Wide-eyed, the actress on the screen freezes for the camera. Faux-lashed eyes are framed by a black mask, as the tinny shriek of police sirens escalates.
Clad in black, a wide shot captures her – the shattered glass on the floor, the racks of brassieres and flimsy negligees. The sirens grow louder as she drops her carpet-bag, and uses her teeth to remove her gloves like a stripper, wriggling provocatively out of her turtleneck.
Through the torpid haze of cigarette smoke, suspended in the chiaroscuro flicker of projected images, the cinema screen is barely visible. Pamela sighs, and pulls her camel trench-coat collar closer.
The close-up cut to the burglars’ ample buttocks and waspy waist jolts noticeably. Pamela winces. The so-called editor of this film lived in a downtown flop-house, subsisting on burgers and bourbon. He couldn’t do a professional film-splice to save himself.
Muffled coughs. The incessant yet indistinct rustling of clothing, particular only to these kinds of cinemas, pervades the auditorium.
Glamour films, he’d said. For a very discerning audience.
On-screen, the screech of brakes. The sirens stop. Naked except for her mask, abundant but perky breasts fill the screen, jiggling as the actress grabs at the nearest negligee.Cat-like, she steps into the store window, shrugging on the transparent baby-doll negligee. The camera hones in on her hips and bared pussy, her curvy thighs, before the negligee froths around her torso. She freezes in a come-hither pose, as three cops burst in, wielding truncheons.
“Police! You’re surrounded!”
With no obvious offender in sight, they stand, bewildered and bug-eyed.
She sighs. His plots were always so ridiculous.
Images of Lauren Bacall in tennis whites and Audrey Hepburn in chic cocktail gowns flicker in her mind’s eye. Her desire to emulate them. She remembers her girlish excitement, meeting a film director. Harisson Marks. Her first film audition.
“Gonna make you a big star, baby. You’ll fill the cinemas.”