Friday, June 7, 2013

Cecille: A Story in Noir

This is a story about Cecille, the only daughter of a well-to-do family, and her transformation into a femme fatale, having grown tired of her boring life. (Let's see if you recognize any of the products in the photos.)


It was a hot summer's day. The sun shone brightly through the trees, illuminating spots here and there all over the porch, and there sat Cecille. Rocking back and forth on the bench swing, sipping on some ice cold lemonade, she was reading a novel that had just come out, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It seemed that no one was buying it at the bookstore downtown, but something about the face on the deep blue cover drew her in.

"I hope she'll be a fool -- that's the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool."

As Cecille read over this line, she began to think about herself. Daisy had spoken this line about her hopes for her infant daughter, and it became apparent to Cecille that she was in a similar situation. She had all these expectations and at the same time, a lack of expectations. She was just going to be married off to some millionaire so that her family connections could grow deeper. Everything was already planned out for her, and she couldn't do anything about it.

Or at least, that was what she'd thought. Cecille put down the book and ran back into her room. She headed toward the dresser, on top of which was a clutter of cosmetic products, perfumes, and jewelry. She saw the necklace that her mother had given her as a child: a pink acorn bejeweled with white crystals on a gold chain. It was a symbol of her innocence, her childhood. She examined it peculiarly -- why had she kept it all these years? It wasn't anything particularly beautiful. Why did she even keep all of these frilly things in the first place?

Quickly she shoved everything into the first drawer. She didn't need them. Why did she have to go by the current standards? Do they even matter? She went down to the kitchen and something caught her eye. On the table was a newspaper with headlines in big bold letters plastered across the front. There was a show on Broadway that night, labeled as scandalous and provocative, but a must-see for the new generation. She glanced over at her father snoozing away on the recliner, having fallen asleep after looking through his business papers. Glasses still on. Mother's traveling somewhere in Europe. Brothers are at the company or on some road trip. This is the perfect time to escape, thought Cecille.

She ran into her mother's room and found a lipstick, with a dagger at the end of the bullet. Perfect. She also found a pair of black leather gloves. She went through all the rooms and gathered her new wardrobe. She found a black suit jacket and pants, her brother's black dress shirt, and brought everything to her room. She took out her sewing kit and took everything in. She worked in a hurried daze, pricking her fingers every now and then, but it didn't matter because now, her transformation was near complete. She slipped into her new outfit and found that it fit like a glove, literally.

It was now night time. The hot summer haze had turned into a breezy twilight. She stared at herself in the mirror. The new her. Was she ready for the night? Was she ready to leave behind this comfy, mundane life? She tied her long flowing hair up into a bun and hid it under a hat. It was time to go. She grabbed the money she had been unconsciously stashing away and shoved it into her pockets. After applying the finishing touch on her lips, she headed downstairs to leave. At the door she looked back at her father, still rapt in his dreams.

Sorry, Cecille uttered as she rushed down the porch steps and disappeared into the mystery of the night.

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