This is where I’m meant to be, she thought to herself as she breathed in the dense fumes of the city and listened to the roars of the heavy traffic.
Becoming Ali Starr six months ago had been the best decision she had ever made. The moment she turned eighteen she had headed down to her local town hall in Angel Falls and changed her name by depot from the bland and boring Alison Stanley to the new and dazzling name of Ali Starr. It was a new her, a new beginning and for any aspiring actress, Bridgeport was the place to be.
Though her parent were never keen on the career choice their youngest daughter had made, they had supported her none-the-less as Ali had been a drama queen since the day she was born and they knew that no other profession would have done for her. So they had offered to pay her first month’s rent for her and had given her a little spending money to get her going.
As the taxi pulled up to her new apartment building Ali, was filled with excitement and trepidation. This was it now, she was on her own. She got in the elevator and hit the bottom for floor 18 – the penthouse! Well this was how the real estate agent had sold it to her over the phone.
But the moment she entered her new one roomed humble abode, the reality was very different. It was disgusting. The hideous wallpaper was feeling peeling back from the damp walls and there were bars on the windows! Who would have bars on their windows this high up, Allie thought to herself.
The smell of the apartment was even worse than the look of it and for a moment Allie was about to turn on her heel and run back to the comfort of her parents’ home in Angel Falls.
Instead she decided to look on the bright side of things and went shopping instead. She bought paint, some furniture and some decorative items to brighten up the place. After a day of scrubbing, painting and decorating, she finally had a place she could call home.
The problem was she had now spent all her money and still did not have a job. Instead of sitting around and moping about it, Allie decided to go out that night and try to find herself something. Even if she could just find the name of a good casting agent or something. She walked the streets for what felt like hours but no one would talk her. She was so used to the friendliness of the folks in Angel Falls that the hostility of city people really shocked her!
She soon found herself outside a bar. It looked like a complete dive from the outside but she was so tired and so fed up that she thought one small drink would not hurt. She still had $10 left so that should cover a drink and some dinner.
“A glass of your cheapest cocktail please,” she announced to the barman as she sat on one of the bar stools.
The barman looked at her enthusiasm in distain and then went about pouring her some yellow coloured drink that looked more like toxic waste than a cocktail. But by this stage, Allie wasn’t fussy so she knocked it back all the same.
“It’s pretty disgusting isn’t it,” the girl sitting next her said brandishing the same glass of putrid liquid.
“It’s horrid,” Allie replied relieved that she was not the only one.
“Hi Nancy, I’m Allie.”
“So what brings you to a dive bar like this,” Nancy asked.
“Not sure really. I just arrived in Bridgeport this morning and am looking for work. I’m an actress,” Allie announced.
Nancy let out a little laugh. “You and everyone else in this city,” she replied.
“Are you an actress too,” Allie asked.
“Nah, I’m a makeup artist which means I work with a lot of them. Hey if you’re looking for work, I heard today that they are holding castings tomorrow morning at the film studios for a female lead in a new sitcom. Why don’t you go?”
“Oh wow, really? That’s brilliant. Thank you so much Nancy. Where are the film studios?”
“They are on 40 and 2nd street, down by the docklands.”
“Fantastic, well I better get home and get some rest. Thank you so much Nancy and hope to see you again soon.”
“Good luck,” Nancy called after Allie who had already hopped off her bar stool and was heading to the door. But just as she was about to leave she spotted a man watching the band. He was gorgeous and Allie thought he must be a movie star.
The man saw her watching him and headed over to her. “Hello there lovely lady,” he purred.
“Hellloooo,” Allie giggled back.
“Can I buy you a drink?”
“That would be lovely, thank you.”
He bought Allie the same yellow drink as she had before and after the first, it did not taste so bad.
The next morning Allie woke up with the worst head ache of her life. How much did I drink last night, she thought to herself as she stretched out. But as she got up she looked around and had no idea where she was. As she spun round a man was sleeping in the bed she had just gotten out of, it was the guy from last night! She was at his place!! Oh god, she said to herself. As quietly as she could she scooped up her clothes, had a quick shower and got the hell out of there as quickly as possible.
Then she suddenly remembered the audition at the film studios. It was already 10.30am and she had no idea if she had missed her opportunity all together. She had no time to lose so used the last of her money to get a cab down to the casting.
When she arrived, she was ushered into a large empty room with a man and a woman sitting behind a desk. They asked her a couple of questions and seemed unimpressed that Allie had no resume or acting experience. They still asked her to audition, and Allie performed a scene from her high-school play where she played a girl who had just gotten engaged.
Allie did not get the part as the lead female in the new sitcom, but she was offered a job as an extra which she gladly took. The pay was abysmal, it would not even cover a month’s rent but the good thing was they had given her an advance in her salary so at least she could get some food, she was starving!
The first place she clapped eyes on was a diner right across the road from the film studios. She sat herself down at the counter and ordered the biggest plate of fish and chips they could do. She felt like she had not eaten in weeks!
“Are you alright there love,” the cheery waitress asked Allie amused by the way she was shovelling the food into her mouth.
“I’m ok,” Allie replied letting the waitress take the plate she had just licked away from her. “It’s just I’m wondering if I have made a mistake moving to this city….” Allie then launched into her life story telling the sympathetic waitress all about her small apartment, her new crummy job and the fact she did not have enough money to last her the week.”
“Well if you need money kid, we have a job going here?”
“Err…. I was not really looking for a waitressing job,” Allie replied. “I’m an actress!”
“Well beggars cannot be choosers love and it sounds like you are in no position to be choosey,” the waitress replied bending down and pulling out and application form for Allie.
The next day, Allie showed up for her new job as a waitress and watched while Millie, her new colleague, showed her the ropes.
She had to admit that when she had arrived in Bridgeport a couple of days ago, this was not where she would have imagined herself, waiting tables instead of acting. But now she was here, there was no going back to her parent who had always doubted her. She was going to make it, somehow, someway!