Body Packaging # 9: Severing Heads of StateApr 11, 2012
Dede Storm was dead. She hadn’t reported back to any of her closest friends or even her cousin Veronica after her confrontation with Cole Majestic. But at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, the only thing on all of the guests’ minds was finding ways to interact with the A–List celebrities and heavy hitting politicians in attendance at the same venue that had been used for Clive Davis’s pre-Grammy Award party. Cirque de Soleil performers were interacting with Hollywood and Washington’s elite with their customary over-the-top acrobatics.
What had initially been conceived as a political fundraiser had rapidly metamorphosed into a gathering with numerous agendas. Dr. Jake Orinda and his newest assistant Ophelia walked together as he surveyed the landscape of performers mingling from table to table. Ophelia eyed him sexually as if he would be under her cat o’ nine tails with just the tiniest submissive’s transgression. She had no idea of what had befallen Orinda’s former medical assistant, Paulina, nor of the very limited duration of her own shelf-life. Orinda was gratified as he took in how much he had altered one very influential community.
“Good day doc-tair.” The German head of state was not immediately recognizable to Orinda, but he smiled at the man nevertheless. The room was crawling with dignitaries from every country on the globe. He scrutinized the man’s distinctive features and realized that there was still much work to be done on his projects.
A performer suspended upside down from an enormous rose gold ring dangled over the guests seated closest to the stage. Her body was lithe as she swayed back and forth with ease. Celebrity impersonators of Frank Sinatra, Jack Benny, and Marilyn Monroe carried large baskets of white rose petals and threw them out onto the members of the audience.
Time stopped as one of the most revered directors in Hollywood took center stage and greeted an astonished audience which immediately sprang to its feet. Sidney Martel smiled with his customary half-upturned lips and spoke in his signature husky voice. “I think rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated. Don’t you?”
Penelope Cassidy wore a vintage Mae West outfit in a final attempt to lobby for the lead in the planned feature about the star’s groundbreaking life. She stared intently at her former husband as she realized how much everything was about to change while it appeared to remain the same.
The woman suspended from the gold ring winked at Penelope and dangled a brilliant purple feather boa towards her as her support ring glided over Penelope’s head. With one quick motion, the performer had pulled Penelope onto the ring and they were sailing over the astonished audience.
Penelope managed to keep her cool as she turned to the performer. “What the fuck are you doing? This isn’t scripted.”
“We need answers, Penelope.” It was a man’s voice coming out of this woman’s body. It had to be Veronica’s boyfriend, Philippe. She wanted to alert someone in the audience, but she was terrified of heights and if he let her hand go it was all over.
“You’ll never get away with this. If they can take out Dede Storm what kind of chance do you think you’ve got?” Penelope was engaged in the greatest performance of her life as she smiled for the crowd of decision makers below while feeling utterly sick to her stomach. Sidney had been right all along. She was a gifted actress.
Philippe and Penelope’s ring rolled down onto the stage where they were greeted by the suspicious German head of state who had been chatting up Dr. Orinda. He ran to rescue Penelope from Philippe’s grip and he escorted her out of the performance and into a long black limosine. “You are safe and sound now, Fräulein.”
“Take me home. Now!” Penelope was done performing. She just wanted to escape. She turned to face the German and began to shriek as she realized she was seated next to Veronica Walters. She held herself back. “If only you were as good at picking out my God damned clothes as you are at impersonating other people you could have actually been a success in Hollywood. You no-talent hack!”
Veronica slapped Penelope across the face. “Where’s Dede?”
“Rotting in hell! And you’re going to be right along side her.” Penelope felt the side of her face as she looked right at Veronica.
As the limo’s passenger and driver black glass divider came down Penelope glanced over at her driver. It was Philippe.
“Where are you taking me?” Penelope used her most authoritative voice.
“You’ll see, bitch!” Veronica looked at her cell phone hoping that there was something on it from Dede. This time it looked like her cousin had finally met her end.
© Jennifer Strauss 2012. All Rights Reserved.