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hs53150.jpgbuy prints of select halfsquatch photographs at etsy or dawanda. (prints of all photographs are available upon request) day 53

On Wednesday at noon at the Qwanlin Mall in Whitehorse Julie Richman walked the line of wannabe Rebeccas handing out pens and audition applications snapped to clipboards. The producers of Sasquatch Summer rented an unoccupied store to hold the auditions. The line of hopefuls stretched around the corner, past the coin-operated kiddie rides and the enormous yellow sign that hung in the main entrance detailing the rules of mall conduct. There would not be, at the Qwanlin Mall, any drinking or drugs or skateboards. Spitting, too, was under no circumstances permitted.

“Julie?” It was Stew. “What are you doing here?”

“More like, what are you doing here?”

“You know, checkin’ shit out, fuckin’ shit up.” Stew cleared his throat. He shot a small gob of phlegm out of his mouth and onto the floor. The woman standing behind him glared and huffed, but said nothing.

Julie snickered. “You’re so gross,” she said.

“You love it, baby.”

“I’m not your baby.”

“Oh, yeah? You’re what? Clipboard girl?”

“My parents told me I had to get a job.”

“So you’re a clipboard girl?”

“Production assistant.”

“So you gonna give me one of those things?” He pointed to the clipboards.

“You’re not serious.”

“Like I said, I’m just checkin’ shit out, fuckin’ shit up.” Stew pulled a thin silver flask from his jacket pocket and took a drink. He handed it to Julie, who glanced around to make sure no one was looking before she leaned in for a quick swig.

A black curtain hung in the storefront window, making it impossible for passersby to see what was going on inside. This annoyed Paula, as her request to sit in on the auditions was denied. So she waited in the concourse, collecting quotes from fidgety wanabe actors.

Soon, Paula had learned that Sasquatch Summer would include three reenactment scenes that involved Rebecca Richman’s character: Rebecca and Dave’s arrest for stealing the mummified cat; Rebecca and Dave in her bedroom, surrounded by her dolls; and Rebecca drinking with Dave and Raylene and Nicole at the lodge with the dead Lady Sasquatch looking on. She knew that there was no dialogue — all the reenactment scenes would air with voiceover. She knew that some applicants were asked to try on a wig and pull a stretchy black skirt on over their clothes.

Paula also knew that what seemed like everyone woman in Whitehorse had turned up for a crack at the fame that playing a Halfsquatch girl in a low-budget television special on a little-watched Canadian public broadcaster would surely present. These women included Raylene Florio and her best friend, Nicole.
“Do you feel like you’re betraying your friendship with Rebecca by auditioning for this role?” Paula asked the girls.

“What do you mean?” Nicole looked puzzled.

“Do you think Rebecca might be upset if she knew you were here, trying out to play her?”

Nicole thought about this for a moment. She chomped hard on her gum. “No.”

“She’d totally understand,” Raylene said. “I mean, we’d get to be on TV.”

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                                                                                                                                                          ©2008 pamela klaffke