Friday, 19 November 2010

Friday Flash - Hollow

“Marlena? Marlena, are you awake?”

Trudie stuck her head around the bedroom door. The great Marlena Blake lay on the floor, staring at the ceiling. Trudie groaned; Marlena held an empty whiskey bottle to her chest. She cradled it as you might cradle an infant.

“Ssssssh! ‘M thinkin'.”

“What are you thinking about, Marlena?”

“Argh! Never call me Marlena! ‘Snot my name.”

“Alright then...what are you thinking about, Jane?”

“Am not Jane! Not been Jane fer years...” Marlena trailed off, entranced by the play of afternoon light through the chandelier.

“Um...whoever you are...you need to start getting ready, you’ve got a TV appearance this evening,” said Trudie.

“When?”

“You have to be at the studio by 6 at the latest.”

“Bah, ‘sonly 4pm, loadsa time.”

“You only just got up.”

Marlena snorted. She tossed the bottle across the floor and rolled over onto her stomach. Trudie’s maternal streak screamed as she watched Marlena pull herself onto the bed. The actress gazed across the room, last night’s makeup still plastered to her face. The smouldering screen siren looked more like a burnt-out wreck.

“Ya know what my favouritest thing is in th' whole world?” asked Marlena.

“No, what?”

“This.”

Marlena leaned across to her nightstand. Her hand fumbled about, grasping for a 6” tall  figurine. Trudie crossed the room to sit beside Marlena. The actress turned the figurine over in her fingers. The slender shepherdess beamed a winsome smile, one hand wrapped around her crook. Porcelain sheep gathered behind her flowing skirts. Yellow hair fanned out beneath her cornflower blue headscarf.

“I used to be blonde,” said Marlena. She twirled a lock of black hair around her finger.

“Really? I can’t picture you blonde,” said Trudie.

“Yeah...had hair this colour,” said Marlena. She pointed at the figurine’s hair, and remembered when she tossed back her blonde hair in the midwestern sunshine.

“What made you dye it? Just fancied a change?”

“No...the networks said I was too all-American. Wouldn’t even let me audition. Only ever did one role. Got to be a cheerleader in a stupid comedy. Dyed my hair black and started wearing green lenses and started getting jobs. ‘Swhen I changed my name.”

Tears welled in Marlena’s reddened eyes. Trudie patted her arm, unsure what to say. Marlena stared at the figurine.

“It’s lovely,” said Trudie.

“My first boyfriend got it for me. So I wouldn’t forget the farm. “

“What farm?”

“The farm we were gonna have. He wanted a farm but I wanted to act, so here I am.”

Marlena fumbled to push the figurine back onto the nightstand. The shepherdess slipped from her grasp, and hit Marlena’s empty glass on the floor. She yelped when the figurine shattered.

Marlena pulled herself upright and picked up the porcelain shards. The pieces wouldn’t fit together. Her fingers trembled as she traced the unadorned inner surface of the figurine. Boring and plain - so different from the outside. Marlena never realised the figurine was hollow, that nothing but air filled her favourite ornament.

“Oh no! Marlena, give it to me, maybe I can fix it...” said Trudie.

“Naw...’sbroken,” replied Marlena. A single tear rolled down her cheek.

Marlena stumbled across the room to the waste paper basket. Trash flowed out onto the floor. She tried to make a mental note to fire someone. The voice of Jack Daniels cooed in her ear, and she forgot the cleaner.

Marlena dropped the remains of the figurine into the basket, a shard of yellow hair sliding beneath old cigarette butts and whiskey bottles.

24 comments:

Diandra said...

Sad and beautiful. Great descriptions. Hopwever, there seem to be parts missing...

Icy Sedgwick said...

How do you mean?

Sam said...

There's a great sense of melancholy about this piece. Very moving. I wish she'd kept the boyfriend and the farm.

theothersideofdeanna said...

So well written Icy, full of emotion, just beautiful. I think you could've even ended it with the line "...A single tear rolled down her cheek.", but you took it further to show us just how hollow the poor girl is.
Wonderful work!

afullnessinbrevity said...

You have captured the gut-wrenching hollowness and regret superbly. The use of the figurine is a great image.
Adam B @revhappiness

Carrie said...

I love these depictions. You did this before with the picture of the whiskey bottle. You are just multi-genre talented. Dialogue rocked.

Icy Sedgwick said...

Sam - It's one those "But would she have been happy if she'd put her dreams of stardom aside?" sort of questions. She'll never know.

Deanna - Marlena's the total opposite of me but I've got a real soft spot for her anyway.

Adam - I think we've all feel a bit hollow from time to time.

Carrie - I have no idea what genre this even fits into. But yes, it's the same Marlena as in 'Fickle Fame'.

Eric J. Krause said...

Excellent story. Very powerful. Really speaks to how the past changed into the present, and to how her dreams of living with her boyfriend on the farm were hollow, too. For better or for worse, she's where she wants to be.

Laura Eno said...

You really hit the hollowness of her life and the tragedy of it. Excellent voice!

John Wiswell said...

I like Marlena's half-drunk written accent. Does seem like she needs a stiffer shake than her drink, though, if this lasts.

Icy Sedgwick said...

Eric - The trouble with Marlena is she's not entirely sure that she knows what she needs.

Laura - I'm getting to really enjoy writing Marlena.

John - I can guarantee I won't be attempting an audio version of this one!

Seleste said...

Very melancholy. Even more than the shattered figurine is her simple acceptance of it. Her most precious thing no longer even matters. I can't imagine way of living sadder.

Jason Coggins said...

You did a broken starlet/ alt history thing a while back that had echoes of Marlena's plight. This was equally sad and tragic but on a more personal scale.

CathrynLouis said...

Tragic. She is hollow.

daniellelapaglia said...

Beautiful job, Icy. We always want we don't have and it's sad to realize that maybe both are just as empty. Loved this story.

Icy Sedgwick said...

Jason - It's the same starlet. ^_^

Cathryn - She'll probably never admit that to herself though.

Danni - I suppose that's the problem. She was damned either way.

Cathy Webster (Olliffe) said...

Your analogy of the hollow figurine and Marlena's broken life is brilliant. The shard of yellow hair in the wastebasket is like icing on the cake. Great stuff, Icy.

PJ said...

Love it, icy. The descriptions, Marlena's voice, the whole package. I love the figurine as a metaphor. Very well done :-)

Alan W. Davidson said...

Sad but really nice story, Icy. The figurine is a nice symbol of the life she gave up.

AidanF said...

You capture the hopelessness of her life nicely. I like the way that you use the figurine to play through this and make this more personal.

laradunning said...

I really liked this. Marlena is wonderfully flawed. She has attained her dream, but is letting it get the best of her. She is spiraling downward. You have conveyed her hopelessness and loss perfectly. The fact that she throws her (doll) away which could represent her old life or her old self, is very poignant.

Harry said...

It's hard to tell just who Marlena will turn out to be. She has regrets, but she's not exactly a victim of circumstances. In fact she seems a bit self indulgent. Still we feel compassion for her. Compelling character, show us more!

Jim Bronyaur said...

My oh my do you paint this picture well... the "life trade off" that we all go through. Of course some are extreme like this. Me? Well, three years ago I would have taken the life she has... but now, I would want the farm. I prefer cow shit over fake life shit any day! :)

Awesome story...

Magaly Guerrero said...

I'm a sucker for good dialogue and for tales that move me; you got me on both.

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