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The Tragedy of Tomorrow

T. L. Ransome

She didn’t think it was important that the harness had failed and she’d fallen eight feet onto a pile of fishing nets.  She got up, wobbled slightly, and delivered a mezzo monologue as Pandora.  She was the sorceress, the siren, the center of the world. 

 

Between rehearsals, she sat in the back of classrooms in trench coats and combat boots.  She wound teachers up in rhetoric for fun.   

 

Mr. Reardon did a photographic study of her philtrum and her sclera and posted them as examples in the art room.  When he left the school, we all knew why.

 

One day, a film student saw her lighting up outside Penn Station.  She played the lead in his indie film.  She posed around New York as a conflicted refugee but it was all about the perfect shadows her nose and cheekbones made in black and white.  

 

She was credited as Tomorrow Isla Monetti.   Morrow.   We knew she was destined for Hollywood, Broadway, or an artists’ collective in the sun.

 

Years later, I saw her at a Target in East Orange.  She was in the coffee line, pushing two tangled brats in a cart.  She was silent.  The chiaroscuro of her face was gone.  She wore sweats with carrot-stains and purple Skechers.  

“M-Mora?” the barista yelled.  She took her cup and moved mutely to a table.  As I stared, she lit an unfiltered cigarette in a smoke-free zone.  It was the only sign under heaven that she’d ever had anything to say.

 

T. L. Ransome is a writer from both coasts and the middle of the United States.  Ransome's flash has appeared in Reflex Fiction, Ellipsis Zine and Flash Fiction Magazine and is forthcoming in FlashBack Fiction.  Ransome has been longlisted for the Cambridge Prize and shortlisted for the Bridport Prize.