Jean-Louise and Annie May had been staying on the upper story of a two-level apartment complex built to look like people of dignity lived there. They were worried, but tried their best to appear casual, looking back at one another with frightened eyes as they leaned against faux-wood paneling and chewed at worn nails.
The difference was nominal, as was the product; the players were not.
Jeannie was a tragic cute, the kind you see in women her age and have to say a word or two under your breath for the parents and all that could have been. I thought to myself how, under different circumstances, I would’ve liked to take her out to a nice dinner and treat her right, but I also knew full well she would have little interest in me, instead attracting the kind of guys who had far less noble intentions.
“God, I’d like to get up in you, Jeannie…”, Jimmy cooed as he stared the young woman up and down.
I was slightly shocked and offended at this comment and it’s entitled, aloof tone, particularly given the context. Jimmy was a fucking pig, no doubt about it. But he knew the girls well; these were his people, after all. And Jeannie didn’t seem to think about it with any more emotion than her face had betrayed up to this point.
“Ain’t that tight.” She dryly retorted, glancing at Annie, then back at Jimmy, then at me. “You’re welcome to it… if you want. There’s really just 115 is what we’re talking about.”
I didn’t quite know what she was talking about; her body, or the drugs. The number meant nothing, but inherently carried little value. I was quite saddened at both possibilities either way; that was nothing at all, change really. Suddenly, though, it was irrelevant.
The door opened. The walls lit up. Within seconds, I was staring sideways at Jeannie’s pretty, tired face full only of confusion and distinct in it’s lack of pity and remorse, though not entirely that much more lacking in life than it had been prior.
As the blood ran from my body, a scene in my head played out once more:
A stark, empty field, illuminated only in a harsh, green light. The wind is blowing violently, evidenced by small flecks of dirt and debris flowing past the camera quickly and then disappearing into the distance without much fanfare. We are watching the corner of a lawn chair, or perhaps the base of a decorative flag pole. The fish eye angle is rough and alienating, showing the effect of the wind on the air around our subject, but nothing more.
A voice plays softly over the scene, the voice of the radio from days long past, vibrant and full of optimism. It reminds us that “They enjoyed an American breakfast that day. A real American breakfast. The kind of breakfast where, the moment it hits your mouth, you know freedom and love it like you love Mama.”
There is more to the story. I know there is. We had only just found the complex, after all. Wouldn’t the audience…? Too late for that, I suppose.
The wind continues. Vision fades. The voice crackles and pops, as a vignette closes in.
I am vaguely aware that this was how the film opened, though my role in the film and the elements of film up to the present are long-gone.
‘Why are we back at the beginning?” I ask myself, and myself alone. “I suppose that’s just the way these flicks work. Whatever gets the attention of the critics.”
Then it’s gone. I open my eyes, a memory lingering of those finals scenes, fragments, embedded ever so delicately in my mind as lines in a self-referential bit in the style of crime noir.
This ain’t the story. Not by a long shot. There are many pieces missing, and the characters, they just haven’t been done justice. Jeannie… She had layers. And I, I was a wolf, bowing to no-one.
That isn’t important now, though. I don’t question this gift I’ve been given. I write it down. I remember what I can. At least they won’t be forgotten, those two girls and their would-be heroes. That’s all that really matters, after all.=
I am unimpressed as always, disappointed in the lack of details I remember but apathetic in the context. I end the piece with little sign-off, hoping only to grab a few more hours of rest before the day begins. The dog snores peacefully at my feet.
The darkness awaits.