For the past five years she has wanted one; no, not the past five years, her whole life. As a child Scarlett would watch Hollywood Royalty pick up those gold statues and dream of one day looking out at an array of disturbingly white teeth and crying her way through a speech. A speech where she thanked her old mum and dad back in England. Her mad, music manager brother for giving her the money to come out to America and realise her dreams. Now, that shiny gold bastard was within touching distance. Before she committed however, she needed to smoke some crack.

‘Blood’s Unkind’ is an unconventional love story, about a crack-addicted prostitute who hustles men in roadside diners. The story unfolds as our heroine undertakes an exodus from drudgery and travels the American landscape. She gets stoned and shagged, until eventually she meets Zack, a war veteran and amputee. She shows him love and he show’s her the meaning of life. After some rough and tumble and other not too contrived challenges they fall in love and both are better people for it. The minute Scarlett saw the script she knew it had Oscar written all over it.

For this one she was going to go full method. She had hitch hiked America, trawled diners and gamed and hustled a few guys. Some she left, too ugly. Others, well, they weren’t bad and whilst travelling the US a woman has her needs, so why not make a few quid at the same time? The second part of her method involved the drugs. Back home she’d done some ecstasy, a bit of coke, crack was just a tester to get her into the role. She’d never get addicted; tooth retention was too high on her agenda for that.

The executive producers had a knack for turning this kind of film into sure-fire awards material. The actual producer Larry, well, she had gifted him herself after dinner at his bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel. She told him that she was going to turn out the performance of her life. Scarlett would crawl into the skin of this character. Anyone who had seen her in other roles would not even recognise her. This movie would be her ‘Monster’.

Scarlett had arranged to meet Larry for dinner at his bungalow, number 7. He liked that one as it was decorated to Marilyn’s tastes. They were going to go over a few details about the role and the script, now that the final draft had been finished. Scarlett, straightened her hair, slipped into a black sleeveless Issey Miyake dress. The pattern was wide herringbone and it was just long enough to cover the knee. On her feet she wore ebony Louboutins, with blood red lacquered soles and naughty little spikes graced the suede upper. Scarlett played down her make up, she was young and in Hollywood terms she was still quintessentially an English rose and Larry liked her that way.

Larry was all smiles and volume as he welcomed her to the bungalow. “Welcome to awards night baby doll!” He embraced her and licked the side of her face as he groped her backside and simultaneously slammed a glass of champagne into her hands. “Do you want to party?” He drooled.

“Later darling, let’s look at that script. I am so in the zone for this, you are not going to fucking believe it.”

“Aww baby doll it’s always work with you. Come on, let’s party we can read the script in bed.”

“Larry, I intend to get thoroughly drunk. And then I am going to do things to you that could get me locked up,” Scarlett took a pull on her champagne. “Let’s get to work and then we’ll party like it’s 1969,” she giggled.

Larry composed himself, he sniffed loudly and squeezed his nostrils with his thumb and forefinger. “Well, hey it isn’t going to take long, your part is slightly smaller but it’s still great.”

“What do you mean slightly smaller? I’m the lead. How can it be smaller? I’m the fucking lead. That’s the whole film. It’s about me. What do you mean smaller?”

“Baby Doll, didn’t you get the memo? This is great, it’s nothing to worry about,” Larry raised both hands, his fingers wide and his palms facing Scarlett as he proclaimed, “you’re being cast in the role of the sister. Isn’t that great? It’s a great fucking role and you will be amazing!”

Slowly at first and then at jet speed the blood drained from Scarlett’s head. Her stomach performed stunts that would make Jackie Chan dizzy and like a drunken usher she fumbled behind her to find a seat. She dropped like rock onto Marilyn’s favourite chaise longue. Her lips quivered in time with her tummy, which she thought was going to give out at any second, totally ruining the Issey Miyake.

“You fucking bastard.”

“What? Hey, the role was never confirmed as yours. In the end the big guy went with Zara. It could have been worse the other Scarlett wanted it. Zara has a BAFTA, six academy awards nominations and a Tony. You don’t have shit. She’s a shoo in for the Academy Award on this picture. The big guy wants Oscars, I have to do what he wants. This is a good thing.”

Scarlett contained the urge to vomit. She had not been in Hollywood long, but she had been here long enough to know that it was a game. A game that she was not very good at, yet. She held back the tears but not the anger. “I fucking slept with you. I’ve whored myself across America, to get into another skin. I’ve learnt that fucking accent and smoked crack with gang members. I’ve totally debased myself and trivialised the plight of women like her, to be her. I feel sick.”

“I’m sorry. But baby doll, it’s called acting for a reason. If you were half good, you wouldn’t need to do any of that shit. Just act. Seriously. Look, you don’t wanna do this now, I get it. But, for what it’s worth I went all out for you, don’t let me down babe.” Larry poured himself more champagne. Scarlett stood up and left.

Throughout the night she wandered Hollywood from bar to bar, then to a club. She danced with pro dancers hot off a Harry Styles video and later she did shots at the Chateau Marmont with a couple of rock stars. One of which her brother managed. She was wounded but she would repair. She had only one regret: that she didn’t kick Larry in the nuts with the spikey Louboutins. Scarlett would do the role. She’d do it well. This experience had killed Scarlett and given a rebirth to Lilly. She’d have a date with Oscar, just not this year.

End

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