Beautiful Mess: Excerpt 1

February 22, 2017

Excerpt 1

When Del wanted to relive the classic era in films, he’d grab lunch at a deli near Hollywood Boulevard. He wore short sleeves today, and the sunlight felt balmy against his tanned arms. Dodging locals and tourists, he strolled along the sidewalk and visited his friends, now immortalized through stars implanted along the pavement.

Several blocks from Mann’s Chinese Theatre, he slid away from the pedestrian traffic and toward the curb, where he stared at a specific star, the one he sought during each visit.

His star.

Delbert “Del” Corwyn, with a movie camera icon beneath it.

He’d received it during a ceremony in 1986. Although his star—that is, the star of his career—had diminished years earlier, he’d hoped the ceremony would revive it somehow.

It didn’t.

The event spawned news clips, twenty seconds long, around the country, little blurbs on entertainment segments of local noon newscasts. By the next day, he’d faded into the abyss of the public’s memory.

Del removed his sunglasses, tucked them above the buttons in the V of his polo shirt, and watched the other pedestrians weave along without giving him a second glimpse. He shook his head in disbelief. Here he stood on Hollywood Boulevard, a celebrity hovering over a star named after him, for crying out loud, and everyone around him was clueless. Not a soul recognized him! They walked right past him, as though he were no longer newsworthy, some poor schlub selling incense in a hippie shop!

Del glanced half a block behind him and caught sight of a television news van as it approached the intersection and slowed for a yellow light. Its two occupants chatted with each other in the front seats. Del recognized the woman in the passenger seat from the evening news. She didn’t notice him, either.

Then again, why should he expect attention? Nobody wouldn’t expect to find him here, would they?

He turned on his heels and started the trek back toward his car. He gazed out at the street, where the traffic light turned green.

Del jolted at a sudden outburst from a nearby store.

“Stop!” shouted an angry, middle-aged voice. “Somebody stop that little bastard!”

Excerpt Copyright 2017 John Herrick