Sue Johnson – The Yellow Silk Dress

THE YELLOW SILK DRESS

yellow

TV journalist Sabrina Baker is given the task of finding out what happened to an unknown actress who steals another person’s identity, gatecrashes auditions at the Café Royal and gets the lead part in a blockbusting film called ‘Dragonflies.’

 

The mysterious actress is never heard of again – until now…

 

ONE

London 2000

It all started on a sweltering Monday in early July. Rod Milligan, one of the producers, stumbled on some archive material about the early seventies and the news headlines about a beautiful actress using a stolen identity. Masquerading as Mitzi Shapiro, she’d caused a scene in the Café Royal after being auditioned for the leading role in a Hollywood blockbuster called ‘Dragonflies.’ She got the part and ‘Dragonflies’ was a raging success but afterwards the mysterious actress never made another appearance on screen. .   

“She was some lady,” said Rod pushing his sunglasses onto his forehead and wincing as he took a gulp of black coffee. Judging by the redness of his eyes, he’d had a heavy night. “It kind of got me thinking about where is she now? She wasn’t that old then – seventeen – eighteen maybe. So what happened to her? She’s not the sort of person you’d imagine fading into the background and playing Scrabble or knitting afghans for the rest of her life.”

We sat round the table waiting while he drank his coffee, wondering where the axe was going to fall, watching as he finished his last few mouthfuls and then flung the Styrofoam cup towards the waste bin in the corner of the room. It missed, spattering the cream wall with coffee grounds, but nobody went to pick it up, least of all Rod. He was a ‘move on, never admit you’ve made a mistake’ kind of guy.

 The air conditioning in what was called the ‘training room’ wasn’t working and the stuffy air could’ve been cut with a knife.  I glanced enviously out of the window at the girls walking past in butterfly-bright summer clothes, oblivious of us trapped behind the one-way glass.

Rod leaned forward and looked around the table.  I felt uneasy and started doodling on my notepad. It was always dangerous to make eye contact in these situations. I wouldn’t have sat opposite him intentionally, but I was late as usual and it was the only free seat.

“It’s got me thinking about making another of those ‘where are they now’ programmes,” he said.  His finger moved slowly like a roulette wheel at the end of its circuit and ended up pointing at me. “You – Sabrina – bring me some ideas and a story-board by three o’clock Friday.”

Sue is currently giving away three copies of her novel on Goodreads! Offer closes 31st January 2015. Check it out! 

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