Oh Yes, Dr. No
by Silver Webb
The thin, dry light of the desert made my head feel like it was floating. Or maybe that was the Seconal kicking in. Sinatra crooned, “Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone” as I cruised along North Indian Drive, the top down on my Roadmaster Skylark. A cigarette lazed on my lip, black bow tie and white dinner jacket pressed. I parked in front of the Riviera, the sun-and-gin-soaked queen of Palm Springs, wearing a crown of palm trees. Sure, I could walk straight through the front door, but I liked to come in the back way, keep ‘em guessing. I threaded around the turquoise pool and orange loungers filled with bikini blondes, sucking down the last light of dusk.
“Is that who I think it is?” one girl whispered.
“It sure is.”
At 6 feet tall, sleek black hair, blue eyes behind Foster Grants, there was no missing me.
“What movie was he in?”
Okay, maybe it had been a few years since my last hit. The ball dropped on 1960 in Times Square, and suddenly nobody cared if I was movie gold in ’55 and ’58. No denying I was on the ropes.
This is the night Mickey Fontaine gets his star back. I just needed one photo to shoot me into orbit again. One picture with Frank and the boys at the Caliente at 3 a.m., dirty Martinis, hair slick with Vitalis. I’d be rolling back to L.A. on Monday with a pocketful of movie offers.
The Riviera dining room glowed with starlets swimming in champagne, studio execs in black tie. The seductive stink of steak cut with the scalpel of Martinis, green olives impaled on toothpicks.
Behind the bar, Viggo nodded at me, his fat lips pursed. A bald stump of a man. But he could mix a Manhattan that would make angels take up pitchforks.
“You look beat,” I said. “Mrs. Viggo not starching your shorts?”
“You owe me, Mickey.”
“Still sour about that fifty, huh? Here.” I slid signed glossies of me in Tallahassee Dawn out of my pocket.
“These go for a nickel, tops. I want my money.”
I kept an easy smile. “And I want a whiskey sour. My messages too, hold the mayo and pickle.”
Viggo stonewalled until I put a dollar down, then he slapped my messages on the bar. I glanced at the first. “Call me, you bastard —Sylvia.”
The second read, “Meyer Fishkin. Fishkin Creative Agency.” My wife or my agent. Well, an actor has to have priorities.
However, the phone rang before I could dial my agent, and Viggo picked up. “Sure, he’s here, Mrs. Fontaine.” He shoved the receiver into my hand.
“Darling.” Her voice throaty, annoying. “Where are you staying?”
“The Riviera. You’re calling me here, aren’t you?”
“They don’t have a room number for you. You got a place in Palm Springs I don’t know about?”
“Meyer is springing for the hotel,” I lied. “You need a new pair of cha-cha heels, ask him. What does it matter anyway, my room number? You want to send me a bottle of champagne, celebrate?”
“I’d like to talk with you.”
“You know what.”
“You signed the contract, baby. Non-Disclosure clause, Page 5. Shut your mouth and smile when they ask about me.”
“You son of a—”
Curious if Mickey revamps his career? Please purchase a copy of Delirium Corridor, to find out!