The Silent Country

Free The Silent Country by Di Morrissey

Book: The Silent Country by Di Morrissey Read Free Book Online
Authors: Di Morrissey
Tags: Fiction, General, Action & Adventure
actress?’ asked Topov.
    ‘Theatre in Denmark, some short films in Sweden. I also work in London and Paris. French theatre.’ She was still smiling sweetly.
    ‘You make a scene for us,’ said Topov leaning back in his chair.
    ‘What would you like? I can do Chekhov, Bernard Shaw . . .’
    ‘Scriptwriter, you do with her,’ said Topov waving at Colin.
    ‘You mean, this? My scene?’ Colin picked up his script feeling dreadfully nervous.
    ‘Yes. Go stand, walk around, read,’ directed Topov.
    Colin handed Marta two sheets of typed paper. ‘Sorry you haven’t read this. It’s two people on the banks of a peaceful river, when suddenly they see something scary.’
    ‘A crocodile?’ asked Marta with wide blue eyes.
    ‘Perhaps. The girl is frightened, then excited, and then . . .’
    ‘Read,’ bellowed Topov.
    Colin stood on the spot, his head down reading the lines he’d written and knew by heart. But Marta was relaxed and walked around, lifting her eyes from the page to direct her gaze at Colin, occasionally tossing her head and catching Topov’s eye. When the script called for her to become fearful, she rushed at Colin and clung to him and he felt very self-conscious and knew that his face was getting red. After Marta had finished, she moved away fromColin and stood in front of the table looking serenely at Topov and Helen.
    ‘Dobro,’ muttered Drago who had come in unnoticed.
    Colin sat back down.
    ‘Script no good. Script rubbish,’ announced Topov beaming, as Colin cringed. ‘You,’ he pointed a finger at Marta. ‘You okay.’
    ‘Would you like to give us your details?’ asked Helen, pencil poised.
    ‘Drago. Make picture of this woman. Close up, walking, doing the faces, you know.’ Topov stood up as Drago began turning on his lights. ‘So, you have been to Australian bush?’
    ‘No. But I would like to.’ Marta’s curls bounced as she nodded and smiled.
    Helen nudged Topov and murmured, ‘Investing?’
    Topov scratched his head and looked crestfallen. He walked to Marta and dropped an arm around her shoulders. ‘You pretty lady. Good actress. Topov would like you star in his movie. But, budget, it no good. We have shoe budget.’
    ‘Shoestring,’ interjected Helen.
    ‘But Topov will make brilliant movie, show wild Australia to the world, for Olympics. Everyone in film become famous, get rich. But for making film, we all put up money.’
    ‘So we have shares in the picture,’ said Marta brightly.
    Helen stared at her.
    ‘You have money?’ asked Topov.
    ‘If I invest and I am the star, I get a share in the returns plus living salary,’ said Marta briskly.
    ‘All investors get the same return,’ said Helen.
    ‘We make you happy,’ Topov assured Marta. ‘Comfortable. You will love the outback. Yes, Mr Colin?’
    Colin nodded enthusiastically. ‘It’s a wonderful chanceto be in a film and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see these places.’
    ‘How much?’ asked Marta.
    ‘Camera ready,’ said Drago.
    ‘You do screen test, we talk money, contract after.’ Topov signalled Helen and they headed back upstairs as the waiter began setting out cutlery and glasses on the tables around Drago, his camera and Marta.
    ‘Good luck Marta,’ whispered Colin as he gathered up the papers and hurried after Topov.
    Everyone had dispersed and Colin headed back to his flat. He thought he might grab Johnny and go out for a drink but there was no answer to his taps on Johnny’s door. So he stayed in and thought about Marta and her performance and wished he’d written a better script. But now he could see that the project was coming together with definite possibilities and he hoped that he’d be able to live up to Topov’s expectations.
    The next day an invitation was slipped to Colin at the bank. His hands started to shake with excitement as he read.

    Madame Olga Konstantinova and Maxim Topov
invite Colin Peterson
to dinner at Prince’s Restaurant, Martin Place,
this Friday at nine pm

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