I initially thought this was a really stupid prompt, but I had such fun writing this one. I’m pretty sure this took a bit more than 15 minutes, but not much.
Warning: Not for readers of a sensitive disposition.
The grubby black door opened suddenly as she was raising her hand to knock for the second time, revealing a bleached blonde woman with a lived-in face and too much makeup wearing a black-and-white spotted top and a short black skirt. Her stockings – the suspenders were visible below her skirt – were both laddered and her shoes had seen better days.
“Yeah?” she asked around a wad of gum.
“Er, I’m…” the girl remembered her new stage name and changed what she was about to say at the last moment. “I’m Delilah”.
The other woman snorted. “Delilah, is it? Well I suppose it’s a while since we had one of those. You’re the one Mr G told me about, are you?” She had a very faint accent. Polish, maybe?
“Yes, he told me to come and ask for…”
“Angel”, said the other woman, finally standing back from the doorway and gesturing her in. Stairs plunged down immediately inside the door, and as they clattered down them Angel said, “Yes, I know, it’s a stupid name t… A stupid name. But when I came here first nobody could say my name, so they called me Angel.”
They reached the bottom of the stairs and walked along a dingy corridor. Angel opened a door on the left, held it open but didn’t go in. “The club”, she said. “You auditioned there, yes?”
“OK.” She shut the door. “So that’s where you go in if you’re not on stage, and you get changed here.” She opened a door on the right and flipped a switch just inside, revealing a large space reminiscent of a gym changing room, with benches to sit on and lockers against the walls.
“Bring nothing you don’t mind if you lose”, Angel said as she turned off the light and pulled the door shut. “The lockers don’t lock and some of the girls will steal anything they like the look of.”
She continued along the corridor, nodded to another door marked “STAGE” in large red letters, and finally opened the door at the end of the corridor.
“And here’s the staff room. Would you like a cuppa?” The last word sounded odd in her accented English.
“Er, yeah, thanks. Black, two sugars.”
Angel went over to the kettle in the corner and started slamming mugs and spoons about.
Delilah entered the room – quite big but low ceilinged – and shut the door carefully behind her. The air was almost stiflingly hot and smelled of a badly mixed cocktail of perfumes. Tatty sofas and armchairs were complemented by coffee-ring-stained tables. Delilah perched on the edge of one of the armchairs and wondered whether she was really this desperate. Then she remembered her debts and decided she was.
On the coffee table in front of her was a large, thin book covered in paper with a strangely intricate pattern. It looked like one of those cartoons where you had to spot one character amongst hundreds of people all enjoying a day out at the zoo or throwing snowballs or something.
She turned it slightly with one finger, trying to make out the motif. Finally she got it. Written all over it in letters of different colours and sizes was the word ‘Creativity’.
Angel saw her looking. “My grandmother’s idea”, she said. “When I was a little girl, in Yugoslavia – that’s what we called it then – she always told me, ‘Slavica’, she’d say, ‘you must always work at your creativity. Never forget that life is more than just work.’”
“Oh, that’s sweet”, said Delilah. “And what do you create? Can… Can I see?”
“Of course you can. It’s my sex manual.”
Delilah dropped the book as if it had burned her. Angel threw back her head and shrieked with laughter.
“No, it’s very tasteful, really.” She leaned over the table and flipped the book open.
“See? This is…” she squinted at the diagram – which Delilah had to admit was indeed beautifully drawn.
“This is double penetration”, said Angel. “See? With instructions as well. I decided to do it like a kind of recipe book, you know, take two men, add plenty of lube, preparation time 10 minutes, like that.” Delilah looked more closely at the exquisitely calligraphied text and winced.
“A bit too hardcore for you, is it?” asked Angel not unsympathetically.
“No, it’s not that”, said Delilah. “It’s just that there’s meant to be two Ls in ‘bollocks’.”
4 thoughts on “Creativity all over it”
Love the ending!
Thanks Nikki! I wrote all of these a while back and I had no idea where it was going when I reread it earlier today. Made me snigger too!
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You drew in this reader inside the building until I could swear my own fingers were tracing the patterns on the book. It’s a skill not always seen in published fiction, of which my current audiobook is a clear example (don’t ask). Sigh. Is a volume of short stories in the offing, by any chance? FYI, a lot of authors read their own works on Audible Books.
Thanks Allison – high praise indeed coming from you. My current audio book is so boring it’s kind of fascinating! I haven’t been thinking of short stories in terms of publication, but I suppose I should! Not sure I’d want to narrate them myself, though – that’s really hard work (or I’m rubbish at it, one of the two!)
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