Hi and welcome to my entry in Chuck Wendig's Flash Fiction Challenge.
Rules...select a title from the ten provided, and write a flash fiction piece 1000 words or less ... any genre.
I had so much fun writing this. The link will take you to the other entries. Thanks for stopping by.
Title ... The Music Box of Manhattan.
They were lined up around the block, even in the heavy snow that had been falling steadily along with the temperature, for around fifteen minutes.
I smiled as I watched them from the warmth of my darkened penthouse. I enjoyed them. They caused me to laugh, often to the accompaniment of a melancholy melody of tears.
They all waited in varying stages of disarray, most of them wanting to shine so badly they could smell the faint perfume of success in the chill air of the pristine night.
They stood uncomfortably in their freshly botoxed, detoxed, regulation-rehab bodies. Wearing their 'to die for' designer clothing and their freshly pressed skins. They blended together so well that they had become almost invisible.
Each of them willing the paparazzi to notice they were there. Trusting that they were worthy of being included in that echelon of faces that graced the headlines in a constant stream of indigestible crap.
"The Music Box of Manhattan" was now open, and waiting for them to enter its hallowed halls. The latest of a plethora of reality TV shows that had hit the taste buds of a starving public. The latest monster hit.
The sign glittered feverishly, along with crowd. The significance of this moment clearly etched alongside the ink they wore on their bodies.
"The Music Box of Manhattan" had had many different names, it didn't matter a damn. It was this address itself that continued to house what had been the hottest place in town for decades. It was the address that folks had been fighting to buy, albeit, unsuccessfully, for over five decades.
The myth had grown over those decades, still luring the patronage as strongly as it had ever done.
It was said that the ghosts of the truly great entertainers in every field lingered here. It was said that they entered the souls of those still living.
It was said that the ghosts selected their successors to fame and infamy, from the imperfect specimens gracing 'The Music Box's' dance floors.
So said the myth.
I watched as several limousines honked for attention from the waiting doorman.
I waited for my cellphone to ring.
"It's Ms. Farnsworth, Ma'am."
"And the entourage?"
"Tell them to join the queue."
I ended the call and refocused my attention. After the fourth call, I directed the doorman to allow only, the 'A' list to enter for the remainder of the evening. I had much different game in mind.
The hour was growing late, and I had a schedule to meet.
I scanned the crowd again, eager now.
Ah ... there you are.
She was tall, even without the heels she stood around 5'10". Perfect.
I liked the way she wore her hair, upswept, soft, and honey toned.
The clothing was a subtly different shade of fresh. The cut, superb. She had an elegance and a seemingly natural fluidity that made her stand out. And the smile? Ah, yes. The smile. That was the clincher.
I contacted the doorman.
I grinned as I watched her reaction when ten minutes later, the assistant manager stopped in front of her, leaned in and whispered to her, and then escorted her with grave dignity beyond the crowd and into the front door. Her look was one of delight, sharpened briefly with an edge of fear and, a clear, 'But why me?' expression.
I looked forward to providing the answer. It had been much too long, and I grew bored and ever older. It was finally my turn.
The sign switched off and filming ended as the first rays of the wintery sun rose over Manhattan.
Cassandra Davis woke suddenly, then stretched her long arms and drew in a deep breath of nervous anticipation. The audition was today. She sat up and checked herself in the mirror. "Yup ... it's me, and now I'm even talking to myself!" Her laugh rang through the small apartment she shared with four other actor wannabes.
She felt guilty because she'd been called for this audition. She still had no clear idea quite how that had happened; her life appeared to have been on perpetual fast forward since that night at "The Music Box." The agent said he was interested in talking with her. She'd hung up on him thinking it was a hoax, or some sick form of prank being played by one of her friends.
James Finch was the best of the best in this or any other town. She'd been trying for over a year just to get beyond his receptionist. The fact that he would call her was beyond thinkable. It had taken him arriving at her apartment door with his assistant in tow, to convince her.
She'd asked him quite bluntly how the hell it had happened.
His response had simply been, "You stood out."
Cassandra had to be content with that.
What followed would forever remain cloaked in a magical haze, for Cassandra. She'd been called back to read again, twice. Winning the role others would kill for still caused her to pinch herself. She relied on her friends to keep her balanced in a universe that had suddenly experienced its next 'Big Bang'.
Those same friends sat with her now. They held her hands on both sides as the nominees were read out in the Best Performance by a Female Actor category.
James Finch watched on as his latest client accepted her Oscar with stunning simplicity.
His partner was overjoyed. "My god, Jamie, she is something. Well, my love, are you going to tell me? Or must I guess again?
"It's in her smile, and the way she holds her head." James offered. "C'mon, sweetheart, you know the classics as well as I do. Look at that smile."
"The smile and the way she holds her head." Frank muttered half to himself as he scrutinized the winner again. "Oh, my god. It's Grace!"
"Bravo. Now she has been inducted into the Hall of Resurrected Souls, we just have to keep her the hell away from royalty."