TITLE: THE LOST FILM
Mitch sits alone in his dressing room, but the bustle of the television station murmurs just outside his door. The interview is over. The one he has avoided for forty years. Until today.
His shoulders stoop as he gives a heavy sigh. On camera, he possesses the presence of a much younger man, the one his audiences have loved for decades. Off camera his joints creak, his muscles slack. He feels every minute of his eighty-two years. At least his lungs and ticker are healthy. Something needs to work in order to propel him out of retirement every few years.
He pulls a cigarette out of a tin box. He had his first taste of tobacco from that box long before his first taste of stardom. Both have lingered with him. One as a hateful, disloyal wife, the other as a faithful friend.
Someone knocks on the door, but before he moves, a woman bursts into his dressing room.
“Honestly, Dad. Are you smoking again?”
Mitch shrugs. “I never quit. For me to be smoking again, I’d have had to quit.”
She crosses her arms and looks pointedly at him. “You’re not funny.”
“That’s what your mother said. You’re just like her. Always so serious. You need to lighten a little. Laugh. What’s life without laughter?”
“I don’t know. What’s life without emphysema?”
He wags his finger and chuckles. “You have your mother’s looks and cynicism, but there’s still hope for you. At least you don’t look like your father. Now that’s an ugly bastard."