First, I want to apologize for not getting my Monday post up. I’ve been hit with a bad flu bug and it’s knocked me out of commission for the last two days. However, I do intend to get one up next Monday, as well as keep up with my Posts for today and Friday.
Continuing on my writing sample series that I started a few weeks back. This next writing post is one that I’m particularly fond of. It was the first time that this character had gelled for me into a nice cohesion that I could communicate a bit of her personality to someone other than myself or close friends.
This was also part of my class creative writing assignments during the summer and I received great feedback during our read throughs. I would love your thoughts on this piece. Does she come alive for you? Please, feel free to comment below.
I can still remember my Catholic father’s words whispered in my ear; “No daughter of mine will have such low self-respect to wear a dress that short out in public.” He’d say this every time our family passed flapper girls on the street during my teen years in the 1920’s. Yet when I helped to put away the laundry, I would discover copies of Variety or H&E magazine, showing fully nude women in provocative poses, hidden away in his sock drawer.
As I grew older, the clash between what I was told was proper for a lady to wear and do and what men desired became more apparent. I was drawn to the allure of the freedom that the flapper movement represented; even though I didn’t quite fully understand the politics or ramifications at the time. I eventually became friends with a few flapper girls and snuck into the speakeasies with them at night. There, I felt a touch of freedom. Many a night I chatted up an attractive boy, I smoked, I drank, and allowed for the boys’ hands to explore my body as far as I felt comfortable. When they’d gotten too frisky, I’d smack their hand away. The harsh reality would smack me later, during the day, when I would see the boys I had such a good time with the night before and they would ignore me or ridicule publicly.
Many years later when I entered the military I found I had to walk an even thinner tightrope between masculine and feminine images. If I showed too much aggression or attitude, I met the punishing, surreptitious hand of my male superiors and peers, as well as the social ridicule of the women in my company. If I showed weakness or too much sensuality, I was propped up as an example of the consequences for stepping outside the boundaries of my defined gender role. Add to all of this, the world’s perceived illegitimacy of my bisexuality and my life can seem enormously depressing and complex.
I do, however, have an ace up my sleeve; an advantage over all of this. I am a vampire. Not the bloodthirsty, morally devoid monstrosities, typically found in books, TV and movies; nor the romanticized, hyper-sexualized, emotionally stunted shell-of-a-human versions that are popular today. No. I’m the real thing, a vibrant living soul, once stripped down to the very essence of all life; energy. Then repackaged and brought back to mortality with the spiritual clarity of someone able to see the social Rubik’s cube from outside its matrix and yet, still play the game.
I’ve been around awhile. I came of age in the 1920’s, rebirthed in the ‘30’s, saw combat duty with the US government in WWII and Vietnam and was a major weapon in the international spy game during the 80’s. Now, I bide my time with close friends, enjoying my freedom and generally protecting the city of Seattle from unbeknownst supernatural threats. Very few things get past me.
It did come as a surprise, however, when I received a cell phone call from a mysterious man claiming he knew who – and what – I was.
“Marianne O’Neil?” the voice asked. I picked up the remote, turned off the TV;
“Mebbe. And this is?”
“Harold Meyer. Pentagon, retired-“, I stood up out of my loveseat and walked to the kitchen, this sounded like a conversation that I was gonna need another beer for.
“Mr. Meyer, listen, I’m done with the military-“, I reached into the fridge and pulled out a can of Guinness.
“I’m well aware of the incident at the Jefferson Millennium Pharmaceuticals,” he said.
I set the can of beer down on the kitchen counter still unopened. I thought I had severed ties with them after I set the building on fire and killed the assassins they sent after me. My mind started racing trying to piece together who this guy was and what exactly he knew.
“I’m not out to hurt you Ms. O’Neil. I have information for you, but not over the phone. It’s about Lane,” he continued.
I froze. He knew of my maker. I had to find out what he wanted. I needed more angles; I needed to get the big picture. Then I smiled. A memory from my childhood flooded into my mind. The day I had to take on Big Jerry in 4th grade on the school playground. There was no way I could fight him; physically he was just way bigger than me, but Jerry never had any girl take a liking to him before. I gave him the best “sweet talk” I could muster, and what started out as a fight turned into one of the few real friendships I had growing up. I realized that this situation could be resolved with the same finesse rather than aggressiveness; which meant I got to play a little. My guess was that this guy hadn’t seen true 1930’s charm in quite a while and it might be just the thing to loosen him up a little.
“Oh, well. Mr. Meyer. Why didn’t you say so? Have any particular place in mind you’d like to talk this over?”
“Uh, yes.” I could hear his throat contract and release over the phone. I could only guess that my charm was working or that he was terrified at the thought of meeting a vampire. I couldn’t be sure, until we met face to face.
“How about Starbucks on 1st and Pike in downtown Seattle?”
“Sounds good, sugar. Two o’clock alright with you?”
“Er… uh. Yes ma’am.”
The air tasted thick with the coffee-dust of constantly grounded beans and the smiles on the barista’s face belied the physical exhaustion their bodies must have felt during mid-day. I knew this because I had been there once -a barista- never would do it again.
There were various tables and chairs strewn about, some clustered in groups to give a more comforting, house-like feel. I scanned the room, looking for my rendezvous. It was about this moment that I noticed a waving hand and saw a Caucasian man sitting in one of the loveseats by the window.
Yes, Seattle is that pretentious that we have loveseats in our coffeehouses.
God, I love my city.
I looked the man over as I walked toward him. Exercise had done this man well; the skin on his face was still smooth for the most part with the cracks of age showing here and there. His crossed legged posture told of a man just over the middle age mark -none of the younger boys do this anymore- it’s something that was done more back in my day. He wore muted brown slacks with a beige shirt, black bowtie, and black oxford shoes with black and gray checkerboard socks. To top it all off, a brown blazer. This guy was definitely was military, his shoes were shined. I watched his eyes as I smiled and sat down in the faux-leather- loveseat across from him. I figured I’d picked the right outfit as his eyes lit up as he saw me, I wore a white satin blouse, black pencil skirt, tan nylons, black Mary-Jane’s and to top everything off a vintage 1930’s wide-brimmed summer hat.
“Marianne O’Neil?” he asked. I locked my eyes on his; let him know I was looking right at him. I hooked corner of my mouth upward, let the smirk draw him in for a moment and then;
“Uh yes, and you must be-“
“Harold. Harold Myer.” He extended his hand. I gave him four of my fingers and let a smile crawl across my face. Yeah, I was laying it on thick, but he was eating it up. He adjusted in his seat, laughed nervously. He coughed and then,
“So you know Lane then?”
“Yes, as far back as I can remember. He knew my mother and father before I was born.” He leaned back against the seat and rested his hand against his chin.
“I see.” I leaned back as well, staring him dead in the eyes while crossing my legs.
Come on dirty old man, let’s play this game.
By Brandon Bunche