Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Scene 11 Lilies, Jack Legrand


Ironically,Jack Legrand was a small man. He owned a movie theatre in downtown Seattle. Though he was always well dresses, his features were non descript and common. He had lost nearly all the hair on the top of his head causing people to refer to him as "The balding fellow who runs the Theatre."
Sitting next to his movie projector, nervously running numbers, it had been an especially long day for Legrand. Below the dark projector booth were a sparse number of patrons. The movie in the reel was Animal Crackers, a zany Marx brother’s film that normally would have monopolized Legrands full attention. He had loved the theatre with a boyish kind of enthusiasm. He seldom tired of watching the same films over and over, even if he didn’t care for them. He would watch them all the same, memorize the dialogue and absorb mannerisms and voice inflections. He thought, if a film wasn’t good enough to watch a hundred times, it wasn’t good enough to watch once and he would stop showing it altogether. He preferred comedies. Chaplin, Benny, Keaton and the Marx brothers were among his favorites. But tonight, tie loose and sleeves folded up, he nervously fumbled through papers, while running the projector to a nearly empty house.

His wife and three children were most likely in bed, or at least, they would be by the time he arrived home. The thought of slipping into bed without conversation calmed him…a bit. He would avoid questions like, “How was your day?” and “How are things at the theater?” He was a bad liar and his wife knew it. Any answer he gave was sure to be met by a thorough cross-examination. As much as Jack Legrand loved film, he was no kind of actor and even if he was, he was sure that not even Emil Jennings himself could act his way thorough the kind of pickle he was in.

Although he didn’t want to blame his wife for their misfortune, the truth was that she loved “things”. He had tried to keep up. He loved her, he really did, but she was insatiable.
He couldn’t really say what happened. Even he was dumbfounded. In order to keep up with the lifestyle that his wife had wanted he had used the equity that he had on his theatre, his one and only asset. Essentially, the theatre was no longer his, at least in the banks eyes, and that was all that counted.

Recalling the massive loss made him cringe. More than cinema tragedy, there was no escaping this drama.
On Monday morning of October 28th 1929 he had deposited a large sum of money into the bank. He normally waited until the 31st to do deposits for the Theatre but knowing he would be very busy on Thursday and Friday preparing for a reel switch, he made the deposit on Monday.
By Friday it was official, with newspaper headlines reading “STOCK MARKET CRASH”, Jack Legrande had lost everything; stocks, savings and even the deposit he had made so diligently the day before.
He was on borrowed time now and he was the only one who knew it.

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