Strange notes

The story revolves around the romance of Juanita Estrange and Jack Muller. Juanita is a 29-year-old singer (Nita Strange) who has been receiving disturbing notes. She thinks the notes are from a creepy reporter but the police don't think so. She leaves Vegas and heads to Sun City in South Africa to escape him. Jack is a 30-year-old Johannesburg lawyer who caught his wife in bed with his accountant. He is bitter about love and doesn't see a place for it in his life. He heads off to Sun City wit

The din of the departing crowd was muffled through the dressing room door but the sound of their applause still rang in her ears. Juanita knew that tonight’s concert had exceeded even her expectations and she was elated. The audience had stood and danced when she belted out her latest hit, ‘Maybe never’. And they’d waved their hands in the air and sung along to the ballad that had dragged her from obscurity to stardom seven years ago. The words were still playing in her head and she sang softly to herself, ‘But when I lie in bed at night, it’s not the same; when I lie in bed at night I feel the pain...’ She leaned back against the door and a broad grin exposed her perfectly straight teeth. Years of wearing braces had worked wonders!

She glanced at the promotional poster and marvelled anew at the creative genius of her personal assistant, Frank. She didn’t consider herself pretty but he managed to make her look lovely. The previous show’s poster had a full-length shot of Juanita in denim shorts and ridiculously high stiletto heels, accentuating her stunning dancer’s legs which seemed to go on forever. Her red hair was tousled and hung in scruffy waves to below her barely-covered firm breasts. The make-up she wore was heavy and detailed. Emerald green eyeliner along her upper eyelid gave her a cat-like appearance and a faint pink lip gloss covered the dark cinnamon colour of her pout. Her sensuality smouldered and the young adults who were the target audience couldn’t get enough. The women dreamed of being her and the men dreamed of being with her.

This latest poster was aimed at a foreign audience. Frank said he had done some research and was sure he knew what would appeal to Southern Africa. The photo he took was of her gazing off into the distance from the waist up (“We must show your wonderful boobs, darling!”) and she was partially backlit. Her hair was swept up Grecian style with a few ringlets allowed to escape and caress her face. The result was unbelievable. The light set her hair ablaze and played along the edges of her nose and slightly open lips.  Leopard-print fabric was draped over her left shoulder and barely covered the right breast before disappearing into shadow. She looked mysterious and vulnerable, and younger than 29.

Frank had been right – again. The Sun City Super Bowl is capable of accommodating 6000 people and there had not been one ticket unsold for opening night or the first week’s run. What was even better was the fact that the following week’s shows were almost sold out already. Nita Strange was becoming a household name.

She lowered herself onto the worn wooden stool she had kept from childhood and studied her reflection in the over-lit mirror. The golden brown eyes staring back at her were alive with excitement, albeit with mascara smudges circling them. She reached for a wet wipe and prepared to begin her usual ritual of removing the make-up she wore on stage. Unlike some of the other singers she had met over the years, Juanita did not encourage hordes of lackeys to hang around after the show. She liked to be alone for the inevitable metamorphosis into a regular person. This started with the make-up and was followed by the donning of jeans (long or short depending on the weather). She would shower once she was back in her suite, but she didn’t want to walk among the public as Nita Strange. This was why she wore such heavy make-up when performing. Without it, and with her hair tied up in a ponytail, she could avoid the paparazzi and live a normal life. She knew that people followed the glamour, not the person.

A slight scraping noise behind her made her turn. A note was being pushed under the door. She ambled over and opened the door to see who had left it. The passage was empty.

She picked up the ivory-coloured square and glanced at the familiar paper in her hand. Her heart rate sped up. She knew what would be written on the paper. It was not the first time she had received one. However, it was the first one since she had left the U.S. a month earlier.  Instead of popping the cork on the celebratory bottle of Deutz in the ice bucket on her dressing table, she rested her head on her arms and allowed the tears to fall.


The End

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