A 250 word flash dare asking, “When you are down to the wire on a project, how do you make it through?”
“Thank you, fourteen,” she mumbles, sniffing at yesterday’s armpits, Tuesday’s laundry, and the fresh coffee he’d left on the windowsill, still hot. Skipping the shower, makeup, and curling iron gives her enough time to hem Basil’s Act One frock-coat.
“Thank you, two,” she mutters when the text message bleats, clenching her fists around the hank of elastic, broken nails digging her palms. She’s jittering with the pulse of caffeine cruising through her veins; the fabric store clerk checks her ID twice.
Dorian loses his ascot, but her shirt is the same color as the one in his painting; she tears the bottom six inches off and loops it around his neck. “Thank you, House Open.”
“Thank you, places.” She winces at Sibyl’s panicked cry, and digs in her purse for her last tampon and chocolate bar. Lord Harry’s waistcoat pops a button. Her earring passes for a jeweled brooch.
They cluster at the mirror by the stage left door.
Her hair is a twisted disaster, snarl on one side like a bramble, and there’s her chalk pencil. The bruise over her eye (the dress-form lost the skirmish) has blossomed to a vicious plum, and her tattered shirt hangs sideways, caught on her failed bra. Her pants, stained with paint, are belted by a measuring tape charting how many meals she’s skipped this week.
She smiles, and her tooth–chipped from biting threads—catches at her starch and steam chapped lips. She might be gruesome, but the actors, they are beautiful.