Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Confident (07/05/07)
By Paul Servini
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He rounded the corner that lead to the manor and stopped in his tracks. His left eye started twitching again. This was Zansa manor. His feet wanted to turn round and precipitate him back in the direction they had come from but Joel forced himself onwards, slowly, step by step. The confidence drained out of his cheeks. Zansa castle was like a colossal giant waiting to devour him despite the welcoming smile on the face of the young lady who checked his name at the entrance.
She pointed him in the direction of the shoot and turning away he heard a pleasant voice announcing, “Mr Wardson has arrived, Michael.” There was a bustle of activity in the distance and Joel knew that he was to be a part of this. A figure detached itself from the crowd and hurried towards him. “Joel Wardson? John Gardiner, Michael Playhill’s assistant. Pleased to meet you.” They shook hands and Gardiner lead Joel towards the shoot.
“As you know, we asked you here to fill in one or two bit parts; give you a chance to get to know the ropes. Break you in gently, so to speak. Well, that’s going to change. One of our regulars failed to turn up today. A party, too much whisky and a hangover by all accounts. Now Michael has been over your screen test again and thinks you’re the man for the part. It’s not a large role but quite significant. Diane Loader, our casting assistant will fill you in on it.”
Joel’s ear was twitching before his brain had time to digest what it was hearing. Could he really do it? It would be the chance of a lifetime. Instead of starting at the bottom of the ladder, he would already be three rungs up. But… but… He forced the “but” out of his mind. He had to go through with this. He had to make it… for Susan’s sake. Susan? Her words echoed around in his head and entangled themselves with what he had just heard:
“Not alone…, of course, you can…, whisky…, try it…, casting assistant…, don’t give up…, you can do it.”
If he was here today, it was all due to Susan. He envisioned her in the prim uniform she wore when they first met. It was Susan who had nursed him back to health after that terrible accident; she, who had put up with his tantrums in those early days of rehabilitation; she, who had taught him to believe in himself once again; and she who had shown more love than he ever imagined existed.
Joel’s fingers sought out the note she had given when they parted yesterday evening, lovingly caressing the words so indelibly stamped upon his mind.
“Whatever happens, success or failure, I’ll be here waiting.”
Could he do it? He didn’t know. He didn’t feel all that confident. But self-confidence never had been his strong point. Others seemed to think he could do it, even the great Michael Playhill, if what his assistant claimed was correct. He hated disappointing people. He would do his best. He could do his best. Susan would be there waiting.
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