Friday, October 26, 2007

Fiction Friday

This Week’s Theme: Write about an Auction

The celebrity auction was building into cacophony of bids, and counter bids, laughing, cheering and applause. The bottomless wine and beer had loosened the purse strings on even the most dyed in the wool Scrooge. Lulled into the realisation that tomorrow, when the hang over lifted, there would be an element of sensibility in their actions. The money pledged had gone to a good cause. She smirked at the snippets of the cash register rifts from Pink Floyd’s ‘Money’ that played over and over in her head.

With any luck the auction and gala would pull in much needed funds for Homebirth Queensland and the Community Midwifery Legal Fund. In the audience the who’s who of the birthing community in Queensland, mingled with a sizeable turn out of celebrities and sporting personalities from across the country. It was a night in which everyone felt special. Everyone but one.

“I can’t believe the ABC boys are here, without their cameras and stunts,” Louisa commented, the smile from the beginning of the night, still proudly playing on her lips.

Abby remembered the cordial nods she had exchanged with the boys from ABC’s top rating political satire she walked in and saw them clustered together, enjoying a beer and a laugh. She also remembered the momentary clutching in her chest when she recognised them from afar.

“If you’re thinking I invited them, I know nothing about it. Would be a little too much like consorting with the enemy I would think. I fear they’d think they were being set up if I asked them to an event”

They both laughed. The easy camaraderie of their friendship continued undiminished by the change in Abby’s circumstances over the past year.
“So Senator Malone.”
“Yes boss.”
‘I’m no ones boss and I keep telling your that.’
‘Technically, as a tax payer, you are my boss El Presidente.’

They laughed again and relaxed against the wall of the corridor that lead through to the rest rooms on one side and the kitchens on the other. The stress and tension from earlier on in the evening subsiding as the bids continued to climb to ridiculous heights.

‘I’ll be putting in a bid on your brownies Abby. I doubt my maxed out credit card will keep up with the bidding though.’
‘Yes in between political engagements,’ Abby stated in her best 1940’s newsreel voice, ‘Senator Abby Malone finds time to spend in the kitchen making brownies with her family.’
‘We miss your brownies.’
‘I miss you guys.

‘Canberra is a hole and I know I’m the black sheep of my political party, despite all the stupid spin doctoring in the media. I’m not the golden girl of my party. It’s a cess pit.’
‘Oh darling, we appreciate everything you’re doing.’

Louisa put her arm around her friend’s shoulders and squeezed her firmly, but gently. A thousand exchanges passed in that simple gesture of support.

‘I’m doing fuck all, that’s what I am doing. Can you see the permanent mark across my forehead from banging my head against the wall, desk, filing cabinet, my PA’s back side. Fuck …

‘I thought motherhood was frustrating, but this has nothing on motherhood. I thought being part of the engine, part of the political machine would make a difference, but I just feel like a sell out.’

‘You’re not a sell out. Look at what you’ve helped to create here tonight. This will bring in more money than we could ever have imagined. This will mean our midwives will have money to cover their costs against the Nursing Council. And you’ve changed the way we do politics in Australia. A few years ago we were nauseous with all the lies and back stabbing … now you could almost joke we’re nauseous on the truth. You did that.’

Abby shrugged her shoulders and rearranged the sequined straps of her dress.
‘I guess I’m just having one of those nights. But it’s lovely that we had this chance to talk.’
‘You know you can always call me, even if it’s my tax dollar you’re using to call me from your plush desk in polly la la land.’

Louisa hugged her friend tightly this time.
‘Hang in there babe, it is all worth it.’
Abb nodded. Louisa kissed her staunchly on the cheek and disappeared back into the ballroom to find her seat.

Abby remained in the corridor, wishing she could find the servants entrance to sneak out of. She felt physically ill, despite the comfort of Louisa’s company.
‘Senator Malone, here you are. Hiding out the back. Not terribly befitting a Madame Social Butterfly’

She turned and glared in the direction of the voice.
‘And a good evening to you too.’
‘I was starting to think you’ve been avoiding me all night. Giving me a complex. I haven’t seen you in months.’
‘I’ve been busy and as far as I know, we don’t actually know each other socially.’

‘When did you go get so high and mighty.’
‘When did you go and get yourself obnoxious and full of your own self righteousness, with a peroxide blonde dripping off your arm.’

He lent awkwardly against the wall next to her, his breathe heavy and stale.
‘So tell me, Sen-aye-tah. Have you gone and got yourself a new lover yet?’
‘That’s enough Hurley. My business is no longer your business OK. It’s over, finished, history. Just the way that you wanted it back in January.’
‘It had nothing to with me. It had to do with your mate Jeff.’
‘I thought we promised to never mention him.’
‘Mention what, the little accident Jeff had? Or the little bit of blackmail? You’ve got no idea what that all cost me?’

‘Cost you! It cost me too – you weren’t the only one.’
‘Yeah but it was your career wasn’t it. None of it mattered until you went and became a fucking famous politician.’
‘You’d have loved it had I just stayed at home, tending the house and all of that, let you be the big star footballer huh! Been the one at your beck and call. This is our secret, not my secret.’
‘No you got that wrong sweetheart. It is your secret. I’m not the one going to have a little chat with the coppers about it if it makes front page headlines.’

‘What do you want Hurley? Are you going to blackmail me now, after all we’ve been through together,’ Abby cried out, tears of frustration and disbelief stinging her eyes.

The noise of the auction filtered down the hallway, punctuating the growing chasm of silence between them. The tears began to flow down her powdered cheeks.

‘Please don’t cry Abby, I’m sorry. I’m full of piss and bad manners.’
He reached out to wipe away the tears.
‘Fuck off,’ she spat. ‘You’re not pissed, you’re high – I can smell the shit seeping out your pores.

‘I didn’t put an end to us because I became a Senator. I have loved you for 10 years of my life and there’s still a part of me the loves you unconditionally. But you’re a liability to yourself and your career. You didn’t want to give up the drugs for me, so how about you give them up for yourself. You only love yourself.’

He laid his sweaty head against the cool wall.
‘Do you still have the film?’
‘Why do you keep it Abby?’
‘It reminds me how close I came to losing everything.’
‘You lost me.’
‘No Hurley, you lost yourself.’

She turned and left him standing strung out and despairing in the corridor of the ballroom, face still pressed into the lilac paintwork. At the gilt mirrors, in the rest room vestibule, she resmudged her foundation to correct the arroyos the tears had made on either cheek. She tried to blink away the redness in her eyes mentally making a note to blame it on her new contact lenses should anyone bother to enquire.

Back in the hallway he was gone and a quick survey of the room found his chair empty. The blonde was gone too.

‘Abby, you missed your brownies being auctioned off you darling,’ her husband commented as she sat back down, taking her hand in his. ‘The most ironic person won the bidding.”
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This continues on from last weeks Friday Fiction ... and is a bit of a character building exercise leading up to NaNoWriMo ... if you're intrigued, or even just a little interested, keep an eye out!


Catherine said...

I do so like the incongruous turns your tales take. Took me till the kept film to make the connection with a previous Friday Fiction post. Nice tie in.

Also love the way you managed to thread the Chaser Boys into a Homebirth event.Fiction to fantasy to fact not all that large a leap.

Tammi said...

I have to go back to last week's entry. This is an intriguing piece. I like surprises.

Paul said...

Nicely done Jodi, looking forward to hearing more about these characters - I only skimmed through last week's posts, so had to jump back to yours to catch up on the back story. Very well done.

Computer Whiz said...

Very great post

Anonymous said...

Oh nicely done! I'm eager to read more. Senator Mallone sounds enchanting. Just like that perfect crystal that inevitably has a small (or sometimes not so small) inherent flaw. Great character!

Pen and the Sword said...

Terrific take on the prompt this week. I enjoyed it a great deal.

Anna said...

Wow Jodi, you really tied alot of elements together in this piece. What synergy. Had to laugh at the Chaser boys being included, they just couldn't resist hey?