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Mini Sledgehammer February 2015

Another great turnout! Thanks for the support, 2015 writers!

***SH Feb 2015

Character: The least respected person
Action: Acting
Setting: The farm
Prop: Chandelier

***

The Old Chandelier

by Alyssa Shelton

I

Some of his first memories were just twinklings; iridescent, tiny movements of light dancing off of and with one another to some music that couldn’t actually be heard.

He often wondered if his mother had left the bassinet in the foyer with the fore thinking that he would be entertained by the subtle moving shadows cast on the wall by the chandelier in the entryway of their rundown old house.

More likely, however, was that she simply set him down as quickly as she could after returning home from whatever monotonous chore or errand she’d just stumbled through.

He also wondered if those bits of light had played any role in his growing desire to become the world’s greatest actor.

He could see it all so clearly: the common farm boy turned movie star! How he would wow and dazzle, shock and surprise on the golden screen. Finally, the other boys would envy him and wish they had been kinder all those years in school. “Look at him now!” they would say as he moved weightlessly across the stages of Hollywood and Broadway. The girls would regret mocking him and sending him those humiliating fake love letters, not that he had wanted them anyway…

“Eugene! Get your sorry ass downstairs and get to herding, sonofa…”

He was ripped from yet another daydream, forced back to the pathetic reality of life on a sheep farm. While he craved glamour, production, and scripts he was drowning in wool, shit, and dust.

He made his way toward the dilapidated staircase, running his hands along the cracked and fading wallpaper with fat baby angels sitting atop yellowed clouds. His mother called them cherubs, and his father asked her why the hell she couldn’t just call them what they were: fat baby angels.

As he began to descend down the steps, he paused midway to admire the one remnant of a once impressive and sprawling plantation; his great grandfather’s chandelier. Eugene was always taken by its out of place elegance, and his mind began to wander again as it was wont to do…

“Why don’t you just take your drunk ass out of this here house and let us be!”

Slap!

The memories always ended with that terrible sound that they’d all grown so accustomed to.

“Damnit Eugene, quit starin’ at that damned light and get outside!” He quickly ran down the stairs and out to the pasture.

II

Once his work was done, he retreated to the old barn. Here he could be himself: the famed Gene! The most highly sought after actor in the whole country. And from such humble beginnings!

Not long now and his neighbor and friend, Johnny, would join him in the barn. Together they would continue writing and rehearsing their next play, The Farmer’s Wife, the coming-of-age tale of a misunderstood gal on her way to Hollywood. They could both identify.

Johnny came and they wrote, laughed, argued and fucked. They just got to thinking it might be time to call it a night when the barn door slammed open and Eugene’s father burst inside, looking horrified but not surprised.

The next sequence of events would remain a blur to all who tried to recall it. Johnny took off out the back of the barn naked.

Boom. Boom. Two shotgun shots that hit nothing but the balmy summer air. In the meantime, Eugene’s father had caught him by the back of the neck and began to drag him toward the house.

Nearly at the doorstep, Eugene broke free by throwing a wild punch in his father’s face. He made it just into the foyer as another boom! canceled out all other sounds.

As he crumpled to the floor amidst his mother’s and sister’s screams, his mind wandered back to those early twinkling memories. As the blood left his body and his breathing slowed, he once again watched the lights dance along the ceiling and the walls.

© 2015 Alyssa Shelton

***

Alyssa

Alyssa Shelton co-owns a branding and web design agency called Roger That in Portland, OR. When she’s not copywriting for her clients you can find her attempting recipes that never turn out quite right.

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