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Clash of the Titans
by April Winchell

"Wait a minute, wait a minute, cut, cut, cut," she shouted. The playback music of the marching band stopped abruptly, and everyone fell silent. Lucy turned and looked at my mother.

"What are you drinking?" she yelled.

"Who, me?"

"Yes, you. What are you drinking?"

"Orange juice."

"Did I buy that orange juice for you?"

"I gave it to her, Lucy," my father said sheepishly.

"That's not the point, Paul. I bought that juice for you. If I knew she was going to drink it, I'd have made her pay for it."

This was bad. This was very bad.

My mother was not afraid of anyone, and I really expected this to get ugly in a hurry. She rose to her feet, and I braced myself. All the blood drained from my father's face. Time stood still.

Then she did something surprising. My mother turned to me, and held out her hand. I took it, and we began to leave.

I looked over my shoulder and saw the entire cast watching us, stock-still. My mother pushed through the heavy stage door into the sunlight, and we were on our way.

I looked at her as we walked out to my dad's banana yellow Caddy and climbed in. There had to be another shoe, but she wasn't dropping it. She tenderly fastened my seatbelt and started the car, and we drove away in silence.

An hour later, I found myself in Beverly Hills, in the hallowed halls of Saks Fifth Avenue. My mother, an ex-showgirl, possessed that rare combination of a perfect figure and a wallet full of credit cards. Normally, trips like this would yield many packages, but she was quite focused that day, and we left with only two.

By the time we got back to the studio, everyone had gone to lunch. My mother understood where my father was, and headed straight for Lucy's trailer. She led me up the steps to the door, and without knocking, went in.

Lucy and my father were sitting on the couch, eating lunch. When he saw my mother, he froze in terror, certain that the angel of death was passing over his career.

"Lucy," my mother said, "I have something to say to you."

Lucy eyed my mother cautiously. "Yes, Nina?"

"I want you to know how sorry I am about what happened this morning."

My father's shoulders sagged with relief.

Lucy was stunned. "Well, I . . . that's okay, Nina. Don't worry about it."

"No," my mother continued, "I feel badly to have taken advantage of you when you've been so kind to us."

"Forget it," she said.

"I will. But only after you've accepted this gift."

My mother held out a gaily-wrapped box from Saks.

Lucy genuinely did not know what to say. She looked at the box, then at my father, then at my mother, then me, then the box again. She took the box and carefully opened it.

Inside was a pullover sweater made of glittering gold yarn. Metallic knits were all the rage those days, and it was obvious that mom had spent a good deal of money on it. Lucy held it up against herself, delighted. It set off her red hair and blue eyes beautifully. She looked up at my mother, who was smiling beatifically.

"Thank you, Nina."

"You're welcome, Lucy."

My father was beaming.

The next day, Lucy showed up on the set wearing the gold sweater.

A few hours later, my mother arrived, wearing the exact same sweater in silver.

My mother didn't usually wear sweaters, as her small waist and 38DD bust line tended to draw attention. But I guess she was willing to make an exception.

I learned an important lesson that day. You can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar.

And once you catch them, pull their little fucking wings off.

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