TITLE: JOVE BRAND IS NEAR DEATH
GENRE: Adult Mystery
I was waiting in the wings with cold, soaked cotton trapped under my arms, staring out at a live studio audience with seven million viewers behind them, and like everything that had ever happened to me worth mentioning it was because of Near Death.
Bone dry under blaring, thousand degree spotlights and fourteen-million eyeballs, Collin Prestor – sorry, Sir Collin Prestor – made a tuxedo look like casual wear. There was acting and there was acting and then there was being able to control when you sweated. Whether it came with British blood or was the product of a Shakespearean theater pedigree I would never know. Lawndale wasn't exactly London.
Despite being thirty years behind his colleague, Niles Endsworth matched his mentor blow-for-blow, making up what he lost in polish with panache. He was the same vintage, bottled in a different generation, sculpted by a strict regimen designed to produce a physique like a special effect. Don't blame Niles. He was only giving the modern audience what they demanded in a hero. Unlike some narrators, only a thin sheen betrayed the junior man’s nerves, but that was the point. You'd be nervous too, said Niles’s wavering jawline, if you had been chosen to be the next Jove Brand.
They played their roles to the hilt, master and apprentice, with casual grace absent any trace of pretense. The production assistants could have ditched their que cards and grabbed a sandwich for all the good they were doing.