Sins of the Father(10)

By: Hannah Howe

Mac turned away then shook his head in mock indignation. “I was thinking of wearing my kilt, but now I’m not so sure.”

“So what’s with the robes and make-up?” I asked, circling him, ignoring the hubbub of activity that emanated from the Celtic Village.

“I strolled along to watch my lover at work, didn’t I,” Mac explained. “Then the director casts an eye over me and says I’d be great as an extra, just wandering around in the background, waving a spear.”

“A whole new career beckons,” I said, realizing that a film crew had commandeered the Celtic Village, that they were shooting a movie.

“I quit after today, I tell you,” Mac insisted, thumping the haft of his long spear on to the hard ground. “All you do is hang around.”

“A bit like our game, on stakeouts.”

“Aye,” he agreed. “Has all the fun of a blister on your bum.”

The director was orchestrating the next scene, so the film set was a hive of activity for some, yet a place of inactivity for others. In a calm, assured voice, he instructed the actors and technicians, while a small knot of onlookers nudged each other and pointed at the famous faces, many of whom were stalwarts of modern television dramas.

“So,” I said while gazing at the film crew, at the actors and technicians, at the incongruous blend of ancient and hi-tech modern, “which one is your lover?”

“Over there.” With his spear, Mac pointed at an incredibly handsome man, a man blessed with jet-black hair and a set of brilliant white teeth. “He’s sort of a chieftain in this picture, a minor role to be sure, but an important one all the same.”

“Is this a cinema release?” I asked while admiring the actor’s sensual, statuesque physique.

“TV film. They’re recording it in Welsh and English, would you believe.”

“Your lover speaks Welsh?” I asked.

“He’s learned his lines, nothing beyond that. He’s from the States, but I reckon I told you that already.”

“Handsome,” I said, noting that Mac’s lover was the centre of attention, eclipsing his fellow actors, including the star.

“Aye,” Mac grinned, standing tall and proud, puffing out his chest. “He’s a helluva hunk. Gets lots of fan mail from the ladies, even though he’s gay.”

“Is this film his big break?”

“A stepping-stone. After this, he’s auditioning for the lead in a sci-fi series, The Guards of Magog. If he lands that part, he’ll become public property.”

“How do you feel about that?” I asked.

Mac grimaced. He thrust out his bottom lip then licked his huge ginger moustache. “I’m not thrilled, but it’s his career. He puts up with me and my shenanigans. Who am I to deny him his claim to fame?”

Most of the actors were daubed in woad so the make-up lady scurried around them, adding fresh touches of blue dye, including a swirl over Mac’s lover’s hairless chest.

While eyeing the make-up lady, Mac continued, “He’s a good actor; he’ll get the part, and I can live with that; I guess you’d call that love, eh, Missy?”

“True devotion,” I said.

“Aye,” Mac grinned again. “I think he’s the one.”

Someone on the film set, maybe the assistant director, yelled ‘quiet, please!’, and the onlookers fell silent. Not wishing to evoke anyone’s wrath, we wandered away from the Celtic Village, south, past the tannery, towards a corn mill.

As we walked along a tree-lined path, Mac asked, “So, you here to pick up filming tips for the wedding?”

“Faye’s taking care of all that,” I explained; “she’s hired someone.” We paused to admire the corn mill, a splendid, whitewashed building. A museum piece now, a water-powered corn mill would have been a common sight for our Victorian ancestors, an essential landmark in the community landscape as the mill turned grain into flour for human consumption and animal feed.

“I’m looking for an ex-con,” I said, “someone who still dabbles, Frankie Quinn.”

Mac frowned. He shook his head. “The name doesn’t ring any bells.”