The Actress
Swan Morrison

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I had dreamed of becoming an actress
Since playing in many a scene
At school and in amateur drama.
I longed for the cinema screen.

So I strove to attend drama college
And passed all exams from the start.
I graduated with distinction
Then started to search for a part.

Imagine my joy when my agent
Found my very first role on TV:
In Morse with the spires of Oxford -
In the opening scene I would be.

My joy turned to some disappointment
When I learned I would not make a sound,
But simply float face down in water
In the Thames - as a victim who drowned.

That role, though, then led to another:
In The Bill - yet another cop show:
My foot now appeared in a mortuary scene
With a label tied round my big toe.

I worried about being typecast,
But the payments I could not forego
As the corpse in the library Miss Marple would find
Or a body exhumed by Poirot.

I finally spoke to my agent:
'You must find a new genre,' I said.
'I will never break into the Hollywood scene
If I only play people who're dead.'

He found a new part, though not speaking
In an advert to be on TV
To promote the effects of a haemorrhoid cream -
Portraying relief would be me!

Regretfully, similar followed:
Diarrhoea, a thrush remedy,
Constipation, verrucas and unwanted hair,
Gonorrhoea then warts and acne.

Once I had dreamed of the public
Recognising my face in the street.
Now I dreaded the eagle-eyed fan who would say:
'You're the one with the clap and bad feet!'

It was then that repeats of the cop shows
Brought a regular income from fees.
And the wart ad - it took off in China
Producing its own royalties.

I'd just earned enough to retire
When a script arrived for me to see.
My agent said it was the part of a lifetime
That could have been written for me.

The heroine's many conditions
I'd portrayed in my advert heyday,
And right at the start of the opening scene
She keeled over - and then passed away.

My career, it had led to that moment.
It was also my first speaking part:
Just prior to tumbling down to the ground
I screamed 'Ahh' and then clutched at my heart.

I regret now my lack of an Oscar,
But a great consolation to me
Is that death and unsocial diseases
Were portrayed with extreme quality.

I live now in Spain in a villa.
'An actress,' I say, when enquired.
If asked of the parts I have played, I reply:
'I don't talk of that, now - I'm retired.'

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Swan Morrison is the pen name of Brian Huggett. Brian lives with his wife and two cats in Hampshire, England. He has been publishing in print and via various Internet websites since 2001. He manages The Short Humour. Click here to visit his site.

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