Welcome to Flash Fiction Friday and the thirty-eighth piece of flash fiction in this series. This week’s is a 925-worder by poet and article writer Kimberly Gray.
Her reflection calls her Tess
And it was her reflection that she spent most of her time with now. Suppose it had been this way longer than she cared to admit. Just the mirrors changed.
Reflections are funny things. Take a mirror for example, and you’re in its frame. Naked, no make-up, hair pulled back on a short cut shag rug in gray, completing the picture is a rose crystal chandelier, ever so fragile, dangling above your head.
What details strike us? What colors illuminate? How much light do we notice? Are there details in the mirror? What is behind us?
Her tiny frame was misleading, even to the two men escorting her from home, and taking her coat once inside her dressing room. With a thorough room sweep, they proceeded politely by closing and locking the overly large double wooden doors upon their exit of her sanctuary.
Tess did decorate her oasis. Demanding she could certainly be, everything she loved in life, the simple things to most of us, was everything she had worked so hard to become. The key to a successful art of applying stage make-up was lighting. Overhead lighting made her washed out and gray. Thus applying correct color to her beautiful face.
She noticed the time, always running late, daydreaming, and losing herself in her world of unforgettable passion that, day-by-day seemingly came true.
Powered her thigh-high, purple boots and began the 6-minute routine of tightly lacing them up.
Still lying on the floor she calmly pulled out a joint from her robe and lit it. Closed her eyes and took a long drag. It was that first toke that always helped her get through the memories of yesterday. The yesterdays where there was no Tess.
She stood and started pacing as she smoked. Decided to go to the open window, where a brick building with the same window mirrored back. Instantly, three men were popping their heads up one at a time, like peeping toms.
Fools indeed. Surely they need not act this way when, on the net, she can been seen for sale on my stripper pole for $100 bucks. If they only knew a time, she could show her beauty beneath her skin with such modest purity.
A sight of her yesterday appeared in her mind. Visually flashing back in time, not even yet a decade.
15 and alone
It became a post traumatic stress reaction for her to such a degree, Tess never did two things; one, cry and two, never doubt or let anything ruin her dream.
She ended that thought, aching the visual and uneasy memory of her attacker.
She wasn’t Tess then, rather she being immature living with her birth name. However she was not the last one to use it. The chanting of her birth name through the attack… being called a stripper not a dancer.
She wasn’t dumb, but this was all she knew, and took the rough pathway towards everything she wanted.
Who was anyone to judge her fantasy, they spoke her name for the last time. She joined in mourning the true that night. What transpired the next evening changed her life forever.
Curtain Call 1 hour
Never had Tess been remotely late for a curtain call. Passion is passion, and when it bites you, all facets come into play in the most serious of manners.
At 24 she looked like a movie star, felt like one too. Burlesque performing was a level of singing and acting and dancing and wardrobe far beyond anything she had dreamed of. Alone now working as a physical actress of sorts.
Yes him, Michael, in 6 years he never hurt her, always made her feel like a queen and continues to be the only lover she believes will ever have. She loves him, though 20 years her senior, no one ever did things to her, and the way he could.
However he understands and respects Tess for absolutely no form of intimacy or relationship of love. She does not desire it, need it, or want it. He still pleased her beyond any heard fairy tales.
Smokey, rowdy, whiskey drunk perverts started her career in the adult entertainment district. Yet, it was a gentleman who turned out to be Michael she was about to meet.
Years ago, as she routinely did her stage act nude, out of nowhere a man threw his overcoat around her and carried her out of the shady club, the owner with his baseball bat took a swing.
Michael ducked, threw 5K his way, and simply said “that should keep you busy for a good long time. You’re lucky I don’t report you, she’s a mess.”
As she finished her hair she forbid herself to wonder why he saved her life. Wouldn’t ever doubt why she was handed her dream. She smiled in her mirror, thinking of her superhero, her protector, and why she was performing with class, each and every night.
Final encore and she bolted for her safe place with the double doors.
After all these years as Tess, trying to catch her breath, eyes closed and tears streaming for the first time in ten years, she prayed they liked her, god she prayed they were there, spotlights are blinding.
She couldn’t breath and those stupid tears were ruining her make-up, should they come to see her.
There is no IF in her fantasy.
That’s when Tess exhaled and really realized she was her own fantasy all along. She created Tess. As she started to rest, they came………….
Morgen: I asked Kimberly what prompted this piece and she said…to explore the romantic part of me, while mixing it with the down to earth person I am out on those streets, everyday. Lastly, putting a name and face to adult entertainment, through using the same emotions we all share. Thank you, Kimberly.
Kimberly possesses such a strong desire to reach people. To reach them in a capacity people will trust she is sincere. That brought on the donation of time she spends donating much of her writing to charity and the time consuming column of dear addict.
Quite insecure about the quality of her work, she finds it is improving so much over the years the awards were well-deserved.
She certainly is determined and has much fun working hard, regardless of the task.
Still loving being the best pillow fighter, holding the best title for champion, 3 years running now. She can be found at (are you sitting comfortably? )… Sunnie Day’s feature, Kimberlyslyrics, Smashwords, Prey, Dear addict, lyricsingray, Hubbie, Top 200, 800 days 1st feature, 2nd feature, one of four blogs, SligoBay and bbnix. She can also be reached via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’d like to submit your 1,000-word max. stories for consideration for Flash Fiction Friday take a look here.
The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with mystery author Marni Graff – the three hundred and ninety-fifth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.
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Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.