Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Glimmer Girls

I don't have anything worth saying today so I'm giving you an excerpt from Glimmer Girls/Shimmer/Mermaid Girls. It's ROUGH. A very first draft (mostly). And as some of you know I can't spell, and I don't get funny until the second or third time around. In other words, this is probably not worth reading. But as only three people read my blog anyway...

Once upon a time, future or past, a young woman of about twenty-five stood in a dreary dressing room and grew a back bone. She faced down the one person whose approval she had always craved, whose advice she had always taken: her mother, Daisy. She looked her mother in the eye, and for the first time ever she said “no.” It was about time. Her name was Clara.

“No, mother, I won’t go on.” Clara stood with her back to the mirror, feet planted arms crossed. “I done with being the local freak show.”

“But Clara, dearest.” Her mother reached out and caressed one o f the red-gold curl that had found their way out of the up-do and onto Clara’s shoulder. “The camera is always so kind to you. And what will Fernando say if you don’t appear?” Daisy was smaller than her daughter, dark haired against Clara’s fair head. She was full of tenacity, used to getting it all her way.

“I’m not the slightest bit worried about Fernando, mother. He will make the best of it, as a good talk show host would. Go yourself, and tell the world of the difficulties of having a willful child for a change. I’m sure they are tired of my oddities by now.

“Oh Clara.” Her mother was clearly exasperated. “You know they won’t believe me if you aren’t there to show them.”

“They’ve all seen me, Daisy. You’ve had me on TV at least twice a year since the day I was born. I’m not going out there.”

“Very well, Clara, but it’s on your head alone if I’m a laughing stalk.” The way Daisy squared her shoulders as she left the room would have made Clara laugh if she’d been in a laughing mood. Like she’s going to meet the executioner. But lord knows the audiences have always loved her. A gasp of sympathy would erupt whenever Clara was unveiled. Outbursts of compassion would come during the question and answer segments. Daisy would be just fine.

Clara looked in the dressing room mirror. As a defect, it wasn’t so awfully bad. I have all my limbs. It was the mantra she’d used since she could remember, staving off the loathing a despair that she felt whenever she was paraded around, the local freak show. And I have a pretty face. I’m not fat or stupid. It’s rather pretty, really, like a neon necklace. But the undeniable reality was that she’d been born with fish scales covering parts of her body.

The scales shimmered. A lacy pattern of blue and green, like peacock feathers, or multicolored tetra fish. A delicate necklace of scales circled her neck falling across the tops of her shoulders into a V between her breasts. Intricate overlapping patterns cascaded down her back ending with elaborate curly cues along her waist.

Clara pulled her customary, short sleeve, mock turtleneck on over the low cut, backless dress that her mother made her wear for TV. She hailed a cab outside the studio and went home to pack her bags. She’d been shilling for her mother since she could remember, spending hours in green rooms and sitting under television lights. She’d gotten a BFA, specializing in graphic arts, by studying in dressing rooms, and while traveling on busses and trains. She wanted nothing more than to get out of the city, find a town where no one had the slightest interest in her and get on with life