Jubile, a girl-next-door 16 year old accompanies her father, Dick, to his job as a producer at Joyce and Marks Productions. Complications arise with the star in a commercial threatening to quit, and abusing drugs. Jubile is forced to confront her with results which surprise all, including Jubile.
Jubile carried pocket book as she followed her father to the studio door. He was about to pull the handle when a young woman in tight clothing and heavy makeup blasted past.“Out of my way!” she insisted, shoving a cigarette between what seemed like swollen lips, lighting it, and walking away.
Jubile looked at her father questionably. “Was that Carmen Dante?”
“That’s right, Jube.”
“She always looks so… not witchy.”
Her father smiled, holding the door for her.
“Thanks Dad.” She pushed glasses up her bridge and walked past him.
They entered and approached the receptionist answering the bleeps and handling correspondence. “Joyce and Marks Productions, may I help you?”
Jubile followed her father who took two envelopes addressed to him and walked away.
“Oh, Dick?” the receptionist called, “Henry wants to see you. Something urgent.”
Julie worried when he made that expression, like he was suffering through a cramp. “Is everything OK, Dad?”
“I don’t know yet sweetheart, but I’ve got a feeling it has something to do with Carmen.” He continued to walk through the hall.
“I can wait here if you’ve got stuff to do.”
“No way! I want you to enjoy yourself today.”
Reading and lip sinking to music in private were the most enjoyable things for her.
Her father frowned. “Sorry, I didn’t mean it that way, I just meant… oh, come on.”
She followed him to the door with sign reading “Henry Marks”.
Her father knocked.
Jubile heard a muffled, “Come in.”
They stepped in as Henry slammed the phone.
“Do you know what that little bi…” Henry stopped himself, spotting Jubile. “Do know what that spoiled little brat wants?”
Jubile looked at her father biting lip. “I’m almost afraid to ask,” he said.
“She suddenly grew a brain and said she wanted a percentage of the profits,” Henry said, jaw twitching.
“That sounds like agent talk.”
“What’s going on Dad?”
“I was afraid of this. It’s Carmen.”
Jubile nodded. “Ok. What about her?”
“Well, now she wants more than what we agreed to pay her.”
“What? That’s not right. You can’t sign a contract and then change the conditions because you don’t like them anymore. Won’t that lead to some type of legal ramification?”
Jubile saw Henry looking at her with a surprised smile before turning to her father. “She sounds like you Dick.”
Her father smiled.
“Personally,” Henry continued, “I think it’s a trick to cover her mistakes. I mean she read the script…” He pulled script from a drawer and plopped it on the desk. “And she was having trouble with some of the rudimentary words.”
Jubile was curious, stepping to the desk and taking the script.
“Trouble with the script? Really?” her father said. “After all the consultation we had with the board of education? I mean, a thirteen year old in acting class could read this.”
“What’s so hard about it?” Jubile asked.
Both stopped talking and looked at her curiously.
“It’s a bit more complicated than what you think, Jube” her dad said. “People actually take years to learn how to put life into dialogue.”
She read it carefully, lips twitching, looking for ways of enunciating the words.
“Anyways, Dick, we’re running out of time. She said she’d be back to hear what percentage we’d be giving her. We’re stuck between a rock and a hard place.”
Jubile looked at her father knowing he hated hearing clichés.
“So, you’re the producer, Dick, what do we do?”
Jubile had never seen her father so affected by stress. Then again, she never saw him outside of home or the shopping mall.
She looked at the page, the formatting, and had always wanted to try acting, but was always intimidated by the other forceful, confident and more beautiful girls around her.
She took a deep breath, and tried to relax. “You think you know what your child is doing…. But you don’t, really. The situation is a growing epidemic for physicians around the world.” She stopped, looking up at Carmen in the doorway.
Her dad and Henry seemed awestruck.
“How dare you try to work your way into my territory!” Carmen barked. “Who are you, you little witch!”
The balance of this story is available at Amazon as part of a collection of short stories in the book "Short Stories: To Think and Feel"