mask and mirrors


Carnival in Venice -29 by Stefan Insam CC BY-SA 2.0

“Damn creepy, I always thought,” Evan said trying not to look bored. He tolerated Gemma’s odd whims because she was amazing in bed – most flexible woman he’d ever been with – and sometimes she was funny and intelligent enough to dull the ennui.

One of her nutbar, “kooky” out loud, friends was having an exhibition. Some post-neo-paleo-surrealist installation at the Galley IT. Opening night, so some celebrities, artists, poseurs, critics, and Gemma. Of course, the Cristal and Bollinger champagnes, catering by Mr. G didn’t hurt Gemma’s chances of having Evan as an escort.

Lulu la Rue, “God, could that be her real name? What a corny moniker” – Evan’s inner dialogue again, dressed as a cross between a minor character in Les Mis, Kinky Boots, and the East Side Shelter’s Christmas Fashion Cavalcade, tottered up to Gemma. “You came,” Lulu lilted enwrapping her friend in a furry boa hug. And a frostier “Hello Evan.”

Gemma clapped her hands like a child high on chocolate Easter eggs: “Lulu, this is just so so so . . .” Sometimes Gemma ran out of words. “Unusual” Evan finished for her while looking for the waitress with the perky breasts and her tray of bubbly. Spotting her at the edge of an edgy quintuplet, Evan slipped away. He returned a few moments later, with a much better appreciation of what that choice bosom had to offer, a name, phone number, and date for after this tired affair (the art show, tho Gemma could use some new moves) was over.

Lulu motioned them to follow her towards a shadowy part of the gallery. “This is my best work,” she cooed. Even Evan had to admit her dressed and masked mannequins in this section of the gallery did look far more life-like – a scene from an opera about a carnival, or movie of intrigue with the climax (he thought of the waitress again) coming at a fancy dress ball. The figures were grouped in twos and threes, doffing elaborate hats, or hiding behind double masks – secured full-faced ones and hand-held half-face or eyes.

Evan fanned himself with the elaborately calligraphed catalogue. “Hot in here,” he panted. “Too much champagne,” Gemma suggested trying to wrestle his current glass from his hand. Lulu looked Gemma in the eye – “It’s okay, Gemma. Let him hold the glass. It will make a marvelous prop.”

Several print and social media stories highlighted Lulu La Rue’s show over the next few weeks. People were most fascinated by her Ménage a trois grouping – what she called her “set piece.” A mannequin, dressed as waitress, whose perky breasts were oft noted, wearing a white mask with a red-lipstick smeared slash of a mouth, was offering either those afore-mentioned breasts, or another glass of champagne to an obviously inebriated mannequin, half-falling, half-stumbling while clutching a slipping glass of bubbly.

Around the same time, Gemma remembered she had a stepmother in Lapland whom she hadn’t visited in ages.

Pat’s last turn as Photo Master (also known as prompt host) for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie, Photo Challenge,  # 102 Thanks for filling in for Nekneeraj. Hope to “see” you around – you know where I live. Winking smile

15 thoughts on “mask and mirrors

  1. CPP says:

    Oh hell – this is absolutely a wonderfully delightful and creative story adh! :D

    The characters are fascinating …. and *snorting* in laughter and delight …. the setting, the “absurdity” of the placements, the plot twist etc. is absolutely wonderfully dark enough to just be scintillating! I love it!

    Thanks so much for your response to the photo challenge :)

    Cheers ~ Pat


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