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Sunset Shadows

I cut my teeth writing on Hubpages back in 2009. I've written 17 novels, numerous songs, and short stories since. I love to write love.

Walking Away


Out of the Rain

After a downpour of rain, on Frankin Canyon Drive Ruby carried her shoes and walked barefoot on the highway. She could hear Victor shouting from behind, "You wouldn't have made it anyway!" She heard the door of his Mercedes slam. The horn blared past her as he grimaced and sped around her down the road. Her agent, Victor Stienkinden, had just asked her if she'd like to spend the night at his client Rack Killeen's Beverly Hills mansion. He was house-sitting for him. Ruby told him, "I don't want to do anything like that. You're my agent. I just don't want to." Victor had reached over, put his hand on her leg, and said, "I'm just the first happy hurdle. There will be many, many more." Ruby smacked his hand away and said, "Stop the car. Stop the damn car now!"

Victor slammed on the brakes as rain blasted down from a dark cloud." He shifted into Park and grumbled, "I wish people like you would just stay out of California. It's called DUES missy...ya have to pay them. Not just men require them. Lots of women collect dues too. You got to make it with those who made it." Ruby pulled the door handle, swung it open, got out, and said, "If that's how people are who've made it...I'd rather not make it." She slammed the door as the rain suddenly stopped. She walked a few feet, took off her shoes, and didn't look back. The wet road felt so warm and soft on her feet. It made her think of a time when her old boyfriend Robby Bailey chased her and caught her on a wet blacktop road in Yemassee South Carolina. He picked her up and carried her in the rain all the way to her front porch.

As she walked, she thought of how her dreams of being a Hollywood Movie Star were dying. Victor Stienkinden was really well known and well-liked. He had gotten her a couple of small roles in movies and sitcoms and had been teasing her with a starring role in an upcoming production of Sunset Shadows. It was a major studio movie about the death of an actress. Ruby had already read the script a few times but Victor wouldn't tell her what part he was pitching her for. Ruby thought for a moment if she had gone with Victor for the night, would she have soon been a star, or was he just another liar on Lust Lane.

While she walked, the road began to dry in the hot sun. She heard a vehicle coming from behind. She glanced back and saw it was a box truck. Ruby angrily sighed as she heard the truck slow down and a raspy voice shout, "Need a ride, honey?" Ruby turned around and was about to tell the driver, "No" but saw it was an elderly woman driving. She was surprised because the voice was deep like a man's. The woman slowed to a stop and said, "Where. ya goin' sweetie?" Ruby smiled and said, "Anywhere but California."

A Fading Dream


Ah the Stories

The woman chuckled and said, "Well I'm going everywhere but California. Hop in. I'm going North to 134 then East." Ruby said, "I don't have any money for gas. I don't have any money at all. I quit carrying a purse when mine got stolen at the Abby Bar in Hollywood." The old woman introduced herself as Margie Haversen. She had stringy white hair, big brown eyes, and was wearing a Petaluma Raceway cap. Margie said, "You don't need money. I'd love to have some company and my favorite treasure of life is makin' a new friend."

Ruby smiled and went to the passenger side of the truck as Margie pushed the door open. Ruby introduced herself, lifted her tight purple dress, and got in. Margie grinned and said, "That dress goes with your beautiful blue eyes." Ruby blushed a little and said, "Thanks." As Ruby placed her shoes on the floorboard, she wiped the tears that she'd been holding back." Margie pulled away slowly, looked at Ruby, and asked, "What's wrong honey?" Ruby put her hands on the dash and said, "I've lost my dream. I, Ruby Dove Greyen, have lost my dream." Margie patted Ruby on her shoulder and said, "I would guess you wanted to be a Movie Star?" Ruby nodded her head, "Yes." Margie smiled and asked, "Is disappointment the reason you are out here on the road walking alone?"

Ruby told Margie the story about Victor and Margie told Ruby, "Back in the 1960s I was going to be a Movie Star too. I had a gorgeous body and curly blond hair. I could remember my lines perfectly and gracefully whisper the lines to the ego drunken actors that had forgotten their lines." Ruby said, " were in the movies?" Margie answered, "Yes and I knew casting couch people like Victor back in the day. I gave up acting when I finally met the love of my life, Roy Lincoln Halversen. He was a set painter. He accidentally splashed paint on my costume. My crying and his apologizing while trying to wipe the paint from my skirt led to a date and marriage three months later."

Margie gave Ruby a sweet smile and said, "I sure miss him." Ruby asked, "How long has he been gone?" Margie laughed and said, "About thirty years since he ran off with that Vegas dancer. He called one day and asked if he could come home. I told him, "Sure....just pay me seven months back rent, gas, groceries, the electric bill, and your Beagle dog Noodles got fixed."

Ruby laughed and asked, "Did you give up acting then?" Margie grinned and answered, "No...I got back into it and worked a few more shows for not much pay. I was given ultimatums just like your story. Unlike you, I fell and fell and fell." Ruby asked, "What do you mean, you fell?" Margie answered, "I slept with a number of men and even a couple of women. I looked out my apartment window one day and saw a pigeon limping on the ledge of a building. It was balancing itself with its right wing. I thought to myself, why don't you fly silly bird? It just kept walking on that ledge. It finally flew away when it got to the end of the ledge. I realized I was at the end of my dream and I flew away."

Ruby looked down at her hands in her lap. She saw a gold serpent ring that a director had given her. He'd given all the women on the set rings that day. She pulled the ring off and said, "Margie, I think I'm ready to fly away too." She held the ring up, smiled, and said, "We could stop at a pawn shop. Might be worth a few meals?" Margie grinned and said, "Might be sweetie." Ruby asked, "What did you do after you quit acting?" Margie answered, "Well I started driving delivery trucks. I've driven everything from vans to big rigs. I fell in love with leaving and more in love with life. There isn't a state where I didn't smile on the way to and from. You could say I decided to drive my dream."

A Dry Road



Just as Ruby asked how far East Margie was going, Margie grabbed her chest with her right hand. She whipped the truck to the side of the road and it spun a little sideways as it stopped. Ruby fearfully asked, "Margie...what's wrong?" Margie struggled to say, "It's my heart...pills in the glove box." Ruby opened the glove box and grabbed a brown bottle, opened it, poured pills into her hand, and reached them to Margie." Margie was shaking as she grabbed half the pills and put them in her mouth. Margie slumped over. Ruby cried, "Margie, please don't die? Oh!"

Ruby prayed and cried harder as she tried to give Margie more pills. Margie quickly sat up, grinned wide, and said, "Pretty good acting huh?" The cameraman on the hood of the truck shouted, "Got it!" Director, Rafe Jones shouted, "Cut...cut...cut! Margie you are supposed to stay dead until Ruby leaves the truck dammit! " Ruby angrily shouted at Rafe, "I thought she was really having a heart attack. That is not in the script!" Rafe grinned and said, "Your reaction could get you an Oscar."

A very angry Ruby growled, "She is not supposed to die until we get to Pasadena!" Rafe shrugged his shoulders and said, "Look at the bright side, we have your part of the death scene done." Margie grinned and said, "Mine too."

Ruby snapped at them all, "I never want to go through anything like that again! My heart was racing and breaking at the same time. Margie, why in the hell did you go along with this?"

Margie smiled and answered, " The world will get to see a glimpse of the real you in that one scene. I had a similar scene in a movie I starred in years ago called The Stone's Tears. One day you may be 82 years old like me. Maybe you'll look back to these moments and realize that you and I are simply sunset shadows. We rise to stardom and fall, fall, fall like the sun going down and our tall shadows fade away."

Ruby looked a little sad and said, "I don't want to fade away like the sunset."

Margie grinned wide, hugged Ruby, and said, "Ah but like an old movie being played on the big screen, the sun does rise again baby. The sun does rise again."

Got that Shot


© 2022 Tom Cornett

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