The Velvet Chamber
An Anthology of Revisioned Myth and Fairy Tale

Explore the dark side of the female psyche --A CALL FOR WRITERS supports The Velvet Chamber

Monday, October 25, 2010

601 Bourbon Street

Streetcar under (de)construction

Esteemed members of the academy, why would Blanche let Stanley finger fuck her in the kitchen in the middle of the day? I asked for brains. We know she's sexy. We know she's damaged. We know that story. We know how it ends. There is no surprise, no third act twist. Isn't there any way to maintain her integrity, and have her survive? At the rate she's going, in the narrative you're proposing, she'll still end up in handcuffs at the end of the day. The white coats will be triumphant. In the immortal words of someone, this isn't going to end well. And isn't that the point of all this?

I think instead she meets a tall dark stranger at 601 Bourbon Street in the French Quarter. She's out for the evening, wearing mama's pearls and kid boots that button at the ankle. Fall is sweeping into the Quarter, so she's wrapped in a white silk shawl which flutters about her face, reminds her of the moth she dreams about every night. And about how she's really only comfortable at night; candlelight or streetlight. Moonlight. But she's also thinking about Belle Reve, papa's laugh in particular, and now the rustle of leaves from the Garden District. They could be ghosts. The moon is almost full. She's amazed at her audacity. Stanley and Stella admonished her about wandering the French Quarter alone. But if she doesn't get out she will certainly go mad.

Last week they tried to set her up with Mitch, one of Stanley's poker buddies, but he was just as stupid. Stella whispered that he'd tried to kill himself last year by jumping off a bridge, but only broke his leg. Blanche laughed, and treated him kindly, even lets him win a few hands, but would not kiss him goodnight. She may not be the brightest, most stable creature in the starry firmament, but is she also not that desperate. She can wait and find someone who loves her. She needs a man of substance, educated and urbane. A man able to appreciate the finer things in life, like her--- like her mind. That's the kind of man she needs or she needs no man at all.

She is drawn into a club by the sound of a saxophone. At the bar, she says, “Whiskey with water, and a twist, if you please.” The bartender leans in, leers, “I like a lady who knows what she wants.” She replies, “How lovely for you. You must tell me all about it. But not now. Just the drink.” He sniffs, insulted. Blanche swivels around on the bar stool, and sees him. Adjacent to her. He's sipping sherry. Insouciant. A bit of a moustache. He sees her, and smiles.

Time seems to stop.

Viven Leigh as Blanche DuBois