Lights, Camera....Mature


     Can I act? I thought hotly. You should have seen me act content with Darren's love-making. And don't I act every day as if I wasn't raped?

     "Yes," I said more strongly than I felt. "I can certainly act."

     Shana pirouetted twice, stopped, and bathed me in the light of her green eyes. I'd become oddly accustomed to her height and glowing nakedness, and gazed steadily back at her as she called to her friends in the far corner. They began shuffling out of the dim light, Tyler's paleness and dark clothes making him seem like a floating head.

     "Alice said yes; she's going to write our film," sang Shana as the group approached, carrying smiles and small happy noises. I tried to correct her through the fog of excited questions.

     "My name's not Alice," I said loudly, just as a deep voice asked what the name of the film was.

     "I like it," answered the monotone. "It suggests a hint of defiance. It's what they call a non-Ecuador, isn't it?" I shook my head at the big man, but he'd put his hands on the hills of Shana's hips and was explaining non-Ecuadors to her. I heard him saying it meant something that didn't really follow logically, like Ecuadorians after the Incas.

     Somebody was shaking my hand, and Tyler was bragging about me, talking about how often he saw me at the bar, writing and writing and writing. He said that TRA was my mantra. I noticed he still had a green smudge over his left ear.

     "Don't give me much speaking," said a slight young man with a lisp and a sad face. "I have trouble remembering lines and, like, things I have to say."

     "What's it going to be about? You know, the film?" asked someone with a husky girlish voice and a form made shapeless by camouflage combat fatigues.

     A hook, I thought. Hours later, and I was still looking for a hook.

     I answered slowly, scanning the half-dozen faces for reassurance as I spoke. "Like so many things, it starts in a bar," I said slowly. "There's a beautiful dancer. She's naked."

     Shana's eyes crackled green, and her smile would have lighted a film set.

     "I won't have to talk there, will I?" said the sad-faced man. I shook my head tightly.

     "And then?" prodded Tyler.

     "Then two people fall into conversation but we don't hear what they're saying because of the music drowning them out," I added. Galvanized by the shapeless form in fatigues nodding vigorously, I plowed on.

     "Then they go out to find elsewhere."

     The small group around me exchanged nods and smiles.

     A large man with ridiculous mutton-chop sideburns spoke for the first time.

     "Sure thing, babe," he said in a muddy voice I recognized from somewhere. I don't know why I looked immediately at his hands, and then swallowed a gasp at the nicotine-stain between the middle and forefingers, and the missing nail on his pinky.

     I wasn't raped.

(Note to my faithful Four-Shadow: I could not in good conscience save you time by self-rating a four here, since Dysphemism's story is unmarred as yet. You'll have to do it again. Sorry.)


The End

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