Photograph by Kat Philcox Photography
I watched a lot of old movies when I was a kid, and just adored the graphic world of black and white cinematography; when I grew up, I wanted to look like those beautiful, remote, magnificent women. Then when I grew up, I realised that they don’t really exist, that they are a confection of the studio; still, I longed to be portrayed as a femme fatale at least once. My big opportunity was the photo shoot with Kat Philcox, and we worked with a black backdrop much of the time.
While I was putting together the photo book (see previous post), this photo led me to do a little creative writing, limited only by the amount of space on the page. Before I knew it, I had written a film noiresque scene, inspired by such movies as The Big Sleep. I picture “him” as a Private Investigator in the style of Humphrey Bogart’s Philip Marlowe.
LA PETITE MORT
He surveyed the room: signs of a struggle were evident, from the overturned boudoir chair, to the crooked lampshade, and a shattered vase of Stargazer lilies, strewn across the floor. Then there was the body of a girl, supine on a rug beside the bed.
Sniffing the air, he decoded the smell – a strangely intoxicating blend of Bourbon whiskey, sweat, and lilies, with a faint underlying odour of something bad. He shuddered – he hated the smell of lilies and the memories they brought flooding back.
Apprehensively, he walked towards her body, noting her disheveled clothing. When he saw her stillness, and her glazed eyes, he froze. “Get a grip”, he urged himself, looking away for a moment to refocus. Dropping to his knee, he put his ear close to her mouth, and heard her slow breath. So, not dead. Then…what? A seizure? Pondering this development, he slowly came to the realisation that she was under the spell of ‘the little death’. “Well that’s just swell”, he mumbled cynically, moving away to upright the chair and wait for her full recovery.