Lee loved the spotlight. She loved being the center of attention. Craving that warm, bursting feeling in her chest, Lee returned to her beloved night after night. She also loved the way its light danced on her skin; it was the only thing that could make her glow. Well that and one other thing.
“What the fuck Lee? You’re supposed to be on! Get your ass on stage otherwise it’s going to be mine tonight,” screamed a very suave looking man as he burst through the doors of the venue.
“Relax Marty, the boys will always wait for Lee.” She took another drag from her cigarette.
“I wouldn’t wait too long, otherwise your tits might hit the floor.”
“Oh Marty, you’re such a charmer.” She exhaled and watched the smoke twist and blur the outlines of the alleyway.
“Just get on stage and claim your conquest for tonight.” With that, he turned around and walked back the way he came. Marty was a man of few words, but those words were known to be cutting, stripping the weak of any pride they might have had. Lee never let him get to her; he was just another man. She took one last drag and dropped the cigarette, crushing it under her boot as she walked towards the light slipping through the crack of the double doors.
Figuring she would make Marty a bit more steamed, Lee let her long legs carry her to the curtain, peeped through and scanned the crowd. It seemed pretty full for a Wednesday. Her eyes flickered over the audience and her eyes came to rest on a blonde with boyish features. Blondes were her favorite. Lee continued to stare at him until he caught her gaze. He shyly looked away, unsure, uneasy, blushing as his almost platinum hair fell into his eyes.
Sounds of a raging middle-aged man reached Lee’s ears over the slow hum of the crowd, cueing her swift departure from behind the curtain, and her final arrival on stage. Lee stepped into the spotlight and instantly, the dazzling heat on her skin made her inhale sharply, as years of conditioning made her smile widen and her features soften. Her eyes, however, stayed sharp, in focus on her new plaything. At her entrance, the venue erupted into applause and high pitched screaming. A shiver of pleasure ran through her as she watched her blonde’s youthful face light up in her presence. She knew this was going to be a good show.
Lee went through the motions – it was a Wednesday, no need for any special theatrics. She always got who she wanted anyway.
“For my final act, I’m going to need someone from the crowd!” Lee shouted as she pretended to scan the audience. She knew who she was allowing to venture into her world, her kingdom, her stage. Looking back over at her prey, Lee was struck again by his innocence. Throughout the course of the show, she had watched his expressions change; at first he had been frightened, unsure of his surroundings, but then as the show went on, he grew fond of her and couldn’t take his eyes of her. Lee knew she had him in her grasp, she need only to reach out.
“You over there! You, with the blonde hair. Come on up, sweetie. Don’t be shy.” Lee said as she pointed to her next victim. She wondered only for a moment if he would stand or not, make his way to the stage, and be everything she had hoped. All Lee’s questions ceased when she saw him rise from his chair in the audience and start to walk toward the stage, beaming with excitement.
Lee watched him take a seat on the stool she provided. She found herself liking the way his body moved, and was drawn to it. Once he was seated and looking at her expectedly, Lee walked over to him, allowing herself to put her hands on his shoulders, testing his boundaries. He didn’t flinch.
“What’s your name kiddo?” Lee asked, handing him a microphone, not only for the sake of the act, but she found herself craving the answer. He looked like a Bobby, but then again he could be a Nick or a Jimmy.
“Aaron,” he said shyly into the microphone.
“How old are you Aaron?”
“You’re so brave. Alright Aaron, are you ready for the time of your life?”
He nodded, still looking at her with trusting eyes.
“Now watch as I make this handsome young man disappear!”
Lee winked at him, leaned close to his ear and whispered, “When you get downstairs, go to my dressing room. Remember, you did say you were ready for the time of your life.” After she finished speaking, Aaron turned his head and stared at her. For the first time she saw a question there, but it was quickly replaced by the sexual curiosity of a fifteen-year-old boy. “Get’s ‘em every time,” Lee thought.
Dramatically, Lee waited for the drum roll and held up a large moldy tablecloth to obstruct the audience’s view of Aaron. She knew under Aaron’s seat, there was a trap door that would slowly lower him under the stage, where he would step off and go to her dressing room, leaving the stool empty, and the act complete. Lee could hear the creaking of the machinery, so she started counting backwards from twenty. She also knew it only took twenty seconds for the machine to reach the bottom and come back to its resting place.
Twenty. Nineteen. The creaking was a lot louder than usual; Lee wrote it off as Marty not oiling the track in a while. Eighteen. Seventeen. Sixteen. The stage was starting to shake. Fifteen. Fourteen. Thirteen. The shaking became violent and the creaking got louder. Even the audience noticed and was looking at the stage intently, obviously hoping that this was part of the act. Twelve. Eleven. Ten. There was a large crack, and a sickening thud could be heard over the creaking. Nine. Silence. Eight. The slight creaking Lee was so accustomed to, resumed. Seven. Six. Five. The audience stared at the stage in silence. Four. Three. Two. Lee was quaking with fear, hoping against everything that what she thinks just happened, was part of the act she was putting on. One. Lee threw the cloth away and the audience gasped.
Profile: Anne Highley-Smith