People you meet on your way up are the people you meet on your way down. Harold held on to that maxim in those difficult days. He knew he had talent; he only needed that one opportunity to showcase his talent.
At first even the bit roles on stage were hard to come by. He would audition everyday, learn the lines backwards and know them better than anyone else, even the lead, but it was all a matter of chance and chance was in the habit of ignoring him.
Then very slowly the bit roles began to stream in, sometimes a couple of lines and at other times just standing on the stage like a tree. But it was the humiliations that were heaped on him that kept him going.
Harold kept a diary of all the people who had hurt him deeply, his talent and his desperation. The casting director who made a joke out of him and refused him a role, the writer who thought he should get out of town and stop spoiling his script, the director who scratched his lines and gave them to someone else and the actress who refused to be cast opposite him.
He remembered the lines from “Ben-Hur”, “Your eyes are full of hate forty-one, that is good, very good, hate keeps a man alive.” Hate was certainly keeping him alive.
Time went by and Harold’s fortunes began to change, a character role here and there, then praise from critics and the applause from the audience won him even better roles, till he made it to the lead.
Fifteen years after he stepped off the bus to become an actor Harold was finally considered the next big thing. Yet Harold had not forgotten. He kept his hate diary close to him. It was his turn now; he would do to them what they did to him. The very people who once snubbed him were willing to do anything to work with him but Harold would not work with any of them. He made sure that people on his hate list had no part to play in his projects, from casting directors to writers to lead actors, no one was allowed on his projects.
Quincy Quinn was one such director. When Harold was a bit player Quinn was a star director but now the tables had turned, Quinn could not land any work and Harold ruled the marquee. It took a lot of cajoling from Harold’s agents to get Harold to grant Quinn one face-to-face meeting. Reluctantly Harold agreed.
“Lets make this as quick as possible Quinn,” Harold told the director dryly. Quinn nodded, smiled. “I believe you don’t want to work with me for the way I treated you when you were still a nobody?”
“That is correct,” Harold responded, the hate still evident in his eyes.
“No great work can be created in the climate of hate and so I have not asked to meet with you to beg you for work. I just wanted to share a secret of the universe with you, that is all,” Quinn kept his smile alive.
“Really? And what is that secret?” Harold asked sarcastically.
“No one stays successful forever, the crest and troughs are a part of life but remember Harold, in good times or bad, people are never against you, they are just too much for themselves, think about it. People don’t want to do what is bad for you, they just want to do what they think is good for them.” Having said that Quinn stood up and showed himself out of the room.
Harold sat alone in the room long after Quinn was gone, then he walked into his study, picked his hate diary up and threw it into the fire that burned bright in the heat.