Austin Templeton is an actor who looks enough like Matt Smith to make American Doctor Who fans fall in love with him. A cable network decides to do its own Doctor Who-ish show, called The Magician, and they hire Austin as the lead.
“In here!” A clipped English accent replied.
A portly man in his mid-fifties climbed the steps of the tricked out RV. He looked around expectantly.
“In where?” His west Texas drawl elongated the words.
A young man with dark, unruly hair and dancing green eyes stepped out of the bathroom, a towel around his waist. He was still slightly damp and his skin was pink from the hot water.
“You’re due in makeup.”
“Oh? I thought I had a few more minutes. Got a late start. Alarm didn’t go off. If Dwight hadn’t knocked on the door, I’d probably still be asleep, so I didn’t have time to shower. Give me a moment to dress.” He headed to the bedroom.
“You’re cool. Plenty of time. Got some new blood comin’ in today.”
“Oh?” He popped his head out, shirt in hand, pants zipped, belt open. “Who?”
“New companion. Trying her out, see how she flies. If they like her, they might keep her on. She’s signed on for three episodes.”
“Oh, sweet.” He pulled his shirt over his head, causing havoc and disarray to his already frazzled mop of dark hair.
They walked together to the hair and makeup area. Near the extras makeup area, they passed a gaggle of young women. Some Austin recognized, others he didn’t. He wondered who the new companion was. He’d been through several. He didn’t understand what the problem was with them. He wasn’t difficult to work with. He suspected it wasn’t a fault with him but with the network. They seemed to have a specific type in mind. Or, possibly, they were relying on audience feedback, in which case, they might not ever come up with a permanent partner for him. With network sweeps looming on the horizon, he hoped they would settle on someone soon.
Americans, he thought disgustedly. Not that he wasn’t happy with his job. It was a lot of fun and he was being paid an obscene amount of money to star in a Doctor Who-ish program. They had chosen him because he was close, but not quite, Matt Smith. Their target demographic seemed to prefer him to some of the other incarnations. Already in their second season, the show was doing well. If only they could decide upon a companion.
“Oh, he’s even cuter in person,” one of the girls whispered to her friends.
A titter of laughter followed and their eyes lingered on him. Shy and somewhat introverted, Austin fidgeted under their combined stares. Even now, a famous actor, he had trouble talking to women who weren’t acting opposite him. He wished he were as glib and well spoken as his character. He oozed confidence and always had a hot woman on his arm. Unlike the Doctor, Austin’s character had regular flings.
“Hallo, Austin,” the makeup woman said, in a fair imitation of his accent.
“Hallo, Rochelle. Did I shave all right today?” He smoothed his hand over his face.
She rubbed his cheek. “Lovely. Told you that new gel would work nicely, didn’t I? Feels good, doesn’t it?”
“It’s like sex on my skin,” he drawled with a saucy wink.
He could flirt unashamedly with Rochelle. She was 15 years older than he and married.
“What have you done to your hair?” She held up the strands, frowning. “What happened to the shampoo and conditioner you and Bunny talked about?”
“Sorry, love. It’s too perfumey. Makes me sneeze.”
“So you washed with?”
“Bar soap.” He flinched, knowing she was going to fuss.
“Austin Reginald Templeton! What am I going to do with you?”
“Smack me about, shave me bald and put me in a wig?”
“Don’t tempt me. Bunny!”
“Yes?” A tall, blonde goddess of a woman, also at least 15 years older, came around the corner. “Oh, dear God! What’s he done?” She pulled at his hair. “This won’t do. You. Come.” She crooked her finger at him.
“I’m sorry. It’s smelly. All that girlie stuff.”
She started water running in a deep sink and shoved him into a sloping chair.
“Hush. Sit. They’re starting with the girls today, so that gives us a little wiggle room.”
“Ouch, that’s hot!”
“Quit being such a baby.” She adjusted the temperature and added shampoo.
“Not being a baby,” he said, rather petulantly. “The smell really does bother me.”
“I’m using unscented.” She held her hand in front of his nose. “Better?”
“Much. Thank you.”
© 2015 Dellani Oakes
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