Tuesday, May 31, 2011
STAND-IN/ Short Story Slam 2
Short Story Slam- Week 2
The first time I met John Wayne was at a seance. Every Monday night my ex-husband's Aunt Tilda James and Uncle Brice James held a seance in the dim great room of their house in the Hollywood Hills. That house has since slid into oblivion. It happened many years ago, during one of the hugely violent mudslides that sealed the fate of most houses built on the precipice.
Uncle Brice was John Wayne's stand-in. The above photo of stalwart, heroic John Wayne, was the last seen of him in that particular take. He dismounted for a smoke, Uncle Brice rode off into the sunset, camera's on him. Then shot in the back. So it went. Most of the time it was Uncle Brice who took it on the chin.
Ex and I had just arrived in L.A. We checked into a motel, were young enough to to make plans for Disneyland. And visit Jake's assorted relatives in the movie business. A historical oddity, they were in Hollywood for ages, panning for the gold of stardom. The highest the men got was as pals to the star, or stand-ins. The women worked as receptionists. Only Aunt Tilda James was used for her resemblance to Barbara Stanwyck. It was those eyes.
They bought a haunted house on purpose. For its connections to the other world, and its view, no matter how precipitous. Aunt Tilda said she saw something very sensitive in me, and I would be an asset at a seance that night. My only familiarity with ghosts was Casper. I was quick in wanting out, already feeling creepy crawlies up my spine from the darkness in the afternoon and the creaking floors. And then Uncle Brice mentioned that John Wayne would be there, a big fan of the netherworld shenanigans that were bound to surface.
Still haven't washed that spot on my cheek(ha ha) where John Wayne kissed me. Anyway, after the initial summoning of spirits, I saw a shape shifter fly across the room, my Ex kept giggling and John Wayne fell asleep.
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