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By Dart, Iris Rainer
Los Angeles, California
The dancers were holding Cee Cee above their heads. "And now," she said, "as I lie in the arms of four promiscuous homosexuals from West Hollywood, my tits pointed towards the heavens like an offering to the gods, I slowly turn my head, look out at America and ask the musical question ... "
Everyone was laughing. The dancers were laughing so hard they made Cee Cee bounce up and down. Then Hal played the arpeggio and Cee Cee sang,
Toot, toot, tootsie good-bye!
Toot, toot, tootsie don't cry,
with the slow soulful rhythm of a torch song. Then the dancers turned front, and Cee Cee slithered down their shoulders and their backs until she stood on the floor with the four handsome boys swaying behind her.
The little red light on the phone had been lighting up for a long time. The stage manager grabbed the receiver, put it up to his left ear and put his finger in his right ear so he could hear above the din of the music.
"Yeah?" he whispered into the phone. It was someone for Cee Cee.
"She's workin'," he said softly. "Huh?"
The caller was a woman and she wouldn't take no. The stage manager shrugged, told her to hold on, and then put the receiver down on the long table next to some scripts. Hey, Cee Cee Bloom was singing. As far as he was concerned the whole world could hold on.
The choo choo train that takes me,
Away from you no words can
tell how sad it makes me.
Now the music went into the up tempo, and the boy dancers began to tap-dance and Cee Cee was tapping, too, keeping up with them. Her skill was remarkable. She hadn't tapped in years and it was hard, but she'd been knocking herself out for the last few weeks working on it, trying to get it back.
"Hey!" Cee Cee yelled as she came out of a turn. "These bozos are twenty-two years old and I'm thirty-six. So applaud, for chrissake."
Everyone laughed and applauded. The crew and the guest stars and the director and the guy from the network. Somebody even cheered bravo, and now Cee Cee whirled around the room looking just as skilled as the boy dancers. Someone, maybe it was one of the writers, whistled one of those whistles that people whistle for taxis in New York, and Cee Cee cracked a smile.
"All right," she hollered, "could I get you to fall for thirty-nine?" Everyone laughed, applauded, and cheered again.
Toot, toot tootsie don't cry
Toot, toot, tootsie good-bye!
Suddenly, the dancers lifted her onto their shoulders and twirled around. She raised her arms in the air. The crowd was applauding and stomping and cheering as the song ended, and Cee Cee was helped to the floor. The choreographer, elated with his own success, hugged her, and the director hugged her, and all the boy dancers hugged her.
"You did great on the hard parts," Lester, the curly-haired dancer said.
"Are you kidding?" Cee Cee answered. "Everybody knows hard parts are my specialty." The dancers laughed.
"Who's on the phone?" the wardrobe mistress asked.
"No one," the director said. "Hang it up."
The wardrobe mistress picked up the telephone receiver and held it to her ear.
"Hello?" She listened. "Just a second. Cee Cee," the wardrobe mistress called.
"Later," Cee Cee told her. "I'll have to call 'em back."
The wardrobe mistress held the phone receiver out to Cee Cee. She had a helpless look on her face.
"Roberta Barron," she said. She hoped Cee Cee would shrug noncommittally; then the phone could go back in its cradle and disconnect, and the wardrobe mistress could call her boyfriend and ask him what he wanted for dinner.
Good, it was no one important. The wardrobe mistress could hang up.
Cee Cee ran to the phone and grabbed it out of the wardrobe mistress's hand.
"Lunch, people. One hour," the director said. Everyone was milling and talking and getting their things together.
Cee Cee spoke into the phone in a voice that didn't sound like her usual voice because it was almost timid.
"Bert, is it you?"
Her face was scrunched up as if that would help her to hear better over all the noise.
"Huh?" she said, working at listening. "Talk louder, Bert -- I'm in a room full of people."
Later, when the others were trying frantically to locate her, someone who had been standing nearby remembered that what Cee Cee had said next was, "Hey, I get it. I'll be there." Then she had ripped part of an inside page out of a script that was on the table, scribbled something on it, and put it in her purse. After that, she hung up the phone and walked quickly out of the rehearsal hall. Everyone thought she was going to lunch. But they were wrong ...Continues...
Excerpted from Beaches by Dart, Iris Rainer Excerpted by permission.
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