Saturday, February 8, 2014

Fiction: Snapshot One

(It's been a long time since I wrote any fiction. So I'm writing snapshots--once-upon-a-time scraps, generally without enough plot to call stories--just to get started again.)

Jane was a seamstress at the theater. Every day, she worked with satin and velvet and silk braid and beads and crystals and horsehair and grosgrain, in a room crowded with headless armless mannequins.

She wasted not. The velvet collar of her going-to-church coat was a scrap from Juliet's burial clothes. Her Christmas scarf was decorated with seventeen extra crystals from Lady Macbeth's gown, the one stained with the old man's blood. Her bedtime robe was the coat, green and gold with an amethyst silk lining, that Petruchio wore to tell the audience about killing his wife with kindness. No one noticed when she folded it and carried it home on closing night.

This year, a director with a minimalist vision arrived to create Romeo and Juliet. He directed Jane to dress the cast in twentieth-century shapes, every character in the same wheat-colored rough-woven linen--he'd brought a swatch. Jane protested; if he wanted soothing natural colors, what about cream-colored satin, or eggshell silk chiffon with georgette facings? For modern shapes, what about Edwardian gowns with short trains? And swallowtail coats?

But she lost, and she sewed the neat modern garments, and she swept the hateful burlap-like scraps out of her workroom the moment that the rack of costumes was rolled away. And for the very first time she gave away her tickets for opening night.

But she couldn't stay home and make cocoa in Petruchio's coat when everyone she knew was out in the night-time. So she put on a mock-Chanel suit that she'd pieced from the scraps from Hamlet's funeral garments, swept a scarf made from the rejected cream satin around her shoulders, and went to the movies. Not the new metroplex with fourteen screens, but the old theater with the neon front and the red velvet seats. She bought a small popcorn and an Italian soda with cream, and sat down to wait for Cary Grant.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

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