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PFEIL 5 FRED PFEIL YOU, FRED ASTAIRE Oh no, they can't take that away from me —George and Ira Gershwin It is a lovely night, as usual, high over the city as you allow her to uncoil out ofyour arms, against the rhythm of the song until only the touch of hands remains between you. Slowly she spins in time, out to your utmost reach, where she will stop and, leaning back gracefully, as always, you'll pull so slightly and she'll wrap back up in you again. Now, in these two measures of waiting, your gaze drifts out the window ofthepenthouse ofthe magic, spacious hotel, to where the city lights are indistinguishable from the stars. But you suddenly see something wrong, a tattered cloud swipingacross the full, perfect moon. The moon should not be crossed when you and she are dancing. That will have to be edited out. The appointed beat approaches. Lightly your arm extends, your gay, sure smile slightly widens. At the instant your wrist drops, your fingers pull in—nothing, air. . . She is not at the end ofyour hand, she is far off to your left, at the doorway of the giant room. A white shoe flashes, iridescent gown gleams as she exits out the door stage right. No time to ask questions, yell Cut, or weigh the tremor running up your spine. Besides, there may be something salvagable in the scene so far, though now it will have to be at least a two-shot. So, quickly but without urgency, elegant smile still on, you stroll still in time with the music to the door. The cameras may well be, probably are, still rolling. Down the hallway, she is fleeing, hard lights catching highlights from her hair; out of time, one strap slipped off her shoulder, she trips and almost falls twice on the hem of herpale dress. Worse, she is drowning out the music with her screams. This scene, too, will have to be reshot completely; no harm in breaking character 6 THE MINNESOTA REVIEW now. Ginger! Ginger! your call sounds down the halls. She looks over her shoulder; her run slows. Her expression you have never seen before. Wide eyes, open mouthYet your smile never wavers; maybe some of the scene can be saved. Deftly, your right hand slides into thejacket of your tails, extracts a flat gold case, flicks it open. The smile broadens, ingratiates; a slight bow, from the waist; and the left hand plucks the cigarette from the case, proffers it forth. She turns away. Rudely she crams an index finder against the button on the wall as, roused by the commotion, the heads of the other guests emerge from their doorways, peering both ways down the hall. A surprisingly motley crew of extras: one man, for example, with a clear case of acne, a woman with a dropsical eye. Yet they are still going on with the scene; the cameras, no doubt, are rolling. The elevator doors open. What choice doyou have? Tapping your foot, your grin goes wry, you shrugironically to all. Then, right hand on your hip, in rhythm, place the cigarette in your mouth, find a match—as the elevator doors close on her shaking back, taking her down. The gesture: left arm bent at the elbow, chest-high; lean foreward slightly; right arm passes behind left, loops out as the hand curls and the index finger points; head canted as if already listening, with an aristocratic lift to the mouth. And in response, of course, the desk clerk turns around. Excuse me, you say, did a lady just come through here in a long evening gown? Many ladies pass through in evening gowns, the desk clerk says. The old patter; nothing like it. Yes, you say quickly, formally, but this ladywas quite beautiful. The most beautiful hair, wonderful eyes, and divine face— Ohhhh, says the desk clerk significantly, rolling his eyes. Why didn't you say so? Yes, she just came through, sir. But I didn't see where she went. Didn't see where she went. . . it seems to be a cue, and the lobby is a perfect set (wide marble floors...


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