She plucked the eyeshadow palette off of the cluttered dresser. It was hard to see in the dimly lit room but nevertheless she applied the pigment to her lids like a seasoned professional.
A tube-light flickered in a distant corner of the cramped room. Undeterred, she masterfully coated her lips with deep red paint. Next was the highlighter- the highlighter was most important. Anong had always said that next to a good pair, glitter was the way to a man’s heart. She glanced at the clock as she simultaneously swept a brush across her cheekbones, leaving a trail of arrogant shimmer.
Her eyes, now relaxed, fell upon her face. She lifted her hands up to her cheeks, her fingers tugging with a gentle persuasion at her skin. It was a futile attempt to smoothen out the various creases that had formed over the last few years. She had wondered where, when and how the lines had crept up, wondered whether they were demons of accumulated stress or scars of surreptitious smiles, wondered whether she could have done anything to avoid them- whether she could do anything to stop them.
“15 MINUTES LOVE” a voice boomed from the room next door.
Snapped out of her resentful trance she diverted her attention to her hair; an asset age hadn’t managed to claim. She caught a glimpse of Serena entering the room behind her, cuing her to finish up, and prompting feelings of jealous detest. Serena who was unaware of the feelings she harboured, smiled respectfully- she smiled back dutifully.
However now rushed, she added the finishing touches to her hair; a sprinkle of glitter and a generous amount of hairspray. She pushed a bouquet of feather boa’s aside and set down her curling iron. It was time.
She emerged through the colored plastic beads onto the stage. The epileptic lights beat harshly against her bright makeup, a comatic combination for the exhilarated men in the room. She lived for this moment- The feeling of having control over every soul in the room was orgasmic. But when she danced, it was even better. She knew the people watching weren’t themselves anymore- she knew they were in a lucid state, completely and utterly enthralled in her, their minds vacuous stores, ready to be filled with every move she made. Although she was the one in garments that left nothing to the imagination, the people watching her were the ones exposed.
She had their souls… They were hers to take and Anong had always said that a person who attained souls was wealthier than a person who attained capital.
Inebriated with her own grace, she made sure she never made eye contact with anyone; that was the most common mistake. Direct contact was harmful but inevitably, without fail, it happened… Although their attention was intoxicating, eventually, an excess of anything becomes unendurable, intolerable… poisonous.
In this case their poisonous glances induced disgust. Her command over drooling dogs no longer held its appeal and that, was the result of tasting the forbidden fruit.
Holding her surreptitious gaze she slid down the pole.
Carrying an un-communicated sombre aura she retreated into the containment of the beads. Todays performance had drained her soul entirely. She could not revitalize herself with the usual dose of a content audience – today their whistles sounded more like the cries of hungry mongrels.
But, as if they had heard her silent flee, the intrusive cheers drooled through the beads as an inescapable voice reverberated from the stage finding its way to her hesitantly welcoming ears- “Another round of applause, you bastards for the Queen herself… Our very own, Queen of Bangkok”.
‘Queen’. She cherished the words as she dressed up for her final act.
“Anurak! You’re home ! How was work today?… My god you look tired- they need to stop calling you in for those night shifts. Why I should go down there and have a chat with your boss.Honestly, yours must be the first postoffice to get midnight influxes”
“Oh nothing… The usual- as you said- influx of packages, they needed me. No. Don’t worry your pretty little head Anong- I can handle it” he sneered back, planting a kiss on his wife’s cheek.
The final act had begun.