Stock Photo Story Time
by Miranda Perry
I. “desperate eyes of an umemployed business man”
Jerome was a business man. His eyes were desperate. Umemployment was killing him.
“Need Job,” read the scrappy cardboard sign he’d found in the props department, before that dumb bitch PA spotted him and called studio security. They escorted him off the lot in a golf cart.
“No, please,” Jerome pleaded. “Just give me another chance. I’m a business man, I swear it!”
The security guards laughed. Jerome ran one shaking hand through his ruffled yet nonthreatening hair.
“I know I’m not wearing a tie,” he cried. “I’m umemployed for Chrissakes! Look into my eyes, see how desperate they are! At least let me keep this ragged cardboard sign! I need job!”
The guards tore the sign from his grasp because it was needed on set. Jerome wept.
II. “Family sitting together and doing their homework”
Long before I was born, my family enjoyed sitting together and doing their homework. My sister Eloise, who was called Samantha in those days, spoke of it as a happy time.
“Oh, the family, we’d sit and do our homework together for hours,” she explained after I turned 17, offering me a swig of gin from the flask she kept hidden from the nurses. It tasted the way the darkroom smells and burned like hell.
“Sitting,” she murmured. “Sitting, together. Doing homework, together.”
Eloise’s eyes grew moist and distant. “I wish you could’ve seen how happy Mom looked as she extended her left index finger to point out whatever was beside my purple pen.”
My head was spinning from the gin. “You miss ’em, don’t you?”
Eloise nodded. “Every day, baby brother. Every goddamn day.”
III. “acoustic cute female girl guitar guitarist”
Mr. Seymour clucked his tongue. His voice was cautious, skeptical.
“Well, Nina,” he said. “You’re a cute female. No doubt about it. And that’s a girl guitar, alright. But I just don’t know what to make of you. Are you a guitarist?”
“Oh, I am, Mr. Seymour, I am,” Nina replied, with a sly smile. “Don’t be fooled by the awkward way I’m holding this acoustic instrument.”
She repositioned the guitar and with her cute girl hands began plucking a melody. It was feminine and acoustic. Mr. Seymour closed his eyes. Soon his face grew slack and pale. His lips turned blue. Nina continued playing until he twitched and slumped forward in his chair. Air wheezed from his throat.
“Mr. Seymour?” Nina hugged the guitar close. She peered up from beneath her ugly, floppy brown hat.
“There,” Nina said to the empty room. “It’s done.”
A tiny red light began blinking on the security camera. Mr. Seymour’s body jerked as life escaped it.
IV. “Beautiful Young Girl Women Lay Laying Grass”
Marcia was beautiful and young, a girl among women. She was always laying in the grass. As the village changed and outsiders moved in, Marcia still lay in the grass every day. Her beautiful young body, wrapped in shapeless pink, was a beacon of early womenhood on the vast hillside lawn.
But one day the outsiders began building on the hillside. Their great yellow machines pawed the grass and tore it up. By some miracle or simple oversight, a single patch of grass was left untouched – Marcia’s patch, where she lay beautifully. Youthfully.
The grass grew long and sheltered Marcia as the outsiders erected great shining towers and sprawling cities. Soon Marcia was hidden from view. She became a flicker in the fading minds of the old villagers who remained.
When they died, Marcia lay in the grass and was forgotten.