Let’s Face It
Flash fiction by Robert Castagna, 950 words
She was the gem of the century and she knew it looking into the mirror at her beautiful face. She would spend hours with hair and makeup and grew accustomed to viewing herself as someone else. Looking at her face, her skin, her hair as a facade. I think we have all felt that sensation, that we were merely spirits occupying a body, a consciousness. For some this leads to religious devotion, to others philosophy and for others, like Ashley, the ability to detach herself from the “actress” she was and to “work it” for all that it was worth. She treated her beauty like it was an asset listed out on a balance sheet. She was the accountant and money manager ensuring that proper investment was done to leverage her account for greatest profit and not to write-off losses just yet due to depreciation.
A magazine sat on the table next to the mirror and she was on the cover. The caption read “Gem of the Century?” It was a play on words referring to her soon to be released movie “A Hidden Gem.” Inside she was compared to the great beauties of movie stardom and named this century’s successor. Her stylist worked her curls and flashed excitedly at the cover, proud of the hair that graced her movie star’s head.
“You look beautiful on the cover.”
“Thank you darling. I owe it all to you.” She said this in mock Greta Garbo and smiled.
“You couldn’t ask for better press,” her stylist said.
“True, as long as they don’t read the article. It brings up all my lewd affairs.” She lowered her chin and raised her eyes for effect. She loved playing the role of starlet both on and off the screen. “But really, while these articles may amuse people they don’t amount to a hill of beans at the box-office.”
“I thought they would?”
“No, today it’s all about scandal and going viral or marvel comics. Maybe I should do a Playboy spread.”
Her stylist looked at her wide-eyed for a moment and then they both laughed.
“You could take on that super hero role that they offered you.”
“I could see me playing that part for the next 10 years. Yellow tights, big breasts and you could have a field day with my hair.”
“I know that’s why I wanted you to take the part!”
“Settle down. For now I have a hard enough time being human. There’s something wrong with cashing in on all this super hero craze. It’s so formulaic. It’s just easy money.”
“What was the name of that character anyway?”
“Her name was Rogue. She was a mutant of all things. I could see it now, my next cover – The most beautiful mutant of the new century.”
“Haaa! You could pull it off.”
Her hair was done. It was time for makeup.
“Aren’t you nervous?”
“In a few minutes you’ll be out in front of all your peers.”
“It’s only a presentation. I read the nominees from a card, hope I don’t mess up their names, smile for the camera and announce the winner. Then I step aside forgotten. The only way it matters is if I fuck up!”
“That’s my point, shouldn’t you practice?”
“The more I practice the more likely I’ll fuck up. Let’s do makeup and talk about something else. How’s that man you’re dating?”
“You would have to bring that up.”
“Let’s just say the topic of sexual harassment came up during dinner.”
“What! Who in their right mind brought that up?”
“One thing led to another and the subject just surfaced. He ended up using the term ‘man-hunt’.”
“So that’s over.”
“Over and done.”
“What is it with men? Don’t they know we just want them for their penis and that they should keep their mouth shut.”
“You are too funny.”
“Just think of all the inside skinny you could provide the Enquirer about me.”
She stopped talking and pursed her lips. The lipstick was the final touch and she was ready to go on.
“I’m sure I’ll have to wait.”
The stylist looked at her.
“These shows just go on forever. I’d like to thank my mother, my father and my 3rd grade teacher, bla, bla, bla. And then there are those that have to make a political statement as if it matters and anyone cares.”
“Actors should stick to acting?”
“I’ve just never seen it lead to anything good.”
She puffed her hair and stood up.
“In America having an opinion is a right. But if an actor shares their opinion it starts to envelop them on screen. The audience doesn’t see the part. You see it happen all the time. To be a good actor you need to be invisible off the screen.”
She turns and sees the magazine on the table again.
“Take that magazine. I shouldn’t have done it. Now that people have seen me they don’t need to see the film. Invisible I say.”
She knew she was just acting. If you were invisible you wouldn’t need a stylist or lipstick or mascara or even a mirror. She took the magazine and tossed it into the garbage for effect. She then caught her gaze in the mirror.
“I wouldn’t even be able to see my own reflection if I had my druthers.”
“Acting is about what’s on the inside is that what you are saying?” The stylist was trying to get something meaningful out this performance.
“Naw. Let’s face it. I’m a star because I flashed my tits in that movie I did 10 years ago.”