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 No.20180

Sorry I've not continued any of my existing stories today but this one popped into my head this morning and wanted to be told. Just a little, self contained one but it adds a little world-building background to the others :-)

Big Screen Sidney

As the theme music began to play and the continuity announcer advised viewers not to go away as the next program was coming up shortly, Brian picked up the remote and began to channel-hop, looking for something else suitably mind-numbing to occupy him. It had been a very long day at work and the pizza he had ordered was taking its sweet time arriving. Massaging his aching temple with one hand, he skipped past a sitcom he had always detested, various news and weather programs, an action movie he had seen at least a dozen times before and part of a documentary about fungus in the Amazon rain forest before something caught his attention.

The screen showed a young girl, no more than twelve or thirteen years old, stark naked apart from white leather cowboy boots and a rhinestone-bedazzled white Stetson. Her curly, golden-blonde hair and professional makeup gave her the look of a beauty-pageant queen. Her over-all look was iconic and he recognised her almost immediately as Sidney Roebuck – the remarkable young girl who had campaigned for the right to be eaten and therefore given the gift of cannibalism, now a multi-billion dollar industry, to the modern world. Yet something was off. He had seen archive footage of her TV interviews many times before yet here her face looked a little different. Then he noticed that the presenter she was happily chatting to was a contemporary face who would not even have been born until a few years after Sidney’s death. Curious, Brian turned up the volume to hear what they were saying and set down the remote.

“So I think what makes this movie unique among the many biopics of Sidney there have been over the years,” the interviewer was saying, “is that, correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe this is the first to be both written and directed by a woman?”

“That’s right!” The young girl nodded, crossing her legs and resting her hands on her knee. “Ava really wanted to show a different perspective on the character. It’s far too easy to see Sidney as the ultimate victim of predatory, male-dominated society that sees women and girls as prey for successful men. She was, after all, a young girl who showed off her body and eventually gave it up for others to literally consume all under the watchful eye of her father who was a multi-billionaire and the very definition of successful by society’s standards. But,” Brian couldn’t help thinking her round young face was even prettier when she was being earnest than when she was smiling her rather artificial Hollywood grin, “Ava wanted to make the point that she can, in many ways, be seen as the ultimate feminist icon! After all, Feminism has long been about women taking back control of their bodies and how could anyone have more body autonomy than Sidney and the girls who have followed her?”

“Well, Amber,” the host nodded, “that’s a really good point! What do you suppose will really make this interpretation of the story stand out for audiences? Other than you’re performance of course?” The naked young actress flashed him a dazzling smile to acknowledge the compliment.

“I think the big difference is that this movie really is about Sidney herself, rather than the people around her. I watched two or three while researching this roll and they all seemed to focus on her father or her agent and the rest of her team while she felt more like a side character. This story is told very much from her perspective.”

“So it sounds like a very big role for someone your age to take on?” The host observed.

“It sure was!” The actress, who was apparently named Amber, exclaimed in a southern accent so like the real Sidney’s. Brian could not help admiring what perfect casting choice she seemed to be – her looks, voice and mannerisms were all so similar to what he has seen of the real Sidney that, were it not for the very recognisable host, he could easily be persuaded he was watching decades-old archive footage. “One heck of a challenge but I’d go back home or to my hotel room every night and sleep like a baby!”

“Had you done much acting before?”

“Lots at school,” Amber explained, smiling at the happy memories, “and I’d done a couple of commercials for local TV but nothing like this before. No proper TV shows or movies.”

“So this really was a big break for you!” The host grinned. “And do you have any more roles lined up off the back of this? I imagine once the rest of the industry sees your performance you’ll be in quite high demand!”

“Well ain’t that a shame!” She through back her golden head and laughed. “I’m not going to be around much longer. My next and final roll is dinner after the premiere next week!”

“Oh I see!” The host looked a little taken aback. “So after you’ve walked the red carpet and watched the movie, the crew and your fellow cast members will be enjoying your meat?”

“They sure will!” Amber grinned, apparently as excited by this as the fact that she was the star of a major Hollywood movie. “Once the credits are done rolling it will be off to the kitchen and onto the spit with me!”

“So you really are following in Sidney’s footsteps?”

“Yes, Sir! I sure am!” beamed Amber. “Wasn’t in the contract but while we were filming it started to seem like the only respectful thing to do. Like I owed it to her if I was going to do her story justice.”

“So you volunteered for this?” The host clarified.

“Yes, Sir. I did.” the young girl grinned. “I don’t want to give too much away about the movie but I don’t think it’s a major spoiler to say it ends just before Sidney’s final moments, in the room with the butcher and the few witnesses. By giving my body to my friends who helped make this movie, I feel like I’m bringing the story to a proper conclusion.”

“Well that’s very commendable!” Smiled the host, warmly, “And I’m sure you’ll be delicious! So,” he turned to look straight into the camera, “That’s ‘My Name is Sidney’ on general release from the twenty eighth of this month. I know I can’t wait to see it! Ladies and gentlemen,” he held out an arm to indicate his young guest, “Amber Crawford!” There was wild cheering and applause from the studio audience as Amber, wearing nothing but her hat, boots and smile, stood up, took a bow then walked off the stage, waving and blowing kisses as she went.

Brian chuckled to himself. The next guest was not particularly interesting to him so he resumed his channel-hopping. But at least now he had firm plans for the end of the month!


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