Act

After the premiere, Campbell found a dingy cafe and proceeded to smoke, viciously. He ordered coffee the best way they made coffee, when the waitress rounded his table to ask him, and lit the end of a fresh cigarette with the dying one. It was dark above the city, for the hour was late, but in the cafe’s drunk proof glass she was as bright as could be, lamplights and streetlights on and winking where the streets forked each other, taxis droning over the moist tarmac, and the patron’s eyes gleaming.

He pulled his notepad from his pocket and read over the evening’s notes:

Lincoln had a better night at the theatre.

He sighed. His scratchy shorthand marred the bottom half of the page with more ghoulish insights until he came to: “overblown, overhyped, overstuffed tripe that has been Collt’s forte since his mainstream debut, ‘My Heart It Ate a Can of Beans,’ was catapulted to national prominence? What we can say is that the director’s ingenue, Ms. Denning, was not in the mood to act tonight. Not that ‘Kiss Me, Barabbas’ was actable…”

The word “assassination” was written three times in the thin margin.

Campbell sniffed at the coffee they brought him. He stopped the girl that brought it by flicking his cigarette ash in front of her boots. She jerked to a stop. “How much do you make waitressing?” he asked.

She said, “Uh.” He didn’t blame her.

“Do you think you could act?” he asked.

“I am an actress,” she said.

“Oh really?” Campbell said. “What would I have seen you in?”

She named three or four plays that seemed to stress colors and exclamations. “Do you believe in a soul?” he asked.

“I’m more spiritual,” she said.

“Very well. How would you perform the line, ‘I do not love him. He is an evil man with no soul. He has no soul. He has no soul, I say. No soul. Do you hear me, Elohim? He makes me a woman. I am his soul. He has no soul, but I am his soul. Elohim!'”

She giggled and left him with his coffee. He watched her visit her tables inside and balanced the cigarette on his lip. Sure to bring a smile to your face, he wrote.

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