A Song and a Pistol
She stood in the spotlight of the nightclub’s half-moon stage and sung Etta James’ At Last to a lone piano as if the artist herself were singing through her. “Aaat Laaast,” she sang, her arms slowly rising at her sides like she was ready to lift herself to heaven with each note. She sang in a voice as rich and smooth as holiday chocolate. Every lyric that gracefully swung from her red lips was sung in perfect harmony with the silent life of her seduced audience.
The pianist played behind her, shaking his head and swaying from side-to-side as the notes went up and down, left and right. He was the wings on the song bird, making them both fly. “My looove has come along.”
Every man in the room was her lover, every woman her hand-maiden, willingly serving their beneficent queen for providing them with these gorgeous moments of bliss. The world, seated at round tables, and cushy green booths under the illustrious light of crystal chandeliers, was hers.
She wrapped her warm welcoming fingers around the microphone as if it were her lover’s face and slowly moved down the stand, easily forcing the men into an upright position. “The skies above are blue.” Her hips swayed from side-to-side. The light rippled from the subtle black sequins strategically sewn on her deep blue dress and worked its way through the sheer blue sleeves, giving her a perfect silhouette. “…For you are mine at last. Oh, yeah yeah.”
During the pianist’s cool melodic solo, the incarnation of a Shakespearian sonnet slowly moved her hands up the slits in the sides of her gown that rose a little past her knee and removed two pistols she had strapped to her thighs. Although, some seemed to notice the shiny, black handguns, it wasn’t until she fired the first shot into the crowd that her hypnotic trance was broken. “I found a dream, that I could speak to.” Without ever losing her place in the song, without the slightest change in her breathing, she fired shot after shot into the panicked crowd, singing acapella after the pianist ran off.
Never losing her innocent, come-hither stare, she shot the people in the back of the room first, making it hard for the ones in front to reach the exits. In raging desperation, many of her unsuspecting victims tripped over the bodies they didn’t see and were trampled; their last moments being filled with fear, confusion, and pain as they lived briefly through the torment of crushed hands, skins, and vertebrae. Over the sound of rhythmic gunfire and screams was her voice, still singing in that same honey tone.
Before her performance was over, no one was left alive, no one was in the club save her and her husband of 10 years who was holding his mistress of 4, cradling her bloody, cracked and punctured skull in his arms. They were sitting more than 20 feet from each other, pretending to ignore each other’s presence, trying to hide the affair from her husband and his wife; but everyone knew. Everyone knew about the affair, knew there was a possibility the baby was his, knew that his wife had found out, but no one wanted to say anything, no one wanted to acknowledge her pain.
“You smile. You smile,” she sang as she dropped a gun and walked off the stage like a classic-movie star, taking the microphone with her. Her high-heeled hips moved in a figure-eight motion befitting a woman of her coke-bottle stature as she stepped over bodies and into pools of blood, and broken glasses and dishware, with hardly a downward glance. “Oh, and then the spell was cast.” She continued to serenade him in unassuming, horrific, elegance.
With the microphone amplifying her harp-like vocal chords in one hand and a gun in the other, she kneeled to her husband. With brown, prismatic eyes she stared into his like a loving wife ready to open herself to him where they stood; but in the back of her mind she remembered his promise to stay with her even though she was incapable of bearing children.