a pedicure and soon.
“Come in, dear Georgette. Do come in!” Kent put a gnarled hand on Georgette’s elbow and led her through his hall to a small and barely furnished room with a futon to one side and a yoga mat on the other. “Last time I saw you, you were just a slip of a girl.” Kent put both hands to Georgette’s shoulders and held her out at arm’s length. “And now? You are a magnificent and mature woman.”
Georgette didn’t particularly like the word mature, especially since it came out of the mouth of a man who had matured beyond all expectation.
“So.” Kent clapped his hands together and bowed at her before gesturing to the futon. “Won’t you sit
down? I have some delightful oolong tea. I will fetch us each up a cup.”
“Delightful,” repeated Georgette as she watched his skinny frame disappear into the kitchen area.
He called back to her, “How long has it been since we’ve worked together?”
“A few years? Quite a few,” Georgette answered.
The only response this time was a clanging noise. Kent probably hadn’t heard her and besides, it was awkward holding a conversation through two rooms. Georgette put a hand to either side of her on the futon’s velvet cover. It was soft, but who knew what hid inside the nap. She put her hands on her lap.
Kent came back with two steaming cups of greenish tea and handed her one. Instead of sitting beside her, he sat Indian style on the yoga mat. He raised his cup to salute her and she took a sip of strong and bitter tea.
Kent was looking at her in a way that Georgette was sure could be described as ogling. Yes, he was most definitely ogling. She remembered something else about Kent Markham—he had tried to seduce every actress on Our Time Tomorrow. He had succeeded more than once with some of the women, who thought sleeping with the director would help their careers. It hadn’t helped to get them anything but a roll in the hay with Kent. Georgette had known as much from the start. She hadn’t let him seduce her then and she was certainly not about to let him seduce her now.
“I’m happy to shoot the commercial spots if you’ll do me a small favor.” Kent smiled at her. She wondered if he still had his own teeth.
“Favor? What kind of favor?”
“A personal favor.” Great. Here it comes. Georgette took another sip of bitter tea. “Help me free the
The tea spurted out of Georgette’s mouth, sprinkling her blue linen blouse. At least she’d chosen a
washable fabric. Kent was spry for an octogenarian. He was in the kitchen and back two seconds later with a handful of paper towels.
Georgette dabbed at the spots. “Did you say penguins?” It had occurred to Georgette, in the brief
moment Kent was in the kitchen, that penguins might be some sort of quaint euphemism connected to his ogling.
“Yes,” Kent said, taking the paper towels and going to deposit them in the kitchen, “from the Bronx Zoo.”
Kent came back and plopped down on the yoga mat.
“Excuse me for asking, but why would you want to take penguins from the Bronx Zoo?”
“Why?” Kent jumped up again and began pacing. “Because penguins are sentient beings and they deserve better than to be confined in enclosures! Don’t be fooled by how comfortable those enclosures may look. A prison is a prison.”
Georgette blinked. Kent’s impassioned speech left her speechless.
“How would you like to spend your life in an enclosure?”
Georgette tried to remember the penguin enclosure at the zoo. She had only a vague recollection, but animal cruelty did not come to mind when she thought about it. How horrible could it be to be fed, watered, and sheltered with your nearest and dearest? Georgette noted the crazed look in Kent’s eyes and knew he wouldn’t share her point of view.