Patricia Anthony and Stephanie Johns are psuedonyms of Pat Bates and Tony Lucchi when they are writing adult erotica. The two buddies have collaborated on screenplays under their real names over the years, winning writing awards from festivals and even garnering an option. Thier current project is a YA dystopian novella series currently under review.
by Patricia Anthony and Stephanie Johns
“Those damn Rascals are killing us at the box office,” Max Harrison said. He pointed the butt end of his cigar into the face of his diminutive star. Maybe if Bobby Knapp had been an actual child he might have cried. Instead, Knapp slapped away the cigar hand.
“It ain’t my fault,” Knapp said. He winked at the young actress holding a script. She blushed and went back to reading.
“D’hell it ain’t, you little shit,” Max said. “I’m paying you twenty-five dollars a day to be Little Percy Mercy, the Wandering Orphan Boy. You aren’t Rudy Valentino.”
“I’m sick of playing a seven year old. I look like a Kewpie doll in this friggin’ sailor suit.”
“You’re three feet of nothing, Knapp, and you’re under contract. You think you’re going to play anything else except a wet-nosed brat you better write, direct, and produce it yourself.”
“Maybe that’s just what I’m gonna do,” Knapp said. He went over to the canvas chair next to the actress playing his nanny.
“What are you talking about, Bobby?”
“Got your attention now, eh, Maxie?”
“Come on, Bobby. Don’t yank my chains. You got the deal with Warners?”
Bobby flashed him his Percy Mercy grin of redemption; damned if he didn’t look like a Kewpie. “Warners is giving me carte blanche, Maxie. They bought my idea for a shorts series called Small Town Dick. I play the lead, Devin Smart, the gadabout private eye. I get final script approval, an associate producer credit, and ten percent of tickets nationwide.”
The cigar drooped in Max’s mouth. “When do you start?”
Knapp put a hand on the actress’s knee and gave it a squeeze. “Let’s just say ‘Seaside Sailor’ will be Percy Mercy’s swan song.”
No truer words had ever been spoken.
Knapp was a no-show the next morning and Max fumed. The cast and crew openly gossiped that Knapp had walked out on his end of the Wandering Orphan contract so that he could start sooner on Small Town Dick. The rumor mill had barely gotten a chance to grind when everyone heard a shriek from the shore.
Standing over what looked like a beached porpoise was the young actress from the day before. She trembled, her hands up over her mouth. They barely subdued her screams. Later, everyone agreed it was Max who led the charge.
“Isn’t that—I mean I think it’s—.” She couldn’t finish her thoughts. All she could do was point a shaky finger at the body.
Max knelt next to the figure and pulled off the seaweed.“It’s Bobby Knapp, the Wandering Orphan.” Max put a hand on Bobby’s shoulder and bowed his head. Behind him, the others bowed their heads.
Max looked up into the teary eyes of the cute young actress, too cute, actually, to have been with a slug like Knapp. Max shook his head. “We need to call the police. Someone go up to the lodge and call for the locals. Go on now, all of you head back.”
The young actress gasped. Max studied her. “You should go, too, -- miss."
“Linda.” She flashed him a perky, inviting smile. “McBain.”
Max smiled back. “Linda. After all, you’re the one who found the body. The police will want to ask you questions.”
“Will there be reporters?”
“I imagine,” Max said.
Linda McBain puckered up a smile and turned to go. She stopped and looked over her shoulder. The Santa Anna wind caught her naturally red hair and lifted it off her bare shoulders and Max saw his next leading lady.
“He was a good man,” she said.
“He was indeed.”
Linda turned completely around to face him. Her breasts practically burst from behind her white halter with the red polka dots. “Funny, but you didn’t say as much last night.”
Max bit down a little harder on his cigar. He cocked an eyebrow at her. “You heard us discussing his contract.”
Linda McBain walked back to him. She ran a finger along his shirt. “What I heard was no one walks out on Maximilian Harrison. I think you should know, Mr. Harrison, I will never walk out on a contract or on you.”
He liked the ways her lips pouted when she said ‘you’. “He was alive when I left him, Miss McBain.”
“He wasn’t, but no one needs to know that, do they?” She gave him a wink before she went back to the lodge.
‘Oh yeah,’ he thought. ‘She’s gonna be a star.’