Month: January 2017

Ugly

 

“That dating app for ugly people is perfect for you”. Nadia kept replaying her friend’s joke on her head while her crooked finger was swiping right on every profile. Ngandu had just gotten married and became arrogant enough to throw shade on his single friends. Her barely blinking eyes reflected the changing colours of the screen. She was certain he was right, though. Nadia had enormous ears, a witch-like chin and her lips were nothing but a thin line. To find someone just as ugly as she was would be the answer to no longer be lonely.

Nadia recalled the brief time when she wasn’t alone. Thirty-five years and a history of one steady relationship. She was the one who labeled it a relationship, he called it a steady fuck since his wife couldn’t stand him anymore. Six months of crappy sex and the guy disappeared into thin air. Nadia felt that despite being with someone it didn’t seem like the opposite of being alone.

After a few hours, a match happened. Aella, dog-person, Netflix lover. Nadia’s heart raced not from infatuation, but out of nervousness. What to do? Ignore the only person who would have her? Maybe she did the automatic swiping as well. Maybe she swiped right by accident. Maybe she only did it in order to mock Nadia. Their chatroom opened by itself after the match. The stranger called Aella was typing. Nadia was bracing for the worst.

“Hi”

Ten million different interpretations of two single letters rushed through Nadia’s head. Most of them resulted in humiliation and despair. That was the most obvious conclusion since nobody could ever find her attractive. Not her ugly face, disproportionate body, screeching voice, unpleasant smell. Her fingers hovered above the screen up and down. What to say? How could she trick somebody to want her? What were the words she could use that could make up being so damn ugly? The stranger typed again. Maybe she got tired of waiting. Maybe she is angrily writing a message saying how disgusted she is to have seen Nadia’s profile picture. The stranger hit send and a new message came through.

“I think you are one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen. Would you like to grab a coffee sometime?”

 

Black Role

 

The masked homicidal white man was coming for me. Leading lady Jessica was just a few meters ahead, screaming and calling for the protagonist, Scott. She used to date this other douche Chad, but the antagonist killed him first. Even though I told Chad not to inspect that weird noise, the crazy asshole went anyway. But what actually did him in was that he said something like “be right back”. Rachel, the supporting cast with big boobs, had the same fate. She did the nasty moaning like a goose in an uncomfortable penetrative only kind of sex. Her punishment for not being a virgin was delivered. When I tripped on a branch, Jessica’s golden blond hair started flowing in slow motion.

“No!” – Jessica screamed in a pitch so high it was meant only for dogs to hear

The killer slashed my gut open with his generic sharpened weapon and my insides flew in the air. Running like the wind away from our nemesis, and my very much alive and agonizing body, she muttered the words “I’ll never forget you” and then I died.

Once that was done, I just went home and grabbed a peanut butter and nutella sandwich and some apple juice. I was already in my jammies brushing my teeth when the most awesome woman in the world, my roommate Taraji, came home.

“Tara, my love! Your face, I like it. Awesome timing too. I just got killed, so I have some free time to snuggle you” – I jumped into her arms like a newlywed bride

“Yeah, Shonda. They killed me too” – she put me down gently as her skinny arms trembled with my weight

“Oh, don’t tell me! Do not tell me! The killer was your pimp. Am I right?”

“Nah, this time the abusive baby daddy to my second child did it. And I’m pretty sure yours was the main white guy”

“You know it. Either the apparent hero or the guy who we all thought was dead turned out to be the killer. Maybe both. Are you hungry? I have some chicken leftovers”

“Thanks, love. I’m sick of chicken. All I ever get to eat while in character is chicken and watermelon juice. I have to gulp it down while telling the white folks how great it is and that I don’t mind the stereotype. I much rather have steamed vegetables and a can of grape soda to break the healthy vibe”

“Grape soda? Tara, I have some bad news for you…”

“Shon, please, don’t tell me. Don’t take grape soda away from me too. Take my life like some John does every single time, but not grape soda.”

“I’m so sorry, Tara. I didn’t know grape soda was that important for you” – I told her without a single drop of irony in me

Taraji dropped her tired body on the couch and let out a sigh. She had seen so much ever since she went from being the bitchy teenager, who is also surprisingly a cheerleader, to an addict forced into prostitution. She made an effort not to burden me knowing my roles spared me from it all by being killed right in the first act. Maybe it was better to look down and see your intestines being used as a rope to choke another character than staying alive. Taraji began to hum that song by the Bee Gees.

“Oh no, not ‘Staying Alive’ again. When you hum that song, I know it’s serious. Talk to me Tara, don’t leave me in the dark again” –  I kneeled beside the person I adored the most and took her hand

“It’s not about grape soda”

“I kind of figured that out”

“Shonda, it might come as shock to you, but I don’t like being beaten, raped and humiliated in every story I’m in”

“Oh, my! It is indeed a shock! Winston, fetch me some brandy to settle my nerves!” – I emulated my best rich white lady accent

“I ain’t joking, bitch!” – Tara giggled. The sound I wanted to hear

I sat next to Taraji on the couch never letting go of her hand. She was my only family. We met when we were just wee little girls on secondary roles with no lines. While the cop main character chased a street thug for dealing drugs on the corners of the projects, we were there to establish a ray of hope and innocence on the eyes of the policemen so he wouldn’t shoot the black man. It was all very weird and we began to meet to talk through it all in between roles. She was there for me when I was a generic African immigrant giving life advice to the troubled protagonist and I was there for her when she saw herself being replaced by a white woman when her role got lines on the sequel. Whenever she was feeling upset, I simply had to make her laugh.

“In all seriousness, I get where you’re coming from. We’ve had it bad, being background faces without a voice and all. But now I feel like we are being punished for getting too close to the main guys. My sole purpose for existing is being the black person that perishes to motivate the survivors to carry on. I don’t own the story”

Taraji jumped up like her ass caught fire. More than her ass, her eyes were on fire, as if she was cooking an idea like prime pizza in a stone oven.

“But what if we did, though?”

“I’m listening”

“What if we owned the stories? We’ve been analyzing how stuff works all this time, we know the works. It’s simply a matter of opportunity, see? We jump in when there’s a breaking point and make our names. You, for an instance. You can begin the investigation right after the first murder happens and never read demonic books out loud”

“I could finally become the killer!”

“What?”

“Stab a fork in their eyes and eat with spaghetti as if they were meatballs”

“Hey, um, ok…”

“Use my victims’ fingernails as pendants on a necklace”

“Yeah, we’ll talk about that later, love. Believe me, we will. First, we need to tell the others. Text Viola, I’ll phone Davis. We revolt at dawn”

Taraji could be the disposable secondary characters in their story, but never in mine. She always was, and would ever be, my leading lady.

 

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