Written & performed for The Old Trunk Theatre Company’s ‘Tales & Ales’ evening under the theme of ‘Barflies & Floozies’ on Sunday 11 June
After the gold dust had settled, Andy Warhol had located his wig, Diana Ross had been woken up from behind the DJ booth and Debbie Harry had been scrapped off the floor, Studio 54 was empty, save for a high pitched wail coming the women’s loos. Sharon had got stuck in a cubicle wearing the only items she had to her name - a gold lame leotard and one dance shoe. She was crying because like her dignity she’d lost all hope in her dream of becoming Radio City’s most celebrated Rockette ever to grace it’s stage.
Her dream began when she was eight years old her and Auntie Maureen had won a cruise to the big apple. Her family were not well endowed in the money department but Auntie Maureen did have a way with words and the ability to fix a bingo game when such high stakes were on offer. Not only had she bagged herself the most luxury second class holiday of a lifetime she had also won £10 worth of Iceland vouchers. Never had there been so many choc-ices in one freezer. When she returned Sharon and her brother Simon were forced to wear their Sunday best and take an arduous journey to meet her in Southampton.
Sharon was anxious about the arrival of her auntie. Maureen was a battle-axe and easily perturbed by the smallest of things. So when she saw her step off the cruise liner with a smile on her face, arms brimming with bags of the most delectable american treats she was aghast.
“It’s like Milton Keynes high street. Only bigger and with more cheeseburgers. I felt right at home”
“Well that’s good to know” said Sharon’s father as he packed the last of the bags into the boot.
If this is what America did to miserable people, then Sharon was going to have to have a bite of it. Upon opening the Rockette pencil case and rubber pack, seeing the sparkling plastic and the silhouette of a high-kicking high-flying girl on the packet she knew she had found her calling. She soft shoed, pirouetted, pas de boured and jazz handed her way through every class she could at Mildred’s Milton Keynes Dance Academy until at the age of 19 her parents gave her the gift of a one way ticket to the golden city itself. She packed her finest rollers, her leg warmers and spangliest gold lame leotard combo and left Milton Keynes once and for all.
Arriving in Times Square Sharon felt all at once at home and all at sea. For the first time in her 19 years on earth she was truly alone and only had herself to count on. She saw this a good thing and so took her first steps toward Sixth Avenue and her mecca. Passing the theatre fronts and ‘six beautiful girls’ establishments she breathed in the air of the world which was now hers. She watched the dancers, performers, tourists all drinking in the beautiful city. So enraptured was she in her surroundings she didn’t see the taxi pulling up outside the Belasco or the frantic group of people crowding round its doors. She didn’t hear the whoops and cheers as it’s passenger stepped out onto the street. So she definitely didn’t notice when she walked head first into a giant hot dog welding gent, who with a back pack large enough to smuggle a whole family and it’s dog across the border, took her flat out across the street.
Hitting the ground her bag contents exploded in a hundred different directions with one of her dancing shoes flying toward that most revered passenger’s head. If only it had been two seconds later the shoe would have missed him and Sharon could have got up, dusted herself off and carried on her way without anyone noticing. But instead it cracked him plainly on the centre of his forehead which caused the crowd to gasp, turn around and watch Sharon on the floor trying to locate her hair pins off the sidewalk, he smiled that enigmatic smile, eyes curled up and hair tousled he walked to her and offered his hand.
“Need some help?” he said in that strange gruff tone.
“No…no I’m just fine…Jack Nicholson?”
“Let’s get you inside, shall we?”
“Oh…Oh…OK, Jack Nicholson”
He picked her up and dusted down her knees and walked her inside the theatre. She couldn’t stop saying his name. She hadn’t seen ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo Nest’ on account of it not having any dancing or John Travolta but she knew instantly how cool he was and fell hard and deep for his Brooklyn brawl. What happened next was a thing reserved only for the magic of the movies. He took her hand and walked her back out of the theatre and into Times Square.
“Let’s get out of here” he said and whistled for a taxi which arrived instantaneously. Sharon was bundled inside and with the authority that only Jack Nicholson can posses he mumbled
And off they sped around all of the city’s wild delights. They ate in a deli in Greenwich Village and sipped champagne in the finest bars before he took her back to his sprawling apartment to in a most american way “chill out”. Sharon couldn’t believe her luck, two hours in the big apple and she was living the high life. She could see why Auntie Maureen was such a changed woman.
“Let’s go dancing, I know the perfect little place”
“OK Jack Nicholson…I have the perfect outfit.”
They bypassed the queues of people vying for a spot inside 54’s amphetamine soaked walls. She was photographed for magazines with names she couldn’t pronounce. She danced with Donna Summer…the Donna Summer and Andy Warhol bought her a mimosa. The disco beats pulsed through her. Her gold leotard shone out. She got dragged into the crowd by Jack and they danced the night away. Until Angelica Houston turned up…bloody Angelica Houston with her cat like face and lithe body…Bloody Angelica.Instantly Jack’s eyes diverted and he was drawn into her gaze. A moth to the flame he let got of Sharon and gravitated towards her, leaving Sharon to be bumped and grinded by Sylvester and Diana Ross.
She searched high and low for him, pushing through the crowds and climbing the walls to see where he’d gone. Everything she owned was at his apartment and she couldn’t just turn up in the morning. She climbed on to a table to get a better look but as she did lost her balance and fell, this time with no movie star to save her. That was when she lost her shoe. It catapulted through the air and into the lacquer reinforced hairstyle of a reveller never to be seen again. That was when she headed to the loos, sat down in a cubicle and cried her heart out. She’d let herself get sucked in too easily and now she was paying the price. She thought of her Mum and Dad back home who had worked tirelessly to get her there. She thought of Simon working in Saver Centre for the rest of his life and wailed all the more. What she wouldn’t give to be back with them. Then she thought of Auntie Maureen and how that pencil case had made her feel and with that she made her decision.
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