The last image of Douglas Bower’s face heralded applause from all one thousand and forty three seats in the cinema. As the easily distinguishable features of the world’s most famous actor faded to black there was no doubt that Douglas had earned yet another Oscar nomination; some members of the crowd went so far as to give Douglas (whose name in silver was to headline the following frame) a standing ovation. If Douglas had been there then he would’ve appreciated it.
‘Has anyone ever told yer that yer look lot like that actor guy?’ The bartender leaned over to whisper in the ear of Douglas Bower.
‘Yeah,’ Douglas took a swig from his glass, ‘and I’ve taken a lot of shit from it over the years.’
‘Unlucky mate; though I thought he was good guy an’ all. Doesn’t he do lots of charity werk and stuff?’
Douglas shrugged. ‘Not for a long time; if there’s one thing that annoys me it’s all this crap about fake celebrities who go to a hospital for 5 minutes, take selfies with all the kids without a please or thank you before getting out of there like their scared of getting the plague or whatever and flying to the launch of a new perfume or fashion label on a golden Mediterranean island. No respect for other people and especially the ones who deserve it,’ Bower reflected sadly, the server hanging onto every word.
‘Wow; that sounds like a rehearsed rant if ever there was one,’ the bartender refilled Douglas’ glass, ‘at least you can’t deny that Douggie Bower is a crackin’ acter eh?’
‘Every time he appears on screen I cringe, unfortunately no one else does so,’ he got to his feet and pushed away the half empty glass. He was swaying like a fan of Soul music with alcohol dying his blood a murky brown inside.
‘Leavin’ are yer? You’ve put £122 on yer tab mate, you can pay in cash now or whatever; easiest to you to be honest.’
‘Send the bill to this address with my name and they’ll cover tonight,’ Douglas pulled a folded white bit of paper from the inside pocket of his jacket as if he was still in school and tucked it into the tender’s hand before turning to walk out of this most modest of high-end London bars.
‘Wait mate!’ The bartender called after his patron, ‘what’s yer name?’ ‘Douglas,’ the intoxicated Douglas Bower bowed out of the bar as the server realised he’d been duped by the world’s most famous actor. He unfolded the piece of paper and on it in Douglas Bower’s untidy handwriting read:
The server stood quite still for a moment before cursing Douglas thinking sourly ‘not even the common decency to sign a photo,’ as he looked at the almost blank wall designated to display signed photos of the bar’s more famous patrons.
Douglas Bower, however, had already managed to escape The Fairest State and was making his way off Adam Street towards his headquarters in his hotel room in the Savoy a couple of blocks over. He clutched his pockets and sighed; he didn’t know why he had given up smoking but it felt pretty shit now. No cigarettes forced Douglas to massage his dry cheeks out of idleness. Douglas wasn’t sure how many minutes it took him to stagger from Adam Street onto Savoy Place between The Strand and the drizzle-struck Victoria embankment gardens: one, two, four, ten? It was the sharp jolt of energy in his pocket that revitalised him and the world’s most famous actor need seconds to pull out his smartphone and press down hard on the green bubble.
When Douglas was a struggling trainee in his early twenties he upped sticks and moved to Hollywood hoping to become a millionaire by that time the following year. Unfortunately not even a business as mad as show business was that forthcoming and so Douglas Bower found himself playing Jack Rodgers in a production that screamed B-movie from all departments. Bower was playing a cowboy thus picking up some skills in the drawing of a gun (or smartphone) from his trouser pocket. It had actually been on that very flop that Douglas had met the man who was now calling him: Walt Katz.
‘Next time you decide to do a no-show, can you please give me fair warning first?’ Walt obviously sounded furious, but that wasn’t rare. The subtext of hurt in Walt’s beefy California tones made Douglas listen to his agent a lot more concisely than he would ever do when he was sober.
‘The premiere didn’t go well?’ Douglas bellowed.
‘Nicole was very embarrassed that her star; the most famous actor in the world, couldn’t be bothered to show up. You could’ve gotten away with it if you turned up two and half hours late to the film but the moment the credits rolled and your seat was still empty she turned on me like a dragon or something! Please tell me a damn good reason why you didn’t show tonight,’ Walt barked.
‘I got distracted Walt,’ Douglas said, ‘I’ll be at The Savoy inside a quarter of an hour; tell her to meet me in my room if she’s still braying for my blood.’
‘She wouldn’t be the only one Douggie. There were nearly four thousand chicks waiting for you in Leicester Square tonight and having the agent smile at them seemed to insult more than appease.’
Douglas swore and braced himself for the oncoming bad news, ‘how bad exactly has the fallout been Walt?’ ‘You’ve been the top trend on twitter since ten past six this evening and not in a good way,’ Walt said and his client cringed as a virtual dagger- probably brought on Farmville- buried itself into his chest, ‘are you going to the after party in Blackfriars?’
‘The only thing I have any incentive to do now is to go back to the Savoy and sleep until the cleaner screams at me in Spanish tomorrow afternoon.’
‘Spanish, Douggie?’ Walt mused.
‘They’re always Spanish or Mexican in these places; makes it much, much cheaper for the accounts up until the point their visa expires,’ Douglas told his agent.
‘If a reporter ever asks you about your hotel arrangements never tell them that, Douggie.’ Walt added a farewell before being devoured by the monotone of the redundant line. Douglas had got to the stage where he was losing the adrenaline brought on by his alcoholic intake and becoming happy – far too drunk – but happy.