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Body Packaging #5: Three Wives One Eye

Jul 2, 2011

Santa Monica

Sidney Martel’s three ex-wives had gone by the three nicknames, “Sass,” “Mass,” and “Ass” for their rather iconoclastic personalities.   Lavinia Worthington, Martel’s first wife, was an irreverent patron of the arts who had enough acting talent and family money to become a living film legend despite her outrageous off-screen antics.  Natalie Delacorte, Sidney’s second wife, detested her nickname which she told others was in reference to her incredible  “brain mass” as a card carrying member of Mensa, without mentioning her constant battle with weight.  Sidney had convinced Delacorte to trade in her career as a Harvard-trained astrophysicist for a multi-Grammy singing career powered by her masterful voice.

Then, there was Sidney Martel’s final ex-wife, Penelope.

Everyone in Hollywood knows that there is always a story behind every tale of fame, power, and fortune.  Penelope Cassidy’s star had ignited from out of nowhere almost five years earlier.  But it was Penelope’s personal backstory which was far more intriguing than the formulaic romantic comedies that had transformed her into an international superstar.

Penelope and Sidney Martel had run into each other– quite literally–while they were both jogging in New York’s Central Park.  At first, Sidney had attempted to resist Penelope’s classic All-American beauty.  But, as he reluctantly got to know her, he found that she not only could act as well as Lavinia, but that she also possessed a singing voice that was arguably stronger than Natalie’s.  Penelope actually enjoyed her somewhat crass nickname, based on her posterior amplitude, because she knew that it set the bar rather low for her to succeed.  And as she became more of a human marketing machine than an actress, her successes soared.

From certain angles, Penelope currently looked like a 21st century Mae West—which was deliberate. Even with her undisputed talent and bankable box office receipts, she was up against fierce competition for a widely anticipated project about Mae West.   This morning, Penelope stood in her bedroom wrapped in a fluffy white terry cloth robe with her turquoise eyes glued to her iPad screen as she Tweeted.  Every message she launched promoted her newest Mae West film project. She had a general idea about the goings-on in her mansion, but between working Facebook and Twitter she had lost herself in a world of online followers.  Still, there were so many publicists, agents, directors, actors, screenwriters and other hired hands passing through her home from day to day that she could barely keep track.  Luckily, she had installed a damned good security system.

Suddenly, she snapped at an unexpected intruder who had entered her inner sanctum.  “Who the fuck are you?”

“‘Scuse me Missus.  I here to clean house.”  The housekeeper was a squat, overweight Greek woman in her late fifties carrying a single strand of olive wood worry beads.  Penelope purposely avoided looking at the mole on the woman’s chin which had sprouted a rather long whisker.  The maid knew full well that her rather unattractive face would force Penelope to avert her gaze.

Penelope barely acknowledged the woman holding a mop in one hand and a bucket of soapy water in the other standing before her. “Okay. Okay.  But stay out of the private wing.  All right, Mrs. Bubbles?”  Thinking about her “date” tonight with a closeted A-list star made her hold off on sending yet another Tweet.  If her five million Twitter followers only knew just how horny she was right now.  Just then, a half-naked man working in the garden off of her master bedroom suite entered her view. Perfect timing. Penelope loosened her robe and threw her phone onto her bed.  She opened her terrace door and motioned the gardener into her immense bedroom.

Penelope’s mansion was more like a maze than a house.  Dede dropped her pail of water and immediately began searching room after room.  Sidney, even contemplating his own death, had been a writer to the very end.  His letter was more of a poem than just a simple set of instructions. Dede had focused on a line referencing three sisters all using a single eye.  Maybe he had been watching Clash of the Titans when he wrote it. She knew instinctively that it had something to do with his three ex-wives.  But where was the eye he was talking about? Penelope’s office was the only locked door.

Dede instantly picked the lock and turned the door’s handle.  She carefully dissected the office until she focused on a camera which had been secured in an upper desk drawer.  A camera lens.  An eye.  Dede retrieved the camera only to feel a hand on her shoulder. She turned to face Philippe who had pretended to be Penelope’s gardener.  “We’ve got to put a wiggle in it.  She’s on the can.”

Dede started to race for the exit when she heard a gun go off.  She glanced back and saw that Philippe had been shot and was bleeding. She couldn’t tell if he was alive or dead. Then, she turned to see the person who had shot him and who was now pointing his gun straight at her.

“I’ll take that, Ms. Storm.”  Kyle Wyatt ripped the camera out of Dede’s hand and imagined a bullet hole in the center of her forehead.  If she didn’t think fast, she was next.

© Jennifer Strauss 2011. All Rights Reserved.