Special thanks to the amazing Karin Silva for her stunning designs
♫ Suggested Audio Jukebox ♫
 Japan Quiet Life
 Visage Fade To Grey
I only went and bagged the part didn’t I. The audition process was gruelling in the extreme and I feared that fluffed recital may have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, but I just got the call and it’s great news Grueheads. I am proud to share with all you fine people today that I am now officially the leading man nobody knew. This one is going to take some explaining. So where do we start? Well I guess there is no better place than the very beginning right? It’s a rags to riches tale and even more ironic given that I’m currently clad in the most meager of rags. You see, being the leading man that nobody knew has its downsides, one of which being that nobody knew. Right now it’s just my word against my own. I would love you to know the path that has delivered me here but there appears to be no markings. The joys of complete obscurity. Every stride forth is into a brave new world, now if I could just suss out the whole footprint thing I’d be laughing (to myself naturally).
So it turns out that I have some game in front of the roving lens. It’s funny, photo opportunities tend to be fraught only with peril as smiles can become grimaces in less than no time should the designated snapper not be decisive. When I prepared to step into the sentinel’s gaze for the first time in August 2014, I was like a rabbit in headlamps and all set to learn how a license plate feels when hitting one’s rear turbine at full throttle. It then dawned on me in an instant. I can’t act. Never a lick has been slathered prior to insertion and I am about to punk myself in HD. I can see it now as clear as day: Ladies and gentleman, I present to you, a man who cannot act. Watch him fumble lines, fail to deliver anything resembling sincerity, die a little more with every “CUT!”, and wither away in real-time before your very eyes. I believe the term no place left to hide best describes the moment as that Red Epic Camera had me bang to rights and square in its crosshairs. With every intention to eek out that grimace for the entire length of a take, something totally unprecedented played out and caught me on the hop if I’m honest.
I didn’t fumble lines as I pretty much had none, neither was my delivery anything less than sincere. The word CUT! became increasingly more distant as I kicked back in my natural habitat, and I leveled up in real-time. A role that was initially intended as walk-on suddenly became all-encompassing and the entire script became wonderfully muddy as a result. Needless to say, I was as happy as a boar in the shire. By the time shooting wrapped seven weeks later, I had completed my very first acting assignment and received a shiny A+ on my term card for effort. This had to be the making of me. Could it be that the right director could have spotted this rough diamond and be about to polish me up? I could be receiving an Oscar in five years time for my courageous turn as an autistic English lecturer in post-war Reykjavík. Hell’s bells and whistles, I needed to work on that speech quick smart. The red carpet beckoned and I fully intended to sniff Samuel L. Jackson’s funk trail before the paparazzi could catch me with my nostrils flared.
The whole articulation issue needn’t be a stumbling block. By the time I accepted that award in front of thousands of smiling sentinels, I’d have validation on my side. When James Cameron pronounced himself king of the world, he grasped onto that statuette for dear life as it stopped his vessel from taking in water. I’d simply do the same, hold it aloft, and believe that whatever fell out of my mouth proved meaningful to someone. Naturally I would thank the Academy as they still reserve the right to snatch your garland away, should backs not be scratched in accordance to stringent guidelines. If it sounds like I was getting ahead of myself then perhaps the stars blinded me momentarily. But only until focus was adjusted. The main thing was that I’d signed, sealed and delivered a performance, met all criteria plus bonus objectives, and could now leave the rest to good old fate. That wouldn’t let me down. Not now. I’d put in all necessary legwork and the rest was up to the elements.
The problem is, I’m not exactly what you’d call saleable. There is no agent working on my behalf, my IMDb starmeter fluctuates to the tune of around four million from one week to the next, virtually nobody has been exposed to my work, and I’m now officially the leading man nobody knew and just another of Tinseltown’s lower-rung bottom feeders. It’s ultimately all about grabbing that big shot, somebody recognizing your self-granted ability, then gifting you that all elusive wider audience. We all remember the Brat Pack fondly and ask ourselves whatever happened to them once the lights dimmed. Perhaps nobody took advantage. One key role and Judd Nelson could have been the next Judd Nelson. Instead he’s just Judd Nelson and I’m glad he is. I even went out and purchased myself a pair of fingerless gloves (admittedly more of the mitten variety) and punched the air defiantly hoping some bugger would notice. They didn’t. The bottom line is this: I’m still in freeze frame two years later. Am I bitter? Nah, grimacing a tad perhaps, but not growling.
You see, it’s actually kind of cool to be the leading man who nobody knew. I get to fly beneath the radar like a part-time superhero with no master villains taking pot shots from unseen vantage points to fret over. The world’s ignorance as to my acting chops duly becomes my bliss as I’m able to move around as vapor. If anybody needs me I’ll be right here skimming stones in my usual spot. Don’t mind Judd, he’s always here. Should the seemingly improbable occur and somebody tap up my services, then I’m every bit as raring to go as I was two years ago. The moment that film stock starts rolling, I’ll find my frame and bound about within its parameters like the proverbial white rabbit that I am. Who knows where that could lead? Likely myxamatosis but at least I’ve got my warren to curl into and die unbeknownst to the snipers if it all goes tails up. Just so happens I’ve had a spring clean down here and, while maybe not quite up to Hilton standards, it’s nothing if not homely. This is where it helps to have an ace up your sleeve as a hat can only hold so many rabbits. Come closer and I shall reveal my cunning stratagem for global domination.
I plan to do things in this order. Perish, then become famous posthumously. Isn’t that the best way? After all, fame is a fifteen minute excursion at best apparently so we may as well just skip to the autopsy. Years from now, while I writhe around gleefully beneath my topsoil duvet, the world will finally know my name. Admittedly this may appear something of a flawed scheme but it’s just crazy enough that it might work. The funny thing is that I’m in no great rush either. I’ve down my homework on death and it came up inconclusive. While that suggests a potential afterlife or, worst case scenario, an infinity of limbo, there are no bona fide guarantees. Thus, I’m in this for the long haul Grueheads. To the last breath in my lungs I believe were my words at the offset and my respiratory system appears to be more than adept at hanging in grimly so I’ll look at this particular gift horse but not in the mouth. Call me paranoid but he looks a bit shifty, must be that long face. Never mind that, have you seen its penis? No wonder Mr. Ed became famous. I’ll just graze with him for a bit. And Judd of course. You see, we’re forming a small army as we speak.
I shall march this three-strong militia straight into my eventual sarcophagus before bidding them an affectionate adieu. From thereon in, it will all be left to chance and I’m content with that eventuality as it’s like a whole fresh adventure just itching to play out. Being something of a light traveller, ego need never over-encumber me, so I’m happy to miss out on the plaudits by way of afterlife. All being well, I’ll pick them up in the void or on the grapevine everyone talks about. The main thing is that it will all have been for something. You know what that something might be? Moments like these. This is all the reimbursement I need. Should you manage to glean anything from my convolution, then I’m tickled pink and just about ready for that wind-down belly scratch. This is where the method to my madness becomes crystal clear. If one solitary person can extract a morsel of light from my prose, then it’s happy days. No need to thank me, I’m not doing it for the back pats. I just like putting something out into the world that can inspire another as that, in turn, creates a ripple. I guess that’s why I liken it to skimming stones.
You see, being the leading man that nobody knew ain’t all bad. I have an identity now and the kicker is that it was with me all along. Thanks to the wonders of WordPress, my numerous works are now immortalized forever or at least until I croak and fail to cough up the annual lump sum. It’s kind of an exhilarating prospect when you think about it. Always wanted to be a best-kept secret. Granted, I may not ever get to deliver my acceptance speech but, when you consider the fact that there is apparently no end to my inane blathering, it would appear that I already have. I hope I remembered to thank everybody. Fuck the Academy in their prim and proper prise holes, what did they ever do for me anyhoots? Is my name up in lights? Do I have a dedicated star on the Hollywood Boulevard to denote my stature? Where’s my six-figured sponsorship deal with L’Oréal? Am I really worth it? This matters not so much as a quarter of a jot as I know the answer to that one already. Fuck yes, I’m worth it and every last person that reaches for the dream that I habitually fumble should therefore be deemed worth it too. I’m telling you, Tinseltown won’t know what hit it once they zip up my one-way travel bag. Tell you what, as a parting gesture of goodwill, you lot can split the royalties.
Truly, Really, Clearly, Sincerely,
Richard Charles Stevens
Keeper of the Crimson Quill
Copyright: Crimson Quill: Savage Vault Enterprises 2016