The prompts this time came from the SF Noir Film Festival catalog, and included photos and descriptions of the films.
Two of the photos are posted here. They inspired the writing below.
“Are you a good witch or a bad witch?” one of the little brats asked me on the set. These child extras really get on my nerves. And you’d think after nearly ten years The Wizard of Oz would be obsolete, but every single time I tell someone about my role in this new film, they either look at me dumbfounded or ask whether I’m Glinda or that foul, green-faced witch. “For Pete’s sake,” I tell them, “don’t be so simple. Think outside the box, will ya?”
“I’m a glamorous witch,” I sometimes say. False eyelashes that look real, and a lacy black gown with a built-in corset. Red lips. Even in black and white you can tell I’ve got red lips. And it’s my first big movie role, but I can’t tell you the title yet; we’re still in production, honey, and I signed a contract. My lips are sealed.
I’m nearly 27, getting old, and I finally got out of getting typecast as the sidekick or the sassy sister. I got myself a real juicy role this time. But this is Hollywood. Everybody thinks they’ve got a chance to make it big, and everybody wants to know what you’ve got swinging. They can say, “Well, let me tell you about the project I’m working on,” or “Let me introduce you to so-and-so.” It’s quite a racket.
I made the mistake of telling some fella at the local watering hole about my new role. The girls left together in a cab. “I’ll walk,” I told them. It’s only about three blocks, and it was one of those warm April nights when everything was in bloom. You could even smell the flowering trees above the exhaust. Anyway, he was a good-looking guy—Honey, they’re all actors and bartenders; they’re paid to be good-looking.
“You’re a real doll,” he said.
“Aww, shucks,” I replied, “you’re a real sweet talker.”
“Naw, I mean it. You got beautiful hair,” and he reached out to touch it.
“Careful, Sweetie,” I said. “If you mess it up, I’ll have to hot-roller it all over again.”
We got to talking. He seemed harmless enough. And I had had two whiskey sours by then, so I spilled the beans about my glamorous role.
“A beautiful witch, eh?” he said. He seemed genuinely intrigued.
“Sure,” I said. “Why not?”
“What? You a man of the cloth or something?”
“I’m a Christian,” he said, then he put his hand on my knee and kept it there. “So,” he started, “are you a good witch or—”
I don’t know what got into me. I just picked up what was left of my drink and threw it in his face.
“Hey!” He hopped off his barstool like a drenched little rabbit. “What’s the big idea?”
“What’s the problem here?” the bartender asked.
“This man doesn’t know how to treat a lady,” I said. “He’s got Russian hands and Roman fingers.”
The bartender took one look at my admirer and simply said, “Beat it, Mack.”
“Wait a minute—”
“I said hit the pavement, or do you want me to have the bouncer throw ya out on your tail?”
“Lady,” my admirer said, “you really are a witch.” And he took his hat and left.
I savored a Lucky Strike and then asked for the tab.
“It’s on me tonight,” the bartender said. “And if you want, I can call you a cab.”
“That won’t be necessary,” I said, leaving him fifty cents. “I live close by.”
“Okay, then. Goodnight.”
On the way out, the bouncer, a big, doughy Irishman, held the door for me. “I looked around,” he said. “That guy who was bothering you ain’t nowhere in sight.” I decided to nod as a gesture of thanks, like a queen. Royalty.
Outside, a warm breeze blew my hair off my face, caressed me. I laughed with pleasure. If I had a broom, I would have swept right up into the sky. But I’m not that kind of witch. Not at all.