Another Audition

Written by: Ant Gavin Smits

The door opened before Darling could respond to the knocking, and Marge stalked into his office. She glared. “Surely, you’re not appointing Tanner?”

Darling sunk back in his chair, waving his hands in circles as though conducting an orchestra.

“Marge, no one else applied. I think Tanner will do very well. He has been here longer than anyone apart from Percy – who isn’t interested.” 

Marge spread her hands on the desk and leaned over, ready to pounce. “You do realise that half the gang are threatening to walk out?”

Darling shrugged, manicured eyebrows raised. “Why not stay? You aren’t old enough to retire. What will you do instead?”

“I don’t like the bloody long hours. And I have had enough of that nose-picking, East End fart who thinks he can run my stage.”

“Ahh, there it is,” Darling smiled. “Your stage indeed. How about a new contract and another fifty pounds a month? And we could feature you in the local paper on the council page. Imagine the headline: ‘No one upstages Marge’.

Marge grabbed a desk diary and threw it him. “Very funny. Are you going to get rid of Tanner?”

***

Late in the day, after talking with Tanner, Darling got the gang together and revealed Marge’s change of heart, which brought a cheer and several smiles. 

Standing with Darling behind a trestle-table, Marge rolled a thin cigarette as her colleagues called out their good wishes and thanked her for changing her mind. She could not see Tanner. Perhaps he had left already. 

“I am happy to stay on,” Marge said, talking over her boss who had just begun to tell the gang that Tanner was leaving. “He’s going to work for another part of the council. Parks. He’ll probably like the outdoor life.” She lit her cigarette and drew on it. 

“No,” whispered Louise. “You cannot do this, Marge. The theatre is all he has. If Tanner goes, so do I.”

Percy looked her straight in the face. “Me too, Marge.”

Eyes turned as the sound of footsteps heralded Tanner’s arrival. He carried an iced cake which he put on the table. “Don’t be silly you lot, he said, upbeat. “Nothing like a new adventure. Maybe I will learn a thing or two.” 

Tanner smiled at Marge. “Tell you what. Let’s share the cake we got for you. But first, I have something else to do.” He glanced at Darling, who gave a quick nod. “Back in a mo.” 

“I’ll get a knife,” said Louise, as Tanner disappeared off stage.

“Our situation needed sorting,” said Marge. “I’m sorry.”

Several in the gang started to speak, but then the speakers came to life.

‘Yes, there were times, I'm sure we knew

When she bit off more than she could chew

But through it all, when there was doubt

she ate it up and spit it out

she faced it all and she stood tall

Marge did it her way’

Tanner stopped. “Please, Marge, can I stay?”

 

Comments

Oh my, my, I have been upstaged again. How can I possibly carry this on without a dead body to liven things up. Ant, this is a great chapter. Well done. I don't think this serial should have an ending because there is no end in showbusiness - the show must go on. Whatever, these chapters have been a pleasure to write and this is probably one of the best - ALTHOUGH I still have one more chance to fade the pinks on you and bring up the spot on me. Nice one, Ant.
Thank you young Ray. really, if you can't go on without a body, feel free to insert one. You've got another 500 words. But who would you kill off? You love 'em all, let's face it. Even ...
Actually, there will be a body as soon as I can get back to Bilderberg. Gosh, it seems such a long time ago I put it away. With Tanner and co. I am thinking of a short story we could write. I do hope we have not caused our editor, Donna, too much grief with strange language or the CEO, Surata Gooing any cause to blacklist us from serials. It's the only way we can stop being serious and morbid about the present situation and have a damn good laugh at the world and characters aound us. Make em' laugh - make em' laugh.
No, won't ban you from serials. This is great...a good laugh and the characters are full of life. Well done both of you on an entertaining and enjoyable serial. Great fun.The terms were fine btw.