I was waiting for my fiancé. That -cupid boy- stopped to chat with another girl at the end of the bar, and I, while expecting him, simply reflected about my character’s role as I stood on stage that night.
“The Blues Chronicles” news paper cover
Cover shot of Tatiana sitting at the bar, looking at her half glass of wine. She wears a black velvet coat and French hat. Beside her, a man in a suit whispers some words to her ear. In the background some younger men stare at them.
I looked very unhappy; I accepted that. But it was the only feeling that I had inside that place, at that time. They took the picture precisely when I started to sip on the wine that glamorized my cup. Those traitors ... I'd keep telling you what happened there at the bar.I was wondering if I did not carry out my part of the script correctly, just like the many times I was able to do so.
“Could my gestures on stage have been interpreted as a subliminal mockery? That would be a good excuse for not applauding at me today. If it’s not for this reason, it must be because something else," I thought at the bar.
How bad was I missing a cigarette that evening … So while waiting for my fiancé, I kept thinking of more things, simply mulling over the matter.
"Why was I being rejected today? Why today after so many long nights at this theater?" I remembered asking myself.
“It must have been that germ, which flourishes over the irrational sorts of senseless thiking and talking. If it was that, without any doubt it had infected the entire audience—all those people who recognized me as an actress of impeccable quality, now infected, all of them.”
I kept thinking there, “Look at them today, denying my seniority, unfolding their thoughts on acting as completely ethereal beings, now denying the very essence of beauty in the arts of acting. Only a fool becomes carried away by his own poor understanding. The really bad thing is when that soul feels the need to spread that feeling just because of his vileness.”
I felt disappointed once I walked out off the stage that night. I knew that my enemies somehow earned the wonderment of their followers. I knew that something was wrong. So I decided to enter the bar, just to clear my mind. I knew that my fiancé would be waiting for me there. Well, he didn’t know I was getting there sooner, since they canceled my show so early that day.
Usurpers, they might never develop my character with the quality that had made me a standout. And I had to admit something before going on. On that night, I was just one more pretext to justify their production styles. They were nothing, nothing if they didn’t jump in anyone’s life just to get more publicity. OK, if they felt so moved by shaking things around, soon they would know how things in this country were really shaken.
"They are only a band of incompetents without any control," I repeated softly, just barely moving my lips. That was the only thing I spoke as I stood there at that bar. And standing still by my side was that other subject, the one wearing that hat. He remained silent. I’d tell you who he was later.
A glass of wine was enough to forget, to forget that was the night that I got fired by those morons. My role, lost forever. No reason or encouragement to laugh that evening. I didn't desire anything, or felt like being anyone in the world as I stood there ... My only world was that role that I had played every single weekend in my beloved theater; it was all for me.
But how could they dare to hire a low-ranking actress and to place her in my role. This was my end; I cannot be myself anymore. How could they dare to take this picture to the newspapers? Yes, I was just going through my thoughts while waiting for my soul mate and that was all.
You know what, today I feel arranged to shut up; because I was meant to agree and understand that my character would be played by insensibility made a verb, therefore I should be immediately turned into a useless shadow. I would then be like an ornament on the shelf that characterized this new –meritorial- trend. Yes ... myself and all of those who would pass through something like this. But they will be hearing from me. Oh, yes, they will; oh, yes, they will …
I felt my cup delicately, using my fingertips, trying to forget for one more second the sourness of my surprising farewell. I didn't mention a single word at that bar.
I don’t know where they got the idea to write that I “disappeared from the theater.” Soon they will know that I still had my parking ticket. Oh, yes, they will …
Suddenly Isidro talked to me. You know the subject who’d been standing beside me in the picture. Yes, a renowned producer, to whom I previously had declined some offers because of my pure and dumb selfishness. Yes, this was the subject that fell beside me. I remember the day that I met Isidro for the first time … that day I was told that he managed the great European actress Laura Miatts. Enough weight for my rookie star mentality. I rejected him.
And if there was something not to be forgotten that night, it would definitely had been the quartet at the piano bar. Lou Donaldson’s “Blue Walk” was played so brilliantly. At least there was something decent that my ears could hold onto after so much madness. I even got inspired and started singing. Look, look at that picture in the paper, you do not fear them? Where would I be today?
“You need to assemble another theatrical piece immediately; you need new features,” Isidro told me in a low-toned voice and then went on to gush all of his wine in a single blow. “No one, no one will do it for you this time, and much less invite you to any new auditions. They will never find your type at their castings, and that simply boils them.
You have the eyes of a star; that’s all they hate. You cannot fight against that, so accept it. I will not be here standing until your partner strolls along; think about this. I’ll put up the money and a polished good script."
I paid little attention to his dialogue … if he just knew what I was planning to do to them. But that bar was not the place to negotiate, even less my time for it. I only wanted to think about my work, and about the public that applauded me every weekend, and the bright lights that glittered around all of my dressing room. And who the hell knew what amateur could be sitting there in that dressing room where I would never sit again. And they dared to say in the headlines that I was being interviewed by a police investigator. What a bunch of lowlifes. Oh, yes, they will know from me. They will, yes, they will.
I was still explaining to you, listen. Behind my back there were some businessmen who were listening to my conversation and even made some comments about a possible future for me.
And it was a voice that I recognized; the one that I heard was simply a man without ideas. He was only about money, not about the script necessary to promote an actress as I was. So when I thought about those whispered proposals, related to works they used to promote, I knew that they had nothing. And I also knew, on the other hand, that the theaters he had under his tutelage were simply resting rooms for narcissistic people. And therefore their comments didn’t provoke my soul to resolve in any minimum reaction. “Well, I have to go now,” Isidro said, swirling his keys inside his pocket. “Tell me if you accept my offer or not. I promise you a set design of excellence, illuminated by more than 10 lighting technicians. A set design office, just for you.
“And a live band.… We will leave on tour around Europe. I will not give you anything less than a life of stardom.”
“Look at him, take a glimpse, with his folly hat that distinguishes him. Make no mistake ... he is the new manager of your theater … there taking drinks after your good-bye. Acknowledge what he is, only one more puppet of this mass marketing trend. This is a simple game of chance for him.
“What was he about before this … nothing? He spent his entire college days bouncing money from his parents. Then he took a photography course. He immediately published a magazine that he led into bankruptcy. And now he intends to buy another personality. And as soon as he becomes aware of another profession that places him as trendy, he’ll stop all this, and all of those with him will vanish.”
“And I am sure that he will go into film production. He only buys and sells shows at his convenience. Oh, those opulent looks. Hear him speaking as a man of business. But after all, he will send us away. And with the sum of money that he recovers, he may be retiring for the holidays around the world—just to calm his stressed mind. Look at him … I’ll say he lasts about six months in this theater. Because when judgment time comes for the mediocre, even if given by God or by the people, it can be postponed but will not be prevented."
At the end of his plea Isidro opted to throw a piece of paper into one of my side pockets, so I remained static, not making any insinuations. That was all that happened there. I didn't even want to look back. But of course, they knew what kind of theatrical productions this producer could pull off. And that’s why so much hate, most of it to further discredit the image that I had. That’s why they published it in the paper. But they will be hearing from me; oh, yes, they will… oh, yes, they will …
“You'll be famous again, only because of your artistic skills; you do not have to render your craft for second-rate illusionists,” and with such Isidro concluded.
After he retired, I just stood there some minutes as I reflected about this. I noticed a slight rain; the colors of the street had surrendered to the twilight spell. I snapped out of my thoughts when I stared thru those glass doors.
As soon as my suitor approached, I took him by his arm, and walked out towards his BSA. Then I gave him a sweet kiss, he lent me his helmet, and we left. That was all.
But they will hear from me; oh, yes, they will …
TATIANAS LAST CUP
By Enrique A. Sampayo Méndez
Proofreading: Phyllis Cox
Cover design: Enrique Sampayo
Editing: Enrique Sampayo
Cover pic provided at creative writing workshop: Universidad del Sagrado Corazón, Puerto Rico. By Prof. Emilio del Carril.
First published by: Enrique Sampayo Mendez @ http://blogdepracticacreativa-enrique.blogspot.com/
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced including the
right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.
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If you like Sci-Fi & Fantasy thrillers, in the tradition of science and discovery. You will like this novel.
Also available in Spanish