Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Walter Wallace - Chapter 54

Walter Wallace stood rigid next to Lucy Blues as the cameraman counted down the last few seconds with his fingers. The brief silence was like a vacuum; Walter couldn’t breathe. He just had to wait until the moment passed. But it wouldn’t pass. It lingered on for seconds more. Angela was behind the camera trying to communicate in frantic sign language that even a baseball player wouldn’t understand. Walter’s face began to flush with heat, which meant – as he had learned by watching the tapes of some of his shows – his whole head was turning a deep tomato-ey red. Next would come the sweating. It was all going wrong straight away. He used to be able to do this and now he was frozen still with fear and inertia.

Stay in the moment the voice of his TV coach echoed calmly in his ear. Sure stay in the moment but at this moment nothing was happening! Why wouldn’t anyone talk? Just Lucy clearing her throat and nudging his elbow with hers. He liked that. His heart skipped a beat, but in the good way – actually he wasn’t sure it had been beating at all for the last 30 seconds. Why was Lucy nudging him? Did she like it as much as he did? Did she- Lucy cleared her throat again, more suggestively this time. Walter snapped out of his trance.

“Hi folks!” he said almost in a yell, “Walter Wallace here with Dr Lucy Blues in the Seaview Plains of Heartsfield. We are here today to-” Walter sucked in a quick breath (pace yourself), “to help raise some money for the regeneration and conservation of this precious coastline.” He sucked in another breath. The lungs of a four-year-old, he thought to himself (positive reinforcement).

“That’s right, Walter,” Lucy said with a shadow of a smile. “The coast has suffered alot in recent years due to a number of causes, but with the right eco-conservation systems we can save it and help it to regain some life. But we need a little funding and that’s why we are here.”

She spoke so clear and fluently. Walter took an audibly and visibly deep breath, “Exactly, Lucy,” he said, this time in a squeak. He then paused waiting for the words to come (don’t try to remember; just remember). He blanked out completely, still holding his breath – he couldn’t get much redder. Angela was waving her hands like an island castaway who just saw a plane flying above.

“Walter,” Lucy said politely.

Walter released his breath, “Yeah?” he said, desperation in his eyes.

“Walter, did you know,” Lucy had a playful, almost sarcastic tone to her voice, “that this very coastline we are standing on has decayed by more than-”

“50% in the last ten years alone!” Walter finished rapidly, “Yeah I knew that. And did you know that by simply converting 3 more metres of coastline into a protected zone would-”

“Build a stable foundation for up to 10 metres of further growth? Yes, I did know that.” Lucy said, mocking Walter with a smile.

She had saved him from that horrific sense of dread with that smile; that hair; those eyes. Walter had never really seen someone as beautiful as he saw Lucy, and it seemed to grow every time he saw her. She was modest and pretty and smart and kind. She was-

“Stay in the moment,” Walter mumbled meditatively into his collar. He realised too late that his collar had his microphone which had picked it up loud and clear. “Uhh, that is to say we will be back in a moment.” Walter decided now seemed ideal for a commercial. Angela’s eyes widened significantly as she realised what he was doing. She began waving her arms frantically. “We have a wonderful show for you today folks, we will be having plenty of guests to entertain you.” Angela mimed out a piece of paper and pointed to it and shrugged her shoulders theatrically. Walter took it to mean ‘The script!?’ He shrugged his own shoulders as faintly as possible, the opposite of theatrically. Filmically he supposed.

“Guests like comedian Spriggs Casket,” Lucy went on coolly. Angela now tried to signal to Lucy, holding up three fingers and tapping her wrist –three minutes. She gave Lucy a stern glare, which looked cuter than it did threatening – like an evil teddy bear. Lucy shook her head with that same filmic subtlety. “And author and feminist Ella.”

Angela stamped her foot in frustration. She grabbed her walkie-talkie and began shout whispering into it.

“Famous Latin dance instructor Ariana Flores. Local Mayor Kipp Hidgekins.”

Angela looked up, signalling two with her fingers and giving the same stern teddy bear glare.

“The Hank Friedman Contributors,” Walter added as the name sprung to his head from a random snapshot of memory.

“Yes them too,” Lucy said matter-of-factly.

Angela signalled ‘one’ with her finger and then clasped her hands together pleadingly.

“Uhhhh,” Walter had forgotten the rest.

“Mark Capaletto.” Lucy said, trying not to laugh.

Angela was bright red as she shout whispered into her phone.”Commercial!”

“Steve Ronson,” Walter added.


“Yeah I just made that one up. But if there is a Steve Ronson around we can interview him.”

Lucy laughed. Angela looked up in shock.

“I think that’s all of them. And tomorrow night we will be doing a sit down session with Manny Holdsworth as part of the National tour in the Royal Theatre of Art right here at Heartfield. We’ll be right back.”

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