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Two people, edging their way along the back row, making for the
exit. Whoever it was, it certainly wasn t Eddie.
 That isn t Eddie, is it? said Galloway, turning back into the
fake garden.
 No, someone replied.
It was Eddie speaking. He was back on stage, leaning on one
of the hedges, cigarette clamped between his lips.
 Eddie. .
 It s all right, said the actor good-humouredly,  don t grovel. I
can t bear to see a pretty man grovel.
 We ll see if we can slot the mallet-business in somewhere,
said Calloway, eager to be conciliatory.
Eddie shook his head, and flicked ash off his cigarette.
 No need.
 Really  
 It didn t work too well anyhow.
The Grand Circle door creaked a little as it closed behind the
visitors. Galloway didn t bother to look round. They d gone,
whoever they were.
 There was somebody in the house this afternoon.
Hammersmith looked up from the sheets of figures he was
poring over.
 Oh? his eyebrows w eruptions of wire-thick hair that seemed
ere
ambitious beyond their calling. They were raised high above
Hammersmith s tiny eyes in patently fake surprise. He plucked at
his bottom lip with nicotine stained fingers.
 Any idea who it was?
He plucked on, still staring up at the younger man; undisguised
contempt on his face.
 Is it a problem?
 I just want to know who was in looking at the rehearsal that s
all. I think I ve got a perfect right to ask.
 Perfect right, said Hammersmith, nodding slightly and making
his lips into a pale bow.
 There was talk of somebody coming up from the National,
said Galloway.  My agents were arranging something. I just don t
want somebody coming in without me knowing about it. Especially
if they re important.
Hammersmith was already studying the figures again. His
voice was tired.
 Terry: if there s someone in from the South Bank to look your
opus over, I promise you, you ll be the first to be informed. All
right?
The inflexion was so bloody rude. So run-along-little-boy.
Galloway itched to hit him.
 I don t want people watching rehearsals unless I authorize it,
Hammersmith. Hear me? And I want to know who was in today.
The Manager sighed heavily.
 Believe me, Terry, he said,  I don t know myself. I suggest you
ask Tallulah  she was front of house this afternoon. If somebody
came in, presumably she saw them.
He sighed again.
 All right .. . Terry?
Calloway left it at that. He had his suspicions about
Hammersmith. The man couldn t give a shit about theatre, he
never failed to make that absolutely plain; he affected an
exhausted tone whenever anything but money was mentioned, as
though matters of aesthetics were beneath his notice. And he had
a word, loudly administered, for actors and directors alike:
butterflies. One day wonders. In Hammersmith s world only money
was forever, and the Elysium Theatre stood on prime land, land a
wise man could turn a tidy profit on if he played his cards right.
Galloway was certain he d sell off the place tomorrow if he
could manoeuvre it. A satellite town like Redditch, growing as
Birmingham grew, didn t need theatres, it needed offices,
hypermarkets, warehouses: it needed, to quote the councillors,
growth through investment in new industry. It also needed prime
sites to build that industry upon. No mere art could survive such
pragmatism.
Tallulah was not in the box, nor in the foyer, nor in the Green
Room.
Irritated both by Hammersmith s incivility and Tallulah s
disappearance, Galloway went back into the auditorium to pick up
his jacket and go to get drunk. The rehearsal was over and the
actors long gone. The bare hedges looked somewhat small from
the back row of the stalls. Maybe they needed an extra few inches.
He made a note on the back of a show bill he found in his pocket:
Hedges, bigger?
A footfall made him look up, and a figure had appeared on
stage. A smooth entrance, up-stage centre, where the hedges
converged. Galloway didn t recognize the man.
 Mr Galloway? Mr Terence Galloway?
 Yes?
The visitor walked down stage to where, in an earlier age, the
footlights would have been, and stood looking out into the
auditorium.
 My apologies for interrupting your train of thought.
 No problem.
 I wanted a word.
 With me?
 If you would.
Galloway wandered down to the front of the stalls, appraising
the stranger.
He was dressed in shades of grey from head to foot. A grey
worsted suit, grey shoes, a grey cravat. Pisselegant, was
Galloway s first, uncharitable summation. But the man cut an
impressive figure nevertheless. His face beneath the shadow of his
brim was difficult to discern. [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]