Delayed once more by time, injury (my left knee has been out all summer), and a slow-moving Labor Day, this week’s chapter shares a forgotten moment in Roger Compish’s life . . . how he opened his door to a demon and sank into darkness. I like the film noir atmosphere and character. Maybe it’s because I recently finished reading Savage Night by Jim Thompson, a master at film noir plots and deception. The ending gave me chills. If you haven’t read Thompson’s novels yet (he created The Grifters) he is known as the dimestore Dostoevsky.
“We are all demonic!”—QUEEN STORMAG
If you’re following the play’s progress, and feel so inclined, please let me hear what you think of this week’s episode. Comments and thoughts from readers are welcome.
Here is another painting from my father’s last few years, the art hitting the themes of Egyptian tombs, mummification, and love, lust . . . from his Requiem Series. Just read what happens to Roger and think of this painting and fall. To see more of my father’s work simply visit www.bogdanovitch.com.
To begin reading A Play Demonic (The Queen’s Idle Fancy) from the very beginning, simply click HERE to read Part 1. To refresh your memory before reading the new chapter, simply click HERE to read Part 16!
A Play Demonic (The Queen’s Idle Fancy) — Part 17
Roger cringed and pressed his side . . . sick to his stomach when he awoke on Thanksgiving Day. A clawing and clenching pain hit him as he twisted out of bed to begin his morning rituals. Espresso would have to wait. He, with a heavy head filling with irritation, hoped the pain would pass. Missing Thanksgiving with Morton, who was picking Roger up at 1:00—so they could catch some football on the tube before the four o’clock dinner bell rung—and driving over to Sally’s home was a ticking worry.
He’d spent the last three Thanksgivings at Sally’s house. She, newly divorced back then, hurting, angry, spiteful even when speaking about her straying husband and his new mistress soon-to-be-wife who would be her kids’ second mother figure (she went on and on about this sticking point and Roger listened and many bottles of wine over many nights illuminated the years gone by). Roger considered themselves orphans. He brought out his weathered copy of the play from the box next to the hall closet, and sunk across his couch. Just opening the play and reading the first few lines soothed the ache in his stomach.
At the meeting before Thanksgiving, he’d left 75 copies of the play at the box office and stashed 25 away to give to people he thought of with great fondness around town. People were already talking the play up. Bubbling with excitement, people who acted or helped out with any future production were the first to race to the FITE theater to grab a copy. Most of the seventy-five copies were gone, and Roger had a message on his answering machine to make another hundred. The stage could only handle half that number, maybe a little more if everyone squeezed in and held their breath.
He scanned the local paper for news of the audition and what the Fidalgo Island Theater Ensemble planned. Usually, there were four plays in the first half of the year and four more that took over the summer and fall with the holiday production a beacon and gift the theater loved giving back to their patrons. The Queen’s Idle Fancy stood alone as the sole production, and this didn’t make sense to Roger. They were a small theater, but they had recently celebrated their 50th year as one of the most talented of small-town theater production houses. They made money. The house and the actors. That’s what it really came down to . . . money, theatrical costuming, current lighting and sound effects, fog machines, live musical accompaniment, and playbills, advertising, took up every squeaky dollar bill.
As he sat there, his stomach pain lessening, this is what Roger forgot . . . his memories now colliding and overlapping as if alive, one moment diving deep into darkness and fading.
What Roger would never remember was opening his door to a persistent knock after midnight. He couldn’t remember the knocking sound either. He simply concentrated on the play and thought about beginning to make sausage cashew stuffing, his own mother’s Thanksgiving recipe, rich, and a wonderful side dish to perfect and bring over to Sally’s house.
He had no memory of how Camoustra stood on his front porch, beckoning to him with a flat, wicked slash of a smile, soundlessly, lips opened, hair a Veronica-Lake mystery, slick from a light drizzle, wearing nothing but the sheerest black lingerie—lace corset, leggings, garters, see-through robe plastered to her heaving chest, onyx shoes high-heeled and, if Roger could remember his first thought upon seeing them, call-girlish. Her movement towards Roger froze him to the core—and then heat came, a burning need. A swath of hair blocked the right side of her face, and her left eye, a darkening brown-to-black, captured his remaining willpower.
She touched his chin, and then held it with two fingers of her right hand. The kiss should’ve been memorable. She wrapped her arms around him and then pressed her two hands to the back of Roger’s head, insistent. He melted into the embrace. He picked Camoustra up and, lips still locked together, stumbled to his unkempt bedroom, a bachelor’s refuge. They tumbled over one another with Camoustra ending up on top of Roger, and he would never remember how strong she was, how she held his arms down. Roger watched her pull black silk ribbon from behind her—where was she hiding this?—and tied his arms with an efficient strength, to his wooden bedposts.
“Not too tightly,” she said, her voice distant in his mind, cool, and Roger grinned.
Wait, she wasn’t the one holding his arms back, tying them with ribbons, forcefully, up and away from his body. Roger would never remember that it was Frenalto—hidden in plain sight—keeping Roger’s arms at bay, that Frenalto had been there the entire time, watching, observing, and orchestrating, whispering into Roger’s ear.
Camoustra, doing Frenalto’s bidding, wouldn’t allow him to move, and this excited Roger all the more in all the right places. When she finally descended on him, her lips parting, teeth pointing . . . how Roger forgot her sharp teeth flashing towards him, demanding, was a wonder.
What Camoustra told Roger to prepare for was evil, but he would never remember this until the right moment. Camoustra told Roger to be patient, that his help was necessary, that they would have such fun together. You’ll know when to begin the next time I call on you.
This would be something to remember. Right out of an old film noir meet-up where the dame was always the one the audience should pay attention to at their peril.
To read the next chapter of A Play Demonic (The Queen’s Idle Fancy), simply click HERE to read Part 18!
Thank you for reading about Roger’s faulty memory. I hope he has a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with Sally and Morton, who have their own secretive relationship developing behind everyone’s understanding. Carry on!
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