The Darkness Inside The Human Heart by J E F Rose
After the scene was filmed Rock Granite swaggered over to Daffy –— to Daffy’s complete surprise. “Howdy Daffy!” Rock Granite said as he shoved his big hand into Daffy’s hand which he then proceeded to pump violently. “Welcome to Gigantic!” The huge movie star loomed over Daffy. Rock Granite was famously six foot two inches tall, beefy, handsome, swaggering, cocky, and totally self confident. With the white twenty gallon cowboy hat and cowboy boots with three inch heels make that one inch shy seven feet tall.
“Ahhh yeah! I am happy to meet you too Mr Granite!” Daffy replied perplexed that 1) Rocky Granite even knew him and 2) that Rock Granite really was six foot two (when most movie stars claimed to be six foot tall when they were really five foot seven in life, and 3) how could Rock Granite really be so incredibly swaggering, cocky, and so totally self confident?
“Call me Rocky!” Rock Granite said in an exaggerated ‘Yankee’ accent despite the fact he was actually from Brumagem. “How has my little bronco been enjoying Gigantic?”
“Swell Rocky!” Daffy replied in an deliberate Brumagem accent as he stretched his skinny frame up toward Rock Granite. The sarcasm rolled right off Rocky’s thick hide. Daffy made up for the height difference by 1) resisting all temptation to stand on his tiptoes and 2) radiating coiled tension which people said send chills through their bones like someone deliberately scratching nails on a blackboard. Coiled tension could radiate out of Daffy like a death beam in one of King ADA’s scientific experiments. Only instead of killer light beams Daffy radiated killer tension like a tightly coiled spring about to explode. People said “Daffy did not care if you were short or tall, if you implied in any way bullying or intimidation he radiated death rays of coiled tension like a science fiction version of a high stress tension catapult. And don’t think tightly coiled tension can’t hurt you! It can kill!” Of course in the end it also killed Daffy but right now Daffy was teaching Rock Granite about one of Newton’s Laws, the one about every action have an equal reaction.
“Nice trick hoister to do that nifty fast draw!” Daffy drawled in that Brumagem accent. “Sylvester Bumps show you that right?” Sylvester Bumps was a trick draw cowboy and Daffy knew him very well. Sylvester was teaching Daffy how to shoot antique pistols for a proposed Wild Bill Hickok movie. “I prefer the classic ‘plains draw’ myself.” Daffy gestured to the specially hollowed out hoister from which the specially modified gun dangled from a hidden steel hook. The hoister was designed to ‘dip’ when the spring on the steel hook was released as the weight of the gun was drawn — by simply unhooking it with a simple but effective motion.
Rock Granite was unfazed. “I have seen some of your movies Daffy and all the stunt hombres say you are a right fine fella! I hope to work with you soon! Maybe you can play my little buckaroo sidekick! Have a swell time here at Gigantic you little hombre you!”
Rocky swaggered over to Sneed who then introduced Gigantic’s biggest commercial, as in the most money made from the cheapest product, star to a gaggle of treasurers and foreign tourists and assorted VIPs. Daffy watched quietly as Sneed displayed his prized bull for public display before the auction to slaughter him.
“What are you thinking?” a voice behind him asked.
Daffy spun around to see a Merrach of ruddy cheeks and rumpled clothes. “Ah Victor King! Hello!”
“What do you think about Gigantic’s biggest money making bull-shit?”
“Morphine fiend” Daffy replied softly. “You can tell by the eyes. I heard from other stunt men Rock Granite originally tried to do his stunts and got badly injured. Very badly injured. He thought stunt men were jeering him so he felt he had to live up to his fantasy reputation as the big bronco buckaroo and got badly injured. But Gigantic needed a picture every two weeks out of Rock Granite so Doctor Feelgood fixed everything! Stuntmen tell me Rock Granite is so hooked on morphine you could bounce him out of a second story window now and he would not feel a thing.”
“Brutal” Victor King replied softly. “But true from what I hear. Aren’t you scared you might end up the same way Daffy?” the ruddy cheek Merrach director asked softly.
“Professional risk” Daffy replied. Victor King was obviously sizing him up, the unknown kid from Titan. “If you do stunts you take risks. Calculated risks. So you hire the best back up support team. The best stunt men. The best wire wranglers. A wire stunt is like the trapeze. The key to survival is not the guy flying through the air but the guy waiting to catch him. I have been rehearsing all week with Keens for instance. Dangerous stunt. But calculated. Rehearsed. Best team there is. I have reasonable fear but I know reasonably that I will live to be proud of the rushes. My problem is insomnia and bleeding ulcers. So I stay away from all Doctor Feelgoods. I don’t trust most studio personal. I suspect anyone with a pill or needle. I know anyone can become an addict. Rock Granite is a victim of corporate greed.”
“And also a victim of a scandal which is rumored to erupt soon” Victor King replied. “I want to work with Laurence Pendragon because he is a professional actor. No hysteria. No prima donna ego. No complexes. All business. Totally professional.”
“So you won’t do my little prima donut drama then?” Daffy asked. Had Victor King heard about Daffy’s off camera and off set swings of moods? He felt like stuttering “I am not really manic depressive!” but resisted behaving even more daffy than usual.
“Signed on by Tiger!” Victor King replied. “I will pull Tiger’s tail any time that cat roars! Good script. Cross casting Mabel Sunnii as the Ice Bitch is clever. W S Surrey will deliver a touching performance. Tiger casts films very well. Good field producer. Good comic actress. But Buster Randal is back and flustered and I don’t know why. You did not make a pass did you? At Tiger I mean! Not Buster Randal!”
“Uahh….. well….. But all is forgiven now! And what do you mean about that scandal which is about to explode soon? What sort of scandal?”
“The sort of scandal that leaves corpses behind” the director replied. “And I hear you are investigating a certain corpse yourself Mr. Gilbert-Blackheart. “A certain corpse of a certain famous director found shot in the back and then artfully arranged on the foyer of his expensive home.”
“Yes! Well! Isn’t everyone intrigued who murdered Fairawayland’s most famous director?” Daffy asked.
“Yes” the director replied. “But you are assuming the killer of Fairwayland’s most famous director won’t mind your amateurish investigation. “After all, if our killer killed once, then why wouldn’t he kill again…… killing anyone who asks too many questions….”