Extracts torn from forgotten books
by David Bussell
“Cut,” called the Director, stepping from behind his monitor to applaud the award-winning actress for another flawless take.
“That’s a wrap on Ms Streep, everybody!” he said, and the crew clapped and cheered.
“Perfect as always, Meryl. Why don’t you head back to your trailer and grab a bite while we finish up.”
Ms Streep arched one of her famous eyebrows. “My dear boy,” she said, without breaking character, “why ever would I do that?”
The Director was confused – the only thing left on the production sheet that day was the assassination scene.
“You’re good to go, Meryl, this is where we cut to your stand-in.”
An SFX technician wheeled in a mannequin while an armorer balanced a rifle on a stand and took aim between the dummy’s eyes.
“Unless you want us to shoot you in the head!” the Director joked.
The crew laughed but Ms Streep didn’t join in. Instead she looked at the mannequin with its unconvincing blonde wig and shook her head. “Is that really supposed to be me?”
“Don’t worry, it won’t look like that in the finished film, it’s just a guide for our special effects people.”
Ms Streep remained unconvinced. “You can always tell though, can’t you.” It was said as a statement rather than a question.
The Director was becoming frustrated. “Are you proposing we alter the script, Meryl?”
“Of course not, perish the thought.”
“Then what are we talking about?”
“Simply that we go ahead as the script dictates.”
“With the assassination?”
“With you in the frame? Not the mannequin?”
“Getting shot? In the head?”
The Director had his reservations certainly, but the production was already running behind schedule and they were about to lose the light.
“Okay then,” he said, “everybody to positions and roll camera.”
The armorer loaded the rifle and pulled back the bolt as Ms Streep took her mark.
“Action!” called the Director, and a second later Ms Streep was dead on the ground with the back of her skull splattered onto a green screen.
What a pro, thought the crew, as they clapped Ms Streep’s corpse.
The above story is one of 99 flash fictions from David Bussell’s book, Bad Endings, which you can get for free by joining his mailing list HERE.
Click the pic to get a library of FREE BOOKS!