A Necessary Fantasy (A Short Story)
When she was eighteen years old, Rebecca Castille moved to California. A year later, she became Honey Halliwell, an adult film actress. Now, after a short but productive career in the porn industry, Honey wants to go legit. But her Hollywood dream soon becomes her own personal hell, and she learns that her present may be darker than her past. More
When she was eighteen years old, Rebecca Castille moved to California. A year later, she became Honey Halliwell, an adult film actress. Now, after a short but productive career in the porn industry, Honey wants to go legit. But her Hollywood dream soon becomes her own personal hell, and she learns that her present may be darker than her past.
This short story contains some mature subject matter and is approximately 9,000 words.
Avery King puffed on his cigarette, leaning back on the wooden fence rail. A beautiful image, but a deliberate one. His every movement seemed calculated to make for a publicity photo. Even when filming had wrapped for the day, he positioned himself as if waiting for a camera to find him. Annette couldn’t decide if he did this out of arrogance or submission.
“I’m sorry.” It was the only response she could muster. They had been on set for over a month and she still felt nervous around him. Word that Avery King would probably be nominated for an Academy Award for his last role only worsened her condition. I know I’m falling apart , she wanted to say. I promise I wasn’t like this before.
Before what? Before she traded in Honey Halliwell? Or maybe farther back than that — before she’d left Richie’s lonely apartment for Les, before she’d left their praying mother for California. But what was she like before? Was there truly a difference between Honey Halliwell and Annette Castille? They both got to scream. What was she before California? Stasis. Waiting. Transitioning. I really wasn’t like this before.
The pills rattled in her hand when she took them down from the cabinet each morning.
“How long have you done this?” he asked. He looked directly at her. There was nowhere to hide.
How long had she done this? Honey Halliwell had acted, if her performances could be called such, for five years. Annette Castille’s resume spanned seven years’ worth of unimportant roles with increasing speaking parts. The director and casting agent of this picture had chosen her specifically, despite her twelve-year film career, for being an “unknown.”
“You don’t talk much, do you?” It wasn’t really a question. Avery King felt for his pack of cigarettes and found it empty. “Shit.”
“I don’t…know what to say.”
“Yeah. I hear you.”
“This is my biggest part.”
“I wasn’t like this before.”
“I hear you.”
Avery King was four years her junior. He’d made his film debut when he was twenty-two. He preferred doing “smaller” movies, he told interviewers, and his role in such a visible film made his auditions for the indie movies he favored merely formalities. He had dominated the indie scene for the past three years. Some fans rejected his recent move to a starring role in a mainstream piece, writing blogs and forum posts on the internet indicting him for selling out. They would see the new movie when it came out, some said, but they wouldn’t enjoy it.
“I don’t mean you when I say that,” Avery King amended. “You’re not…”
“That’s not what I meant.” He didn’t say what did mean, nor did she ask. “I just. Most of these people. You know. They take themselves so damn seriously. But you know they’d all try out for a musical in a heartbeat.”
I don’t understand. Had she said that out loud? It was true, regardless.
“I liked that one thing you were in.” King gesticulated wildly with his fingers as if trying to force an answer from the air in front of him. “A couple of things, really. I’ve seen you before.”