(c) 2013 Liam de Burca
Glaring back at his posse of dapper but unassuming men, she flashed that unmistakable look of, “This is the last time,” as she entered the room and closed the door behind her. She knew what to expect: she’d known him for twenty years and she’d seen everything he was capable of and more. His scrapbook had said it all, and even though she’d laughed at the irreverence of what he’d done, she knew he’d finally cracked, and she had to confront him.
Once inside the room she couldn’t see a thing; the thick red velvet curtains were drawn, and the heavy smell of scotch, sweat, and something else she couldn’t put her finger on, sank in the air like deflating balloons. There was only one thing to do; she headed towards the monster bow window, her feet swamped by mountains of costumes and clothing all over the floor. She felt sequins, satins, and tassels at her ankles but she stretched her arms out in front of her, zombie-style, and trudged forward. She got to the window without tripping over, found the inner seam of a drape, yanked it open, and turned around.
Jack Cole lay diagonally across the bed. Perfectly diagonal and naked, with his hands delicately crossed over his chest as if he were some legendary Russian ballerina enshrined in her tomb. naked, with his hands delicately crossed over his chest as if he were some legendary Russian ballerina enshrined in her tomb.
“Get up. Get dressed,” hurled out of her mouth. Jack’s ear twitched. One eye popped open, and he caught a glimpse of her fantastic red hair in the sunlight. He realized it was his former dancer and assistant, Gwen, and he spring-vaulted off the bed.
“It’s you?” he said.
“You’re forcing me to do this, Jack,” she said, eyeing the empty pill bottle carefully placed on the bedside table. Confronted with his naked body, she reached down, grabbed a garment, and hurled it at him, “You can’t spend the rest of your life wallowing.”
“Why not?” he barked, “She’s dead. Marilyn Monroe’s dead,” he said as he
threw the garment back.
“Yes, she’s been dead for six weeks. It’s October. And this isn’t
grieving, it’s sabotage.”
Gwen knew she had to do something. But she was loyal, and so was he; he’d been like family to her for so long and they had just healed another lengthy rift. But one by one Jack’s friends were all vanishing, and they both knew it. This, for Gwen, was the hardest thing of all.
“So, how many rotten people are out there?” he stuttered.
“For cryin’ out loud, Jack, your friends, are standing out there thinking you’ve committed Hari Kari. They’re worried sick. The black and white have just pulled up outside.”
His eyes lit up. “The cops? Ooh, and any reporters? Where’s my kimono?”
“It’s in the hallway, with blood all over it. Or ketchup, I suspect.”
“Be a dear and grab it for me?”
“No, Jack, I’m not your slave and I can’t magically fix everything.”
“Oh, yes you can. You can fix anything.”
“I can’t fix your scrapbook. You’ve ruined it. Drawing penises all over those photos?”
He laughed out loud. “Say it again. I love it when you say that word. Penises, penises, penises.”
“Did you see the one I drew on that picture of us with Marilyn and Rita Hayworth?”
“For heaven’s sake, Jack. Those were my memories too. You need to get serious. Get back to work, otherwise you will be dead in Hollywood.”
“I suppose you’re right.” He held his head high and walked slowly towards the floor to ceiling window, stark naked and with his arms outstretched, reciting, “I’m ready for my close up.”
“Mary mother in heaven, help me. I’m finished, Jack,” Gwen blurted out. “Your friends called me as a last resort but apparently even I can’t pull you out of the can. I’m leaving. Try to get back to the real world, Jack. And don’t call me. For anything. I’m done.”
She marched out and growled, “Choreographers !” under her breath, and she vowed never to indulge her friend again.
Liam de Burca has a BA in Creative Writing at Empire State College, NYC. Writer for Timeline Films and published in the James White Review, Dance Magazine, and LGNY.