Note: This story is set in the Werewolf universe but it isn’t about Robby Hansen. He does make a guest appearance at the end but it isn’t the usual Werewolf story.
Now this guy had been following me for the last ten minutes. I wasn't really spooked. After all we were in the middle of a busy shopping mall. I didn't intend to go anywhere that I would be alone until I found out what he wanted. I stopped to look into the window of Radio Shack and I wondered what it would be like to be able to afford a computer of my very own. Oh, of course I could use the ones at school, but there was always a time limit.
They had a couple at the boys home where I lived, but the time was almost as limited as the ones at school, especially for a ten year old.
This guy came and looked in the window with me, but I could see he was looking at my reflection in the glass, not inside the window. He was a small chubby man maybe in his late thirties. He opened his briefcase and pulled out a small binder.
He said, "Hey kid, how would you like to try out for a part in a movie?"
I felt relief. A casting agent of all things. I turned and looked at him and he handed me the binder. It was only about a half inch thick and it said on it in gold letters. ‘The Kid From Moscow.’
I opened it and it said, ‘Auditions April 22 to 24 from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Classica Studios. Directed by Stanley Chase and Starring Charles Lang’ and the address and then ‘Wanted a boy between nine and twelve to play the part of Andrew. Please be there at 8:00 AM’.
Even I had heard of Charles Lang. With him in it, it was going to be a major production. I looked up at this guy and asked, "Why me?"
"We're looking for kids with red hair and green eyes." he said. He continued, "In there it includes a short story on which the movie is supposed to be based and a few script pages for you to learn. Don't believe the story kid. It's all about the kid and since they hired Lang, the final script is going to focus on him not on the boy in the story. Also there will probably be three or four hundred kids trying out so it's unlikely that you'll get it. They'll probably pick a kid who's already an actor and dye his hair, despite the fact that they told us to look for kids with red hair and green eyes."
I shrugged, saying firmly, "I don't care, if I can arrange to go to the audition it'll mean that I'll miss a day or two of school."
He grinned at me and ruffled my hair and surprisingly I didn't resent it. He was a nice little man. He told me, "That's the way to take it, kid." and he turned and walked away. There was a business card inside the front cover which told me his name was Eldred Johnson.
I lived in Carrington House, which, despite its fancy name, was an orphanage. The twenty-four boys who lived there, aged from eight to seventeen, were in the hard to place category. I was there in the first place, because I had refused foster homes and at the time the only opening they had was in Carrington House. There were four boys to a room. In my room were the youngest boys. One eight year old, one nine year old and I was one of the two ten year olds, though just barely, since my birthday had been a week before on April 5th.
There was one phone in each of the boys' rooms and as long as we didn't abuse the privilege there was no problem. Dizzy, he was the eight year old, had called Africa four weeks ago and that had ended up in getting our phone removed and we'd just gotten it back.
Why he had called Africa I’m not totally sure, since he isn’t black. His name is David Clancy and he’s Irish. When I asked him he said he had been reading Roots by Alex Haley and that’s where Haley’s ancestors had come from so he just thought he’d try. That’s why we call him Dizzy by the way, he can read a book like Roots and understand it yet at the same time thinks up ideas that a four year old would be proud to call his own.
I lay over my bed and called my social worker Janet Peterson. We were on good terms and she'd given me her home phone number. I'd only used it once before, though I think she would have liked me to call more often. We were sorta friends and I think she was lonely. Also we almost had the same last name. My full name is Darby Denver Peters.
The phone rang four times and then the answering machine cut in, with the spiel. I was about to leave a message at the beep, when Janet picked it up, saying breathlessly, "Hello, sorry about that. I forgot to turn the answering machine off."
I told her, "Janet, this is Darby Peters. I was at the shopping mall earlier and I was stopped by a casting agent. He said they were looking for kids with red hair and green eyes. They're producing a movie at Classica Studios, with Charles Lang and they're holding auditions for a kid who's going to be in the picture. He gave me a binder with a short story which the movie is supposed to be taken from and a few script pages to learn."
She protested, asking, "But Darby, you almost never go to movies and you don't even watch much television, so why are you interested?"
I told her, scowling with annoyance, "Because it'll get me away from that SOB, Mr. Champion, for a day or two, that's why." Mrs. Price had been our teacher for most of the year but then she had to leave because she was going to be having a baby and we'd had Mr. Champion for the last month. For some reason, though everyone else in the class had liked him right from the beginning, it had been hate at first sight between him and me.
He was fair. Even though we hated each other, he hadn't taken it out on me by giving me bad grades. If anything it had gone the other way, my grades were even better, but still we couldn't stand each other.
Her voice bubbling with humor, "What you don't expect to be chosen? Where's your self-confidence?"
I said reasonably, "Now Janet, be reasonable. There's going to be three or four hundred kids or more there. Most of them will have some acting experience even if it's just in commercials. You don't really think that they're going to pick me, now do you?"
"What's the movie about?" she asked, not answering my question.
I said with satisfaction, "That's what I thought. They had the story in the binder. I'll read it to you."
I turned over on the bed and began to read it.
I stood in front of my master Colonel Ivan Abramov and his master, standing comfortably hands clasped behind my back. If you didn’t know what I was, you might think I was ballet student because that’s how I was dressed, in a pair of shorts that looked like black briefs and a white tank top and soft slippers. Or at least I assumed it was his master. He was wearing a stripped army uniform, had a hood on his head and was wearing gloves. Not that it mattered a great deal. I had been trained to recognize people simply from their body language, though obviously he hadn't been told about that ability or he wouldn’t be here in person.
The other was called my teacher, but he was my master. After all he had the power of life and death over me, so what else would you call him. The hooded man asked me in Russian, "Boy, what is your name?"
I looked at him with polite interest. It had become so much of an engrained habit pretending not to understand that I don't know if I could have answered his question even if I had dared to.
"The boy doesn't understand Russian, old friend." my master told him.
"Then how the hell do you use him?" the man demanded.
Colonel Abramov explained, "I will demonstrate with your help. As you see there are two blackboards. I know you understand several languages, the boy only speaks English. I will have the boy turn around while you write down a dozen words, or characters, letters numbers whatever you please."
He addressed me in English, saying, "Andrew, please turn around and close your eyes." I did as I was told. The Colonel was so confident that he had drugged and brain washed me into complete obedience that he didn't even bother to check, not that I intended to take any chances by disobeying. I knew the mirror at the back of the room was one-way glass and I had no way of knowing if there was anyone in that room watching me. Or perhaps a movie camera filming us. I heard some scratching on the blackboard.
My master said, "All right, Andrew, you may turn around." I did as I was told, concentrating on the blackboard, immediately. He only gave me about three seconds this time, before he turned the board over. He threw me a piece of chalk and knowing what was expected of me, I walked to the other board and I began duplicating what had been on the other blackboard. It was so sparse that it was simple, only taking a few seconds.
I went back to where I had been standing, taking up the same position. He turned the other blackboard over and two identical inscriptions were visible. The visitor looked at it with amazement.
Colonel Abramov told him, "Andrew has several unique talents but this is the most outstanding. He has what is sometimes referred to as a photographic memory. He doesn't have to understand what he sees, he only has to be able to duplicate it, which he has just demonstrated he can do. He has a talent for art as well, so he can even duplicate complicated plans and drawings."
The visitor protested, "But that's absurd, he'd memorize the faces of any agents that he'd work with and if he was caught, he could give the enemy the whole chain."
My master explained coldly, "That's why he has never worked for us. We loan him out to allies or almost allies. He's worked most often for the Stasi, East Germany; Securitate, Romania; STB, Czechoslovakia, and Bulgaria and we even loaned him to China once. We'll run him this time and it won't matter, the message that he will be carrying will end with the order to terminate the courier, so his memory will be no problem.".
It was a good thing that they were paying no attention to me, because my face must have given me away. I had known for a long time that this moment would come. I had been created as a tool and when a tool like me is no longer needed, it's discarded. And the only way to discard an intelligent tool is to kill it.
I felt a chill run up my back, as I remembered back to the day I had realized that I was only a tool and had no real importance. I was nine at the time. Steven Richards, a twelve year old, who was insatiably curious, always kept asking questions. He had been warned by the teacher to stop, but he was incapable of doing so. So one day in the midst of one of Steven's questions the Colonel had pulled a gun out of the drawer of his desk and shot the boy three times in the chest.
The Colonel had replaced the gun in the drawer and gone on with the lesson, leaving the dead boy lie there until the end of class. Looking back, I'm sure that Steven had been chosen for that purpose and only that purpose. He wasn't very good at any of the things we were being taught, so why else would he be there?
In fact, even though I was being run by my own people this time, I went out through the usual route. Smuggled by the Stasi into West Berlin and flying directly to New York. One of them I had worked with several times. He spoke no English and I couldn't understand German, but I think he knew something was wrong, because he gave me a switchblade.
At first sight it was just like a switchblade knife. I'd only seen real switchblades, this was the first time I had ever seen a comb made like that though of course I’ve seen them in movies since then. When he pulled it out, I was wary, wondering if they had found out somehow that I knew. When he hit the switch, a comb flicked out and my mouth must have opened in surprise.
He winked at me and then drove what appeared to be a comb into the tabletop. The comb was a breakaway plastic and the back of the comb, was actually a razor sharp stiletto blade, just like one of the blades I'd been taught to use. Pulling the blade out of the tabletop he flicked the switch and the blade disappeared. He put it in his pocket and taking out a second one, he gave it to me and winked again.
I took the disguised weapon and I felt a little more confident, but not a hell of a lot. I was ten, sure I'd been taught martial arts and I was pretty good against someone my own age or two or three years older, but against an adult, only surprise or a firearm would give me any real chance.
Normally my hair would have been dyed, but this time they hadn't bothered, they hadn't even provided glasses to give a bit of disguise. If anything had been needed to confirm that this was going to be my last trip, that would have done it.
I knew that I would have a watcher, but this time he would be Russian and nobody I had seen before. He would turn me over to other watchers at the New York airport and disappear. To have any chance of staying alive, which I figured was a pretty remote possibility, I was going to have to take them out. Yeah dream on, Andrew Knox. One undersized ten year old against two or three adults.
I turned my mind to another area of thought, which was at least as remote a possibility of finding an answer to, as the other. The endless speculation of whether the name I used was anything like my birth name, or even if I had a birth name. It was quite possible I had simply disappeared from a hospital before I was named. That train of thought at least was good for making me sleepy and I soon dozed off.
I passed through Customs and I had to pee, so I headed for the washroom. I was picked up by one of my watchers immediately. He was small, only about five five and maybe one hundred and forty pounds soaking wet. I don't know where they got him, but he was the clumsiest watcher I had ever had. Sometimes I only knew they were there because I could feel I was being watched. This guy almost advertised his presence.
There was a sign on the first washroom door saying 'out of service', so I was about to head for another when a workman came out of the door. He looked at me. "Go ahead kid, I'm almost finished, the waters running, I just have to get the top for a toilet and I'll do that after breakfast." Since it was after seven PM, obviously he was on the night shirt.
I said, "Thanks, mister," and I slipped under his arm as he held the door open. I had finished peeing and was just washing my hands when this idiot actually followed me into the washroom. There was only the one door so where did he think I could go? I almost felt sorry for him and I did feel sad. He had given me a small chance to live, but he was going to have to die. The only weapon available was the knife. He may have been a small adult, but I was a small kid at only four feet three inches tall and weighing fifty-nine pounds.
He stiffened when I pulled the knife out of my back pocket but then he laughed when I hit the switch and the comb flicked out. I began to comb my hair and he turned his back on me to dry his hands. I spun and drove the knife into his back, as I'd been taught, slipping it expertly between his ribs into his heart, yanking it to the side and then out. He probably didn't even know he was dead when he started to fall.
I watched him impassively as he fell, knowing that I didn't have the time to be sick that would have to come later. He landed on his back, his coat falling open. My eyes widened with shock and delight, he had a small automatic pistol in a shoulder holster. It took me several minutes to get his jacket off, but the holster was easier. I took off my windbreaker and slipped on the harness, carefully adjusting it so that it hung just where I liked it and then, reversing my windbreaker, put it back on.
I don't know how he dared bring a gun into an airport, even in those days. But he did and he even carried a sound suppressor. Well okay, silencer. He also carried a couple of spare clips and his wallet gave up a little over a hundred dollars in small bills. He had about four dollars in change in his pants pocket. The gun was probably legal since he had a license for it, but even I knew silencers were illegal.
Not that it was going to bother me. After killing a man, it was a trifle, so I attached the silencer to the gun and chambered a round, something the idiot had never even bothered doing. Silencers made guns notoriously inaccurate, but I figured that it would be close range or nothing, if I had a chance, at all.
The holster had been designed with the silencer in mind and after trying a couple of draws looking into the mirror, I found that it didn't slow me down very much. I remembered what my Master had told his visitor. 'Andrew has several unique talents' well this was one of them. Obviously everyone who wears a gun can draw it, but an hour a day for five years can do wonders even for a little kid like me and I would need it. I was going to have to locate my other watcher or watchers and take care of them as well before I left the airport.
I took a New York Yankees baseball cap out of my bag and put it in my pocket. I looked at my bag and considered abandoning it and decided to do so. I decided to change my pants first and got out a pair of apparently well worn blue jeans, though certainly not well worn by me. If I was going to die it would be in the symbol of the decadent capitalist system. Despite my fear I giggled. After that, I realized that I'd better not just leave the bag here. I'd put it in one of the lockers.
I didn't try to sneak out of the washroom, that would be sure to draw attention. I just walked out naturally, looking around casually, not seeing anyone looking at me. I headed for the locker area and picking one, I put some coins in it, opened it and put the bag in it. I locked it and then I slipped the baseball cap on. It wasn't a very good disguise, not with red hair like mine, it was so easy to remember, which was why they usually dyed it. At least it covered some of it, so I didn't stand out so much like a torch.
I got lucky, though luck had seemingly been following me all day. One of the other watchers came into the airport. I had some slight suspicion then that the communist system wouldn't last all that much longer. I don't know if he was a member of the KGB, but a couple of years ago he had been the army officer who had instructed my class on how to use automatic weapons. Obviously, somebody had screwed up yet again. They didn't have a record of him teaching my class, or had ignored it.
He looked around and then headed for the washrooms, checking them one by one. By the time he reached the out of service one, I was waiting outside, hoping that the other watcher, if there was a third, wouldn't be close. The army officer was as dumb as the one in the washroom. He led me right to the third watcher. He was standing next to the car, bending down to talk with the driver through the window.
The army officer would have to be first, so I decided to get as close as possible before taking care of him. I was even with the back door before he even noticed me and went for his gun. The gun suddenly in my hand, gave a light phfft and the bullet caught him between the eyes. The driver was hampered by the steering wheel and he was even more helpless, as he was trying fruitlessly to draw his gun. A second phfft and he began to crumple forward. Now, I certainly didn't want him to land on the horn, so I pushed as hard as I could and he ended up falling to the side instead of on the steering wheel.
I got a cab and headed into town and when I saw a subway station, I had him stop. After watching him drive off, I took a subway ride. Well, five of them actually. By then, I was completely lost and I figured unless I had got unlucky and ended up back where I had started, it would take them a little time to find me.
Of course, by now the police were probably looking for a small red haired boy and if the service man had been observant, they'd even know I had green eyes.
I had to grin, I might not live much longer, but I'd go out with a bang. Everybody and their grandmother would be looking for me. By now, the police and the Russians, by morning definitely by the Stasi, the Romanians, the Bulgarians and the Chinese. That would probably bring out the FBI, the CIA and a few other US intelligence services, though they might never know why.
But my smile left then, I was coming down off the wire and while I was going to have to get back on, right now I had time to be sick and sad. I made it to a dumpster so at least what I threw up was going to go directly to the dump.
When my stomach had given its all, I wiped my mouth with my handkerchief and began to walk looking for a little solace. I found the Church of Saint Mark. Well a Catholic Church would do, I guess. I went in and putting some coins in, I lit three candles, then I sat in the last pew and wept for those I had killed.
After I was wept out, I just sat with my eyes closed. I wasn't particularly religious, an agnostic if anything, but there was a peace in most churches that I felt. I made a mental note to avoid them after this. That would be in my file.
I heard someone approaching me softly, but I wasn't disturbed. He was wearing sneakers and he knew every board that creaked. Without opening my eyes, I said, "Hello, Father." And opening my eyes I saw a large jolly priest who reminded me of Santa Clause, I took a few seconds and wondered what it would like to get presents.
"I didn't mean to disturb you…" He let a little pause there, where I could give my name or not.
I decided it really didn't matter, "Drew, Father and you didn't disturb me, I was going to leave in a few minutes anyway. In fact," looking at my watch, "I had better go." and I began to get back on my wire.
I was almost at the door when he called after me softly, "Will I see you again, young Drew?"
"I doubt it father. Goodbye." I said, shaking my head.
I removed the silencer and discarded it soon after I left the church, I didn't figure that I would need it again. Any more shooting would be either be so close I would need all the speed I had or at a distance, where I would need full accuracy and a used silencer is notoriously unreliable.
I looked my watch. Ten PM and I was starved. I was a little confused, I should feel more guilty. You should feel something for the people you killed. Well, I'd thrown up and cried for them and now I felt like they were behind me. I was to find out much later that was not the case, I was simply in survival mode and I needed to put those deaths behind me, or my chances of living, faint as they were, became even fainter.
There was a variety store ahead and I went in to get some things to eat. I got a loaf of bread and some ham and a small carton of milk and brought them to the counter. The young woman behind the counter was getting my change when the bell rang. The girl said, "What do you want, Chaco? Tomas told you not to come back."
"We want all your money, Maria and maybe you too." said the one she had called Chaco as I turned casually. There were three of them inside and I could see one outside. They were wired too, but not the same way as me, they were wired with drugs. Even drugged, they didn't intend to leave any live witnesses behind.
I moved a little to the side, away from Maria to where I could see the one outside a little better. Chaco looked at me, but when he saw how young I was, he ignored me. I wanted their attention on me. I grinned to myself, I was an excellent mimic and I remembered mimicking a parrot one time. That screeching voice was certainly attention getting.
I screeched, "Bastards!" in what I thought was a very good imitation. It certainly got their attention and their guns started to point in my direction. The automatic just flowed into my hand and spat three times. Ignoring them, as they were dead and no longer a problem, I brought the small automatic to shoulder level, to take careful aim. It spat once, to take out the window and I fired a second time. I chose a body shot thinking that there was a better chance at that distance.
I thought wrong, I don't know if it hit something or he was wearing body armor of some kind. I never did find out. He kept bringing up the shotgun he was holding. Shifting aim for a head shot, I just hoped I'd be able to get one shot off before he fired and he would fire even if it was just a reflex shot. I figured I was dead, my main concern now was for Maria. I got the shot off first, he was dead when he fired the shotgun and I felt something punch me in the chest. I began to go down and I was unconscious before I hit the floor.
I looked at the doctor who had been looking after me for the last couple of months, since I had woken up in what was obviously a safe house. I told her, "Go ahead. Show them in."
"I could try to stall them for a little longer." she said.
I said wryly, "Oh, don't bother, Amanda, they might as well get the bad news right now." and she nodded.
There were four of them, three men and a woman. Two of the men sat down, the third stood against the wall, the woman got out a stenographer's pad. One of the men said, "We want to know everything you know."
I said serenely, well aware that I could end up back in Russia and therefore dead for what I was saying, "The name I am known by is Andrew Knox, or Drew, I am in the latter half of my ninth year, or the beginning of my tenth, that is the equivalent of my name, rank and serial number and I'm afraid that's all you're going to get out of me. I killed in order to live and I would do it again, but despite the name I am Russian and while I don't approve of the methods they use, I seem to be a member of Russia's intelligence service and I don't intend to tell you anything."
I explained, "I will tell you a few things about me personally. I have been training for all of the life that I can remember. Since I am a child and obviously not physically capable of many things, except in the matter of small caliber weapons, while physical training was included, they concentrated on developing resistance to interrogation methods, such as hypnosis and drugs. It is possible that if you are willing to risk my death with drugs and/or hypnosis you might get a little of what I know out of me. But it will not be very much. To get any amount of coherent information which would help you I would need to be alert and helpful."
I pointed at the man leaning aagainst the wall and said, "For instance, as one example, I can recognize people by body language, without having to ever see their face, or if their face is hidden or disguised. That's how I know the man who is standing against the wall is the Stasi agent who gave me the comb knife."
came forward with a grin on his face. He shook his head, saying, "I
never counted on that stubborn Russian love of their country, no matter
how hard it's kicked them in the nuts. We'll advise the Russians that
you are alive and that you are unwilling to tell us anything. That we
will give you citizenship, but nothing else. That should convince them
that we're telling the truth. We have people that are willing to adopt
you. We will send the information directly to the head of the KGB. We
can't guarantee anything but without you becoming a traitor that is
the only way that you can be protected."
"What do you think, old friend, are they telling the truth?" asked the KGB head.
The Colonel nodded, saying, "Yes, it fits all of the profiles we have run on him over the years. They have already had him long enough to have drained him of any information that he might have had and we are aware of those areas. If any problems arise we will know if it could have come from him and deal with him then, but I don't believe we will find it necessary. It's a pity we had to abort the plan, but we did discover a double agent in the Stasi, so that's partial compensation."
His commander said, dryly, "Very well, Colonel, inform all of our agencies to remove his name from the Gold list and inform all our allies of that fact as well. If he is a patriot in spite of what we have done to him, we will let him live."
I sat in the pew and watched the four lighted candles burn for those I had killed at the variety store. I'm afraid I felt much less sorrow for them than I did for my fellow countrymen. But all seven would always be an ache in my heart. That did not mean I would not add to them if it became necessary to protect my new family.
Maria came in, followed by the priest, who still reminded me of Santa Clause. He stopped when he saw and recognized me. He turned to Maria, saying, "This is the new member of the family that you want baptized?"
Maria said, love in her voice, "Yes father, this is my new little brother, he said he had met you a while back. He is doing it partially to please us, but also he has never had a real name, so we would like him to be baptized Andrew Tomas Sanchez."
I know I returned it in the overflowing tears from my eyes. I cleared my throat not trying to brush away the tears, I had earned those tears and I wasn't ashamed of them. I told him, "I'm afraid you won't see me very often at Mass, Father, I'm still not a Catholic, but I will be here often. I find churches are very peaceful places to think. Perhaps we can have a debate, or," holding up the portable chess set that I had been given for what was now to be my birthday. I said with a grin, "more likely a chess match or two. I hear you play very well and I'm no slouch myself."
He grinned at me, "Well that may be a start, Andrew Tomas Sanchez. That may be a start."
Janet said, "It doesn't sound like a very realistic movie but it sounds like an important part to me."
I said a little impatiently, "Don't be silly. It's got Charles Lang in it. Do you think it's going to be anything like the story? Even I know he's a huge star. I just want the time off school."
She warned me, "I imagine it'll be pretty boring."
"I'd rather spend two boring days doing anything else than two days with Champion." I stated emphatically. "Besides I can always read."
She told me, "Okay, I'll contact Hitchcock at the office that I won't be in Monday and maybe Tuesday as well and I'll take you down."
"Thanks, Janet. I owe you one. Bye." I told her before hanging up the phone.
It was a madhouse when we arrived at Classica Studios at eight o'clock, but it was something that I was ready for, since it wouldn't be the first time I had accompanied a child to an audition. Only about a third of them were redheads.
Darby looking them over with interest, said, "The casting agent that gave me the binder said they'd probably choose an experienced actor and just dye his hair for the movie."
Most of the kids looked excited or nervous, with a few calm ones here and there and Darby was completely calm. In fact, except for the night that his parents were killed in the car accident and the day of their funeral, I had rarely seen him anything but calm. From what I had heard of his earlier childhood, that was the type of personality that he had. I was aware from the people at Carrington House that he did have a temper which could erupt occasionally.
I got a questionnaire and a card with a pin on the back which said number two hundred. I pinned the card on his T shirt. He looked down at it and read it upside down. Darby asked, "With that high a number, what do you think? Tomorrow maybe?"
I thought it over, telling him, "It depends, if they really know what they want, it'll probably go fairly fast. If they're just looking, it might go more slowly so we could wait most of the day and then be told to come back tomorrow."
After we filled out the questionnaire and gave it back to the receptionist, I got out the book I had brought with me. Scarlett, by Alexandra Ripley, the sequel to Gone With the Wind. I tried to get into it a couple of times but hadn't succeeded, so I brought it with me. I figured that anything would be better than the boredom of waiting for the audition. Darby opened his cherished copy of Treasure Island again.
A few minutes later I was conscious of one of the small boys standing in front of Darby and just watching him. He noticed me looking at him and he gestured at Darby, asking, "Is he really that calm? I only seen a few kids who could actually read though most of the kids have video games."
I observed, "You don't seem very excited yourself."
He shrugged, saying, "I'm nine, but I look seven so I look much too young for the part, but my mother insisted on me coming anyway. I'm Brent Daily. I seen a kid at the library reading to the younger kids. Is that him?" He looked a little embarrassed and I thought with amusement that he knew it was, he just didn't want to admit he had ever stopped to listen.
I held out my hand and he took it and we shook hands. I told him, "Well Brent Daily, he does spend Saturday mornings every second week at the library reading to the kids."
I nudged Darby and he turned his head, his large expressive green eyes looking at me questioningly. I motioned to the smaller boy, saying, "This is Brent Daily and he knows you from the library."
Darby said solemnly, "My mom, when she was alive, was a librarian and a storyteller. I thought it would be a good way to remember her and I volunteered. I think they were skeptical at first but I must have done all right since I've been doing it for almost a year now."
Brent said with obvious embarrassment, "Could you read a little? Auditions are always boring; especially if you know in advance that you ain't gonna get the part.
looked at him calmly and then nodded and began to read Treasure Island.
I'd heard him read to children on several occasions, that's why I wasn't
as sure as he was that he wouldn't get the part.
The Old Buccaneer 1
The Old Sea-dog at the Admiral Benbow
SQUIRE TRELAWNEY, Dr. Livesey and the rest of these gentlemen having asked me to write down the whole particulars about Treasure Island, from the beginning to the end, keeping nothing back but the bearings of the island,'
Soon he had a couple of dozen small boys sitting cross-legged on the floor in front of him listening spellbound while he performed Treasure Island for them. And a performance it was as the characters came to life as the story was told with an English accent by Darby acting as Jim Hawkins.
I'd never had more fun at an audition in my life. I was number 180 and I wasn't called until almost three-thirty, but that gave Darby a chance to finish Treasure Island. I'd read it too, but I wanted to get home and read it again, so for the first time ever I went into the office feeling cheerful. It helped of course that I knew that I wasn't going to get the part.
But I was grinning widely. Stanley Chase the director, who was a friend of my father, looked at me with curiosity. He asked, "What are so you so happy about Brent, you know you look too young for the part?"
I said intently, "That's all right Mr. Chase, I had the funnest time I've ever had. There's a kid out there. His name is Darby Peters. He was reading Treasure Island for us and he just finished about ten minutes ago." I hesitated for a moment, "That doesn't tell it the way he really did it. He performed all of Treasure Island, all of the people's voices and everything and he used an English accent for everyone." I said with enthusiasm.
I explained, "You could tell he enjoyed it, yet at the same time he wasn't trying to get attention or anything. He reads to the kids at our library branch every second Saturday and I've been with my younger brother and sister a couple of times. they love the way he tells stories." I went bright red and I had to be honest. "Actually I like to listen as well, though I try to stay out of sight."
Mr. Lang asked, "You've been around actors all your life Brent; give me your honest opinion of this kid?"
I thought about it for a few minutes, then said, "If his ability shows up on film, he'll steal the movie right out from under you Mr. Lang."
He laughed, saying, "This is a secret Brent, but though we've been telling the kids that the story will probably be different, we intend to film it the way the story reads. I'm just going to be doing a cameo. Maybe we can use you in the classroom scene."
I said enthusiastically, "Gee, thanks, Mr. Lang. I won't say anything until you actually call, just in case you decide to change that scene or cut it."
I'm afraid we rushed through the next nineteen to get to Darby Peters, but there were no standouts anyway. I was somewhat surprised when Darby came in that a Ms. Peterson came in as well. Stanley just nodded to her, so obviously he knew her.
He said to me, "Charlie, Ms. Peterson is from Children's Services. In other words she's a social worker and that I would assume would make Darby a ward of the state."
Darby nodded. He explained, "My father and mother and sister were killed in a car accident two years ago, so I'm an orphan."
Ms. Peterson said with a grin, "And we have no objection to children making money by appearing in television or movies, as long as the normal labor laws for child actors are followed. The first child that I attended an audition with five years ago was named Elizabeth Cole and she was thirteen at the time. She changed her name and became a big star. You know her as Liv Everest. So being a orphan needn’t be a detriment, Mr. Lang.”
I would say not. I'd been in a film two years ago with her and if I hadn't been confident in my own talents of an actor she would have blown me away. I looked into Darby's big green eyes and they were very calm. He recognized me but obviously he wasn't intimidated one iota. Which was a relief from a lot of the boys I had seen today who showed the hero worship that a major star often gets even from other actors.
I asked about one of the questions that we had included on the questionnaire, "I see here that you're familiar with handguns. Some of the other boys answered yes to this question as well. They've all had some experience at acting and have had some instruction in handling firearms."
Darby moved forward and picked up the gun off of the desk. He said, "Since nobody was worried that this was actually pointed at Mr. Lang, I assume that it's a replica?" He said reprovingly, "You still shouldn't have had it pointed at anyone."
I covered my grin with my hand, but he was right, we shouldn't have. Following action to words he pointed the gun at the floor and making sure the safety was on he slipped out the clip and put it on the desk and then moved the slide to eject a bullet if there had been one in the chamber. He slipped the clip back into the handgun which was a replica of a thirty-two caliber automatic.
He told us how he had gained experience with guns, "My father was a police officer. A captain of detectives. He felt that if children had some familiarity with real guns then accidental shootings might not happen as frequently as they do. He taught both my sister and I how to handle guns. While he was still alive, he took us both down to the police shooting range once a week to shoot." He giggled, "He always pretended to be annoyed that we could both outshoot him, but you could tell he was proud of the fact. Usually one of his friends in the department takes me down about once a month and I get to shoot." There was a bit of sadness in his green eyes, "It brings back days when they were still alive."
Stanley said sympathetically, "You don't seem reluctant to talk about it. I've seen kids who just lost one parent and all they want to do is forget about it."
Darby shook his head, explaining, "That wouldn't be fair to my parents or my sister. Both my mother and father were only children and as far as I know I don't have any other relatives. They don't have any other family to remember them and if I don't talk about them they disappear in a way." he continued reflectively, "They were older than most parents of kids my age, my father was fifty-seven and my mother was fifty-one. Most of their friends from the department were about the same age, though not all and they had families much earlier so most of their kids were much older than Sharon and I. I was eight and Sharon was fourteen."
Darby told us, "I was having a sleepover with a friend from school and Mom and Dad and Sharon went to a movie. On their way back from the show, the pickup truck beside them ran over something and blew a tire. It sideswiped them and pushed them into the oncoming lane of traffic. They were hit head on by a transport truck and they were all killed instantly."
Stanley said, "I've heard about Carrington House. They have what are..." and he hesitated.
"Hard to place boys, Mr. Chase." Janet said, with a grin. "Darby is not really in that category, except he's stubborn. He refuses simply to be a duty for someone, no matter how much they like the children they take care of, so he's refused to go into foster homes. He says its adoption or nothing."
I looked at Darby and he said serenely, "I made a promise to my parents and my sister when I was at their funeral. I wouldn't accept anything less than I had with them. It has to be a family, nothing less will be acceptable. I know what being in a loving family was like and believe me cops who are married very frequently have family problems. Yet my parents had been married for thirty-one years and they still acted like newlyweds at times. I know the older I get the less likelihood of it happening and I can accept the fact that it probably won't happen."
We talked for a little while longer getting to know Darby and I wondered it someone with such a calm personality could show the type of emotion that actors needed, despite what Brent said. But when we got to the actual audition, I found he could. In fact he could do it very easily, as easily as some adult actors and more easily than any child I had ever known. It was something that had taken me years to learn and I'd gone to many auditions before I learned it well enough that I could turn it on and off at will.
I could see Stanley was just as impressed as I was by Darby. He said, "Some directors like to film these auditions. I don't. I like to be able to concentrate on each child. I have eight definite call-backs up to now and I'd like Darby to be number nine. Those will be on Thursday and when I've finished going through the rest of the kids over the next two days, there'll probably be about thirty. They'll be divided in three sections and my assistants will run the film auditions and they'll spend about a half an hour to an hour with each boy, so it'll be a longer day for some. They'll be using both video tape and film and I won't be anywhere near the studio that day."
He explained, "I like to see the films all at the same time and though there will be about thirty different auditions, some simply won't be what I'm looking for. Others show abilities in person that just don't show up on film so those two categories can be eliminated fairly quickly. When I've finished I'll have two boys, one chosen to be in the film and an understudy."
Darby looked a little alarmed. He said hesitantly, "I never really expected to get even this close to be chosen, I just wanted a day from school and my teacher."
I was curious, "What if you are chosen Darby, what will you do?"
He sighed and gave a little rueful grin, "By coming down here, I made a commitment. If I'm chosen then like the contract I made with my family, I have to fulfill it to the best of my ability."
I gave an internal sigh of relief and looking at Stanley I could see he was feeling the same way I was. If Darby showed well on film, he was the chosen one in my estimation.
After I was finished with the opening scene in the classroom I changed out of the briefs and a tanktop into jeans and a T shirt for the scene in the variety store. Some of the other kids were getting into various costumes for their auditions as well, though only a few of them were trying out for the part of Drew. It wasn’t a very private place to change, not that it bothered me since I was used to dressing and undressing in front of other boys.
I was sitting lacing up the sneakers when the prop man came in with a holster and an automatic pistol.
After I put the holster on we took a couple of minutes getting it into exactly the right position and then he handed me the gun, telling me, “This isn’t a real gun, nor is it a replica. It’s really a high tech cap pistol. While the noise doesn’t really sound like a gun it does make a satisfactory bang.”
Despite that I made sure the safety was on and it was though I didn’t know if it would stop the gun from firing since it wasn’t a real gun. Still it felt like a gun and I certainly didn’t intended to point it at anyone until I had to during the rest of the audition. I put it into the shoulder holster.
I heard Mr. Lang say from behind me with amusement in his voice, “I see he’s demonstrating that he knows what he’s doing, Eddie.”
The prop man said easily, “Sometimes I want to strangle some of the people around here, when I see the way they handle guns. I’ve been around a long time, Charlie. Ever since that actor killed himself using a gun filled with blanks in the eighties, I’m always worried that it might happen again. It’s nice to see someone who knows what he’s doing for a change. Someone who takes precautions even though it’s not a real gun.”
I said to the two of them, “As I said to Mr. Lang and Mr. Chase, my father was a police officer and I wasn’t allowed to play with toy guns. He said that if it looked like a gun, it was a gun and they weren’t something you played with. I didn’t mind. Ever since I was six I’ve been firing real guns. Once a week while my father was alive and usually about once a month since then.”
Mr. Lang who had moved around in front of me nodded with approval and so did Eddie. He said, “Chuck asked me to come and get you, Darby.”
picking up the windbreaker and putting it on. Mr. Lang led the way and
I followed him. I doubted that he was used as a gofer very often and
I knew then that if I showed up well on film that the part was mine.
Suddenly I wanted it, with an ache of longing so deep that the only
thing I could compare it to was wanting my parents and sister after
they were killed; only this was something within my grasp.
Chuck Winchester had given me directions, on what I should do. Compared to the classroom scene it was very minimal directions. Deliberately so. They were placing a lot on the shoulders of the actor who would play Drew and they wanted to know how I’d react.
When they got to the point where Drew had to parrot a parrot, he said, “Don’t worry about really sounding like a parrot, Darby that will probably be put in later by the sound effects guys.”
at him for a moment and then in the raucous voice of a parrot I said,
“Awkk, no need, no need.” which broke up the crew and actors who
were waiting until Chuck finished his directions. It also relieved some
of the tension I had been starting to feel and as a grin showed on the
faces of Chuck and Charles Lang, I felt much calmer.
I don’t know about the other kids but it only took me one take. I heard ‘Quiet on the set!’ and then ‘Action!’ from Chuck and I opened the door and entered glancing up as the bell rung and then looking around casually the way that I knew Drew would have been taught, taking in everything locating anything that might be a danger to him. Taking note that there was only a young Latino woman behind the counter. I nodded to her in a friendly fashion and she nodded back.
Going over to the coolers I picked up a loaf of bread sitting on a shelf as I went by. As I looked inside the coolers I didn’t try to rush, as I got a package of ham and a pint of milk and then carried everything to the counter.
The young woman behind the counter was getting my change when the bell rang and three young hoodlums entered. The girl said, "What do you want, Chaco! Tomas told you not to come back!" she said in a sharp voice.
"We want all your money, Maria and maybe you too." said the one she had called Chaco as I turned casually. There were three of them inside and I could see one outside. They were wired too, but not the same way as me, they were wired with drugs and even drugged, they didn't intend to leave any live witnesses behind.
I moved a little to the side, away from Maria to where I could see the one outside a little better. Chaco looked at me, but when he saw how young I was he ignored me. I wanted their attention on me. I grinned to myself, I was an excellent mimic and I remembered mimicking a parrot one time. That screeching voice was certainly attention getting I was thinking to myself, completely into the part of Drew.
I screeched, "Bastards!" in what I thought was a very good imitation. It certainly got their attention and their guns started to point in my direction. The automatic just flowed into my hand and spat three times. Ignoring them, they were dead and no longer a problem, I brought the small automatic to shoulder level, to take careful aim. It spat once, to take out the window and I fired a second time. I chose a body shot thinking that there was a better chance at that distance.
I thought wrong, I don't know if it hit something or he was wearing body armor of some kind. I never did find out. He kept bringing up the shotgun he was holding. Shifting aim for a head shot, I just hoped I'd be able to get one shot off before he fired and he would fire even if it was just a reflex shot. I figured I was dead, my main concern now was for Maria. I got the shot off first, he was dead when he fired the shotgun and I felt something punch me in the chest and I began to go down and I was unconscious before I hit the floor or at least Drew was and for the moment I was Drew and the thoughts I had had were Drew’s thoughts. The feelings I had had were Drew’s feelings.
I stayed motionless, until I heard, ‘Cut!’ and I was suddenly Darby again and I got to my feet slowly. Nothing so intense had ever happened to me before when I was reading to the kids at the library. Though I had told the stories as if I was part of them, I had never been so completely into the story as I had been into Drew’s story. For a while there I had actually been Drew.
I would learn in the future how to put a scene behind me when it was over. Or if it was necessary to do it over and over again, each time it was fresh to me and it never got boring, but right now it was a little overwhelming.
Charles Lang put his arm around my shoulders and pulled me to him. It had been a long time since a man had hugged me and it felt right and it felt good.
It was a very quiet group who went through the cafeteria lineup. I only took a bowl of Jello and David and Isaac who were following me did the same.
I made the way to our usual table and put down my tray knowing that I wouldn’t be eating the Jello. Sitting down I ignored the others and picking up my spoon I poked the Jello, imagining it was my teacher. I brought it up over my head and I was going to do something stupid, but fortunately Isaac grabbed my wrist, before I could bring the spoon down as hard as I could.
At twelve he was much bigger than I was and I didn’t even try to get free. He said to me in a tense voice, “Don’t be stupid Drew. They’re watching us; if we overreact that’ll be noted on our record.”
I nodded allowing the anger to flow out of me fear and sorrow replacing it. He released my wrist as he felt the tension leaving me. I spoke quietly as I brought my hand down, “Teacher also will note it if we don’t react.” And I nodded at Paul and Benjamin who were shoveling down the food as if nothing had happened.
Isaac sighed, saying, “I know.” looking at the two boys with disgust, “And I don’t know whether he’ll be happy with their reaction or not?” he left it there.
Davy said to us, “Why? Why did he do that?”
Isaac said unhappily, “All of our lives we’ve been brought up to talk act and to think like American kids, to a certain extent. Some of us have begun to forget that we’re really Russian. He wanted to remind us a way that we’d never forget and to make sure that we realize that he’s someone to be feared. Always.”
I said as I saw the tears in Davy’s eyes, “I never forget what I am. I’m Russian and I love my country. We’re being trained but we don’t know how we’ll be used. Maybe they’ll put us in as sleepers, maybe to be used once and then discarded. I dread the thought of maybe going to a country that isn’t mine. At night I think about what it would be like and I imagine myself there. I’m so homesick just thinking about it that I cry myself to sleep.”
I took a deep breath and let it out slowly looking at Davy. He was only a little younger than I was but he was very small for his age and looked younger than he really was. I said, “I think it’s all right to cry Davy.” My eyes were beginning to overflow and the hot tears trickled down my cheeks and silently Davy’s began to flow as well.
Chuck Winchester had done the screen tests for the ones that they had figured most likely to provide the young actor they were looking for. He was Stanley’s chief assistant. He said, "This is the one Stan, Mr. Lang," and as I frowned at him he said sheepishly, "ah sorry, Charlie. You can go over the others later to find an understudy. But this kid has it over all the others."
Stan looked at me and grinned, "Do you want to bet on who it is?"
I shook my head and smiled back, telling him, "No takers. It's a sucker bet."
Stan said, "Dim the lights and run it please, Hank." to the projectionist and the film began to run.
There was a scene of a classroom and then it showed a clapboard. It said No. 200 Darby Peters. Then the scene opened showing it from the back of the classroom and Darby was standing easily and gracefully. He was wearing a pair of black briefs and a white tank top that would be worn at a ballet school as it said in the story. It had certainly seemed more Russian somehow. At the front of the classroom were two men, in this case they were simply wearing civilian clothes though one was wearing a hood and they were speaking in Russian.
Suddenly we weren't just watching we were actually there, or at least I was as Darby was listening to the two men, suddenly his whole body seemed to tense up, yet nothing in his pose changed. The camera swung around to show a close up of his face and his lips were trembling and there was terror in his green eyes.
And then his terror and tension was gone and serenity seemed to claim him as he accepted the fact that his own people planned to kill him, instead determination was there in his eyes. He might die, but now that he knew he was going to be killed, he would try to stay alive using whatever means necessary. Even though it was only a screen test, my heart went out to Andrew Knox and there were tears in my eyes.
I shook myself back to reality as the rest of the scene played out and then the screen went blank. Stan said huskily, "I've seen thousands of screen tests and that never happened to me before. He drew me right into the screen and captured my emotions instantly. I've seen other actors who could do it, but never an untrained child and never so quickly."
Chuck said and his voice was a little husky as well, "I've watched it more than a dozen times. Yet each time I felt I was actually there as he hears his death sentence pronounced and the sudden terror he felt and then his acceptance and his determination to stay alive. All that without him saying a word."
To say that I was shocked that I got the part was the understatement of all time. I was still astonished when the first cast and crew meeting was held. It was a closed door meeting and I guess it was a little unusual.
Stanley Chase held up the script, which was being handed out to everyone. He told us, "All of you have read the story that this script was based on. Most of you got the impression that it would be much different from the story. It isn't. As it reads in the story so it reads in the script, aside from several scenes which the author added to flesh out the story." he said sourly.
"Both Charles Lang," he said nodding to the actor who was sitting on his right, "and I had a commitment of one more film with Classica Films. Classica has always produced schlock, but they occasionally had some decent film projects, which Charles and I managed to snag. They wanted to extend our contracts for another three films aside from that one. We had no intention of doing so, not after the way the company has gone downhill in the last two or three years. So we said no."
Stanley paused and said, "So the management of Classica set out to cut our throats. Symbolically of course. They gave us an unrealistic story and gave script approval to the author who adapted his story, almost word for word for the screen. He considers himself a brilliant author and when I tried to get some script changes made he declined."
He explained, "The budget is miniscule and since Classica thinks it's going to flop, both Charles and I are taking a share of the profits instead of our usual pay just to get rid of the obligation. A large share and they've even given us fifty percent of the video revenues." He grinned like a shark. "We intend to share profits liberally with cast and crew."
Stanley told us, "Some points to ponder that Charles and I agree on. 1. The story seems to be a bit 'childish' but Drew has some amazingly adult behavior and thoughts – even given his rather special upbringing. The fact that he knows he's going to be sick after the killings, but he has no time for it, so he goes on and ends up vomiting hours later. Vomiting is a reflex, you either vomit or you don't. Delayed reactions could be breakdown, unstoppable crying, losing interest in everything about him and so on and so on. 2. Drew working as a courier. I doubt if they would need a human courier even in nineteen-seventy-eight. Microdot photography was fully developed, so simply using the mail would be far more efficient. 3. And no, I don't think it's likely that Drew would believe that the teacher doesn't know he understands Russian."
saying, "Now given that assessment, it doesn't mean that we can't
produce a decent film. In fact I think we can do more than that, I think
we can produce an outstanding little film. Which is why Charles and
I accepted the profit sharing deal that Classica gave us. I did get
permission from the author to add two words. So the actual title is
going to be 'The Kid From Moscow' and below that 'An Allegory'. That
changes the way the film will be looked at. Instead of being an accurate
representation of Soviet Russia, it's a symbolic representation of what
a certain part of it was like. Here's a dictionary definition of allegory
- a symbolic work: a work in which the characters and events are
to be understood as representing other things and symbolically expressing
a deeper, often spiritual, moral, or political meaning."
The next two and a half months were the most exhausting time I had ever spent not physically but emotionally, yet at the same time it was the most satisfying. It pulled at me all of the time. That was because I was in almost every scene and occasionally I blew my top. I didn't have red hair for nothing. Fortunately it only took me a few minutes to calm down.
Charles Lang was there almost every day, even though he only had a small part and he helped me enormously. However, I was amused to notice that he and Janet Peterson spent an awful lot of time together. I wasn't surprised when at the end of the shooting schedule they ended up getting married by a judge. There was only Stanley Chase as the best man, Diana Sanchez who played Maria in the film was maid of honor and I was the ring bearer.
I was happy for her but somewhat sad as well, since I no longer had her to phone when I was feeling down. After that I returned to Carrington House and things went back to normal. I almost forgot the film that I had been in though I appreciated the new computers that I had been able to get for Carrington House as a condition in my contract.
I almost decided to skip the press premiere of ‘The Kid From Moscow’. Classica Films hadn't produced anything worth watching in years. Even with Stanley Chase as the Director and Charles Lang in a small role I didn't figure it would be worth going to, but I changed my mind at the last moment. It was the quietest premiere I had ever been to and the only thing they had provided the press was of course Press Kits.
I nodded to a few of my colleagues as I sat down. I figured the only consolation was the fact that the Rialto had decent popcorn.
The light dimmed and the film started and I was startled that Charles Lang's name wasn't over the title. It just said ‘The Kid From Moscow’ and then ‘An Allegory’. ‘Starring Darby Peters as Andrew Knox’ and the rest of the names were in alphabetical order. I thought who the hell was Darby Peters.
I soon found out. From the moment the young red haired, green-eyed kid appeared on the screen I was mesmerized, by his acting. That wasn’t completely accurate, because he didn’t seem to be acting. He had an easy way on the screen that only the best actors could emulate. That was usually the result of years if not decades, of acting in films. He could have dominated the film with his ability to convey his feelings and emotions and the film would have been unbalanced. Instead it had seemed to galvanize the other actors and they rose to his level, skillfully directed by Stanley Chase.
There was no doubt he was always the primary figure as at the beginning we tasted his fear and then his determination and then when he landed in New York his repugnance yet his resolution as he was forced to kill to survive. His calm in the church and then his determination to protect a young female shop clerk who he didn't even know.
And you knew when he missed the first shot on the fourth young thug that he knew he was going to die. Yet resolutely he shifted the gun he had used so effectively to take a head shot and the reflex as the thug was hit in the head but fired his shotgun and Drew went down.
The relief as we see him several weeks later, unwilling to betray the country which had betrayed him, knowing he could have been returned to Russia for refusing. Our relief as we see him in the church with Maria and the priest, holding up the chess set.
As the lights came up I looked down at my popcorn which I had forgotten I had. I saw Paul Witten of KBC speaking to Chuck Winchester and I saw Winchester nod and then he disappeared for a few minutes.
I was absorbed in reading about young Darby Peters from the Press Kit when an announcement came over the PA system. "Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press. Paul Witten was somewhat stunned by the film and he requested another viewing. We have arranged to have it shown again. Anyone who wishes to see it a second time, it will start in fifteen minutes."
I got up and went to the bathroom as many of my colleagues were doing and I was planted firmly in my seat to watch the second showing a few minutes later.
I was astonished when I was woken up at five o’clock in the morning by Charles Lang and his new wife Janet Peterson-Lang the Saturday morning after the premiere, stuffed into my clothes then whisked away to the Los Angeles Marriott Downtown. Not because I was an orphan, in fact Charlie’s publicist was quite happy with my status.
the first lines of some stories that appeared in the major papers across
the country over the next couple of weeks.
‘Orphan Darby Peters makes astonishing debut in new film, The Kid From Moscow.’
‘Darby Peters, an orphan himself, plays an orphan in the new film, The Kid From Moscow. It’s getting rave reviews from critics across the country.’
‘Darby Peters makes his first appearance in a moving little film, that critics are calling an instant classic, The Kid From Moscow. When it opens nationwide this weekend it’s expected to go to number one at the Box Office.’
It did and it stayed there for five straight weeks and in total it made over two hundred fifty million dollars world wide before going to video. By then it had destroyed the careers of the top executives of Classica Studios. If you remember they gave most of the profits to Stanley and Charlie and even fifty percent of the video rights and the stockholders sure weren’t happy about that.
In fact the stockholders offered the top job to Stanley. He wrestled with the idea for a couple of weeks, then decided to accept the job. He figures that even with the type of films that Classica is committed to producing over the next year; the studio can make them into something decent.
In fact my new father Charles Lang and I are making a film for Stan. It’s a horror movie and it’s called ‘A Werewolf in the Family’. After discovering all my new relatives after they saw me in my first film, Charlie and Janet and I know that it’s even more unrealistic than 'The Kid From Moscow'.
Robby looked over at Tal Peters when he finished reading the report on the computer monitor. He said, “Darby has an interesting story to tell. We’ve never had a major werewolf movie star before, though there are a couple of big television stars. His new father and mother took the news quite calmly I’m glad to say.” He mused, “I don’t know why Darby and his sister didn’t change when they were younger. I didn’t have to do any Healing. I just had to teach him how to change.”
Tal said, “It’s even more surprising since we know from Darby that both of his parent’s were full werewolves and could both change. I know Darby’s grandfather, Evan Peters, couldn’t change though he was a full werewolf and like many werewolves in such a position he abandoned our society completely.”
Robby leaned back in his chair stroking Blue. He said, “From the reports we’ve gotten on your Uncle Evan and others, he was a very morose and introverted individual. The report on Darby’s father Hugh said he was a very stable and calm individual. Also a very honorable one. If Evan had asked him to promise not to get in touch with other werewolves it’s very likely that he wouldn’t. We've inquired among Los Angeles Elders and they didn’t know his parents were werewolves. They were able to hide it.”
He said, “They know that Darby’s mother and father were childhood sweethearts. She was raised by her aunt and uncle after her parents died of cancer in the early fifties. They were a little eccentric to put it mildly. I wonder?” suddenly his eyes went blank and his hand went completely still, as he went into a trance. It only lasted a few moments and his eyes came alive again.
There was a smile of amusement on his face, as he said, “He was reportedly as difficult to get along with as Len’s father. We know he had Elder potential, but he told the Elder’s who invited him to join them, to get lost, in no uncertain fashion. It would be very interesting to know if Darby's grandfather on his mother’s side, might have had the potential to be a Healer. We know that he and his elder brother and their wives came from somewhere in Europe before the Second World War and we know nothing else about them, not even their original name, only that they used the name Richards.”
Robby told Tal, “If he had developed the ability of a Healer he probably wouldn’t have revealed it, he disliked people too much for that. Jaguar Elders have developed a means of bypassing the kitten stage in young jaguar weres. If he was a Healer, he may have developed a means of doing the same for young werewolf children, though he probably wouldn’t have known about jaguar weres. As a Healer there are ways to stop an Elder from reading a person’s aura, since it’s our minds that create a were’s aura. Blocking a certain area of the brain would do that. If his niece was a Healer as well, he could have taught her how to do the same for her children, her husband and herself.”
Robby shrugged his shoulders, “It doesn’t really matter. The Council is aware that it can be done. I can do both and so can Aaron and Uni acting together. We’re never been asked to do so and it’ll probably always be a very rare request. I’ll append his report to mine and send it to the Council.”