The Shift – Part II

I got home to find a movie crew in the house. Cameras and chords were strung everywhere. The false lighting was coming from upstairs. Downstairs, the goat faced boy and his woman stayed behind their doors, which I later found out they were bribed to do with a day and a half’s worth of junk. Do people still call it junk anymore – I’m not really sure. Anyhow, I went upstairs to relax and wait for Josephine to come home, only to find Florence being made up to look as Vamp as possible. The letters on the side of the camera’s said HBO. She seemed comfortable inside of the whole affair. Carolina stood with his arms crossed over themselves, having been told more than a few times to stay out of the shot.

The director looked at the shot he was about to create and waiting for her to come into frame. Florence was concentrating on the regular spiral notebook that she was holding. She flipped up her hair and did what she could to ignore the make-up they had put on her.

She came into frame and read.

“I have seen what you all look like on the other side of the mirror. The locked doors have no meaning for me. I am your lunch break – did you bring me some takeout to eat while you held your hand on your cock or had me pull on your skin until you almost bleed? I see that in you, and because you made me see that inside of you, I see it inside of everyone and it feels numb. There is no joy or sorrow that rises up from inside of me when I inflict pain. So many of you have asked, on your lunch breaks, on your way home to your family, on your business trips – just to have me hurt you that hurt, in anyway, is just another job to do.

“You think I’m afraid of the sun or pretty things or that all of it needs to be black? That there is some depression behind me? The image you see in front of you is something that you’ve created. I look like what you want me to be. If it weren’t for you, I might survive in some other way for a living, but since you want to throw your money at me, since you want to pay me to be this way, to tie you up and make you drink your own blood, to beat you while you kneed down in front me, I will be that. I am, after all, only your employee. I only get paid if the client is happy.

“How is my presentation so far? I’ll tell you a story now, in the middle of all of this, just so you can be removed. There was a girl who came to strip at the club. She was already gone. This isn’t a tale of someone fresh off the bus understand. She was on her way down anyway. That’s a big difference between them and me understand. See, i chose this because I knew of people like you. This girl, we’ll call her Simmer, she chose this because of people like you. There was too much touching from the wrong hands at some point and she hit the road to do this.

“When simmer got to us, we took her in like a family member – as much of a family as we were. We tried to keep the owner away and made sure that if she did anything physical with the customers, they were the tame ones. Nobody wanted anything to do with pushing her over the edge. We’d rather keep her on it for as long as possible. Not sure if that’s good or bad, but it just is. Right.

“So one day, it was slow, and we just all kind of got behind her and held her. I wanted to make her feel better. She’d go into fits of crying about the same stuff that all you probably cry about. Money. Boys. Life. Past. All of it just welled up in her. I didn’t to give her any heroin because it’s not really an answer for that. It’s a recreation. When it becomes something else, well, it’s something else.

“Simmer waited for us to go on stage and grabbed my purse. She shot herself up but had no idea what she was doing – then passed out and that was that. Before we called the police everyone hid their works and everything else inside the space behind the mirrors in the dressing rooms. Yes, there is alway a secret compartment. I didn’t feel bad that it was my needle that killed her. I still have it as a matter of fact. It has one of her last drops of blood in it. For me, that’s kind of pure and fascinating. Something I would never be able to buy from a store. Something that nobody would be able to buy for me. It’s something that I could do and fetch for myself. Self indulgence and satisfaction is really the thing that keeps me going.

“Was I sad about Simmer dying? I can’t say that I was sad. I was bothered with my involvement in it, but felt no responsibility. Life is not about that. Self preservation and good souvenirs to put in your special trophy case. That’s what it’s all about.”

She closed her notebook and went over to Carlonia who hugged her tight. Both of them were in tears – not because of the story mind you, but because of the emotions involved in the writing. The entire crew was silent and the director wanted to keep the film rolling. Carolina went into the bedroom with Florence and the crew followed. They took some stock footage of the my little pony collection to run when Florence was talking about the trophy case.

Florence took out her strap on, adjust it, and bend Carolina over. She went to work hammering him while crying at the words she had just written. He smiled and shouted at the same time, exposing his fangs and looking like a puppy dog finally being taken on a long walk after waiting at home all day.

I’d had enough. This was my everyday. I shut my door, put on a record as loud as it would play, and wondered where I was in life. This was my everyday.


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