“I take it you refer to their chests, not their intelligence?”
“You could put it that way. I’m pretty sure that Dr. and Mrs. Cooper are going to be the Lathrops. They are just too funny! The rest of the cast is kind of up in the air right now. I do hope they don’t give me a blonde to light.”
“And what’s wrong with blonds?” his tone scolding, he teased her, knowing what her response would likely be.
“If I put a blue light on a brunette’s hair, it still looks brown. Red light, same thing. You light a blonde, and they take on this halo effect and instant Bozo hair, it’s ludicrous!” They both laughed for a moment, basking in the sound. “How’s the leg?”
“Waiting for you to come rub it,” he said, without really thinking.
“Is that all needs rubbing?” her response was quick and calculated.
Deacon felt himself responding to the gibe and the invitation. “I’ll let you decide that when you get home,” he said and proceeded to fill in the gaps, his monologue becoming more and more explicit.
“I like the sound of that,” she murmured.
Kacy giggled lightly. “Not exactly.”
He groaned inwardly.
“You’ve kept me quite entertained though, and I appreciate the offer. You had some interesting suggestions, I have to admit.”
He made several more before he hung up, grinning like a fool again. Had he ever been this happy? He couldn’t remember ever in his life feeling this way. Growing up in small town, Alabama foster homes, practically living out of a suitcase all his life, he hadn’t had a chance to settle down or be really contented anywhere.
He never was wanted for who he was, just tolerated because the foster family got money to house him. He was part of a paycheck, a necessary evil for which they were meagerly compensated. Instead of becoming a bad boy like so many others, he turned inward, drawing on his creativity to help him through the hard times.
Joining the Thespians in high school, he found an outlet, a chance to be someone else for a short time. Acting was wonderful, but his shyness made performing before an audience larger than his class, impossible. He took on the job of designing and building sets. By his sophomore year he knew more about set design than his teacher.
God bless, Mrs. Rooney, he thought, wondering if she was still teaching. She was the one who had given him all the letters of recommendation, written old college friends, and gotten him accepted in Carnegie-Mellon University, in one of the best theater programs in the country.
He met Bernie and his wife there. After graduation, the three of them started a scene design company on a shoestring budget, promises and raw talent. Now, ten years later, they were one of the most sought after companies in the business. Their success was largely due to Deacon’s creativity.
The last couple of years, he’d been churning things out by habit, hardly paying attention to what he was doing. He latched onto the cocaine because with it he could work without sleep, double his output and forget about how miserable he was. The best thing Frieda could have done was dump him. She set him free.
Picking up the phone, he decided to call Bernie and bring him up to date. A few short rings and his friend answered his cell phone, a clipped, New Jersey accent, which always amused Deacon whose Southern drawl wasn’t all put on.
“Hiya, short man, how goes?”
“Deac? That you, buddy? Good to hear your voice!” He heard Bernie talking to his wife in the background. “It’s Deacon! So tell me, fly boy, how are things in Florida?”
“Not too bad. Not bad at all in fact.”
“You met someone!” This was Maxine, who must be listening in. “I knew it!” Sounds of fighting over the phone and she came in more clearly. “So, what’s she like? Are you crazy about her?”
“I met someone, she’s terrific, a redhead like you. And yeah, I’m crazy about her.”
“That was fast,” he heard Bernie exclaiming, his voice sounding hollow. “You’ve been there what, a week?”
“Less. About five days. I always was a fast worker, Bernie. You were the slow poke.”
“There’s something to be said for slow, ask Maxi!”
She dropped her voice, pretending to be secretive. “Don’t let him fool you, slower is not always better. So what’s her name? Anyone I know?”
“Kacy. It’s possible, her professional name is Hillary Du Champs.”
“Oh, my God! Bernie, he met Hillary Du Champs! He’s schtuping Hillary Du Champs! You are, right?”
“That would be telling. A gentleman never tells, Maxi.”
“Oh, you’re insufferable! Take the phone, Bernard, I’m done trying to get any gossip out of that man!”
“So how’s Dino? Is the theater coming together okay?”
“Dino’s great and the theater needs Divine Intervention, Bernie. It’s a walking disaster, but with a little luck, and some hard work, it will come together. I’m redoing the set now, it was pretty bad. I know Dino was into using it, but Kacy will kill me if I keep the old plans. They’re nearly impossible to light!”
©2021 Dellani Oakes