Chapter Four of THE OFFSTAGE, a fictional serial examining the life, real and imagined, of an out of work actor.
By, Melanie Bell
I love theatricality - it must be said. As I strive desperately to not have it intervene in any way in my real existence - I am actually seeking it at every turn, willing it in my head to appear before me with a sudden vengence. With every literal step down the street to the mundane things of life, my mind is on another planet of contrived virtue and lust and betrayal and things of Brobdingnagian dimension. I am a selfish person... This is on my mind as I rouse myself from slumber. I dreamt certainly, but not so certain of what except that Imogene Coca made an appearance. I am certain that at some point she doubted her marketability. What a queer thing to doubt oneself when it is the only thing we really know completely. This first-wake worrying must have come from an angst ridden dream having something to do with Imogene's struggle for success?
I've come home again in that state and it makes the state deeper and more desperate, having cradled it so very often. It makes my eyes suddenly sink and I feel like I might not wake up if I go to sleep. Why do I do it? Why do I swim toward the danger and why do my almost drownings not seem to threaten the plunge in others? Alone and bursting, like the damn wall. Crawling to a ball, crumple the pillow, and think. Think all the thoughts out like the tinkle spill and let me be free.
The door slams. I've become a door slammer.
I don't like doors slammers.
An encasement to hold things. Something binding and sturdy. A thing that edges an outline for a thing that might otherwise run wild and splatter in some long twisted unsymetrical spew. I don't have this container and am bleeding causiously to the left, or to the right for it must be right and purposeful in some sad sloppy way or it wouldn't happen, a slow gentle seep. As I am not content with my being and my choices, this leek is a precurser of what might come, what will come, what keeps coming. There is nothing to contain it.
So I let myself lie in my ball and pat my own back with a forceful strength and try to whisper 'this too shall pass' and I smooth my floppy hair and I see myself as a child. If I stand I risk slipping into an uncontained form and that makes me question the sturdiness of my frame. I am not weak. I cry. I make choices and stick to them. And I will make new choices when my current choices prove incorrect, which they will.
This to shall pass.
Another eve of danger trickles in as the wounded head lingers pounding on the pillow. The wall gloats out at me, daring a seep as I lunge up with a jolt. Jolt of Advil and burning whisky tongue. Plow through a bit more so this spendthrift can drool through the group bar exchange on 9th. Though it's 'my night', no one will offer to buy. I know them. Makeup sticks and crumbles, it's old and has forgotten how to be worn. The dancers will bear their legs and steal my cigarettes for a small sentence of praise - therefore I must improve myself. They increase the death balloon that's expanding in my brain.
I'm starting to feel terribly retched for this being I have created. Not terrible like her thoughts are rubbing off on me or anything like that, but just terrible for her. Somehow hard to see her in so much pain. What's wrong with me that I can be a happy individual but have the power to create pain and then move myself with it? Boy, something about that is weird.
Somedays she is easier to write than others, and I couldn’t hold on to Kepik upon waking so she just flew in I guess.
I’ve been awake seven minutes and already my brain is off, perpetual mental masturbation. It just won't stop, racing on to some private unending planet. And it's been this way since I was five and saw ET and memorized all of Drew Barrymore's lines (I used to ask my mom to make hamburgers so I could stab the patty with a fork and talk while chewing just like little Gerty. What a special child).