Kristin arrived by bicycle at 7:02 p.m., but returning Mini Sledgehammer friends had the evening under control: They were happily dividing up responsibility to come up with the writing prompts. Thanks, all! In addition to the regulars, a couple of new faces joined the group this time–very cool. And every Tuesday is now all-day happy hour at Blackbird! What a treat for us, since we’re there every second Tuesday.
Congratulations to Amy Seaholt!
Character: The Other
Action: Makin’ it or breakin’ it
Setting: Home sweet home
Phrase: the kindness of strangers
by Amy Seaholt
I like to ignore The Other. She irritates me to no end. It wasn’t always that way.
Back in the day, when we were trying to make it or break it in Hollywood, we were a team. Inseparable. The glorious Gibson sisters. Our star was just a pinpoint in that bright LA sky, but we were determined to make it shine brighter. The Other was the talker, but I had the voice. She talked her way into getting us the audition with Mr. Crosby. I never knew exactly how she did it but I had my suspicions; her behind closed doors and a feather in her lipstick line. When we got the gig, it was me Mr. Crosby was looking at. My voice made it happen. The Other called him Bing.
We were photographed in matching scarves and brown bobs curling around our jaws, squeezed lovingly into a convertible owned by one mogul or another. It lasted like as long as the flash of the bulb that caught us.
Mr. Crosby got us one last job on the Luxe Radio Theater hour. But radio wasn’t a ticket to the big time. We came away no brighter than we were before.
No matter how much The Other tried to work her magic, in her hot pants and kitten heels, it wasn’t good enough to catch more than a glance from those moguls. I knew the problem, of course. She was too pushy, too forward. It made her unappealing and easily used. Her voice wasn’t as clear as they wanted and I was tied to her, as sisters are. I wanted nothing to do with it.
“I think it’s time we moved on,” I told her one day. She stubbed out her cigarette and said, “Where do you think we should go?”
“I don’t mean we.”
She halted, water half-way to her lips. “Yes you do,” she said, eyes locked on mine. “We work together.”
“Maybe it’s time we stopped.”
“Maybe it’s time you appreciated all I have done for you,” her eyes narrow and venom filled now. “All of the times I have taken you along for the Goddamn ride because you’re blood.” It wasn’t the reaction I had anticipated.
“Maybe we should go to Daddy’s place in Tahoe. The casinos are taking off there,” I said.
We moved to our home sweet, faux log cabin home that fall. Suffered through the snowy winter while our bodies tried to acclimating to the altitude and the remote life. By the spring we had a show at Harrah’s lounge, and The Other took bits of Harrah’s home after hours. Decorating her bedroom with a red fabric covered reading lamp and supplying our kitchen with institutional white plates. It was her way of adjusting to the life that is now ours. Trying to keep hold of the dream we never achieved.
“Don’t take that stuff, we’ll get fired,” I said as she pulled another table setting out of her purse.
“The maitre d’ gave it to me,” she insisted.
“He did not.”
“I’ve always relied on the kindness of strangers,” she said
“You have not.”
When I picked up my paycheck yesterday, there was a note that my boss, head of entertainment, wanted to speak with me.
I went into his dark office and shut the door behind me. “Is there a problem?” I asked.
“It’s about your sister,” he said.
“We’re not a team. I barely know what she does each day.” I said, separating myself from her again, stepping forward and shrugging a shoulder out of my wrap.
(c) Amy Seaholt 2012
Amy Seaholt is a realtor by day and a writer by night. Sometimes that day/night thing gets mixed up. She is participating in the Attic Institute’s Atheneum program as a fiction fellow, focusing on her first novel. You can find her here: www.awkwardlaugh.com. Or here: www.amyseaholt.com. She lives in Northeast Portland with her husband and two young children.