Wednesday, May 11, 2016

On Location—a short story

"Honest to God, that woman can be such a diva sometimes." Edward lifted the soaking paper and lowered it into the sepia tray. "Insisting that I use film for the shoot. And that I must personally process every print? Um, hello? Elton John called. He wants his bitch back."

"Ha! I like it." Edward's assistant Greg sat on a stool, trying to take notes in the amber light of the darkroom.

"But she can also be a goddamn genius, and I must admit," said Edward, "I am enjoying this whole film thing. Haven't produced sepia tones since the Nineties."

Which was also how long he'd known Mia Kirkwood, managing editor of Buzz magazine—compadres since their early days at art school, Edward now felt more like her obedient lackey than a renowned photographer in his own right. "Definitely a unique location, to boot."

"I don't know," Greg said, "Was I disappointed to leave that miserable place? Hell no." He watched Edward nimbly transfer another print from bleach to clean water. "Place made me shiver, like, the whole time. Think about what it was like living there."

"Or dying?"

"Okay, thanks, now I'm shivering again. Eddie, I'm not kidding, they need to take a fucking wrecking ball to that place."

"I suppose. But you have to admit it was amusing how disgusted those poor little models were." Edward clipped another sheet to the line. "Well tough shit, little girlfriends, y'all make more than I do, so you can just go ahead and put on your big girl panties. Edward noticed that Greg's arms were tightly folded. "What freaked you out the most?"

"Um...shit, where do I begin? The reception area?"

"True enough. Mental hospitals aren't most people's idea of home." Edward reached toward the wall, his hand cranking the amber light's intensity. "Let's take a look."

The five dangling photos slowly came to life as Greg's gaze sharpened. "Oh, Oh...my God." He hugged himself tighter, unaware how his torso rocked as he absorbed the imagery.

Edward chuckled and clipped on another dripping print. "Mia Kirkwood, you've done it again."






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