The Phone Call

Pictured amongst the flowers on the garden wall was a tall blonde. She loved having her picture taken, but this spot was her special favorite, not so much because she loved flowers or the garden, but because she felt that she looked her best there and Rosemary DeFrie always liked to look her best.

Over the years many people had suggested that she try modelling, but Rosemary had always demurred. It wasn’t that she didn’t like the attention or getting to wear beautiful clothes, exactly the opposite, but Rosemary had a deep-seated feeling that she’d hate everything else about modelling: the hours, starving herself to stay the perfect size and everything else that she’d heard goes with modelling.

The last thing she ever expected was to get the phone call.

Three days after her boyfriend had taken her latest picture the phone rang. Rosemary answered it on the fourth ring, just before her answering machine picked it up. Ordinarily she screened her calls because of the constant barrage of robo-calls and scams being perpetrated on the unsuspecting, but, this time, for no apparent reason, she picked up the phone and answered.

“Hello” a gentle voice on the other end said. “I’m looking for Rosemary DeFrie.”

“Yes,” Rosemary answered. “That’s me.”

“Great. I’m calling because I’ve got a photo of you sitting on my desk and I’d like to submit you for a television pilot. You’re the perfect type for the girlfriend in a new sitcom.”

Rosemary held her breath for several seconds before blundering out a series of semi-incoherent responses.

The short silence that ensued after Rosemary finished allowed her to catch her breath and wait for the next shoe to drop in what appeared to either be a fantasy or a horrific joke. But if it were a joke, who would be perpetrating it and why? The man sounded authentic and he’d said all the right things to make her believe that this was for real. But Rosemary was not the type to be swayed by dreams of stardom, even when it apparently seemed to be thrust upon her. A television sitcom was normally the dream of so many people, many of whom she had known growing up; especially in her high school drama club and the community theatre shows she’d done. She loved acting in them, but that was always as far as it went. A career as an actor was completely outside even her wildest thoughts and certainly not a dream she ever had.

Now she was faced with a simple one-word answer to a man who simply wanted to send her picture on for consideration. Yes or no. Simple.

Several more seconds passed and, finally, Rosemary said, “Thank you. Yes, please send it.”

“Wonderful,” the answer came swiftly. “I’ll be in touch.”

“Thank you,” Rosemary said.

After several minutes of details being shared the conversation ended and Rosemary hung up the phone.

She went out and began walking, but had no idea where she was going and the tears of laughter were beginning to obliterate her vision causing her to bump into several objects along her path. All she kept thinking about was how ridiculous it all was. And then it dawned on her that it could possibly come true; that made her laugh even harder.

Now all she could do was to forget the whole thing, go on with her life teaching second grade and preparing to audition for the next community theatre production next week; she and her boyfriend were going to do a scene together this time in the hope of getting the leads in the upcoming show. They were meeting to rehearse that evening and she couldn’t wait to recount the phone call, she was sure they’d both get a good laugh out of it.

“Let’s get to work,” Rosemary said as she cleared the dinner dishes. Her boyfriend was putting the last of the left-overs in containers and asked if there was anything else he could do to help.

It was a week after the phone call and they’d met nightly to work on the scene for the audition. It was going well and they felt secure that they’d done everything they could in preparation. The audition was two days away, but they didn’t want to take any chances. Once more wouldn’t hurt, they’d both agreed.

When the phone rang they were both startled.

“Rosemary,” the same gently voice said. “Sorry to bother you in the evening, but, you know, that’s show biz… I did want to let you know that I sent your picture to the producers, but they felt you weren’t exactly right for this show. However, they thought you were such a good type that they’d like to consider you for another project they’re developing for next season. Would it be okay if I told them yes?”

Once again Rosemary nearly fell over from containing her laughter.

“Yes,” she answered.

“Great,” the gently voice answered. “I’ll be in touch as soon as I know anything further.”

Good-byes and a few additional comments later they hung up.

“Let’s get to work,” Rosemary said again after recounting the latest phone call and she and her boyfriend laughing for several more minutes at the incongruity of it all.

“Maybe they should change the title of the show from How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying to How to Succeed in Show-business…,” her boyfriend suggested as he moved the coffee table over to make room for their rehearsal.

“Good idea,” she agreed.

“Okay. Let’s run the scene where J. Pierrepont Finch asks Rosemary to marry him.”

“Yes,” she answered.

The End


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