The fluffer, the flapper and the clapper

by Irina Savin [Belgium]

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Girl on the window seat
Once the girl under the sunflower, now a fluffer. Stuck in the train to London, going to my next gig for an artsy movie. I hate all these antsy pantsy directors who always want to make you believe they’re not doing porn, but erotic movies. State-of-the-art cinematographic fuc*ing masterpieces. I always come clean from the start, I’m a fluffer, not a muse! I keep actors aroused on the film set, between the shots. And I don’t feel degraded. Yeah, I’m no Bette Davis or Mae West on the screen, but I’m damn good behind the stage. I do my job professionally. And they know it. And they feel it. And that’s why my phone doesn’t stop ringing. Movies, shows, you name it. I keep them entertained behind the stage so they could entertain the great audience on stage. Well yeah, deep down inside I think I crave to be on screen one day. I think, I’m not sure yet. But if it’s meant to be, then only for one time and one time only. It has to be the perfect role, the role worth waiting for a lifetime. It has to be Patty Diphusa, Almodovar’s brilliant Patty Diphusa. But if he’s gonna do a movie about her, then he better not keep on obsessing about that Penelope! He better pick me! Still… I’m not sure I really want this though. I mean, am I not happy now?

Girl on the left seat
Damn stockings, bought them in the fish market! And when you think of the irony, they should be as sturdy as a fishing net, they sure look like one, but the train conductor managed to tear them in the bathroom. As feisty as a construction worker, you wouldn’t think he’s trained for anything else but watch the road and steer the wheel… or whatever he’s steering, the gear, the handle, the lever, the knob. Well, now that I think of it, he does seem to have some useful training. Training or no training, but what is a girl supposed to do in the train, once embarked for a 3 hours voyage? If I’d traveled by plane, I’d have gone into the cockpit for sure. Same deal, no biggy. Well, the girl across me would surely say I’m tawdry, gaudy, cheap. I’m not. I’m just the flapper of this century, and let me tell you one thing, it’s sure not as easy as you may imagine it to be. But still, I am the cat’s pyjamas, the bee’s knees, the cat’s meow. Yeah, in the 20’s all you had to do is flap a bit, flutter your pretty wings and drive a convertable. It’s as plain as crystal clear that outraging people is much more difficult nowadays. Do you think parading along 5th Avenue in yellow pyjamas, with four cats following me, would make an impression today? Pfff, hell no! How could you be outside the norms when everybody is outside the norms? I guess in a few years time the only way to be outside is actually to be inside and stick to the rules. So much for diversity! Everything is going down the drain. Maybe this cute little girl in front of me would be the next flapper of her generation, God forbid!

Girl in front
I fell in love with a screenwriter. I always thought I’d end up with an artist and live the tragic life of somebody always being on the second place. He’d love his art more than he’d love me. I’d live in his shadow, trying my best to be his muse from time to time. Like that famous composer of classical music who could only find inspiration and compose master pieces while making love. Yeah, I do love writing myself. When I was younger I thought I’d become a writer too. I’m not that old now, I’m still in my early twenties, but I gave up that dream. I met him, and I just… I just don’t know if I have what it takes to write anymore. I don’t have his passion, his craziness, his nonchalance, his blatant honesty, his mad desire to break with custom, his freedom. I can’t even swear, for God’s sake. And that’s what you need when you want to express yourself artistically. My maths teacher called it „nerve”. Well, he was no artist or anything, not even a pleasant man, but he was right on this. Pleasant, look at me! I can’t be talking about people this way. Pleasant is much too weak, it’s shi*, it’s nothing. Why can’t I just say it? He was an ungraceful man. Ungraceful, shi*! No, he was a maggot with disgusting habits, smelling of cigarettes, alcohol and chalk and wearing the same suit every day. A maggot! So I fell in love with this screenwriter that I’m going to visit in London. He invited me to see him work. Actually, his first movie is being shot now. And I’m gonna be part in it. No, not an actress, I could never do it. The camera doesn’t love me, but he does. I think he does. So I’m gonna be the clapper, the clapper loader or whatever you call it. I’ll be in his movie, shouting Act one, Take fifteen. Act one, Take sixteen. Act one, Take seventeen. As loud as he wants me to shout. I’m a bit nervous, I have to admit. Maybe because I’m not that comfortable around naked people. And there will be naked people all around. It’s an erotic movie that they’re shooting. But I have nothing against that. I am myself a Freudian thinker, artists redirect their unfulfilled sexual desires in art… And I’m the clapper. And I’m the screenwriter’s girlfriend. Or screenwriter’s affair or whatever he wants to call me. I’m the clapper.

Girl on the window seat
I got a letter one day, and that’s when my life changed and I became a fluffer. Well, it’s not like this is what defines me entirely. I don’t know why I’m even having this fuc*ing conversation with myself now. Why am I retrospecting all these? It’s not like today it’s the celebration of 5 years since I’m in the business! It’s not! Who counts days anyway? Well, I’d better come clean to myself, to myself at least. It’s not 5 years, it’s 300 movies, the golden number. I count movies, it’s more professional I’d say. Mediocre people live their lives counting days, painters counting paintings and writers counting books. And directors counting movies, and fluffers counting movies. See? In the end, it’s just the same. And hey, how many Hollywood directors or screenwriters can say they got to this number, 300 movies, huh? Don’t believe they’re so many, no sirrrr, they’re not. But I got to 300, I sure as hell got to 300. Art is long and life is short. Is it time to retire, you think? Who knows? Well, I got this letter one day. It was from… me, yeah, from me when I was a teenager. You see, when I was 15, I was going through this phase, I guess like all teenagers go through. Nothing uncommon, but as a teenager you don’t realise it. You’re too much into yourself and you tend to blow things out of proportions. You make a big drama out of every little thing that happens. And that was me, a completely average teenager with a completely average life, but one day making the mistake of putting it all in writing. Big mistake, I mean biiig. I would have turned out ok if I would have lived my teenage years the way they were, for me and for the other bunch of kids I spent my time with. With our little dramas in our little world. After a while it would have all sorted out and calmed down and come to an end. But no, I had to let something leak outside that world and let it come hunting me years after. I don’t even remember my stupid teenage dramas now, but no, I had to write a letter, send it to me in time and let it hit me in the head, completely unexpectedly, 7 years later. What a stupid kid I was! So one day I find this letter in the mailbox, dated 1995, from me to me. It was a completely melodramatic picture of who I was then. Lame, I’m telling you, lame as a snail climbing a mountain of sugar. But I had made a promise to myself, or so I read and recalled. And God knows I broke promises to others, but I hate breaking a promise I made to myself. The promise was that if I don’t find the goal in life by the time that letter reaches me again, I’ll have to start searching in a completely different place, a place that I wouldn’t even have thought of before. Go totally 180 degrees. And I was a pudibond, let me tell you that. And this was my 180 degrees.

Girl on the left seat
But I don’t want her to be the next flapper of her generation. No, nothing good came out of it for me, maybe it’s just an outdated concept and it should stay like that. Maybe it’s old, maybe I’m old or maybe I got born not in the right time. I always thought that I’d rather have been born 4 decades before. That doesn’t mean I would have been a flapper then. No, it’s just that I always wanted to be something different than others. It doesn’t mean that I always choose the right different, because I don’t. That doesn’t mean that I’m not happy with the decisions that I make, because in the end I am. That’s just what I learned one terrific moment of great revelation when I was completely mixed up about having to choose between what colour should my wedding dress be. I wanted bright pink, my fiancé wanted white. Pink or white, yeah, that sounds ridiculous, but in the end I knew that it was more to it than just choosing a colour. Deep down inside I had to choose between pleasing myself and pleasing others… which would have led, in the end, to pleasing myself to an extent, indirectly, I guess. But going deeper and deeper into that fuc*ing decision-making process didn’t make things easier, not even a bit. I can’t choose, that’s God’s honest truth, I can’t choose between plums and apples. No matter how trivial or important is the decision I have to make, I always go back and forth between A and B like there’s no tomorrow. So in the end I made up my mind to flip a coin everytime I’m in that situation. Just care less about things and let faith take me wherever she wants. So yeah, I broke the engagement and became an actress in movies like the one I’m going to shoot now in London. All because of a wedding dress. All because of a damn colour.

Girl in front
On a second thought, I don’t know if I’m doing the right thing here. Keep trying to convince myself that it’s ok, just letting it flow, just going with the flow and not being afraid if I fall off the tide and can’t swim. Because I can’t, I can’t swim. There are so many things that I can’t do, why do I have to focus on them all the time? Let’s face it, I can’t be a clapper. No, not that difficult to shout Act one, Take fifteen. Unless your place is not between naked actors mimicking things that are just not there. When you write it’s a different story, even if the things you write about are not real, but just imagined, you’re not really imposing your fake reality to the reader. You’re just giving him the option to believe it or not, to go along with your story or to make his own story as he goes along with you. But when you show people images, it’s like you’re shouting to their faces This is real! And it’s not! I wonder what else is not. London is 2 hours away now, what am I supposed to do? I don’t really love the guy, he’s such a prick. And I’m such a gullible non-clapper wanna-be-writer. Gonna-be-writer!

Girl on the window seat: So, 2 more fuc*ing hours, huh? Can’t believe I took the train.
Girl on the left seat: Can’t believe I let the train conductor bonk me in the bathroom. In the first 30 minutes. What do I do for the next 2 hours?
Girl on the window seat: That’s ok, honey, can’t believe I didn’t do it first. I guess we just have to entertain ourselves the best we can. Wanna play cards?
Girl on the left seat: If I wanna play cards? Haha. Feels like I’m in the sixth grade going with my grandparents to visit my forsaken father across the country. Guess it’s better than just staring at the walls of this wagon dangling around. I have to warn you, though, my fourteenth boyfriend was a cardsharp and the least I could get from him, except for a crane in my neck every time we’d go to bed (he had this fantasy, you know, well, I won’t go into details now), was some tricks with the cards. So I guess I’m smokin’ good at playing cards.
Girl on the window seat: Haha. Thanks for the warning, babe, but I can play my cards too, no worries there. You won’t see this girl take off her clothes for you, no mam. Haha. Unless you’re a porn star and need entertaining between 2 shots.
Girl on the left seat: You got me there. Haha. Don’t tell me, the flapper for Van D’s movie!
Girl on the window seat: Sure am. I see my reputation preceeds me. What about you, pumpkin? Care to join these gals for a game?
Girl in front: No, I’m fine, thanks.
Girl on the left seat: Come on, stop waiting for prince charming, he won’t come, sweetie. Not in this train, he won’t. And I know it, because I bonked the only real man around here and he ain’t not prince charming, I can assure you. Better play with the girls now.
Girl in front: What do I win if I … win?
Girl on the window seat: Look at her, candid as a little white lamb and agile as a panther. She wants to know what she wins if she wins. What do you want to win, honey?
Girl in front: I want to switch places with the one of you who loses.
Girl on the window seat: Do you want the window seat? But honey, I can give you that now, it’s no biggie. The sun is not good to my skin at my age anyway.
Girl in front: No, I’m serious. I want to switch places with one of you.
Girl on the window seat: Haha. The brave little girl. But you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into.
Girl on the left seat: I’m in. I’m all in, baby!

The fluffer, the flapper and the clapper

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