Credit

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. All rights reserved. Winner will receive an all-expense paid trip to Hollywood, California, where he or she will enjoy seven days of authentic movie magic. Working closely with a talented crew and award-winning director Carl Ingersdotter, the winner will learn exactly how a movie gets made, and even earn a spot in the credits!

“Can I yell ‘action?’”

“You can do whatever you want. You won the contest.”

No one had explained to Carl Ingersdotter exactly what the competition had been, but the powers that be had impressed upon him that an outsider on set would be great publicity. The man had probably opened the right bag of Cheetos, the right Dr. Pepper.

“This is a pretty good scene, but I feel like Georgio — big fan, by the way — needs to act a little bit more, you know what I mean?”

“A bit more what?”

“Just more.”

In the final cut, Georgio slaps his costar across her face, sending her flying. She looks to him with equal parts fear and contempt, and Georgio turns away, smoldering. He stares upward to the heavens, mournfully, and extends his palm upright, as though holding a skull.

“I did that,” A man tells his date over the frantic shushing behind them. “I made that happen.”

By the way she replies, “Mm-hmm,” he can tell she doesn’t believe him. As the credits roll and she stands up, he remains in place. “I’m going to show you my name.”

Carl Ingersdotter has his name all over everything: story, writing, design, directing, consulting. Surely someone else could get a measly Special Thanks.

“I must have missed it,” he says, as the woman, whoever she is, pulls him to his feet. He slaps her.

“Blame Ingersdotter,” he says. “It’s all his.”

#acting, #contempt, #creep, #deception, #discovery, #fear, #jealousy, #misogyny, #self-loathing, #show-business, #ugly

Trophy

For the past several years, Nicole had won the club’s annual tournament, though the competition hadn’t been exactly fierce. Most of the other girls at the club snubbed their noses at athletics. “Oh, I hear you’re playing the games again. Do you actually enjoy it?”

Golf and tennis were the reasons Nicole had consented to join the club in the first place. Greg didn’t care what she did, as long as she made appearances from time to time, so she took long walks on the golf course, and practiced her forehand and backhand against various walls. She wasn’t sure what the other wives did, but they spent all their time at the club at the clubhouse. Playing bridge? Sipping margaritas? They probably sat around talking about what a disgrace she was, to the club, to the aristocracy and womanhood. She hoped that’s what they talked about.

“Hey,” came a voice behind her at the tennis court. “You want to go a round?” Nicole turned. Her first thought was, “I didn’t think they’d let a black girl in here,” but that was an acknowledgement of their racism, not her own. She said, “Sure!” and introduced herself.

Bethany had an amazing serve. Once they got a rally going, they seemed evenly matched, but Nicole could barely get to the ball from a standstill. “Where’d you learn to hit like that?”

“Oh, I sleep with the tennis instructor,” the woman said, but she was joking. She was tall and beautiful and quick-witted. Nicole smiled.

“Looks like I’m going to have some competition this year.”

“Wish I could say the same.”

She was only joking, Nicole told herself. She was only joking, she told the other wives, her cards face-up on the table, her cocktail salty.

#athletics, #big-fish, #classism, #jealousy, #leisure, #microfiction, #racism, #sexism, #small-pond, #sports, #the-best

Twins and Triplets

Ernie had wanted to have chocolate cake on his 8th birthday, but Bernie and Journey had voted for vanilla. “We’re not getting more than one cake,” their father said, and that was the end of the discussion. Ernie hated when they won.

His brothers were inseparable. They played together constantly, to the point of having their own language. They watched the same shows. They emulated the same ninja turtle. Any toy that belonged to one in turn belonged to the other.

Ernie had tried to be their friend, but they knew each other so well that they only spoke half of what they said. He tried to understand, but without their telepathy, he was left behind.

The three of them were supposed to blow out the candles together, but Ernie held back. If he got his wish, he’d be blowing out the candles alone, and on a chocolate cake. “Never make a wish you don’t want to come true,” their mother had said, once.

His brothers fed each other cake, like a newlywed couple. He watched them from a distance. They licked the frosting off of each other’s mouths. “Come on over!” they waved to him. “We’re genetically identical!”

#children, #codependence, #jealousy, #microfiction, #triplets, #twins