Friday, October 19, 2007

Fiction Friday

This Week’s Theme: What happens when a character, while cleaning out a house before moving out, finds a roll of film?

The contracted removalists moved about the house with a stealthy organised grace that she hadn't expected. In a blur of bubble wrap, tissue paper, collapseable cardboard boxes and packing tape her home was systematically being reduced to a neat stack of boxes in each room and on the company inventory. It was a perk of the job - having someone paid to pack up your home.

In the bedroom, she sat among semi organised piles of belongings. Taking FlyLady's advice there was a pile of clothes and trinkets to be given to St Vinnies, a pile of rubbish to go into the skip and the rest was to be packed away and labelled 'Main Bedroom'.

It was while rummaging through her lingerie draw, deciding which bras were donatable and which were keepers, that her fingers brushed the cold metal canister. Her heart seized for a moment. She remembered that she had forgotten and wondered how that had come to pass.

The green and white roll of Fuji film had arrived in the first week of the election campaign. It had only arrived after she had organised a direct debit. It was not a once off payment, it was an ongoing blackmail. Even though she had the photos (and she assumed that they were indeed the photos that they were said to be) he had the knowledge.

This had been the beginning of her career as the virtuous politician. She realised too late the error she had made, in trying to hide the past. It was this mistake that had lead her to revolutionise the way the political game was played in Australia.

At one stage one of the journalist had dubbed her the 'Eminem of politics'. She didn't wait for the opposition parties to dish out the dirt on her, she willing offered it up in what, at one time, would have been political suicide. She had spoken honestly about the termination she'd had at 23, about living in a violent relationship, she'd even fessed up about speeding tickets. There was no stone unturned, no scandal to be found - except in this one small roll of film.

The blackmail payments stopped a year ago. There had been an accident, brake failure on a wet and windy road. It sounded cliched and set up. She didn't know if it was. She was only one part of the high profile secret. What Hurley had decided to do with his part of the blackmail was his business. She was sure that he too was paying money up until the accident.

She rolled the film cannister between her thumb and forefinger. And now this was the only remnant of the potential scandal- a metal casing and some film, ghosted with the images of a forbidden love affair that had spanned years. It was this roll of film, which held both her political success and downfall.

How come she had kept it?Sshe didn't know. Was she another Queen Elizabeth - keeping her Dudley close by to remind her of just how close she had come to political annihilation. Or was it a bizarre talisman, that had bought her luck and acomplishment far beyond her wildest dreams.

Looking thoughtfully at the different piles in the room, she couldn't decide where to put the film.

'Scuse me - we just wanted to know how much longer you'll be in here so we can break down the furniture'

'Is half an hour OK - I've got myself sidetracked with stuff.'

'Lost holiday snaps?'

'Something like that.'

'I'll let you get back to it then.'

Removed from her reverie she deftly tossed the cannister into a cardboard box clearly marked 'rubbish'. She knew you created your own success through tenacity, intelligence and wile. It wasn't the roll of film and the threat to expose her that had created her successful political personae. It had been her ability to deal with it, learn and grow from the experience that allowed her to flourish. She'd kept her integrity and become a political high flier. Who would ever have thought a Mum from the suburbs with a dirty secret could have seduced politics into honesty and uprightness!

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gautami tripathy said...

Great last paragraph. It sums it up nicely.

pjd said...

I like this, though it's a little long and wordy (no doubt due to the "no editing" clause in the FF guidelines, which I long ago abandoned). Really makes one wonder about that blackmail and that accident.

paisley said...

i am making it a game to live long enough to hear a politician own up to it all and say,,, "next question...."

the day that happens.. i register to vote....

excellent story....

Anonymous said...

Oh nicely done. I really like your MC. She's got spunk!

~willow~ said...

I was hooked all the way though. Slightly puzzled about the blackmail stopping after an accident - the blackmailer got hurt and decided to stop blackmailing? I love her self confidence tho. Nicely done!

Care to guess what's in *my* roll of film? ;-)

Ingrid said...

Good story. The FlyLady reference made me chuckle.

Jodi Cleghorn said...

FlyLady rocks Ingrid - only problem is she seems to flutter Monday through Thursday on a good week and the house goes to pot over the weekend.

This was the character I created for the virtuous character with a sordid past prompt a few weeks ago (had too much red wine that night and didn't get to the keyboard to spit it out!)

The blackmailer having an accident was one of those wonderful little sidetracks my imagination took. The blackmailer was killed - but whether it was an accident or premeditated by her secret 'high profile' lover isn't clear.

I had an opportunity to run for Federal Politics this year and backed out because of a secret I have stashed away in the past - and that's where this character emerged from.

Thanks everyone for your commments.

lissa said...

I like the last part. I suppose honest politicians are hard to find.

The Alchemist said...

I'm sorry that I didn't get to read any of these posts until today but this was very well done and I like how you handled the blackmail issue without having developed the film. As for throwing it into the rubbish, I'm much to paranoid for that. I have developed film that I found because I'm nosey.