by Bill Walker
Kate Winslet shows up as a character in the novel! By the book!
Here are the excerpts:
"You're kidding. I heard she was in the middle of shooting a picture in South Africa."
"She is. But I paid off the producers,
the cast and crew, and gave them all a week off. Besides, only
a great woman like Kate should christen a ship like this."
"Harlan, love, you look absolutely smashing," she said.
"So do you, Kate," he replied.
She laughed, her blue eyes sparkling.
"And you're a bleeding liar. I'm as fat as a dray horse."
At Harlan's request, she'd dressed
for the occasion in a replica of the purple and white boarding dress from
the film, the wide purple hat perfectly accenting the lines of her face.
And while she was now a mature woman of thirty-seven, she was far from
Harlan turned and said, "Kate, I'd like you to meet my friend, Trevor Hughes."
Her eyes widened. "Good Lord, the mystery writer?"
I felt myself blush.
"Guilty as charged," I replied, taking her proffered hand. Her skin felt cool and silken.
"I bloody love your books! I've read every one."
To say I was flattered would
do a disservice to her compliment. I was, as the cliche goes,
"We'd better get this show on the road," Harlan said, breaking the spell. "Kate has to catch a plane."
Moving again, we stepped onto the concrete jetty and made our way to the reviewing stand. The crowd pushed forward, wanting to follow, but were held back by a cordon on armed police.
The reviewing stand, while large
and accommodating to the dozens of dignitaries crowded onto it, nevertheless
looked insignificant compared to the hangar, like a wart on a giant. Guards
platform ushered the dignitaries and me to one side, allowing the crowd and the cameras to get an unimpeded view of Harlan and Kate Winslet. I saw that my friend now had a microphone in his hand, and when he spoke, his voice boomed out of the two speaker towers on either side of the platform.
"How does it feel to have a front row seat, kiddo?" Harlan whispered, taking the bottle from me.
"Like I'm in a fishbowl," I said.
He grinned and attached the bottle to the harness at the end of a long rope. I looked upward and saw that it was tied of somewhere about twenty feet in front of us. The bow itself stood a little further out. One good shove and the champagne bottle would slam right against the peak.
With the bottle secured, Harlan tugged on the rope, testing it, then handed the bottle to Kate. She swung it back and forth a few times, and looked at him questioningly. He nodded, extending the microphone to her.
"In the name of King Charles III, and by the grace of God, I hristen thee...R.M.S. Titanic! May God bless her and all who sail on her...."
She reared back and let the bottle
fly. It swung on its short arc shattering against the bow peak with a resounding
pop. Champagne sprayed back on us and Kate shrieked with laughter, yanking
off her hat and spinning it into the air.
Thanks to Milo for posting at the KWFC message board!