Main > Series > Chapters > Fame Book 1 > Chapter 25

Nobody else was waiting to read for McKay on the Friday morning, so Coco guessed that the main readings had already taken place and she was being given an outside shot. After a twenty minute wait, she was taken through into his office.

It was smaller than she'd expected, and her eyes were immediately drawn to the display at the end of the broad, empty desk; three TONY awards, all in a line, plus two smaller statuettes that Coco didn't recognise.

McKay came around the desk to make her feel welcome, but they didn't waste any time with social preliminaries. He didn't mention the scene in the deli, for which Coco was grateful. McKay gave her a copy of the screenplay - it looked strange, a lot different to her playbook - and allowed her to pick her own scene.

She gave him the speech that she'd rehearsed with Reardon, barely glancing at the script because she'd come to know it so well. A couple of lines from the end, McKay said, 'All right, Coco, you can stop there. How did you get to be so good and still not have an agent or any credits?'

She couldn't believe what she was hearing, but a little warning voice told her to beware of the ego-massage that always precedes the big letdown. She said, 'I go to the School of the Arts. That takes up most of my time.'

McKay thought it over for a few moments. 'Well,' he said, 'we've seen a lot of actresses, singers, and dancers . . . some more talented than you, some less . . . '

'Does that mean I've got a shot?'

He made a decision. 'Yes, I'd say you definitely have a shot.'

'When will you decide finally? I mean, I can come back for auditions as many times as you want me to.' She knew that she was starting to gabble, but she couldn't help it.

'I wish it were strictly up to me,' McKay said, 'but I'm afraid it isn't that simple. You'll have to do a screen test.'

They were words out of a dream. 'Have to? I'd love to!'

'Now,' he warned, bringing her down, 'this isn't a try-out for one of you school plays or one of your movie fantasies. There are five other girls set for screen tests. So, if you want a chance, you'll have to knock their socks off. Do you understand?'

The reality of the situation had sobered Coco a little. 'I understand, Mister McKay,' she said. 'I'll be ready.'

McKay nodded pleasantly, and moved to show her to the door. 'You leave a number where we can reach you, and we'll let you know when it's all set.'

'Okay, I will. And thank you.'

'Hope it happens for you. And if it does, it'll mean some big chances in your life. Like quitting your school, moving out to the coast.' She seemed to hesitate. 'You are aware you'd have to quit school?'

'Oh, sure,' Coco said. 'I knew that.'

She supposed she'd known it. But why hadn't it really hit her until now?

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