Excerpt from Cowboy for Hire

   
     Martin, who had been dealing with actors for several years, was not daunted by Huxtable's manners. He plowed on. "We still need to find you a leading lady—"
     Huxtable held up a hand. "Done."
     His mouth already open to continue the leading lady line, Martin used his breath to say, "I beg your pardon?"
     "I've done that part of your job for you, Martin, old boy. I'm sure you noticed that pretty little filly you just bumped into?"
     "We didn't actually touch," mumbled Martin.
     "Pity, that, but you'll try harder next time, I'm sure." He gave Martin a lascivious wink, from which Martin did all he could not to shrink. "I want her to star with me."
     Martin stared at Huxtable for a moment, then turned in his chair to see if he could catch sight of the young woman with whom he'd narrowly avoided contact. She was at present standing beside an elderly woman at a table on the other side of the room, smiling attractively. She was a striking girl, probably around eighteen or nineteen, with thick, reddish-brown hair piled on top of her head, and very nice eyes. Martin couldn't see their color from where he sat, but it didn't matter what color anything was since, on celluloid, it all came out black-and-white. Her lashes were thick, too, and wouldn't require much makeup.
     She had a superb figure and looked dignified in her narrow black skirt and prim white shirtwaist with a high collar encircled by a tidy black bow tie. She actually fit the description of the leading lady in One and Only admirably. Still, Martin had grave doubts about asking her to act in a movie with Horace Huxtable, who would probably eat her alive and spit out the pieces.
     "Her?" he asked dubiously.
     "Her." Huxtable ran his fingers across his natty mustache. "I want her."
     Martin didn't like that sound of this. "Has she any experience?"
     "Not the kind you mean. Probably not the kind I mean, either." His chuckle rumbled out, an oily blot on the soft, sweet-smelling Pasadena air.
     Deciding a firm hand was needed her, Martin said, "Now see here, Huxtable. You can't go about the country deflowering virgins. We have a picture to shot, and Mr. Lovejoy is planning on making it the biggest and best one yet. Four reels, for heaven's sake. This picture will make Peerless Studio a name to be reckoned with in the industry. It's an expensive project, and we need a cast of professionals to act in it. I can't hire just anybody."
     "You hired that cowboy."
     "That's different. The public is clamoring for cowboy pictures and more cowboy pictures, and all the studios are using real cowboys nowadays. They add authenticity, and the movie-going public love it."
     "Pshaw. Let me have that tidy bundle, and I'll give you all the authenticity you want.”
     The next time his studio head, Phineas Lovejoy, wanted to hire Horace Huxtable to act in a moving picture, Martin was going to object with all the energy in his body. He didn't care to have pimp added to his already overfull list of responsibilities at the studio."
     "What about Ginny Mae Williams?"
     Huxtable made a rude noise, which Martin correctly interpreted as an objection.
     "Mabel Gresham?" Another noise, ruder this time.
     "Wilma Patecky?"
     "Good God, man! What do you think I am?"
     A sot, a reprobate, and a debauched cad, thought Martin instantly. He said, "You're a fine actor, Huxtable, and one with a loyal following." Otherwise, Peerless wouldn't have anything to do with him.
 
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