Saturday, August 13, 2016

Hidden Losses

Rita Hayworth. What a stupid name. I can't stand it when someone recognizes it and feel they have to make some sort of smart remark. I also can't stand it when someone doesn't recognize it and I think they're some sort of ignoramus. It's just stupid to name someone like that. My life would have been completely different with a different name.

Or so she said.

Rita had her own looks to brag upon even had she not be named after the bombshell actress and most popular pin-up girl of WWII. And whether she admitted it or not, the idea of having that kind of glamour infected her since her youth. But she was no star. She found no particular talents within herself. She had no way to parlay herself into the limelight. But Rita couldn't resist the voice that told her that her famous name was a choice of destiny. And that gave her false ambition.

Thank God for the internet. If she couldn't have the life of a star she'd at least have the lifestyle of one. proved to be her way through this world - her way being any shortcut she could find. With her ravishing rack, finding a willing partner in crime proved quite easy. Men were quick to lavish her with eager praise that she was better than any movie star, giving way to a worship of shared lies requiring no burden of proof. But as with all things artificial, the clock was ticking.

What am I when I lose my youth and beauty? There's no pension for sugar babies. Damn! I'm fucking screwed, aren't I? Everyone will laugh at me for pretending I'm really somebody for all these years leaving myself no way out. I'll be the washed up hag they point to and mock. Shit. What am I going to do? I hate all those "legitimate" types. I have no respect for them. They do the same things I do they just hide it better. I wish I could just die now before I get old.

But in moving towards giving up her life, she moved towards love. Meeting Robert tore her in two. How much should she tell him of her wayward ways? To have at last something of value! Yet how terrible the price. Life turns on its head with something at risk. Where would life devoted to love lead to? No more control, no more security - even if only short term. Yes, this was the first inkling of hope she'd ever felt - but life was never meant to be good for someone like she; just another illusion to lead her to doom.

Who's wearing a golden mask?

Rita needed love. Rita needed money. She decided to serve both masters. Her latest benefactor was a breed getting more common by the day: an inept CEO. He even bragged of his incompetence and untouchability having made it as part of the CEO club - where members protect one another with golden parachutes taken from money in workers' pockets. This they laugh about even as they try feverishly and adamantly to suppress wages at all costs. Why not steal from a thief, supposed Rita. All she needed to start her moral life was the funding.

Knowing literally where the man kept his gold, Rita began relieving his safe of its burden of hiding 99% pure gold bars. She thought herself immensely clever! The perfect crime: stealing from a crook to finance true love. She mentally derided the fools struggling for an "honest" dollar when no such thing exists. In every capitalist resides a slave trader.

He never declared these to the IRS. All he's got is his goofy greed. But now I've got him! The world is nothing but pimps and prostitutes and I don't want to be either one. This gold is my just reward. I'll be free at last to live my life how I see fit. God, what a feeling! I can almost taste it. It's like oxygen, I feel alive for the first time. I gotta get out, I just gotta!

But like a bad movie where everything goes wrong, the CEO came back unexpectedly to catch her in the act. Had he been a few minutes later, Rita would have gotten away scot free. A few minutes earlier and she would not be so infected with the fever for freedom. But having caught her in the heat of the moment - as is ordained by the fabric of the universe - she grabbed the nearest object she could find and flung it at the outraged CEO's head. Then he was dead.

"I can't stop now."

She took the gold to her lover to live happily ever after. But Robert didn't want to spend the rest of his life looking over his shoulder. He left her with her gold, the master she'd chosen to serve. Alone, with blood on her hands, Rita went on the run. She imagined a life on the beach where the sun and sand would wash away her sins. But the killing followed her wherever she went. Who was she to be now?

As the years passed she became an actress in the truest sense: acting as if everything were fine. What could she share of herself? She thought she was supposed to be a star, was embarrassed she wasn't, then tried to live like one to cover it all up. What an idiotic existence. How cold the gold proved deep in the night. The crime isolated her even as she acted out her part of living the good life. No one could see her hidden losses - except Rita.

It happened like a dream. She was leaving an island bar at 1 AM, waiting at a stop light. Suddenly, Rita heard a sickening thud as a pickup driving the opposite way was T-boned by a speeding drunk driver. And that T-boned truck was headed straight for her driver side door. Rita stared and watched in fascination.

It's not really going to hit me, is it? I can't run this red light or I'll be even more of an immoral lawbreaker than I already am. Maybe this is God getting back at me. Yes, God wants me dead for what I did. I just want to watch this and see how God feels about me. I'm so tired of guessing! Now I'll find out the truth.

Rita never heard me from the other side of the street yelling out, "Lady! Move!" She just kept staring, her faced bewitched and hypnotized with a curious calmness. As the pickup hit the median it launched the front two wheels into the air landing right on top of Rita. She survived, but just barely. Feeling obligated, I visited her in the hospital. There I got trapped into hearing her life story. The doctor said she would make it "if she's a fighter." But Rita had rendered judgment on herself (it was never God's) and parted from this world having never been herself.

Was it really all because she had a famous name?

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