Pop Culture

COSPLAY / ROLE PLAY

THE RED CARPET

Driving toward Cannes, Igor turned left and right endlessly while her girlfriend Vita tapped laptop’s keyboard carefully. On Google, she typed Modern Graffiti Arts. After a while, hundred or so information fed back. Below their name are the artist’s portfolios. Espo’s abstract arts, Delta’s shadows, Futura’s Animated ones among others. Vita run the cursor down eyeing for a circle work of art till the line ended. She couldn’t find any, so she runs the cursor up perusing on data. Cubism arts of the nineties; Collage of events on Berlin Wall; Genealogical mosaic of Dynasties on Great Wall of China. No circle.

“How can there be no circle?” She wonder

“Remember what I told you about focus?” Said Igor

“Yes, it has to be here, I need to zoom out.” She replied and literally moved her head away from the monitor. Below on the same window read: other topics related to wall  writings. She clicked the first box; another window popped on screen.

Ancient Writings on Wall

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Egyptian Hieroglyphs

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Phoenicians Carvings

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Ten Commandments

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Byzantine Era

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Nothing helpful, she clicked the second box and another window popped.

Revolution Era: Writings on Walls

1941- hate campaign on walls

Freedom Walls

Commercial Walls

Wall on Sky- birth of Billboards

Commissioned City Artists

Graffiti on Sphere

Vita run the mouse enthusiastically and clicked at the sphere. Window full of circle popped. She adjusted her body from sliding on seats. The monitor’s high lumens vividly showed Vita’s energetic response just like any Internet surfer discovering something.

“What is it? Must be good, please keep me posted.” Said Igor

“Yeah, I got it. Globes in various states; frozen, molten, on fire and one with a crevice. A serpent circling the globe; be winged globe and lot of others with an appendage you can think. There are Emojis. It covers wide range.

“Zoom out”

“Alright” Vita moved the cursor down. “Ooops, hello there” she clicked on  the Smiley.

“This graffiti evolved from the work of a Norwegian artist Edvard Munch. This work is highly coveted among heist, it survived fires in museum and continuously inspires people. The ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’ phrase and the Smiley is an Edvard Munch original; inspired from his art “The Scream” A piece of art which gave hope to people, it was an instant hit that everyone has a reproduction (replica) massively available. Generation of today however creates rendition of Munch’s art, and gives birth to a smiley icon.” finished Vita.

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Scream by Edvard Munch

Driving along the line of tall palm trees reminded Igor of the palace’s great entrance. The exquisite marble facade of Boulevard de la Croisette is a promenade to France’s film industry in Cannes. The sea breeze of Mediterranean is a smell of foreign land invading ashore. Along Boulevard de la Croisette were rows of luxury boutiques and hotels. Most looked they had sprung up recently. Hilton hotel among others successfully set foot in, catering the needs of foreigners who made Cannes their second home and christening it a haven for film producers from world over. Off shore were moored yacht and anchored cruise liners for the embankment of celebrities and the like of Armani who prefer traveling by sea. Invaders indeed were settling for good. Despite the invasion of modernity, the galleon was forever anchored on the harbor reminisced the lost Edwardian charm. This turned out to be props of a pirate movie participating in the bygone era of Cannes Film Festival. It was left behind by movie makers. In retrospect, it was another invasion masquerading a la Trojan.

Waves of water hugging the shore eroding the sand back to the sea but hotel employees painstakingly combed the sand back to the shore for it may expose the rocky bed- the beach natural state. The sands were imported; another props. It’s so unlike Provence which able to preserved its natural beauty. Cannes is after all a huge movie set. Who cares, Cannes has the Carlton hotel and the Palais de Festivals which exudes the real Edwardian charm.

“Wait, that’s the BCBG store, my friend recommended it to me. She said they got good collections. Let’s check them out.” said Vita to Igor who slowed down and skidded to stop in store’s parking area. Inside the store, Igor sat at the couch while Vita browsed through the racks. Salesclerks were busy assisting patrons in their fittings but a salesclerk on her thirties left her patron unassisted pranced toward Vita.

“Hello, I’m sorry. It’s not everyday that were so occupied but don’t worry we’re doing this multitasking.” she said glancing at Igor and seemed happy of their presence.

“Something for the big night?” she asked as if she knew what they’re looking for that she didn’t wait for a response.

“Come with me.” she led Vita across the store passing Igor and threw him a smile.

“Here, this black dress, one of a kind.” she said handing it to Vita masterfully; an art of selling that a long time sales clerk only can execute. Vita gladly took it and proceed to the fitting room. The salesclerk pranced toward Igor the way she did to Vita; so much was happening around that the spirit of festivities visible in her.

“Hi, are you one of the Sheikh’s son? our store got crowded the last time they were here,they travel in packs. Maybe I’m unaccustomed as this store is usually deserted and when they were done, they leave our racks half empty. A real spender.” she said enthusiastically. Igor was laughing and she goes on telling jokes while replenishing racks. Igor however noticed a patron grimaced toward the salesclerk.

“You had forgotten me in favor of the Sheikh’s son? I got here first remember? On the second thought, i don’t need  a BCBG dress!” The patron shout in clenched teeth (which is rather difficult) thrusting three dresses on salesclerk’s chest. The hysteria surprised shoppers and attracted attention from passerby outside. Vita awed everyone as she came out from fitting room.

“I was right about that black dress. You’ll stand out like a lone shadow in flood of lights.” She said with her eyes twinkling in admiration and walked toward Vita ignoring the clamoring patron. Everyone gathered around Vita admiring black dress’s elegance.

“And you’ll be surrounded by stars; you’ll be drowning but hold your head up high.” Said the salesclerk touching Vita’s chin tossing it up gently. “No matter what, you’ll come out a winner leaving those loser actresses in vain.” She said bellowing enough to annoy the clamoring patron who then tried suppressing her rage.

BCBG Max Azria

“But girls, i’m sorry, this piece is our last but I’m sure there is one perfectly for you.” Said the salesclerk to gathering girls who rummaged back to racks.

“Thank you for behaving like a real aristocrat. Acting prima donna is so pathetic, right girls?” Said the salesclerk that sent the clamoring patron storming out the store. Igor came toward Vita and the salesclerk.

“Alright fairy godmother, how much would that be? We’re kind of late.” said Igor hastily as she sensed trouble.

“You’re right, kindly follow me to the Concierge. We have something for both of you.”    Said the salesclerk preparing bills and asked for an envelope from Concierge and handed each to Igor and Vita.

“Tonight, we’ll be unveiling BCBG Max Azria’s first giant NATURE perfume erected right in front of the store, please do come for some fun.” Said the salesclerk ushering them to the door out. Igor got to the parked car while Vita held her dress up high protecting from soiling it before the party. The salesclerk waved goodbye and noticed Vita’s tired black shoes. She called out to wait a while and rummaged back to the shoe rack and got the black stiletto.

She skipped hurriedly past some patrons, the clanking noise of her heeled shoes warned it will break in a few meters of run. She stopped just outside the door and waved the shoe box up high for them to wait. Igor and Vita just waited sitting on car ready to go. The salesclerk skipped to the parking area thinking a few more steps will do no harm to her BCBG incentive shoes or break her ankle for that matter.

“Wait! I almost forgot this pair is perfect match for that dress. Don’t worry, you can always pay afterwards.” She said sucking in oxygen. Igor and Vita looked at her amazed by her display of trust. Few hours ago someone said to them about trust but here they are with a stranger who seemed to have a vague idea about trust or maybe  she got good outlook on trust. Vita on the other hand is a woman of doubt.

“You know my name and my shoe size?”

“The guest’s list, you signed on it and the shoe size? A glance at your feet is all i need. Eventually, you’ll learn everything after fifteen years. Small wonder huh. Now, good  luck for tonight, great life is ahead of you both.” She said waving goodbye.

“Thanks for your kindness and trust.” Said Igor turning slowly on the curve out the parking area.

“That’s my job.” She said smiling

“We’ll surely be back, thanks.” Said Vita smiling while the salesclerk gave thumbs up.

Nearing the Carlton Hotel, Vita closed her laptop and admire the hotel’s facade in white finish. Every room has a veranda and an access to the terrace on top. Truly an  Edwardian beauty. Stopping by the Hotel’s Valet parking, they alight with their belongings. Rigor handed the car key to the Valet attendant and off they went to the reception area. The lobby was decorated with palm in lieu of Cannes Film Festival. They crossed the lobby frequented by the babbling elite.

“I can feel the festivities in here, how ironic long ago I was wearing the servant’s clothes but now I’ll be donning princess’s frocks. It’s exhilarating. “ she confessed

“okay, let’s get to work.” Said Igor heading for a lift.

On the red carpet outside the Palais de Festivals, two giant strobe lights on both sides of building beamed blinding lights skyward signaling the start of festival just like in the movie world where lights jump start everything. Paparazzi lenses zooming in and flashed lights stealing scenes on every equally bright star alighting from their hybrid car. Festival Marshall donning the Star Wars’s Jedi costume were scattered barring screaming fans that got hostile sometimes just to get near their idol. They were seen playfully brandishing their prototype light saber to the aggressive press people who gone beyond the stanchion and they were left envious of those who had Plume D’ Or -an ID pass designated to cover the ceremony inside.

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Star War’s Jedi

Usherettes in their seventies gala costume assisted guests to where they supposedly go. Costume speaks that of nominated film Austen Powers (how they got nominated? don’t ask) Everyone from award giving body and organizers were in costume celebrating other nominated film’s costume design. Movie makers were all vying for the coveted Palme D’ Or award. Igor and Vita arrived early and were directed to go to canopies were storm troopers were guarding guests. They were ask to wait for someone to usher them inside the Hall of Palais. Canopies were labeled GUESTS. Vita brushed off speck of dusts on Igor’s shoulder.

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Storm Trooper

A brunette woman in green silk strapless gown approached them with a fixed smile. Igor recognized her from the store; the hysterical patron. They avoided her at all cost.

Beside the line of canopies was a gigantic screen flicking scenes the official Cannes cameras captured stationed along the length of red carpet. Thunder of claps, whistles and screams grew as well coif blond woman alight her hybrid sedan. Igor and Vita looked up to the screen to see an astounding woman clad in crystal embroidered dress. She waved to the crowd and Igor and Vita barely recognized her as the their host. She looked totally different from the time she gave an invitation to them both. Then best friend of their host followed appearing so light in her pink chiffon gown. She knew exactly where the wind blows as the gown flown dramatically. Being aesthetically pleasant is not enough, she knew the fact as an A- lister on Couture shows. Proper execution steals the scene.

“There goes lovely duo who shares the same passion for arts and films. However, the Dame proved her edge as an advocate to French Cinema shows success. Her best friend is here to support her dear friend’s cause, how sweet. Now that ends a rivalry rumors between them. Nevertheless, tonight two film nominees which both has time travel elements are vying for Palme d’ Or award as only one will come out a winner. O, there they are.”

The screen flicked to the arriving Jedi each holding an attache case housing the awards while lovely ladies in their seventies costume were holding an envelope; they then proceed to an entrance while the camera panned back to the red carpet presenter.

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Star Wars Executioner Trooper Crossbody Bag

“So, whose inner strength will come out powerful tonight? Will it be the Jedi’s mediclorian or Austen Power’s mojo? More importantly, defeated is not an appropriate word we use for those who will not bag the award, for an inner strength will never be defeated. It’s all in the timing, the question is whose inner strength will be unleash. We’ll find out tonight.” The red carpet presenter ended.

Darkness lurked in, paparazzi and spectators headed in all directions for a nearby party which then left the red carpet deserted with only strobe lights brightened dark clouds. Everyone found comfort inside the brightly lit hall full of cameras which fed scenes to home televisions world over. A celebration of glitz, glamour and wit unfold.

PALM D’ OR GOES TO……..

Half an hour of the award ceremony passed. A ring alerted everyone around the table where Igor and Vita were seated. They turned to Igor as the sound was from their direction. Vita frisked him for a cellular phone and rummaged through her clutched bag to find her cellular phone off; the ring goes on and Igor frisked himself and found from his pant’s pocket an envelope with red LED indicator blinking.

“O, an invitation from BCBG store, it’ s alright nothing to worry.” Said Igor passing it to Vita who put it inside her bag muffing the sound.

“Smart way to remind people they’re late, huh.” Said Vita focusing her attention back to the ceremony.

“I’ll get some wine, waiters are not allowed to roam during the ceremony.” Said the woman to her escort.

Half an hour passed, the woman didn’t return but a waiter came with a bottle of wine ignoring the other who asked for it and went directly to Igor and Vita.

” Excuse Sir, Ma’am. Someone was waiting in the lobby for you both. It’s an important matter.” Said the waiter.

”who?” Asked Igor

”She didn’t mention it.” Said the waiter.

Igor and Vita checked Dame’s table and the best friend was not there. She must be in the lobby. So, they go with the waiter. Along the foyer area, the waiter examined the two.

The waiter led them through the hallways here other waiters were staying side by side and looking suspicious of them.

“Take a sit, she’ll be here any minute.” The waiter left them in the lobby’s center and disappeared into the hallway.

”Stand up! Both of you!and don’t move any. Hands up!” bellowed an armed man in black and white over all who appeared from the column. Igor and Vita were nervous while the man recited the Miranda doctrine and they did as they were told. The other man in identical uniform appeared surrounding them with guns aiming at them. The man who first appeared frisked them and the other one rummaged to Vita’s bag and raised the envelope with lights still blinking. He ran outside with it; others followed. Four others stayed behind.

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Star Wars Scout Trooper

Ten minutes later, they all went back inside.

“Negative sir, just an invitation. The red light serves for aesthetic purposes. Fashion, you know. We’d check the store, it’s confirmed and they sent an invitation identical to this one.” Said the man holding up the invitation and handed it to the Commander and handed it back to Vita who snapped it.

I’m sorry, just a precautionary measures” Said the Commander.

”You suspected us of blowing the building, don’t expect us to accept an apology. Such a paranoid racist”Said Vita firmly.

We’ll do exactly to whoever regardless of the race, that’s our job at the Bomb Squad, we’re really sorry for the inconvenience.You may go back inside.” Said the Commander.

“You scared us, your festival can no longer lift our damp spirit.” said Vita

“It’s okay, just leave us officer, we’re going out.

Outside in the darkness of red carpet platform, Igor and Vita sat on its stairs.

“Let’s go to BCBG party, we won’t let them spoil our night.” said Vita walking across the red carpet ready to kick the night away; Igor followed her.

“That’s the spirit.”

They suddenly stared at the fireworks exploding from nearby party across Boulevard de la Croisette. They held each other close, Vita’s hands clawed firmly to Igor’s arms while he stared up with an inevitable terror in his eyes. Vita looked around frightened at what’s going to happen as she saw dotted red lights around them. If it’s the Bomb squad Team, it didn’t frighten them; the fire did.

“Let’s run from here, now!” Igor pulled Vita’s hand and break a sprint. Vita was cursing her shoes and frocks. A while ago, her frocks caused high to her life but now it’s  detrimental to her death.

They thought of one place which could give refuge to them now, the BCBG store.

“Come on, we can do it.” Igor felt relieved they got far away from the crowded arcade of restaurants near the Palais where celebration was at its peak; fireworks never ceased rocketing to the sky.

THE PURSUE

Halls of Palais de Festivals were filled with laughter from audiences as the satirical host quipped. The Dame checked Igor’s table most of the time and her best friend not back from the comfort room yet as she didn’t like the show. Assuming that Igor and Vita were in no way going to be back either, the dame decided to go to the lobby alone. she passed the inside foyer area alone smiling to everyone. The hallway where the waiters stayed was then deserted. The Bomb Squad Team was nowhere to find either. The Dame went out of the building. The loneliness in the dark replaced the once festive though she didn’t bother being alone. All she cared then was Igor and Vita ‘where are they?’ Taking few steps toward the center was worth the risk just to see what lurked ahead. One strobe light beamed downward, its light passed through an accumulation of dark smog. Light beamed skyward and another set of fireworks exploded. Below, the darkness made the Dame gasping for breath. The air turned acrid. The smell of sulfur from fireworks suffocated her. She covered her nose and mouth with one hand but the smog seemed to have a life of its own sieved through her ears and eyes. She closed her eyes and plugged her ears with her finger while crouching so she could cover her nose with her arms. She felt drowning; holding her breath a little longer was all she needed to survive. Slowly, she knelt feeling her lungs emptied. Beaming lights stayed immobile focusing on her as she could tell from the ring like thing that appear when eyes are close. She tried uncovering her nose, she smelt no acrid but a safe, life giving air. She sucked air as if coming out the surface from drowning. Opening her eyes , she flinched at the brightness; she loved the spotlight but this was much. She shields her eyes with a hand to see the black smog whirling several feet from her. The whirling sucked all the smog and it stopped when it turned pitch black. It became solid hooded figure and walked toward the shivering Dame. The black figure held something that resemble a flashlight. a push of a button, three feet red laser beamed out from it. The Dame screamed for her life, the black figure muffed her instantly by its feet. Tearful, she saw closing in on her forehead was a red laser which appeared to be a hot rod. She couldn’t move her body as an unseen force from the hand of be-hooded thing controlled her. The tip of light saber touched her forehead with a searing sound of a burning flesh forming a gothic cross.

“I can take your soul forcibly.” said the be hooded figure, his other hand up in the air trembling over the Dame trying to dispel her soul out that was shrieking terribly refusing to leave the body but no one heard her.

Something was crawling beneath the Dame’s face which distracted the hooded figure from dispelling the soul. The crawling stopped in between eyebrows protruding like a cysts, and broke out to be a gem perfectly set streaking pure light which freaked the hooded figure out attacking the Dame hopelessly. The Dame’s soul gone scarper from a pursuing hooded figure. The scarab beetle ring she put in her mouth while covering from the smog a while ago could no longer help her. She ran away from the hooded evil. She ran toward Le Suquet, beyond Palais; there were secret passages unknown to many. It is believed to be a magical passage that all evil elements dared not to go. The hooded evil abandon the Dame and search for Igor and Vita instead.

Igor and Vita found BCBG store deserted; the party was over. The only light was that of BCBG Nature perfume erected near the porticoed store entrance. The perfume bottle, brightly lit in luminous green resembled an Egyptian obelisk.

“O my God, do you know what this mean?” said Vita who went directly to the unveiled obelisk.

A perfume, an obelisk…….the Dame who trusted us……” Said Igor correlating words. “What have we got?” he asked Vita whose hands ran through the surface of a fifteen foot obelisk.

” It says BCBGirls Nature, that’s all there is.” said Vita searching for an invitation  on her bag and read it. “BCBG means Bon Chic Bon Genre, translates us Good Style Good Attitude. Nature is the name of the scent. What’s that got to do with us?” asked Vita

“Of course it has and that’s not all there is.” said Igor who asked for an invitation. He read BCBG printed on the center, below it read Bon Chic Bon Genre and below it read “Good Style Good Attitude” and below it NATURE beside the leaf icon. On left corner below is the time schedule and on opposite is the venue. On the edge of the square invitation are calligraphy alternately repeated which served as decorative edge. The word NATURE around it caught Igor’s attention. Then it was closely followed by Chinese calligraphy, then Arabic, Japanese, then Naturelle, a blank space, then Nature.

“There’s something you may want to look at here.” said Igor to Vita who raced toward him as he read over again turning an invitation to all sides. Vita did so, reading it upside down.

“It’s a translation in four other languages.” said Igor

“That would be five. In space, something dotted was embossed. It might be a code.” said Vita that she herself was surprised running back to the obelisk. “These are not flaws on a smooth surface as i thought it was.” she said feeling the obelisk’s eye level surface by her hands. She touched every dot protruding, tracing what they formed but couldn’t make out what it is.

“We need papers, we’ll transfer these dots to it. We have to have references.” Said Vita looking around while Igor scavenged the trash and back with BCBG onion skin; the one which the store used as lining for wrapping gift.

“Here, wait, I’ll have it numbered so we’ll know which comes first.” said Igor who was looking for the direction where the siren came from. ‘the Palais de Festivals’

“We’ll figure it out , we have to go back to hotel, we’ll surf the Net, they might have  an answer.” Vita talked rapidly as she smells sulfur. She paused and found Igor not moving an inch but his eyes darting to a distance in an apparent shock. He saw a black figure at a distance closing in toward them.

“Run Vita run, stay away not from the light but him!!! Igor bellowed with all his might and Vita matched it with a sprint. Running a few meters, Vita realized she’s alone as her stomping on brick pavement was all she could hear. Igor was left immobile as if he was drained of energy from bellowing. Vita got back furiously pulling Igor by the wrist and both stomped their way off to store. Stomping on the well lit pavement along clusters of luxurious establishments; Igor and Vita’s end all be all of running was to get rid of the be hooded black figure. Vita’s eyes sunken and her cheeks slacken; a gaunt look on her face like a suffering insomniac. One would think of her as a zombie breaking free from wasteland. Igor fret a bit at her excessive sweating which smeared her cosmetics all over. She didn’t mind how she looked that wiping is a bother. She maintained her speed instead that Igor kept up with her. Her dress soaked in sweat but sea breeze made her feel bathed in icicles or it might be cold sweat from nerve gnarling sight of several other black figures few meters ahead of them; talking in pairs and smoking. Vita stopped immediately catching her breath and so did Igor. Black figures all look in their direction. Vita froze in fear as if the icicles fast formed a glacier about to bury her. Slowly, she turned her head to Igor as if her neck was frozen. Her eyes wide open but he could tell it can’t see the real thing. A blank stare. wide eyed confused.

“Do they look like the one you saw?” Asked Vita uncertain of his description as they ran off to store; sulfur affected her comprehension and somehow made her dizzy.

”Yes, exactly like that.” Said Igor resting his hands akimbo and took steps forward ahead of her gesturing her to go with them instead. He’s acting like he got new found friend. Vita slapped him hard on his shoulder.

”Are you out of your mind? The evil could be one of them. Your  calmness won’t tame that beast. He is the King of aberration. That means, he won’t hesitate destroying you.” Said Vita terrified of the inevitability.

”He can’t be one of them, that black evil can either be an ash or a molten ore in human form and that’s a lot of ashes; one of his alchemical metamorphosis, you know but never in human flesh.” Said Igor certain he didn’t left any room for doubt.

“ They’re all in mask and smoking, how can you be so sure?”

They moved just like us, the black hooded evil moved flux, the ash and molten ore justifies that. He can’t be sturdy, he’s malleable. Besides, these were red  carpet guards remember? They’ll smell the sulfur when the evil is around.”

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These mask figures were scurrying toward them, throwing cigarette butts.

”Let’s go!” Vita again grabbed Igor’s wrist and pulled him for a run across the Boulevard toward the beach. As they crossed to the other side of the road, mask figures shrugged as if to say ‘why they run away? What’s wrong?” Igor and Vita walked back to the deserted arcade and continue their talk. They hide among folded beach umbrellas which hotel employees kept on one side so they won’t be flown by wind at night. They stayed observing these mask figures which appear to be wearing cape. ‘They were having fun’ Vita could tell from their high fives and thumbs up.

Five French police patrol car passed in convoy toward the Palais de Festivals. An ambulance and a media van didn’t raise an alarm among be masks figures, however patrol car’s siren did alarm them scurrying toward the Palais, each withdrew a handheld radio and gun. Igor nudged Vita and wore a boastful smile that told her he was right about the guard thing.

”No matter, I opt to what is safe. You might not be wearing the same face if one of them turned out to be the black hooded evil, would you? So, here they are abandoning their post for booze. Marshal’s duties might be limited to guarding the stanchion, only when there are people to be barred.”Said Vita

”Come on, let’s keep going!” Said Igor leading Vita to the next storage ahead where they could hide. Vita run but her shoe heels burying to the sand that she’s almost dragging her feet. She could see Igor stopped ahead but couldn’t make out from the dark what he’s up to. Igor smiled at the sight of rakes stored by hotel employees which they use for combing sands. Rakes were standing, neatly tied together at handle’s end and it’s teeth buried on sand forming in circle that of the tent; one could hide inside it. He pulled one, this could be a good weapon against  the black hooded evil. ‘No, not the serrated teeth of the rake but the long wooden handle.’ He thought.

He unscrewed teeth from its handle and pulled a flail from his slacks; undo his bow and tied to handle’s end with it. ‘ With this, I can touch the evil at a safe distance. Just a sight of this made him scuttling away. A touch might do a difference’ he wondered

Igor!!! Help me!!! Vita bellowed tripping on her own feet and shove forward to the sand. She was looking at something coming from a distance behind her. Igor briskly ran toward her with his improvised flail. He helped Vita up to stand just in time as the black hooded figure came sweeping. Igor brandished his long flail forward and the black hooded figure recognized it immediately that leaves him motionless; though it appeared immobile, a whirring sound inside like that of an exhaustive breathing muffed by the metal mask suggests motion. This scared Igor of walloping it. He was scared that might not work and surely the evil figure will retaliate and doomed him. He knew the hooded evil was anticipating his next move. He gripped the handle tightly midway, tossed it up and freed it in the air; grabbed the end tightly     with his two hands and walloped it hard to the hooded evil but it was quick pulling its light saber and blocked Igor’s strike that cut the wood’s upper end like a banana stalk. The flail to where it was attached came hurtling down to hooded evil’s chest. It went berserk as flail touched it and sent the light saber to the sand. Igor saw the flail dropped to the side too but hooded evil acted as if the flail still touched its chest. The hooded evil went swiftly to the rake storage where Vita was hiding. Igor collected the flail and ran after it. He saw Vita nervously making something out of the rake and stood up brandishing it to the hooded evil.

“Hey, spare the girl !!!Find someone your match !!!bellowed Igor from behind. The hooded evil didn’t mind him, instead it thrust all rakes violently crashing Vita behind it serried. Vita got her dress stuck to rakes, she can’t  move out. Igor brave his way from behind passing the hooded evil and face it.

“Don’t you dare touched her.” Said Igor with his flail aimed for the hooded evil. He could see a hole on it’s chest where the flail landed. It’s widening as it whirred. The evil thrusted more that Vita had no chance of escaping. He was clearly pursuing Vita. Igor imagined her being seared on forehead by the hooded evil. It moved one step.

“Don’t come any closer!!!” Igor brandished his flail that the evil backed off a little. His other hand started clearing rakes disentangling Vita while his flail still up.

“My dress ripped by rakes and it stuck.”

“Undress then !!! Come on!!! Said Igor who found tied ends and tried lifting rakes all at once with all his might. Vita shrieked for her toes were pressed between metal teeth. She pulled her toes containing pain and crawled; undone her dress like snake leaving its skin behind. Igor’s eyes were fixed to the mask and his flail arm muscles reflexes from holding rakes up. He let go of it as soon she surely freed from it. She clung to Igor’s free arm. She felt confidently safe with Igor’s flail and not her shoes, she slowly took it off. They noticed the hooded evil didn’t move any except for the endless whirring that then covered his upper torso. The cloak was slowly fraying to a fine powder.

“Run!!” bellowed Igor pulling Vita who ran faster without her shoes. She then wore black silk nighties which allowed her more freedom running from death. From behind them, the hooded evil loosened to a fine black ash. The warm sea air blown hard it scattered the ashes. Igor and Vita held hand and broke to a sprint. Igor occasionally turned his head and he could tell the hooded evil was still whirring and knew in a matter of time, the hooded evil would again emerge anew.

THE RITZ CARLTON

Running faster they could still smell the sulfur. By the time the hooded evil be solid as coal, they assume they will be inside walls of Carlton Hotel hulking ahead which seemed to be safe with its brightly lit grand atrium crowded with happy people dancing in pairs. Nevertheless, he got his flail whenever happened as the evil always attacked by surprise. He clutched his flail firmly, afraid he might loss it. He mused the flail saved them and would saved them in future. This destroyed the hooded evil when it accidentally touched him. It suddenly occurred to him that the flail kept him safe all along as it drove away the hooded evil. Nearing the Carlton Hotel, Igor and vita slowed down.

“I’m thinking of wearing the flail as necklace or an accessory. I’m afraid it might slip if i keep it inserted in my loose pants or pocket, i’m losing weight.” said Igor whipping flail in the air.

“Good idea, that’s right keep on practicing. There might be an effective stroke that would cast the hooded evil.completely.” said Vita admiring Igor doing his stunt. Igor playfully brandished it to her that she blocked and act defeated covering herself and mimic a whirring sound of an ash. They share a laugh at their triumph. Igor showed off his flail skill. He twirled it like a baton and tossed it up; caught by his index finger and held it steady on balance. It fell off and was able to catch it and whipped forcibly producing a slashing sound. They stopped to the palm tree near the grand entrance for cover. From here, Vita could see people celebrating as they were tossing glasses of wine.

“Do i look okay?” she asked brushing her hair as well as the nighties. Igor laughed and she clearly was not. Vita looked straight to the entrance; thinking. Then her serious gaze shifted to private verandas on every window from down up to the terrace. Igor was tracing her gaze so obvious that he knew what’s on her mind. She’s planning their entrance.

“No, no, no Vita. This is not a house that you usually climbed. This is way up high. Of course, you do look good always. it’s just that…….”

“What?, I’m all messed up?” said Vita truthfully.

“Wait” said Igor dabbing his fingers gently on Vita’s cosmetic soaked face and smeared it on his face. He repeatedly did so until it blackened and contorted his face comically. Vita’s filthy face brightened up as she usually does every time Igor did something absurd cajoling her.

“Feel better huh, I’m not.” Said Igor pointing his pouted lips for a kiss. Vita crossed her arms on her chest on disagreement but her naughty smile suggested she wanted a kiss too. Igor planted a torrid kiss and she kissed back so hard she bit his lips and bleed. Igor didn’t flinch in spite of the pain and his lips rather raced for her and she slowly let go off trembling and moaning.

“I can’t wait upstairs.” Said Igor letting out a sigh of exhaustion that leave him devoid of physical strength. She always let him devoured her and she let herself submerged deep in pleasure and then when it occurred they’ve gone far she deprived him of indulging. Igor wondered what bothered her. He followed Vita walking in bare feet and clad in black silk nighties which exposed her silky smooth legs, shoulders and back.

Upon entering beyond the threshold, every head turned eyeing them suspiciously. They passed along a group who deliberately commented aloud.

“Don’t you think the act so explicit? They shouldn’t have done that beyond private beds.” Said the blonde woman who obviously solicit for an opinion as she looked around.

“Well, we have done that on grass. Sands are warmer at night. “ her stout husband replied.

“Nothing is wrong with the grass, or sand or mud if you will.” Said another woman who looked at Vita’s sand shimmering feet. “It’s the whip, the black and blue on skin and blood on lips that disturbed me, it’ s exploitation.” She ended with a gulp of her wine.

“ I won’t tolerate such a sadistic coward act.” Raged another woman who shot an angry glance at her husband who may have similar S & M fantasies. “That ghastly look on her face told a nightmare.”

”What will you do?” Her husband asked whom she ignored and her eyes maliciously met that of receptionist’s who was on the phone rather suspicious of Igor and Vita.

Igor and Vita got the lift all for them; he pushed the button close and as it close a long hand waved to the center intercepting the sensors which opened the door automatically. A long legged woman walked inside smiling. She held her purse so gorgeous as if posing before the camera. She winked to the right corner of the lift where a camera was installed. She smiled to Vita.

“ So urban decay is the latest craze huh. Black and blue, dark eye shadows. Filthy but savvy. Marilyn Manson will be delighted though Alexander McQueen set the trend.” She said and both of them remained silent and shook their head in disagreement.

“O, you two must have a rough day then. I’m sorry but you exude quality, you got an outlandish beauty we call an X factor. You are what we’ve been looking for. You can be a model! Here I am babbling, I’m sorry. I’m Sonia. I manage a modeling agency in Italy” She said getting a business card from her purse and handed it to Vita. “Come to think of the fame, fortune and glory. Some waited for it forever and it’s coming to you now.” She said to the unconvinced Vita of her scout charade. Igor and Vita look at each other and then to Sonia.

”See, you’re wrong Ma’am. Those people back there thought of us a slave shit. We’ll keep this anyway, we both have to think it over. We’re in the middle of something.” Said Vita

”Don’t mind what they thought, we think better. I mean, they would regard filthy people scandalous. We, on the contrary thought of this filthy fellow living life to the fullest. See, they’re living each day as if it was the last that they don’t have time for such a nuisance. I saw it on you. Now, you two can come with me now. I’m sorry for adding pressure on your already haggard day but I don’t have much time either. I have a boat to catch.” She said as the lift chimed to stop.

“O, this is us, we’re staying at the end of the shaft. Segnora, thank you so much. Promise, i’ll call as soon as I made up my mind. Said Vita to Sonia who can’t hide her disappointment.

“I’ll be down the Valet Parking, I’ll wait for you if ever you change your mind. The boat will leave in thirty minutes.” Said Sonia as door closed.

Inside their hotel room, Igor plunged exhausted on the soft bed. Vita gathered her things onto the couch. She booted her laptop computer and tapped some keys. On Google’s window BCBG MAX AZRIA’s web site popped up. Vita browsed through entertaining web pages. She learned about its history and philosophy. The array of simple yet elegant fashion collections brought out the girl in her. Various designer’s life story inspired her. Moreover, it’s the designer’s scent collections fascinated her.

”Igor, check this out. They’ve got four scents namely Nature, Metro, Star and Sexy. All in an obelisk shaped bottle. As you can see under the scent’s name are ingredients which I knew some of them are exotic. Some can be grown once a year and reaping is as oblivious for they grow in high altitude, maybe Himalayas. The pyramid is a graph dividing ingredients into three stating the top, middle and base notes. It shows the scents’s life span. Ingredients on top are the ones you smell after spraying which lasts half an hour or so. Those in the middle are the ones you smell afterwards and the base is what you get till it subsides.” Said Vita who continued tapping keys and she knew Igor was looking at her. “What?” She asked with her eyes still glued on screen.

”Nothing, you’re learning so much it amazed me. All the while, I thought you’re just picking and grinding flowers back home. I felt nothing is mystery to you at all.” Said Igor.

”Of course not, the perfume the Dame laid for us to decipher her message remains a mystery up to this moment.” Said Vita clicking keys and another window popped which piqued her interest. “And eventually we’ll uncover it, see the scents packaging or box has what we’ve found to be dotted code, no longer a mystery for this is Braille, a reading system for the blind.” Said Vita smiling to Igor and got the coded papers from her clutch bag. Igor laughed as she spread the paper respectively in bed.  He is thinking the sales should extend to the handicapped. Surely, blinds can smell. “I’m expecting they’ll soon train their salesperson of communicating in sign language.” He joked while Vita focused reducing the Braille on a smaller scale on another piece of paper. Igor starved, so he phone for a room service dinner.

He sat on couch and reached for television’s remote control and clicked it open. BBC aired breaking news. Igor recognized the reporter from the red carpet in Palais de Festivals. Of course, how can he forget a guy who caught everyone’s attention as he aggressively jumped beyond the stanchion aiming to interview stars. He was barred forcibly out by the Marshals for he had no Plume d’ Or pass. Igor noticed several reporters on the background wearing sympathetic eyes before the camera. He turned volume up that distracted Vita.

”The show goes on despite one of Cannes Film Festival’s board member been killed. Beyond this stanchion to the red carpet’s center lies a horrible sight of the Dame.

The television flicked showing feeds from the CCTV mounted around the red carpet area. The Marshal in a Darth Vader costume seared the Dame’s forehead with his real light saber. The Dame shrieked in pain but couldn’t move and the black hooded  figure-the alleged Marshal slashed her mercilessly and leave floating away pursuing an unseen entity striking it with his light saber and the TV flicked back to the reporter.

”The Marshal in question was last seen on the winding passages of Le Suquet. Restaurant owners called the police for his arrest mainly due to his threatening behavior; he violently toppled chairs and tables which injured patrons. Witness said he acted looking for something. The police immediately covered the vicinity. The Commander posted his men to a catacomb like passages where the perpetrator was believed to have gone hiding. They’d blocked all possible getaways putting him trapped on corner. The perpetrator reached what the locals called the boundaries; the ghetto of communities notorious elements. The reinforced steel wall of catacomb’s dead end made any attempt of escaping impossible. On its wall hung a torch which had witness numerous French police’s successful crime busts operation. A few hours ago however, forensic experts share with us same question, how? Police recounted they heard crackling firecrackers below the catacomb and minutes later sulfur fall out above restaurants forming mushroom of dark clouds choking and poisoned everyone. The smog strangely disappeared as if a humongous vacuum sucked it in. The forensic department however seeks everyone’s cooperation of bringing up two people into custody as they’d displayed utmost fear captured by the CCTV upon the exploding fireworks.” The TV flicked to a CCTV  feed showing Vita and Igor hugging in fear of something only them can explain and they scurried away , five minutes later, the Dame came into view on the exact spot where Igor and Vita had been. The Dame was look and waiting for someone. Forensics look at it worthy of investigation.”

Igor turned the TV off and stand composing himself then gathered his pouch, flail and put it hastily to a BCBG shopping bag where everything including perfume were stored.

“Okay, forget about dinner and let’s wish everyone be blind for one night. We’re leaving now.” Said Igor harshly obliging Vita to do fast packing as he did. Before he knew it Vita was done packing coming out of the comfort room with a Carlton foldable hamper filled with her clutch bag, laptop and hotel’s toiletries wrap in a bathrobe for cushion. She paced back and forth placing calls on smart phone. She snapped it closed afya brief talk and smiled to Igor.

”Ready.” Asked Igor leading out the door with a shopping bag.

”Of course, yes.” Replied Vita toting the hamper confidently. They sneaked easily to the terrace for it was deserted as everyone were in the grand atrium. Igor graced the thick cable line which was harnessed at the cupola. He knew it held two gigantic golden palm leaves displayed from top to foot of the hotel. Igor did push ups to the harness checking it’s strenght. Satisfied he checked the palm itself.

”Alright, we can trust palm leaves, it’s a thick galvanized iron and is supported by several cables. We just got lucky. You’ll take the other leaf.” Said Igor who started descending easily as of a ladder. Vita oriented herself of how she is to descend on a curved leaf which formed a U- shape when joined with another. She fastened hamper’s strap to her shoulder, jostling it like a backpack just what Igor did with his shopping bag. She followed freely moving in all four. Midway down, they could see a parked trailer van equipped with a small satellite dish on its sky roof. Igor knew from Vita’s phone conversation it was Sonia waiting. Vita jumped off from her leaf’s end shortly after Igor did accidentally tripped on wires which secured his leaf’s end and landed on rocky ground head first. He luckily snapped the shopping bag and wedged it between grounds protecting his face while the perfume smashed.

Sonia came rushing out of hiding from the palm tree upon hearing the smash. Vita saw her coming fast from where they had been a while ago.

“Are you Alright?” Asked Vita pulling Igor up with his shopping bag dripping. She turned to Sonia who looked up high to the building.

”Sorry, out of towners.” Said Vita

“Who got away with good things.” Said Sonia sniffing the opulent scent of the drippings. Her eyes twinkling in unison to her sparkling smile that Igor perceived as tolerance to their wrongdoing or just an admiration to their bravery.

“And running away from big trouble.” She added that caught Igor and Vita tongue tied. “I saw it on television.”

“It’s a big mistake.” Said Vita in defense

“Forensic experts wanted you both for as always they found something next to a blur. I, on the other hand believed in mystery. Your running away told me, you don’t have an answer either. Just the right thing to do. Don’t worry, I’ll keep you guarded, now get in” Said Sonia opening the van of clutter. On the side adjacent to a messy kitchen we’re hung costumes.

Don’t make us regret this.” Said Vita with an ambivalence so strong she didn’t step up the van.

“Look, i’m Involved from the time I gave you my card. They would qualify me a fugitive and jeopardizing a fellow fugitive is as great a punishment. Now, go inside and don’t make me recognize you both. Make the most of my clutter,” She said hurrying to the driver’s seat and revved to the harbor.

Vita opened a box of prosthetics which will then served its great purpose. She used to wear superheroes costume during her childhood Halloween. Igor clicked satellite TV open which was oddly perched on kitchen top. His hair raised in fear upon recognizing those rakes on the beach front where the reporter was standing outside the police line. Across was another police line enclosing what look like a flashlight where forensic expert was walking the grid. The TV flicked to a reporter. Speculations point to two identified as Igor and Vita of committing murder upon recovery of their belongings few steps away from the supposed weapon. Police identified the black dress, the shoes, and the clutch bag strap as Vita’s. Foot prints and shoe threads on sand matched people’s testimonial as they were last seen in Carlton with sands on feet. Police reported they’d gone abscond. A BCBG salesclerk was gone after after she’s wanted for questioning of the client’s whereabouts. Shoppers suggested they were tourists and the police launched its rigid manhunt operation. Bjorn, the Dame’s daughter and Abba, the Dame’s confidante were lamenting with obscure thoughts as mysterious as the Le Suquet incident. We at the NBC sympathized for the family’s bereavement.”

The TV flicked back to the beach again. Sonia’s van passed the other media in the Palais de Festivals. It was a bedlam of deglamorized red carpet event. Hovering above were helicopters with searchlight probing through Sonia’s sky roof van. Igor and Vita on instinct hid among costumes if ever police could see through the tint.

It’s getting worst, this is our last chance of getting away and we can make it.” Said Vita putting on mask.

”Whoa, now they won’t recognize us, sensible choice for a mask,  butterfly huh,” Said Igor.

“Now, stay still,your turn.” Said Vita

“I sense good omen in a butterfly. You see we’re like them. Butterfly were once a chrysalis cocooning themselves for protection just like you all grown up. First, they crawled out a larva, and freed from a long slumber and finally in a totally strange transformation; they beautifully become a butterfly. Look what you have become, you are more beautiful than a butterfly.” Said Igor who flinched at the splatter of colors on his face.

“What are you talking? I’m a Batwoman.”

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“What? That’s not what I saw in her the last time?” Said Igor referring to the red fluttery mask she’s wearing while she wiped the oddly red colored teardrop on his face.

“What is it?” Asked Igor while she wiped the oddly red colored teardrop on his face.

“Nothing, your tremendous realization surprised me.” She said while darkening the shades on her eyes to a point beyond recognition. She hides from him what really racked her nerve. Her own realization of butterfly’s metamorphosis was that of Abaddon’s transmutation. She was amazed though how Igor saw it differently. Maybe, he’s right, they won’t recognize them; as a distinction a butterfly does from a larva. ‘The hooded evil won’t recognized them’ she thought as she bravely donned her cape. Igor undo his tux and replaced it with a Robin Nightwing costume. The van stopped near the harbor or a jetty port. Sonia hopped out of the driver’s seat just as Igor and Vita hopped out with their things.

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” I was right, you both look magnificent.” Said Sonia briefing them of the Cannes Festival after party. This year, in lieu of nominated films’s success at the box office the organizer decided to veer away from the traditional Venetian masquerade and thus the Cosplay masquerade. “ Now follow me.” Instructed Sonia as she boarded the small yacht and sat to its steering wheel while Igor and Vita took the stern; Sonia then steered toward the bow of a luxury ship ahead.

”Wen I aboard the ship, you are to steer away and don’t forget to wave goodbye and be back secretly to the starboard side.”

Everything happened fast as they were told. The crew didn’t notice anything, they were occupied boarding guests. Igor and Vita waited to the starboard side. They were worrying the police might use the lighthouse and spot them to restraint so they hide every time lights passed the yacht. They could see helicopters  were still around the Palais de Festivals. To the sea were small fleet of Navy Patrol on their rounds. Then Sonia appeared on the upper deck with a rope ladder. She attached it to a pole and rolled it for them. Vita climbed first at Sonia’s signal then Igor followed. Sonia could see helicopters closing in to the harbor so she drummed the starboard hurrying them. Vita reached for Sonia’s hand and jumped inside. Igor climbed in haste while Sonia maneuvered the yacht’s remote controlled steering wheel sailing it away from the ship. Igor got inside the ship and Sonia detached the rope ladder throwing it to the sea just in time helicopters hovered above the ship. Sonia ran toward the stern and secretly summoned her unmanned yacht back joining the other yacht on moored. She got back and smiled to them apparently very regal in her    Leia Organa costume sans mask. To answer the uttered confusion of Igor and Vita she went on saying “ I’m one of the organizer, how am I to greet guests and save them from an awkward situation just like this now if I am to wear a mask. Besides you two are fugitives, and you needed more mask to fully cover your face” She said referring to Igor. “And that’s Poison Ivy’s mask” she said referring to Vita’s. “We have to be careful, that was close on the starboard, we can’t risk being seen. Come on now, you’re to stay here. I’ll send one member of the committee to give you the proper mask. We should avoid attracting too much attention. We’ll talk some other time, I have many guests to greet.” She said stashing the remote control to a life jacket cabinet.

Sonia walked away leaving them to rest on her cozy private accommodation. Igor and Vita stashed their things to the cabinet.

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THE MASQUERADE

“Hello, I’m Martina. Committee member, Segnora Sonia wanted you to wear these” She said handing them masks that would fully cover their faces. Now, please follow me. We are to hide, the French police are here” Martina led them to the lift. “Sonia’s influence won’t do an excuse to them. You’re in good hands though because she helped organize these annual Masquerade among other wealthy Milanese. We are to head home celebrating the tradition of Venice.” Said Martina going out of the lift and directly went to a porter in a Stormtrooper costume and talked to him. The porter opened the door for them to a grand ballroom which was transformed to a Mos Eisley Cantina or the Fhloston Paradise Luxury Ship due to the presence of Alien costume ( those are guests that didn’t get the memo right; they’re supposed to wear only that of Cannes nominated films ) so that they looked to have gate crashed a party.

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Igor and Vita head to the bar to fill their stomach (there was no buffet, too bad) leaving Martina talking to a Zuckuss and a 4-LOM perhaps to apprehend them of the offense of not following the costume code but there were far too many offenders. There were 5 Diva Plavalagunas And 2 of everything. Couldn’t they be more creative? French police entered and post at all points. Igor grabbed a wine from a passing waiter and caught Martina’s uneasiness over police’s presence. To the far end, Star Wars Cantina Band was playing the theme as chosen couple execute a well choreographed short performance and summoned other couple to join them.

Igor grabbed Vita as one police about to pass the bar so  they head to the front fighting their way among eager couple  and settled to the crowd’s center. Here, they danced lost underneath their mask. The spotlight redirected to the other side where 5 Plavalagunas were singing ballad along which is rather annoying because the orchestra was playing an out of tune adagio. Couples surrounding them were flock of birds on colorful plumage which looked straight out of Jean Paul Gaultier’s creation from Fifth Element. Birds that got out of cage finding their match and cuddled each other. One brawny Erik Killmonger intrude the dance floor obviously suspected a perpetrator among the crowd. Igor kissed Vita on her lips while his eyes glanced to the approaching Killmonger, Vita kissed back as she apparently knew the kissing was about hiding their faces.

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She peeked beyond Igor’s back and wide eyed she’s seeing creepy Jawa approaching. Fortunately, Bellatrix Lestrange blocked and seduced him to go out beyond the dance floor. Vita softened her kiss as the tension subside while Igor’s torrid kisses told danger beyond Vita’s back as brawny Daredevil got close to their spot just in time Kitana tickled his nape by her fan which totally distracted his attention. Kitana got him out as soon as the other found their match in costumed police and leave the premises. Igor let go of Vita’s tender lips as there were more police. Praetorian guards, cyborg ninja, first order TIE pilot where everywhere. She rested her head on his shoulder. “ We’ll stay here till they’re gone. You see, the best way to hide is not to hide at all because people who are looking for something missing tend to overlook what is merely there.”

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After a while, Martina walked toward them.

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22 Comments

  1. Matija

    This has taught me a lot of new things, and It has brought memories of seeing Star wars for the first time, and have been in love with it ever since.

    Like

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