She eyed her closet considering its contents carefully, after all when coifed with this careless coil of carnelian she wouldn't be anything like a chameleon.
"Just think, what would Carmen Miranda do?"
The sunlight poured over the field crystallizing everything in honey-ambered light, just under the trees at the top of the hill was a picnic with a waiting dark haired siren. Victor looked down at the daisies in his hand, smiling at their yellow centers he began to climb.
"I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;"
A persistent wine followed Victor as the hillside melted away like fools gold.
Sand tricked down the makeshift wall and the green-yellow scent of smoke yanked him back, soon the pale golden fingers of dawn would be prying through the underground station and another broadcasting day would start. The scrap of paper from his pocket and the yellow pencil would have to do until then. A familiar face took shape under his fingers; there could be no letter.
The switchboard was lit up like a Christmas tree on fire. "Gertie Reese, one woman bucket brigade to the rescue… WENN, how may I direct your call?"
"Yes, Sir fishing rods are on special at Greene's Sporting Goods. It's on the green….at Park and Vine." Gertie saw Scott scurry through the lobby heading for the Writers Room. "Yes here at WENN we believe in business. Good-bye." Gertie terminated the connection and ignored the smoke that was beginning to rise from the switchboard. "Monkey business is more like it, hold it right there Sherwood!" Scott froze in front of the green room.
"Gertie, Gertie, Gertie." He grinned, "Looks like the switch board could use your able attention." The smoke was dissipating.
"This Bargain WENN's day is causing a real problem with our lines." Gertie indicated the switchboard behind her.
"How can we have a problem with our lines? The only line I've seen all day is the one I've been imagining around your neck." Hilary Booth emerged from the studio intent on mayhem after four hours of reading advertising copy.
"I've been taking calls all morning about our lack of programming, and only four about sporting goods. … WENN Please hold." Gertie turned back to her switchboards.
"I told you my public wouldn't stand for it! A leading lady of my burgeoning talents reduced to shilling for some silly store!" Hilary continued wielding her roll of copy like a sword as she backed Scott into the green room.
"Hildy…" With an ungainly yelp Scot tumbled over the chair. "The more green our sponsors see. The better it is—"
"If they want to see green they can paint their houses chartreuse, Kelly, peacock, lime, any shade they want! We want a script." Scott looked up and saw Mackie, Maple, Jeffrey, and Mr. Foley all looking down at him with a glint in their eyes. Mr. Foley nodded his head slowly.
Five minutes later the best announcing tones of Mackie Bloom rolled out over the airwaves. "WENN brings Bargain WENN's Day to a close and returns you to a special presentation of Gork: Son of Fire."
Scott Sherwood sat in the green room with an ice pack on his head. "I was going ta' make a mint."
"What'll I do with just a photograph to tell my troubles to?
When I'm alone with only dreams of you—"
The radio snapped to silence; they had danced to that once. It had been slow and sweet as the night slid into day. Now the lyrics mocked her. She didn't need to hear them over the radio they rolled through her mind on indigo waves of solitude at in opportune moments.
He had never truly left before, even at their lowest moments some part of him had been there. London had seemed so far when he left, and now he might as well be on the moon. She walked through their rooms the detritus of a life together spreading around her, past the dent by the doorframe where she had thrown the vase at his head, past the work basket with navy socks poking out of the edge, how he had teased her during Razzle Dazzle.
"Hilary Booth, domestic diva." He had laughed waving the scarf she had been working on like a banner.
She had packed the mittens she had made him then sending him off with a talisman and all the hope she had. She ran her fingertips over the cold metal of the framed photo on her dressing table. Their smiles blossomed across faces surrounded by a sky azure in her memory.
"My friend, blood shaking my heart
The awful daring of a moment's surrender
Which an age of prudence can never retract
By this, and this only, we have existed
Which is not to be found in our obituaries
Or in memories draped by the beneficent spider
Or under seals broken by the lean solicitor
In our empty rooms"
The upper left corner of Gertie's desk was an important place at WENN. It was there that you could find the latest issue of Modern Screen or Photoplay; if you were one of a select group the box of peanut brittle that resided there might have a piece in it for you. This morning, however, things were very different. There were no movie magazines. The peanut brittle had retired to a desk drawer. The small bunch of violets sat quietly spreading their color through the lobby.
Notes: In Yellow Victor quotes Wordsworth's I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud. In Blue the lyric is from Gershwin's Blue Skies and the fragment of poetry Hilary recalls is from T.S Eliot's Wasteland.