by Jill Franke
I sat there alone.
Foot traffic on the street was light; it had rained. Pavement smelled of city puddle. I stretched my feet out, watching the water roll down from the boot toe. Trying to look nonchalant, I could feel my heart skipping...beat, skip...beat, skip. Unknown Woman Found Dead of Heart Failure in Greenwich Village Cafe....beat, skip.
Inside, the late lunch crowd grew bored, shifted their feet while groping for umbrellas, looking for the way out. They slipped onto the sidewalk, as if the school bell had rung and it was time to go.
I felt embarrassed.
Glancing over the tops of buildings, I could see the dark clouds rushing in a way that made me dizzy. I got up, stiff in my joints, and self consciously walked into the Cafe.
At the edges of the dark room, people lingered in pairs over coffee and pastry. Laughter startled me as I made my way to the table closest to the door. I sat facing the street.
My God! Am I going to be stood up? My stomach lurched...beat, skip.
I shrugged off my raincoat. The waiter, on his break, eyed me resentfully. Just as he was about to get up from his chair, the door to the Cafe opened and Larry walked in.
Lawrence Powell, leading man extraordinaire, winner of last year's Academy Award for Best Actor; in his tall, lean body, wearing his hazel eyes which now flashed amazingly blue.
He sat down at the table with me and held out his hand. "Great to finally meet you," crookedly grinning the smile that had graced a thousand magazine covers.
Conversations across the room suddenly stopped.
"Mr. Powell, it's wonderful that you took the time to see me", I said, shaking the hand I needed so desperately to touch.
"Please," he said, "call me Larry."
This all began a few months ago. I'm not the sort to develop obsessions with celebrities. I'm a 60's leftover, writing a column for "Blastocyst", a weekly underground paper that barely survives on counterculture politics, environmental angst, animal rights, and the ubiquitous rockers. The view from my desk is a panorama of balding middle aged guys with earrings; young women with purple hair and multiple piercings; here and there a few younger men in assorted costumes.
But one day I was on my way to an interview with Randy Tyrell, Vice President of FIGHT. They were planning a "freedom strike" for animals in a local laboratory out on Long Island. I was standing on the 4th street platform waiting for the AA train. A pack of angry teenage boys invaded my space. Lots of shouting, pushing and shoving began. In a matter of seconds, the serene damp platform became a blur of activity and noise. I got caught in the middle. One moment I stood clutching my briefcase to my heart; the next, I lay unconscious, the victim of a poorly aimed punch. I came back to myself slowly to the sounds of running footsteps and, from a distance above me, the wail of a siren. When I opened my eyes, the first thing I saw was the poster on the station wall. Lawrence Powell, his face set in a grim and determined manner, with the phrase "The Last Words You Said', opens in all theaters Friday, November 12th." In that moment I knew.
Lawrence Powell was mine.
At first, I tried to ignore it. But over the days and weeks following my revelation, I slowly began to surrender. I know you, I know you, I felt in every fiber of flesh. His photograph at first sent shivers through my body. Finally, I couldn't bear to look at his face. I stopped sleeping. I force fed myself. I walked miles a day, enshrouded in a mist of pure agony. And then, I began to plan.
The only possible avenue of contact was through my work. Yet, I knew that wouldn't be enough. This man was a romantic idol, unapproachable, untouchable. No matter that in one blinding moment the veil had lifted for me. Desperate for help, I wandered into a small shop on 10th Street. The shelves were filled with an assortment of books, herbs, jars filled with roots, feathers, and assorted gruesome organisms. All were intended for one purpose. The working of magic. When I left the shop, walking into a cold New York City winter day, I carried two shopping bags filled with the things I needed. I was going to cast a spell, a spell for Lawrence Powell.
The casting was done during lunar eclipse in my sun sign, by candlelight, in the wee hours of the morning.
My next step was to approach Larry's publicist for an interview. The Last Words You Said had opened to acclaim from critics and public, alike. I knew that Larry would want to talk about his movie. And I knew that the spell had taken root. I felt it in my apartment, a lusting and humid weight of air. For days after the casting, I had been spiritually shredded, physically ill as if pregnant with a demon. Somewhere, Larry was feeling these same things, suffering and confused, not knowing why. When I received the news that Larry would meet me for an interview, I knew he had begun to reach.
That is how we came to be there, sitting in the Cafe. I loved him with a desperation that was palpable, a physical ache at the borderline of orgasm, a thirst that could never be quenched. My mind stepped aside. My soul, hand in hand with whatever creature had been summoned the night of spell casting, took its place.
I had to make him truly and eternally mine.
In my waistband, biting into my flesh, the calfskin holster was moist from the heat of my body. The .380 semiautomatic, fully loaded and ready to fire, was inches from my grasp. I casually reached for its pearl handle.