No 164 - 2001
Waiting for Leo
It stretches down the sidewalk of Hollywood Boulevard.
The red carpet with the demarcation lines clearly drawn.
The outsiders and the insiders.
People clutch their magic white cards which secure reserved seats.
The Suits munch popcorn and sip Diet Coke.
It’s dinner on the run.
Seven-thirty the invitation said.
They wait, looking around the theatre,
scanning the crowd for familiar faces to schmooze.
On the farm in Cornwall the sheep line up in single file.
Pushing and shoving, biting the leader on the rump.
The shepherd greets one with a grunt.
He opens the mouth to check the teeth,
then feels underneath for the udder,
some soft, others dimpled with calcification.
The co-star arrives.
Her stylist, having last minute doubts,
has retreated to a martini bar across the street.
She should have been honest and told the truth.
The starlet has chosen a dress that will haunt her career,
an emerald, beaded, back-less shift.
It will end up in the Worst Dressed edition of People Magazine -
An ingenue’s worst nightmare.
The sheep know what is happening.
One for the market. One for the field.
Red dots sprayed on their backs for the living.
Green for the slaughterhouse.
Their legs tremble as they stumble to their path.
Leo’s legs twitch as he smokes one last drag in the black of the limo.
The girls outside are going berserk.
The professional autograph hounds push the fans out of the way.
‘OK, let’s do it,’ Leo says.
He gets out of the limo and waves at the crush behind the iron railing.
They scare him, these groupies stretched out along Sunset.
The truck door rolls up, clanking.
The sheep blink in the light.
They step cautiously down the gangway.
Noses drying at the putrid stench.
They hold their heads high, trying to loose it,
as they are herded into death alley.
Inside the theatre everyone waits.
Half and hour late now and the models and their minders waltz in.
People turn their heads to the back.
Hand signals are exchanged between the walkie talkie girls.
The seasoned veterans roll their eyes.
The lights turn on and off, on and off.
They fade to black.
The curtains open.
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