March 2nd, 2007..
“I got the part! I GOT THE PART! LA LA LA LA LAAA!”
Vera’s victorious sing-song echoed thru the penthouse. That phone call was just what she needed. She slid into the kitchen in her panty clad state, oversized hoodie, and fuzzy socks. Swinging her ponytail about, she opened the cabinet. “Mmm! The last strawberry! I really need to stock up on these.” Turning from the cabinet with her Protein Delight , her eyes rose to the top of the fridge. Microwave popcorn did sound so good. She took one last look at the bar before tossing it back from wince it came. It was clear this called for celebratory reward over delectable means of physical maintenance. With that she tossed a bag in the microwave, set the timer, and started for the living room. In one fell swoop, she scooped up the remote and plopped onto the sofa.
**-” Good evening and welcome back to Hollywood Whispers! Reports are coming thru that Halle Jean will be cast as Jillian Powers in the upcoming action/adventure film, The Elite! Sarah, are you surprised by this?”
–“Well, I must say I’m taken back a bit, Tom. I mean Hollywood’s “Little Miss Sunshine” playing the powerful and edgy Jillian Powers? Heh, I’ll believe it when I see it.”
-“I agree, Sarah. I just don’t think Halle has it in her but we’ll see.” *
Now miles away, Vera bit her lip as she looked towards the ceiling lights. A tear managed to escape her tightly closed her eyes. The sting of the moment really lingered. Star status had still not yet callused her. Would it ever? Several times before she questioned whether she could handle this life. Her ego fragile as a peony. Her feelings so easily hurt. Just then she could make out her mother smiling and waving from the audience thru the bright overheads. It was Langly High School’s presentation of “You Can’t Take It With You.” Her best friend. Her biggest fan.
“I miss you mom.”
The microwave interrupted the sulking just before her emotional release peaked. She quickly stood and made for the microwave. She reached for a bowl with angry haste and emptied the bag. As she popped a few kernels in her mouth, she caught her reflection on the stove settings display. She stopped and took in the image of a helpless woman with teary eyes and blonde messy mop. She didn’t want to feel this way anymore. Straightening her stance and raising her chin she announced, “I am NOT Little Miss Sunshine!”
With that proclamation, she pivoted and marched to the bedroom. Flinging open her closet doors she tore thru her collection and came across a black leather jacket. The hole-ridden, faded skinny jeans seemed to fit this occasion as well. Topped-off with a white tank, the outfit seemed to be the perfect shake from her soft image. Once she was fully dressed, she turned to face the closet mirror. She touched her face upon noticing the tear tracks. Some complete coverage foundation would camouflage her sorrow. Heavy black liner and some Vinelli pumps would also provide an aesthetic detour from her previous moment. Having achieved rocker chic, she snarled in the mirror. Barbie had met Lita Ford tonight. She was ready. Suddenly, her cocky demeanor faded into that of uncertainty.
“I have no idea where I’m going.”
Then she remembered, “Planet Oppressor” is playing The Rabbit Hole tonight!” She had suddenly recalled that mohawk’d kid in combat boots handing her a flyer. “PERFECT!” With that, she grabbed up her keys, tan messenger, and headed out.
She anxiously tapped the steering wheel of her white Chrysler 300. She knew that she was potentially facing an evening filled with awkward amongst a different class of people. In efforts to protect herself, she decided to ‘get into character’. “C’,mon, Vera. You can do this.”, she told herself whilst gripping the wheel. Remembering that one rock station she often passes, she turned on the radio. “Oh I know this one! Mmm yeah! I’m a crazy bitch too! OOPS so good I’m on top of it! WOO!” She thrashed around her car so much she nearly passed the venue. “Oh shit! Here it is.” Upon making a hard left into the fenced lot, she passed the flickering neon sign. She parked in between a duck taped adorned Pinto and a chopped Harley. After throwing it in park, she surveyed the scene from her rear view: Lots of leather, studs, and tattoos. She drew a deep breath, “Ok, Vera. You can do this.”
Upon exiting the car she could hear the grunts and pig squeals from the booming grindcore. The click of her heels caught the attention of the large, skinhead collecting cover charge. “I CAN do this.”, she reassured herself. They exchanged an awkward stare for a long 5 seconds. In a desperate attempt to break the ice, she suddenly exclaimed, “Oh my God! I love this song! What’s it called again?” With unwavering expression he coldly responded, “Insect Warfare.” -“Oh yeah! Insect Warfare!”, she responded with a slow, clumsy head bang, “By that one band..What’s their name again?” He raised a toothpick to his lips, “They’re also called Insect Warfare.” She froze from embarrassment, “Oh.” Letting out a sideways smirk, he asked for the $5 cover.
Only a few paces thru the door, she was hit with a dense fog of cigarette smoke. Waving her way thru the smog, she took in the immense amount of black that surrounded her. Black cement floors, black walls, and black barstools. She made her way towards the bar thru hordes of piercings and shaved heads. The black lights lighting the liquor bottles acted as a navigation beam. Happy to have successfully made it, she plopped onto a stool. Although she had to yell over the music, she made a very polite attempt to get the bartender’s attention, “EXCUSE ME, MISS?” When the barkeep turned around, she greeted Vera with a look of pretentious disgust in her wife beater and green pixie-do, “MISS? Is THAT what you just said?!” Vera swallowed hard, “Yes I was looking to get a drink if I could.” Chomping her gum, the bar tender gave an eye roll, “Look bitch, they call me ‘Peg’ or ‘Wench’ around these parts. Now what can I get you, Miss Malibu?”
Vera instantly regretted her decision to come to this shit hole. Just before she could answer, she heard a man’s voice, “Bring us beverages with sugar.” Peg raised a puzzled brow. His cold stare let her know he was serious. Peg broke from his eyes, “Whatever, dude.” As she went to make the sweetest cocktail she could think up, Vera slowly turned to face this gentleman. Her eyes met a man all in black. If it wasn’t for the dark blue eyes and fair complexion, his slicked black hair would have been what camouflaged him into the bar walls. “Hey thanks! I really appreciate that!”, she said flashing a smile. He stared blankly at her for a few moments. Noting the oddness, she went on, “Sooo.. a sweet kinda guy, eh? ‘Cause ya know, I’m pretty sweet myself when I’m not busy ROCKIN’ OUT! Haha!”
She felt foolish as his stare remained. Before she could inquire what the hell his deal was, their drinks were up. He reached for the pink concoctions and handed her one. Vera turned to Peg to inquire of its contents. Peg responded, “Shit tons’a grenadine, orange juice, some sugar packets from Burger Joint, and a splash of vodka. You kids enjoy.”
When Vera turned around to thank this noir dressed fellow once more, she found him chugging the last drops of his drink. She sheepishly pursed her lips around her straw as she watched in amazement. Upon finishing he wiped his mouth and exhaled deep. He set the glass back on the bar as she started, “Um, thanks again.” He backed a few paces away to gaze at her in entirety, “Where are your tusks?”
She narrowed her eyes and cocked her head, “Did you say tusks?” –“Yes! Yes!”, he responded emphatically, “Your TUSKS!” With her head still cocked, her eyes shifted to the right, “Um, are tusks those big pegs that people put in the ear lobes?” Frustrated, he grasped her arms and pulled her in to meet his nose, “YOU are the Female IVORY! I know it! Now where ARE your tusks?!” Clutching to her drink, Vera trembled in fear, “Jesus, dude! I have no idea what you’re talking about! Please!”
Just then Vera’s cell lit up her messenger bag, “Now let me go, I have to answer this!” The man let go his grip and backed away. Vera turned to set down her drink before diving into her purse. Upon answering, she had to back the receiver from her ear for the screaming, “Norah? Calm down! What’s wrong!?..I’m at 5th and Alexander at The Rabbit Hole! I dunno! I just..OK, well meet me in the parking lot!” She turned to dismiss this apparent weirdo, “Look man, thanks for the drink but I gotta go. There’s been an emergency.” He maintained an empty glare. Rolling her eyes, she started for the exit.
As Vera stepped into the cold night air, tire squeals echoed in the distance. “What the hell?” Just then she saw Norah’s black ‘70 Chevelle roar into the lot. Abruptly stopping, Norah slammed it into park and kept it running as she swung open the driver door. Her mops of dark curls met the winter wind and were tossed about. Her eyes were bloodshot and her face moist with sweat. Vera was taken back, “Norah what the hell is-“ –“There’s no time to explain! I’m in DEEP SHIT!”, Norah cried, “I didn’t know where to go! James..James is DEAD!”
Vera’s eyes widened. Surely this wasn’t happening. “Norah, what..?” Just then, the man in black emerged from behind Vera. Feeling his presence, she swiftly turned to face him, “Listen, asshole! I don’t have time for this bullshit! FUCK OFF!” Raising his chin, he panned his eyes left to right. He licked his lips a few times. He then met Norah’s helplessly weeping eyes to say, “Death.. I smell death.” Norah’s helplessness quickly shifted to rage as she drew a silver 9mm and pointed it directly at him, “Who the FUCK are you!?” –“Jesus, Norah! What the hell!”, Vera shouted in horror. The man of mystery responded, “Xora is my name and there is a dead male within our immediate radius. He’s in your transport.”
Vera looked to her sister, “You put him in the car? In the TRUNK!?” Norah braced the gun with both hands, “Listen ‘Zorro’, I don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about but get away from us! This is none of your business!”
Xora calmly responded, “Right now you have a dead male in your transport. YOU are the Female Onyx. I realize it now.. It’s your color.” Vera lowered her head and fixed her eyes on the ground, “Norah, tell me the truth. Did you kill James and put him in the trunk?” –“NO! NO! I DIDN’T I SWEAR TO GOD!” Norah tearfully screamed. Taking a couple of anxious breaths, Norah lowered the gun, “It isn’t James. It’s someone else.” Vera’s head shot up to face Norah’s shaken and vulnerable state. Xora’s brows sank as his eyes pierced thru Norah’s, “I can help you.”
Out of options, Norah closed her eyes as she pushed her hair back. She took a deep breath before reopening them. Her helpless glances shifted back and forth between Vera and Xora.
“Get in..both of you.”Share This Post:by