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Secret Agent Man

A Halloween Tale

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A Halloween Tale
My fingers are shaking as I pump another round into the shotgun. It's been a long night and I'm not sure if I'll be around when the sun rises. A few days ago, I was a Hollywood agent with a side job writing advice columns. Life was good. No complaints. But now I'm trapped in the corner office of my company, lucky to be alive.

At least I'm not alone. There are four of us. A manager named Rick is here with his client Vanessa. She seems to be holding up well. I wish I could say the same about him. Ricky talks a good game, but like most managers, he isn't worth much when the going gets tough.

My assistant is resting on the couch. Michelle's been with me a long time. I wish I could remember her last name. She got bit about an hour ago, when I sent her out to get some coffee. Now she's offering to roll calls. I don't think she's going to last much longer.

Out in the reception area, we can hear them moving around, waiting for us to make our move.

It was a bright and joyful Monday morning when the headshots first came to life. The first reported incident occurred in the mailroom at Gersh. Some poor kid with dreams of moving up in the world opened the wrong submission. I wonder what he was thinking when the picture's mouth took a chunk out of his neck.

After that, the invasion spread quickly. Millions of unwanted headshots started showing more personality than their subjects ever could. Producers were attacked in New York. Casting directors got devoured in Chicago. And agents in L.A. started dropping like the box office for an M. Night Shyamalan movie.

Some eggheads at NASA believe the invasion was caused by a solar flare. Me? I think the pictures were just tired of being ignored.

I stand up, shotgun in hand, and announce it's time to move out. Ricky starts shaking, but Vanessa seems game. I ask Michelle if she can walk. There's no answer. Damn, she's dead. I go over and brush the hair from her face. No one made coffee like Michelle.

As I march over to the door, Ricky has the nerve to ask if we're just going to leave her there. I bark, "She was an assistant, damn it! She knew the odds were against her."

I throw open the door and find about 20 headshots in my reception area. It takes them a second to spot us, because they're busy reading breakdowns. And that's all the time I need. I pump and fire at the closest picture. Some actor with no training takes it right between the eyes. I roll forward and come up blasting. Another actor, one who's never bothered to do theater, is blown into a million pieces.

All that shooting has attracted the attention of the other headshots. Now I'm trapped in my worst nightmare—a sea of faces moving toward me, all with hunger in their eyes. It's just like a showcase.

I realize I don't have enough rounds to take them all down. Vanessa reaches for my hand. It looks like we're finished.

Surrounded by images of actors, Ricky just can't help himself. He steps forward. "Hey, do any of you need a manager? Trust me; I'm worth the extra 15 percent." The headshots spin toward him. Now they look really angry. As the pictures tear him apart, Vanessa and I run into the elevator and sigh in relief as the doors slide shut.

The morning sun feels good as we drive toward the marina. One of my clients has a boat there. It's not much, but it should get us to Catalina. We're hoping there are no headshots on the island. It's a long shot, but in this business, you never know what might happen next.

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