12.29.2011

death proof

She stood there, perspiring on an early fall day under the weight of the leather jacket and pants, the starched white shirt, the long wig and the cowboy hat, not to mention the stage makeup. But Sheila was used to all that. She was sweating it out this time because it was different, she was different. The stakes were so high now. 
Okay, you can do this. Don't be like this, don't freeze up now, you're a pro, this is in your fucking blood. A couple hours of shooting here and you'll be back home to Macy. So buck up, missy, get yourself together. 
She wore a long blonde wig and padded leather, working as a stunt double for Mickey Rourke in his new film. Mickey was playing a gangster on the lam, and he had to make it across this track in a suped-up hemi a split second before the oncoming train. She'd done this stunt before, racing across the tracks at the last possible moment. Many times. This was basic stunt work, she could practically do it in her sleep.

Sheila lived the life she had always wanted, taking risks, finding challenges, greater and more dangerous each time. She knew she couldn't stop. Even meeting Tom, falling hard, loving him more than life itself had not stalled the daredevil in her. She had learned about taking risks from her father, who had been a champion rodeo cowboy and steer roper. Her earliest memories were in the ring, on a horse, roping calves.

But now, that life was starting to feel irresponsible, what with family, a new baby, her Macy and her Tom. They were worth living for, living safer for. It was confusing, the overwhelming urge to protect her child, all mixed up with who she was, who she always had been. Macy was only four months old, and already Sheila wondered if she'd inherit the urge to court danger. Could she bear it if she did? Should she even be doing this? 
People would be surprised how many trucks are charged out in front of oncoming trains in Hollywood movies. For crying out loud, so predictable. I wonder if they'll still be making trucks fly out in front of trains when Macy's old enough to like movies. She'll love seeing her mama on the big screen. 
Sheila opened an extra shirt button so she could cup her palm above her heart, across her daredevil tattoo. It was her first gig after having Macy, and she had expected to feel a bit jumpy. Her hand on her breast calmed her racing heart a little. Of course, she had worn her lucky shoes. She never performed without them. The flames on her feet made her giggle and feel powerful at the same time. Those shoes pleased her. And calmed her. She searched in her pants pocket for the locket, the one Tom had given her when Macy was born, a lock of newborn baby girl hair and Tom's photo tucked inside. 
You got all your lucky charms, Sheila, of course you can do this. Do it for Tom and Macy. Let them know you really are all of it and more--a daredevil, a professional, an ace stunt performer, as well as a loving wife and an amazing mom. Women do it all the time, working mothers, that's all I am here, a working mother. Oh, I have to remember to pump in about two hours if this scene isn't wrapped. 
"Okay, Sheila, you ready?" She nodded at the director and climbed up into the hemi. She turned the key and the engine roared to life.

"Yeah, I'm ready. Let's do this." She heard the distant rumbling of the train, then the train whistle. Everyone stayed still, listening, feeling the rumble, until just the right moment. 
Do it for Tom and Macy. 
"Okay! Four, three..." The train bore down on them. Sheila depressed the clutch, shifted into first. 

"Two... one... ACTION!" She eased off the clutch and floored the gas pedal.

This week in the Indie Ink Writing Challenge, I received this prompt from Ilse: "You see a man walking on the train station, his hair is blonde (and long), he wears leather pants, a cowboy hat, a white shirt and black leather shoes with flames on them. He also has a tattoo on his arm. Who is he going to and why? (What are his fears? And his aspirations?)" Whew. I took a couple liberties with this here prompt.

I was lucky enough to prompt my comrade Pirate Grace this week, who wrote a heartwarming yet terrifying story called Care from my prompt: "Your heroine spends a night at the Dew Drop Inn." Read!

13 comments:

  1. I like the subtle changes you made. I think she's interesting as hell. I would read something expanded about her.

    Great job with the little background details....oh and the title = terrific

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  2. Great! I like that Mickey Rourke has a female stunt double. Nice touch. You created a layered character in very little space, she seems believable as a adrenalin junkie and mother.

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  3. Fabulous! I love her reminding herself to pump if she isn't done with work in two hours. She's the ultimate working mom.

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  4. oh talk about thinking outside the box!! This is fabulous. I too like the idea of Rourke having a female stuntperson. From the first line you totally took me there too. Excellent writing. Simply excellent.

    Now I'm off to go read Grace.

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  5. thanks, pals. i thought that prompt might be the end of me :)

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  6. I like the way you took the prompt out of the box, love. Way to make it your own.

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  7. You did an awesome job with the prompt! This was really wonderful. I like that you made her a double for Rourke too.

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  8. Well written, I enjoyed very much.
    eden

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  9. This is a brilliant take on the prompt! Wow!

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  10. I'm so glad you ended it where you did. I had this horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach that this would be the stunt that went wrong.

    Loved the inner dialogue. Great job

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  11. That was stunning! You continue to inspire me!

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