Day of the Emu
had had enough of the emu.
Im here in Wilmington at Bill Byrd Chevrolet, eastern
North Carolinas low-priceOUCH! Dammit, Dean, he bit
Cut! Dean hollered. The man with the camera dutifully
lowered it. Dean removed his baseball cap and rubbed his forehead
as he stormed over to the pickup bed Brandi had shared with the
worlds two meanest emu for the past four hours. Get
down. You and me got to talk.
Me? What about these
Get down off the motherloving truck.
Squinting against the sun, Brandi swung her legs over the side
and dropped to the ground. A gallon of sweat shook loose from
her brow, dribbling into her eyes and making her wince. The emu,
apparently thinking they had successfully driven her away, honked
triumphantly. What? She snapped.
Dean clenched his jaw. The mirrored lenses of his sunglasses stared
back at Brandi with the image of a tarted-up blond in a T-shirt
cut way too low and makeup that the July sun had melted into a
multicolored nightmare. Behind the truck, the gaggle of car salesmen
who had gathered to stare at her backside floated around to the
other side to get a better view of her bare stomach.
Dean held his thumb and forefinger less than an inch apart and
jammed them at her face. I am this close to firing
you and bringing out that fat receptionist chick from the showroom!
Maybe she can act!
The Daisy Duke shorts crept up her backside and the stench of
emu permeated what little clothing Dean had allowed her to wear.
Until now, she hadnt said boo about anything, especially
the emu. God help her if she criticized the emu, even if they
smelled like buffalo after a good sauna session. These were his
directorial masterstroke; emu were birds, and this was
Bill Byrd Chevy, see, birds, Byrd, get it? Motherloving
There had been three emu several hours ago, but one escaped. Got
off the rope and took off down College Road, legs working like
pistons. The other two broke out in insane honking fits, screaming
at their comrade to fetch help and get them out of this crappy
commercial before Dean ruined their careers like he was doing
to this stupid blond chick. Help never came. The remaining birds
took out their frustration on Brandi by biting her neck and beaking
at her hair.
And still she said nothing, because Dean was going to get her
on television and get her a speaking credit to raise her above
the ocean of former Dawsons Creek extras trying to
break out of the food service industry. If she pulled this off,
she might be able to get an audition for One Tree Hill or
one of the Screen Gems productions. So shed kept her mouth
Until now. Cant you put the birds somewhere else?
Hey, the emu aint the problem! The problem is the
mongoloid that cant say five simple lines!
The cameraman looked at the ground. Brandis face turned
crimson and her jaw began to tremble.
Dean shook his head. You know what? Just shut up. Stand
there and look like a bimbo, you can do that, right? Well
get the fat chick to voice-over later.
The salesmen sucked in air sharply, as if they were the
ones getting punched in the stomach. Customers perusing the selection
of shiny new vehicles stopped. Everyone stared at Brandi; somebody
Her audition for One Tree Hill evaporated then, if it had
ever even existed at all. Five years of sending out head shots
had culminated in this, a spot in the bed of a pickup truck with
two smelly birds, taking orders from a dingleberry with legs who
had just taken away her first speaking part. In another few years,
shed be pushing thirty; she couldnt wait this long
Tears welled in her eyes. I quit.
Go ahead. Youll never work in television around here
oh, thats right, youve never worked anyway.
He smirked, stepped aside and gestured towards College Road. Go
Brandi wanted to say something that would reduce him to tears,
but the words wouldnt come. Instead, in front of God and
everybody, she tugged her shorts out of her butt crack and headed
around the back of the dealership for her worn-out car, parked
next to a dumpster under a sun so bright that even when she shut
her eyes, she could still see.
N. Jennings lives
in Mebane, North Carolina, with his wife Angel, his son Jackson,
and his Shih Tzu Phoebe. He graduated from UNC-Wilmington in 1999
and received a law degree from Carolina in 2003. He works in Mebane
and concentrates his practice in family law, criminal law and
Robert N. Jennings