Zzzaney said she wanted one Fraser and lots of Rays.
Mary Sue liked almost everything about her job as a famous theatrical director. But one thing did irk her. She hated cattle calls auditions. When she was just an aspiring young actress, so many years ago, she always felt demeaned to have to show up at some theatre, wait around for hours with a bunch of other hopeful thespians, only to get a couple of minutes on stage in front of some director who looked upon her as just another animal to be inspected.
Now she was the one sitting in the position of power in the almost empty rows of seats, surrounded by her assistant director (who went, for her own reasons, by the unlikely name of The Moo), her producer and her designer. She still felt sorry for the young men waiting on the stage. But she realized now, seeing it from the point of view of a director, what an excellent opportunity this was to see new talent, fresh faces, and lots of them at the same time. No, cattle calls weren't fun, but they sometimes yielded some interesting surprises.
"I guess we can start now," said Mary Sue to anybody within hearing distance. She picked up her clipboard and climbed the few stairs onto the stage where men in their twenties and thirties, all fit and good looking, were milling about waiting for someone to tell them what to do.
"So, lets be clear that everybody here is in the right place. These are the auditions for "Cross-border Cops". Comedy/Action/Drama in three acts. We're casting for the two principals roles today: a Mountie and an American cop. So, listen up, those who are here for the Mountie, Fraser. Anybody here know what a Mountie is?"
Replies fell into three categories: apple-polishers raised their hands enthusiastically, smart-alex's sniggered at the double entendre, honest men shrugged.
"It's a Royal Canadian Mounted Policeman. Anybody know Dudley Do-Right?"
All hands went up.
"Right, but I want him smart, sexy and sitting on his horse the right way around. All those auditioning for Fraser, please go over and stand stage left now." Mary Sue made a mental note of the men who didn't know what she meant by that and resolved not to hire them. About half of the men on stage moved off to one side.
"Now, the rest of you are auditioning for the part of the American side-kick called Ray. I haven't decided on the image I have in mind for him yet, so feel free to be creative with the script. All you Rays, please go stage right."
They did, and stood waiting, respectfully.
"Frasers, you can now go offstage. The Moo will take care of you." The Frasers drifted off the stage. Mary Sue motioned her second in command to deal with them. The Moo picked up her own clipboard and joined the Fraser wanna-be's in the wings.
One by one, the Moo called out the names on her clipboard and each actor identified himself. There was quite a variety of Frasers of many sizes, colours and shapes. One name remained un-ticked after she finished the role call.
"Gross, Paul. Is he here?"
Nobody answered to that name. The Moo prepared to cross him off her list. No great loss. There were plenty of other future Mounties from which to choose. Just at that moment a man came rushing in and apologized for being late.
"You would be Gross?" inquired The Moo.
"I hope not." The other men sniggered and The Moo caught on to the pun. * Great * she thought, * a class clown. * She pencilled in a tiny 'no' beside his name. Mary Sue wouldn't like his attitude. She liked to run a tight ship, her actors to be afraid of her, and all wisecracking left up to her, as boss. "Stand there with the others please, Gross." The late arrival complied.
Gross looked around at all the other men competing against him for the part and met their eyes one by one. In turn, each looked over the newcomer and compared him mentally to himself. Each one realized he was no match for this Gross guy and told The Moo "Never mind, I'm leaving." Within minutes, Gross was the only man left waiting in the wings to audition for the part of the Mountie. The Moo erased the 'no' out of necessity.
"You can just wait here until you are called," The Moo informed Gross. "That's a pretty interesting stage name, by the way. 'Paul' - 'small' in Latin, and 'Gross' - 'big' in a bunch of other languages. Small Big. You want to be like Red Green when you grow up? Or maybe get a part as 'Little Big Man'?" She left him alone and went back to sit down in her own seat beside Mary Sue in the front-of-house. She wished someone else would show up to audition for the part. This Gross was just too cocky for his own good.
Mary Sue had finished her own role call and sat back down in her own place, ready to audition the Rays.
"This is the scene were Ray and Fraser meet in the police station in Chicago. The Moo here will read Fraser's lines. Like I said before, I've still got an open mind about just how Ray's going to come across. Impress me, gentlemen."
The Moo climbed on stage and the scenes began. It took three hours to get through all the Rays. The Moo had been coached to deliver the line 'The dead Mountie was my father' absolutely deadpan. Of all the bits, Mary Sue most wanted to see how each actor would play this particular business. It would be the key to the interaction of the two lead players.
When it was all over, the Rays were sent home with promises that their agents would be called in due course. Mary Sue, The Moo, the producer and the designer discussed what they had seen.
"I'm leaning towards the blond, skinny one with the stupid hair. I see him needy but not weak, street-fighter but with the soul of a poet." suggested the producer.
The Moo suggested the tall Italian. Family man. Self-assured. More of a leader. Better comedy between him and the na´ve Mountie.
But Mary-Sue's word was law and they all waited breathlessly.
"I'll have to flip a coin. We'll take the winner and if later he walks out over money we'll have the other as back up." She was always so practical.
"It's getting late," Mary Sue continued. "The Moo, go tell the Frasers to come back tomorrow at ten."
The Moo was afraid to disobey Mary Sue, but she just had to speak up. "Mary Sue, there is only one Fraser out there. The rest went home. It was just like in Mary Poppins - you know when all the other women applying to be the nanny get blown away in a wind and only Mary Poppins is left - so she gets the job."
Mary Sue's became angry. "What! I'm not going to be pressured into hiring some shmoe just because the others left. No way. Send him packing and put out another call. Bloody nerve . . ."
"Look, Mary Sue" said the producer, "the guy's been waiting more than three hours. Only fair to give him a chance."
The producer had a point, so Mary Sue told The Moo to bring Gross out on stage.
"Small Big, front and centre!" The Moo called out.
Mary Sue made him stand still in front of them so she could read his body type. This was going to be the sex object of the play - she needed to feel how his vibes worked across the house.
Mary Sue had somebody rugged in mind, who had come from the Canadian wilds. This guy was just way too delicate. No chin. No shoulders. Tiny hands. Little boy face. Still, a lot of women did find that attractive. Would be an interesting experiment to cast this sweetie as a the Mountie and see what happened. As a final test, she asked him to roll up his sleeves so she could see his forearms.
That did it! The forearms were the most amazing she had ever seen in her life! Shoulders, chin, any other body parts were just not important compared to those god-like arms. * I must have him! * she thought. She actually had in mind two versions of 'having him' and only one version was professional.
Then she had him read the scene, with The Moo as Ray. His acting was as amazing as his arms. Mary Sue had no doubts left.
"Gross." she addressed him from her seat while he stood, respectfully, on the stage.
"I'm offering you the part of Fraser. The Moo will be contacting your agent. Any questions."
"No questions, thank you kindly."
"Good. Just one other thing. I'd like you to wait here for a while until everybody goes home. I have some suggestions about the character I'd like to give you privately."
"Understood. I'd love to have your..." he emphasized the word " ...suggestions."
Everybody knew exactly what Mary Sue had in mind. It wasn't the first time she had wanted to give her leading men such suggestions. Nor did the men ever seem to mind. Mary Sue was one of the most attractive women in show biz, and combined with her power, as director, to make or break the fortunes of so many others, all men found her mesmerizing.
When all the others were gone, Small Big sat down beside Mary Sue. He leaned over and started licking her right ear lobe. Mary Sue liked that very much. Between moans, she managed to ask "Why did she call you Small Big? Gross paused in his licking just long enough to say. "My hands are small; my shoulders are small; my nose is small. Some people say my eyes are big. And some people say... "
Mary Sue put her hand over his mouth to stop him from finishing the sentence. "This play's only rated PG. 'Nuff said."