The first shot is of Gabriel and Natalie waving hello to me, excited like children. They looked about ten years old in that moment, like little demon seeds on acid. But they were beautiful of course and completely irresistible.
“Hi Peter!” they cry in unison, laughing.
Gabriel then looks up above the camera’s eye and thanks whomever it was they asked to film the scene.
They seem to be outside a building and it’s vaguely familiar to me, but I’m a bit drunk, so I might be imagining that.
“Getting in to the building couldn’t be filmed of course” Gabriel is explaining to me, like a director’s commentary for a film, “We had to wait till the little old duck had gone and then enter when no-one, including the security guard and the buildings cameras, could have seen us.”
I’m still thinking I know this building so Gabriel’s words are irritating to me. I just want to watch the film. I don’t care what he was aiming for with each shot. It was hardly film school, and he was hardly Martin Scorscese.
I feel like saying “If I’d wanted a commentary I’d have bought the DVD’, but truthfully even in my drunkenness I am a bit too frightened of them to say something like that, no matter how tempting it is to battle otherness with human wit.
The next shot is familiar though. I know this dreadful beige and off white flat. I know the large ostentatious furniture and the ridiculous faux modern art on the walls. I’ve only seen the place once at a terrible Christmas party that had to be endured to be believed, but I know it.
It’s Roger’s apartment. And Roger is preening into the camera, as though he is well pleased to be the subject of film. Perhaps he’s been jealous of his models all along. I always suspected that. I always thought he’d liked to dress up in their clothing too. The girls’ clothing I mean, but that might just be what I liked to think of him.
Roger is coyly trying to work out his best angle.
“What do you think, sweetie, the right or the left?” He’s turning his head each way to show the three-quarter shot for each side.
Really, Rog, don’t bother, neither are remotely attractive.
“Why are you there?” I ask Natalie, but she just hits me playfully and tells me to be quiet and just watch.
“The left,” she’s saying, so he turns his body that way.
I’m wondering where Gabriel got to, which shows how stupid I can be at times.
“We should put you in front of the camera honey,” Rog the Dodge is saying, leaning forward, trying to be seductive and failing of course. “Your bone structure is great, as I keep telling you.”
“Oh, thank you honey,” Natalie is replying.
I want to throw up. Perhaps it’s one too many cocktails. No, it’s just Roger. How I loathe that man.
What a present, eh, what a gift. Film of someone so repulsive I’m actually feeling ill. I am thinking I’ll need to explain the concept of ‘gift’ to Gabriel at the end of the screening.
“So, give me the camera,” Roger is saying holding out his hand.
“No, sweetie,” Natalie replies, “I want to capture you on film. I know someone who’ll just love to see you.”
“You do?” Roger asks, a quizzical look on his face.
He’ll never think of me. I’m sure he never thinks of me. I wish I didn’t ever think of him, but he’s like an irritant in my system, hard to expunge, like that really nasty stain at the plughole of the bathtub that refuses to budge. Gross creature.
“Oh yes,” Natalie says, and giggles.
It sounds odd to hear her giggle. She laughs more than giggles. It is so clear she’s playing the part of the clueless bimbo, and I can’t begin to work out why.
Then Roger suddenly slaps his hand up against his throat, a look of pain and surprise on his face. He looks quite comical, though something dark is flowering in me, telling me I’m seeing something that is no laughing matter.
“What’s wrong Roger?” Natalie asks, but there is something in her voice, something like knowledge, something like a game. I don’t like that tone in her voice, it worries me.
“Damn mosquito or something bit me,” he said, “Bloody hurt too.”
He looks at his fingers and shakes his head.
“Missed the fucker,” he mutters.
Then he stops very, very still, and looks even more puzzled. A second or two passes and Natalie just holds the camera still, steady, letting its eye capture it all. He clutches his chest, suddenly stricken by some terrible pain. He goes red in the face, and that’s saying something because he’s always been a bit florid anyway. He gasps, reaches out to Natalie who is immobile across from him, and he’s shaking his head, trying to figure something else out, then he’s just pain, just pain and if he could breathe he’d cry out, but he can’t, and then, he just collapses.
Thud. On to the floor. Natalie follows with the camera. He doesn’t move. I know. I don’t need to be told. He’s dead.
“Well done Gabriel” Natalie is saying.
She raises the camera and he’s standing there behind the couch. He was there all the time.
(c) Helen M Valentina 2015, All Rights Reserved