By Janice Lang
Creative Composition of the Month is a monthly column courtesy of UFV’s Creative Writing Club. Every month, one short story, poem, descriptive essay, or other form of original work from UFV students will appear in The Cascade to enlighten your creative spirit. Happy reading!
“Name?” asks the DJ, as he stands in front of me with a clipboard.
“It’s Brittney,” I answer.
He hands me a schedule for my upcoming shows, and a room key. In the back of the bar are five small rooms, each with a red number on the door. Swinging open the door before I enter, in hopes of scaring away any lingering rodents, I notice a small cot, a rickety nightstand with a yellowed, crooked lamp, and a chipped, foggy mirror that’s screwed to the wall.
“Oh lovely,” I declare. “The Hilton.”
Right before my show, I hand the DJ my cassette with my show music on it. He barely looks up while he blurts out the regular DJ spiel he says to every girl.
“Have a good one,” he says. “Time to feed the pigs,” I tell myself. I paste on a fake grin, and walk up to the stage. As soon as the music starts, I go someplace else. My eyes are open, but I can’t see their faces.
As I finish my show and get off the stage, an elderly man steps out in front of me. “Lizzy?” he asks, “Is it really you?”
Not sure what to say, I answer, “I’m not Lizzy, sir. You’ve got the wrong girl.”
The old man stares at me intently, “You ARE Lizzy, I know it.”
Just then, the bouncer approaches us. “Is this old guy bothering you?”
“No,” I reply, “It’s just a case of mistaken identity.”
The bouncer then stands in between me and the old man, so I can make my way up to the DJ booth.
The old man pleads with the stone-faced bouncer. “She’s my foster daughter, she ran away.” Just before the bouncer ushers the old man outside, the old guy hollers; “Lizzy, please, just talk to me.”
“Wow, what’s his problem?” the DJ laughs. “Yeah, that was kinda weird,” I chuckle.
Back in my room, I flop down on the cot. As I lay there, my mind starts to reflect on the old man in the bar. I feel bad for him: he seemed so genuine. My eyes wander around the room. There’s hundreds of names on the wall. It kind of reminds me of a list of soldiers sent off to war that never found their way back home. Which leads me to reflect on my own home, or what I could remember of it. I picture my sisters, standing at the gate. They looked so beautiful in their gingham dresses, sobbing as the social worker took me away. The cold child services lady yelled at me to sit still on the back seat. I turn to the back window, and placed my hands upon the cool glass. I wonder if they knew my heart stayed with them that day.
I feel a warm tear roll down my cheek and, for the first time since that day, I start to cry. I cry until there are no more tears left. Wiping my face, I sit up, and exhale a huge, heavy breath. Suddenly, I feel a powerful strength come over me. I quickly slide on my street clothes, and leave all my stripper remnants behind. I have no idea where I’m going, I only know that BACK is not an option.
As I walk along the path to the parking lot, I pass a woman jogging. After getting a few feet past her, she calls out, “Hey, is this your wallet?”
“Oh, shoot. Yes, I must’ve dropped it when I was putting on my jacket,” I answer.
The lady picked up my wallet to hand it to me and a few cards fell out. As we gather the cards, she hung on to one. My licence. Reading it, she said, “Oh, what a pretty name you have, I’ve always loved the name: Lizzy.”
It’s dusk as I roll on to the freeway and head south. The most amazing sunset casts neon colours in the sky. A huge orange sun hangs at the end of the flat road. Throwing on some cool-grind blues. Opening the window, I let the warm summer wind blow over my face and through my hair, washing away all of what I’ve been, a victim, a sinner, and a throw-away. This is my moment, my time to shine. Everything that I was, is no longer, I clench the wheel and press hard on the gas, speeding off down the road to chase the sun.
Image: “Ginny from USA”/Wikimedia