Merton of the Movies
5. A Breach In The City Walls
During these weeks of waiting outside the gate the little woman beyond the
window had continued to be friendly but not encouraging to the aspirant for
screen honours late of Simsbury, Illinois. For three weeks had he waited
faithfully, always within call, struggling and sacrificing to give the public
something better and finer, and not once had he so much as crossed the line that
led to his goal.
Then on a Monday morning he found the waiting-room empty and his friend
beyond the window suffering the pangs of headache. "It gets me something
fierce right through here," she confided to him, placing her finger-tips to her
"Ever use Eezo Pain Wafers?" he demanded in quick sympathy. She looked at
"Never heard of 'em."
"Let me get you some."
"You dear thing, fly to it!"
He was gone while she reached for her purse, hurrying along the eucalyptus-
lined street of choice home sites to the nearest drug store. He was fearing
someone else might bring the little woman another remedy; even that her
headache might go before he returned with his. But he found her still suffering.
"Here they are." He was breathless. "You take a couple now and a couple more
in half an hour if the ache hasn't stopped." "Bless your heart! Come around
inside." He was through the door and in the dimly lit little office behind that
secretive partition. "And here's something else," he continued. "It's a menthol
pencil and you take this cap off--see?--and rub your forehead with it. It'll be a
help." She swallowed two of the magic wafers with the aid of water from the
cooler, and applied the menthol.
"You're a dear," she said, patting his sleeve. "I feel better already. Sometimes
these things come on me and stay all day." She was still applying the menthol to
throbbing temples. "Say, don't you get tired hanging around outside there? How'd
you like to go in and look around the lot? Would you like that?"
Would he! "Thanks!" He managed it without choking, "If I wouldn't be in the way."
"You won't. Go on--amuse yourself." The telephone rang. Still applying the
menthol she held the receiver to her ear. "No, nothing to-day, dear. Say, Marie,
did you ever take Eezo Pain Wafers for a headache? Keep 'em in mind--they're
great. Yes, I'll let you know if anything breaks. Goo'-by, dear."
Merton Gill hurried through a narrow corridor past offices where typewriters
clicked and burst from gloom into the dazzling light of the Holden lot. He paused
on the steps to reassure himself that the great adventure was genuine. There
was the full stretch of greensward of which only an edge had shown as he looked
through the gate. There were the vast yellow-brick, glass-topped structures of
which he had seen but the ends. And there was the street up which he had
looked for so many weeks, flanked by rows of offices and dressing rooms, and
lively with the passing of many people. He drew a long breath and became