It happened around a December afternoon, or maybe it was around the morning of that Christmas party I had gone to earlier that night. Chances are it was my delusional mind after the party that made this up, but I’ll tell you anyway. You see I was not able to find my way around this particular area. It was snowing like the world was going to suffocate. All I could really say was that the sky had that look like it was the morning, but I know that the sky can lie to me, especially around the holidays. I was passing by this conversing couple when I saw it, a poster for the late Great Spencer Frances. The poster was very simple but something rather odd to look at. He was standing alone with a stool and chair on either side of him. The light was on him and he looked dreadfully charming, but had an air of a dead, like beat comedian trying to make a comeback. I geefully went to buy a ticket for the performance.
“He’s not playing anymore…tonight” the ticket man said, confirming that the night wasn’t officially over. “But he is having a late night rehearsal if you wanna see that instead…new stuff” he said in a rather odd way.
I was but young lass when I first saw his show; he did mostly music hall type things like singing and small skits. I also remember that that he was a vulgar drunk who chased after barely-of-age girls. The only real reason I fancied him was that was because he was the greatest most underrated lone actor that no one cared for, but knew right away. That was practically me in high school. I mean he was the type of guy that could have been in movies, but he was so old school about what he did that eventually they all but forgotten about him. But I bought a ticket anyway.
The lights dim down and the currents rose to show a sharply dressed man holding a glass and swaying side to side as he tried to stand still. He looked like a thin penguin when he began to wobble over to the front of the stage. He collected himself though, as best he could and placed the glass on the stool. He actually looked a bit nervous, no one was around (but myself) and it was just a rehearsal, so that was just odd. He took two steps forward, the click clacks of his shoes filled the large theater, and it was music to my ears. He tipped his hat to the empty seats and bowed.
“Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen” he said in a stern, almost loving voice, “I’m Spencer Frances.” he stopped and bowed at the silent applause. He did it with such grace and love, chances are he was born knowing how to do it. But when he looked up and saw me, he froze and took a step back.
“You're not suppose to be here.” he muttered, as he jumped off stage and came my way.
“Sorry.” I said getting up, I heard that he could be extremely violent. He looked so mad for some reason.
“Don't run away from me!” he grabbed my wrist. “You little sl-” he stopped short of hitting me, his eyes grew wide. “I'm terribly sorry...I had you confused with someone else.” I could smell the liquor in his breath. I stood waiting for him to let my wrist go, but he just stared back as if in a daze. Remembering something. Searching for something. “It's just that you look familiar...” he let the last of his sentence drift off. He let me go and turned “an old ghost...”
I should have left at that point and time, but I didn't. Something was wrong with my old hero. “Are you okay?” I asked. He stopped mid step.
“Would you like to join me for a drink?” he asked in return. There was a beat and he continued with “I wont try anything if you're about that worried.”
“I have been doing this for years, no one wants to see and old fart.” he laughed when I asked why he hadn't really been doing anything.
“That's not true, for a man in this forties you look twenty.” I try to flatter him and it seemed to work too. He perked up and poured me another drink.
“You're a smart kid...um” he brushed some hair back thinking.
“Oh, just call me-” there was a ban at the door and a man in a dark purple zoot suite came in. He was tall and thin, but he looked like he could knock anyone out with a boot.
“Got time ta sit down and drink, but not ta pay me?”
“Uh...Sorry Jack...” Spencer said standing up.
“No...I don't want to hear it..” he looked down at me and I couldn't help but feel my skin crawl and burn. “Humph, hadn't seen her type around here.” Jack walked over to me. The smell of cigar and cheap ladies perfume hit me like a sack of high heels. “It's those new ones, those flappers, right?”
“What, and how can you walk around with that suit, without seeing one?” I stood saying. I was getting sick of this guys attitude and the way he talked to Spencer, like he was better than him. Jack just shoved me down on the seat.
“Jesus Christ, Jack!” Spencer said with a huff, “easy with her will ya?”
“Hey Spence” he turned to him “you don't tell me what to do.” Jack pocked at this chest.
“Look, I don't have your money!” he shot back. They started at each other for the longest time before Jack finally backed off and walked to the door. “Watch yourself Spence... Flapper.” he mockingly tipped his hat and left. Though he left, his smell didn't and for a time we stayed in silence; until Spencer broke it.
“It's getting late...I'll get you a cab.”
It was snowing again, the ticket man must have left for home. “Um, sorry about what happened.”
“It's okay, my dad had that happen a ton of times when I came to visit him.”
“No, it's not okay....I want to make it up to you...” as he reached into his pocket a car drove up and opened it's window.
“Hey! Spencer Frances!” a man from the car called out as t Spencer turned to see who it was the man opened fire on Spencer. All I could hear as Spencer pushed me to the ground was shots. Lots of them, almost never ending. When it stopped I looked up and saw him lying in a mess of blood. His eyes just looking up at nothing, I checked to see if he was still beating. No good, I looked around and started calling for help. No one was coming so I got up and ran to get help, but something tug at me coat.
“Spencer” I looked down. He was looking bad, really bad. I didn't want to leave him alone then. I sat with him as he was taking in his last breaths.
“Oh...you..got blood on your coat...” he tried wiping it way, but he just smeared it.
“No...it's okay.” I took his hand and held it, there must have been something I could do. “Why don't I go get you some help?”
“No..leave it be...I'm an old man...nothing else much to do for me.”
“You're not old.”
“Smart kid.” he paused and I thought for a moment that that was the end, but then he surprised me when he said “You look familiar.” and with that he passed.
I stared down at him wondering if this was a joke or something, but I got up to find help. Even if it was late, and when I did come back; it was all gone. The theater hall was old and broken down, and Spencer Frances was nowhere to be seen.
© Copyright 2017 Annagrin. All rights reserved.
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