Search Party

Search Party by Valerie Trueblood Page A

Book: Search Party by Valerie Trueblood Read Free Book Online
Authors: Valerie Trueblood
and shyly sociable, grinning as if he had done every one of them a good turn, like changing a tire or moving something heavy, that had left him flushed and out of breath.
    So there was more to come, and Abby could not go home, she had to stay in her seat.
    It was going to be a big surprise to her if he got a question out of this audience.
    But she had reckoned without teenagers, girls as well as boys, who wanted to know how you got the camera up into the tree, and how you got it into the car, and whether the women really had no clothes on underneath if you showed them in a bedroom in a man’s shirt, or in other movies where they showed them with nothing on, who all was there on the set? One of them in this group that raised their hands had a mother in the audience who covered her face, but Jake let her know it didn’t botherhim. “That’s exactly what I used to wonder,” he said, taking the microphone off the stand and swirling the cord, and he told them what they wanted to know.
    The kids liked him because of his messy hair, which Abby happened to know he struggled over with the comb, and his New York accent that caused them to snicker with delight as if he were putting it on, and because of the strong charm important people gave off, when they answered questions as if they would be just as happy to know you as all the rich people they did know. Darla had shown at dinner that she did not recognize this, but Abby knew it from way back, from the faculty dining room, after Bowen finished improving her manners.
    Then an older woman asked Jake how he did his research. He said he had done it over years, in this town and towns like it, and mentioned his documentary, but she flapped her hand right back up to know how he got the little girl’s story.
    â€œI copied it out by hand from an old newspaper, and many years later I found she had been here all along—or rather come back with her children—and was a lady gracious enough to give me many hours of her time. I didn’t want to keep strictly to the experience she had, but I wanted to preserve it as the core of a film about a period of American history. As it happened I became interested in the individual. But of course I departed from the facts she gave me. Something else happens, or you hope it will, when you work in film.” He bowed to Abby, who was paying attention to her pulse, which had given over to heavy and uncomfortable rocking while he was speaking of her, as it had not throughout the movie. At some point Darla had placed her arm around Abby’s shoulders and now she snuggled her a little as if she were an old grandma, and glanced around possessively.
    The audience would have let the subject rest, but the next question came from the same persistent woman. Abby decided she was the new librarian, intent on showing off some information she must have up her sleeve. Turning around to see, she had a side view of a woman with long gray hair held off her face with a barrette, wearing a fringed blanket with a hole cut in themiddle for her head to come through. It was not any librarian from McBride and not the well-dressed girl from Washington, the reporter; that one was writing in her notebook but not asking any questions.
    The woman stayed on her feet, egging Jake on with the mention of other directors and their movies, repeating “film” and “your film” until you could slap her. She knew something about the movies, it was clear—she knew about Jake and she had made the trip from somewhere—but now she had changed the subject. She had him talking about the war. Talking about himself, as any man would sooner or later, while Darla yawned and signaled disgust with her darkened eyebrows, and the mayor, who had a speech in his pocket he was going to pretend he made up on the spot, started fidgeting for it to be his turn.
    But Jake had dropped his guard now, along with the casual act, and was pacing with his hands

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