This was a re-write challenge, my version of Gringa's 'Five Years Earlier.
A Twist in the Tale
The child buried his face into his mother’s skirts before peeping at the outlaws with huge, blinking, fretful eyes.
The blond man’s piercing gaze scanned the room above the level of the little ginger head, assessing each and every one of the customers cramming against the wall. He stepped back to let more men holding guns make the staff walk from behind the counter, one hunched teller scurrying past a gruff looking man with a moustache who stood beside a small man who was chewing something brown and squelchy.
The boy bit into his lip as a dark man with a dimpled smile instantly commanded everyone’s attention simply by walking into the room. He was the only one not pointing a gun, but he transmitted an air of danger dressed in charm. The boy snuggled further into his mother’s legs. He didn’t like this. Not at all. It wasn’t like the games he played when he pointed wood whittled to look like a handgun at his brother and shouted ‘pchewou’ to let the victims know they’d been ‘gotten.’ His mummy was here and everyone knew that you didn’t point guns at mothers, preachers, or school teachers – well, maybe, it was okay to point them at teachers - as long as you didn’t get caught, but nobody should point one at his mother. He sniffed and wiped his nose on the skirt for courage. Heroes never had runny noses and he had to be prepared. It just wouldn’t do to be laughed at.
The blond gunman shared a look with the dimpled man, who nodded and headed off behind the counter. This was it – his chance to teach the gunman a lesson, but his stomach turned over, churning in fear and anticipation at the daring act he was about to undertake. He swallowed down his fear and darted forward, ignoring his mother’s cry, and launched an attack on the lean, muscular leg, delivering a mighty kick before grabbing the thigh and sinking his teeth into it as hard as he could.
“Cut!!” yelled Ben, doing his best to shake off the child actor who was still attached to his thigh. The cast broke out of character, snickers rolling around the studio. Ben roared again. “I’m serious! He’s still biting me!” One more push did it, and the boy was ‘persuaded’ to release the star from his champing jaws. “What do you think you’re doing?” Ben demanded. “This is called acting. You’re only supposed to pretend to bite me.”
The boy’s eyes widened into great globes of anxiety. “Am I sacked, mister?”
Ben gave a sigh of exasperation. “No... Let’s just try to take the shot again. Go back to your mark,” he pointed over to the woman playing his mother. “Go back over there and we’ll try again.”
The boy darted forward, ignoring his mother’s cry, and launched an attack on the lean, muscular leg, delivering a mighty kick before grabbing the thigh and sinking his teeth into it as hard as he could. “Cut!” Ben yelped. “What the...? What are you playing at, boy? I told you, you’re only supposed to make it look like you’re biting me.”
The lad’s bottom lip started to tremble. “Sorry, mister. I’ve never done anything like this before.” The huge eyes started to glisten with tears. “Please don’t sack me. This is my big chance.”
Ben pulled of his hat and ran a hand distractedly through his tousled hair. “No. Just try again, and we’re pretending, remember. You don’t really bite me.”
“Okay, Mister. I’ll get it right this time.”
The boy darted forward, ignoring his mother’s cry, and launched an attack on the lean, muscular leg, delivering a mighty kick before grabbing the thigh and sinking his teeth into it as hard as he could. “Cut!” Ben threw down his hat in frustration. “He’s still biting me, really hard!”
The boy started to cry. “I’m sorry... You’re all such good actors. You pull out those guns and I just get scared. I don’t mean to hurt you, really I don’t.”
Ben gave a heavy sigh and kneeled down to fix the boy with his intense blue eyes. “Look, we all deserve a break. Why don’t we just do a little rehearsal, huh?”
The boy’s head rattled up and down in a rapid nod. “Yesir, please can we? I’ll get it right this time.”
Ben stood. “Go and take your mark.” The boy returned to his place. “Now run over, and PRETEND to kick me. Not with all that force you’ve been using... good boy. Now, make sure your teeth are turned to the camera. Yeah, that’s it, now gently... GENTLY, make it look like you’re biting, but you’re really not.” Ben held the now disengaged boy by the shoulders and smiled gently. “Are you happy with that? Can you do that again with the camera rolling?” The child gave a huge smile of positivity. “Great... let’s go. One more time.”
The boy darted forward, ignoring his mother’s cry, and launched an attack on the lean, muscular leg, delivering a mighty kick before grabbing the thigh and sinking his teeth into it as hard as he could. “Cut! For crying out loud, what’s so difficult? You only have to pretend...”
In a television studio -1994
“What age are you, Mr. Nicholas?”
“I’m 30,” The young man beamed into the Camera.
“So, you’ve met famous people? We have established that they are actors, but the show is no longer on. We’re stumped. We’ve seen your mime, but you say you weren’t on ‘Jaws,’or ‘Jurassic Park. We can’t figure out what all those teeth showing and biting could mean. You’ve beaten the panel on ‘I’ve got a Secret.’”
Jimmy looked into the glare of the studio lights, his forehead beaded with sweat. This questioning was taking much longer than he thought. He was beginning to wish he’d never agreed to take part in this TV show. As though reading his mind, the presenter stepped in to bolster the flagging guest. “So, it looks as though the panel can’t guess your secret Mr. Nicholas. They’ve used their twenty questions. Would you care to enlighten us?”
He nodded. “I was in Alias Smith and Jones, when I was a child. I kicked and bit Ben Murphy so hard I was sacked. The scene was never used, poor Ben couldn’t face another take, and I can’t blame him. I bit him real hard.”
Gasps echoed around the television set before the fashionable woman spoke up. “My goodness! Why would you do that? Were you some kind of delinquent?”
Jimmy laughed lightly. “He was real mad, but now I’m grown I know he tried to get me to be sensible and keep the part, but all I could think of was the fifty dollars my uncle promised me for giving him a hard time. He tried out for the part of Kid Curry, you see, and didn't get it. He had it in for the actor who beat him. Poor, Ben, he was so patient...”