Free Flash Fiction:
By: Jae El Foster
October 21, 2018
It was the role of Elizabeth’s dreams. Not only was this her first opportunity as ‘leading actress,’ but she was also starring alongside her Hollywood crush, Matt Thompson. Matt was 32 years old, had classic rugged good looks, and he had a body that made Elizabeth melt inside.
Yesterday, they shot their first scene together. Matt was playing a private eye, and Elizabeth was his client. In yesterday’s scene, they were meeting in the detective’s office as she explained her case. Elizabeth had been star-struck at first, but she had managed to hold her fawning excitement inside of her and remained professional throughout both rehearsals and the six takes it took to complete the scene.
Today was a bit different. Today, her character was to surprise Matt’s character by visiting him at his seedy apartment and attempting to seduce him. Currently, Elizabeth was dressed in a raincoat and a black negligee with a brown detective’s hat on her head. She was nervous. Her scene called for her to push through the doorway when Matt opened it. There would be rain, and she would be wet. When Matt’s character questioned hers, she was to push herself into Matt’s arms. He was to push her away and further question her intentions, and then she was to cry – on the spot – and open her raincoat and let it drop to the floor. That was when Matt was to show sympathy toward her, take her back in his arms, and kiss the tears away.
This scene demanded so much from her. It demanded that she exposed her body in see-through lace, that she cried on cue, and that she made out with the man of her dreams.
“It’s time,” said Becky, her assistant, and she was led from her dressing room, through a hallway of technical cords and equipment, and onto the set. Even though it was a scene with rain, the outside of Matt’s apartment was just as manufactured as the inside, and the rain would be provided by a water system above her.
Twice, they ran through the scene without cameras and without the rain. They began with the sound of Elizabeth knocking on Matt’s door, and they stopped right before she opened her raincoat. Somehow, this rattled her nerves more than if they had gone through the scene in its entirety. Then again, she wasn’t sure rehearsing a kiss with Matt would help things. She wondered if she would perform better on the spot, with the cameras rolling.
Although Matt was her dream man, she hoped she wouldn’t have to shoot this scene six times as well. She was afraid her nerves couldn’t handle it.
“Rolling!” yelled the director, and the rain began to fall upon Elizabeth. She knocked on the light, fake door as she tried her best to embrace her character. When Matt opened it, she followed through with her character’s persona beautifully, just as she had done in rehearsal – if not better.
“I just can’t keep you off my mind,” she told him in her character’s foreign accent. She rushed to him and threw her arms around him. Her hat fell to the floor. “Oh, Jonathan! Hold me! Protect me from this crazy world!”
“What’s wrong with you?” Matt shouted and pushed her away from him. “What’s the meaning of this, showing up at my home at this hour?”
“I’m so afraid,” she said, and she unbuckled the belt of her raincoat, keeping her eyes fix on his. Then, slowly, she opened the coat and let it slide from her shoulders, onto the floor. “Oh, Jonathan! You have no idea what he’ll do to me if he knows I’ve come to you.”
Miraculously, she managed to on the waterworks and rushed once more into his arms. This time, as she sobbed, he held onto her – just as the script demanded.
“It’s okay,” he told her, holding her close. He kissed her forehead, her crying eyes, and her wet cheeks.
“Make me feel safe,” she whispered. “Make me feel cared for. Make me feel loved.”
Then, with a greater intensity of passion than Elizabeth had expected, Matt kissed her fully on the lips. She felt his tongue graze her lips and slide between them. Then, as his tongue caressed hers, she let her eyes fall shut. She shuddered and moaned, and even though this was precisely what her character was meant to display, the emotions she showed were coming from Elizabeth – not from Johanna Von Reisenthorpe.
Suddenly, she noticed that Matt’s tongue no longer played with hers, and his lips began to feel thicker and hard. She opened her eyes and looked into his; they were wide and bulging – swelled and gripped in fear. Panicked, Elizabeth pulled away from him and shouted for help. As the word left her lips, Matt let out a gasp and collapsed to the floor.
His eyes were open, but as the director and others from the set rushed to him – and as Elizabeth reached down to him and touched his cheek – he was dead.
The production was canceled, and even though the death of Matt Thompson was ruled an accident – and even though it was proven the death had been caused by an allergic reaction to the waterproof lipstick chosen by the make-up department for Elizabeth that morning – Elizabeth saw the end to her Hollywood career. There was a new stigma that followed her – one that walked with her and reminded those who saw her that she was the last woman to have ever kissed Matt Thompson, and it was her kiss that had killed him. No director would work with her – not with her new, if inaccurate, reputation. No actor would come near her for fear that he would be her next victim. The career that she had worked her entire life for was stripped away, and thusly her stage of performance had drawn its final curtain.
Copyright Jae El Foster, 2018