- Vol. 05
- Chapter 01
Carven into the annals of cinema, woven into the fabric that is Hollywood, is the dimpled chin, the sophisticated smile, of a poor boy made good.The short poem had sat unnoticed in the breast pocket for God knows how long.
The jacket and pants were too small for me, which was a pity; they had that timeless style to them: that immortal panache which almost stepped down from the racks and sashayed – in a manly way, of course – from the musty back room, through the main store and out into the street to give autographs.
It shimmered of late 1930s Hollywood, almost glowing from the tired and scuffed box amongst a tribe of similar boxes. But they were full of boas and tacky sparkles. A few supposedly Persol sunglasses retained their knockoff labels: more than likely made decades after Steve’s death.
Careless for a novelty shop advertising 'Genuine Movie Props'. But the labels would probably be spotted and removed before being moved to the front display shelving. There would be no specific claim. No, that would be actual fraud.
I looked again at the suit in my right hand. I’d thought I’d repacked it. The crisply folded piece of paper remained stoically in my left, giving me the feeling I was being glared at.
I did that bit of one-handed folding I do to amuse myself at times and slid it back into the camphor-stained envelope waiting patiently on the little table provided for examination of goods. I reckoned the wattage on the bulb was low for a very good reason.
Yet, even as I replaced the envelope in the jacket pocket and folded same carefully into its box, the poem continued to run around my head, looking for lights to switch on.
A desk with a roll-up top in the corner made me smile. I was whisked to a memory of an old Howard Hawks movie: the gloriously tongue-in-cheek His Girl Friday with Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell, full of quips and unashamed real-life references.
“Archie Leach,” I heard myself exclaim, and hastily clapped my hand over my mouth. “Archibald Alec Leach,” I continued in a hiss. “You dimple-chinned beaut!”
I ruffled up the suit a bit and tried to amble back out into the store, leaving the box unevenly closed to show supposed disregard.
“How much for this? My son has a play coming up–” SHUT UP, SHUT UP, YOU DON’T NEED TO EXPLAIN, YOU BABBLING IDIOT. I listened to my wiser self.
The shopkeeper eyed me shrewdly. “A hundred.”
I prevented myself from skipping about the shop. He obviously didn’t know he had Cary Grant’s suit amongst his stock.
I channelled my jubilation into ridicule. “Hey, there’s no diamonds sewn into the lining. I checked.”
He reached into the box and rubbed the material between finger and thumb.
“I’ll go eighty.”
I straightened the box and handed him the money, and hurried out the door, wondering how to get in touch with Bonhams.