Death and Taxes 2
Disclaimers: This is an original story. Copyright © 2003 by Shirley Roberts. It was written as part of the Bard Challenge #8. The first three paragraphs, in bold type, is the premise I was issued.
Sex/Love: There is sex in an understated way. This story depicts relations between two women. If you are under 18, or this bothers you, please stop reading now.
Graphic Language: Sometimes in my stories, just like in life, people use words that would be considered graphic. If you can get by the lesbian relationship mentioned above yet have a problem with graphic language, you might not want to read this story.
Feedback:. I enjoy hearing what people think about what I have written. If you would like to offer me some constructive criticism I welcome your thoughts with open arms. If all you want to do is flame me, that's okay. Just don't expect an answer. If you try to sign me up for spam, or want to mail bomb me please be warned! I will hunt you down like the sick pathetic being you are! You can e-mail me at: email@example.com
Acknowledgments: A very special thanks to Peg, without whom my words would probably read as if an unlettered 6 year old wrote them. Also thanks to my friend Mekira, who has discussed every word with me.
"Okay everyone... line up. Form a straight line. No shoving. You will all get in," the man bellowed as he walked up and down the line.
So here we stood, wondering what was going on. One minute we were doing whatever and now we were in this line. I personally couldn't believe I was here. Where were the lights and music? Hell, where were the saints you always heard about? Oops, maybe I shouldn't say that here. That may make someone mad. Oh yeah, I guess I should tell you were I'm at. Heaven. Yes, I am dead. Kicked the bucket, bought the farm, six foot under and all those lovely other metaphors to keep you from just having to say someone died.
Hmm... maybe I should tell you how I died. Now, don't laugh because it's quite embarrassing. See, I was being audited by the IRS, blood suckers, and when the nice gentleman, yeah right, who was raking all my deductions over the coals was finished, he told me how much I owed. Well in my shock, I jumped up and went to look at the paper, and I tripped over my own feet and hit the corner of the desk. I think I died instantly, but it's hard to tell. I do remember thinking that old saying about death and taxes. Who knew I would die dealing with my taxes? Oh well, I guess I had the last laugh on them. I am dead and I won't be paying that debt. Heh. Why isn't this line moving any faster? I swear you can't even get good service in Heaven. Sheesh!
I don't know how long I have been in this line, but I haven't moved much. I guess I should tell you more about myself. My name is Bunny, damn hippie parents, Bunny Bradshaw. I grew up in Dallas and left home the day after graduation. I had a scholarship for college, but I couldn't stand to be with my parents any longer. I traveled that summer and eventually found my way to the UCLA film school for my fall semester.
So, there I was. An Eighteen year old freshman at UCLA. Living in a dorm with a poor girl who had crazier parents that I did. Her name was Chandra Leer! Poor girl. Anyway, I was in school for almost a week when I realized all the money I had saved while working in high school wouldn't last the whole year. So I went out and got a job.
I think I was the only one in southern California who was actually a waitress, and not an actress posing as a waitress. My interest in film was behind the camera and not in front of it. I thought I had plenty of stories to tell, and I thought I knew how I wanted to tell them. So I busted my ass at a restaurant near campus so I had money to pay for all the pizza and soda. I was taking 18 credit hours, and working at least forty hours a week. It was murder.
Then I noticed my roommate Chandra had traded in her beat-up Toyota and was driving a Porsche Boxster! I noticed other things about her as well. When we first arrived, she had two suitcases filled with jeans and T-shirts. Now, when she left for the evening or on weekends, she wore slinky dresses that showed off her attributes. Did I mention she was stacked? I wondered to myself where her money was coming from.
One day in the late afternoon, I was finishing up my studies when our computer ran out of paper. I knew Chandra had some in her desk so I went over to her side of the room to find some. I opened the bottom left drawer and noticed a lot of DVD boxes. I wondered what movies she had and I pulled some out.
Reading the titles, I was shocked. 'Lesbian Tongue Lashing', 'Lipstick Lesbians Four', 'Lesbians in Lust'. The next title stunned me, 'Chandra's Castle'. Yep. My college roommate was a porn star. A lesbian porn star. Well, at least I knew where her money was coming from. Turns out there were fourteen movies in the desk, all of em' with Chandra in a staring roll. I was still shocked and stunned, but I was also curious. I really wanted to see what she looked like without clothes.
"Everyone needs to remain patient." The man had been moving up and down the line since I got here. "You will all meet your case workers soon," he yelled. They could probably hear the bastard in Hell.
At least I am keeping myself entertained by telling my story, so I guess I'll continue. Like I said, after I found out that my roommate was staring in lesbian porno movies, I had an urge to see her naked. Did I mention I was gay? Well I am and that's another reason I needed to get away from my parents. They just couldn't deal with it. All that free love around when they were growing up in the late 60's and they couldn't handle the fact their own daughter was gay. Guess the aren't as open mined as they thought.
So there I am standing in the dorm room with all these porno DVD's when my roommate arrives. Arching an eyebrow she asked, "Looking for something?"
"Umm... Well... You see, I was looking for some paper for the printer," I tried to explain.
She walked across the room to where I was standing and stood next to me then opened the bottom right drawer of her desk and pulled out a stack of blank paper. "Here you go."
I'm sure I had a stunned expression on my face. I was wondering when she was going to say something and surprised she hadn't already.
Lamely I muttered, "I guess I should put these down."
"Yes, it might make it easier for you to load the printer."
I placed the DVD's back in the desk drawer I had found them in. Taking the stack of printer paper from Chandra, I walked back over to the computer and loaded the printer. I set the computer to print my paper for class and turned back to my roommate. She was still looking at me with a curious smirk on her face.
"Umm... So.. I..." Gods! I was stuttering like a fool!
"Look, don't worry about it. Those movies are paying for the rest of my college education, along with various toys I like to play with."
"I didn't even know you were gay."
"I'm not honey." She laughed as a cocked an eyebrow at her. "I'm whatever they pay me to be. Right now lesbian movies are the rage so I make lesbian movies. I guess I'm bisexual. I do enjoy my work, but I enjoy it no matter what the sex of my partner is."
"Well Chandra, after seeing your name all over those movie cases, I have to admit two things. First, I am gay. Second, I am very curious about seeing you naked now." I couldn't believe it! I had never been that bold before.
"I guess you could watch one of my movies," she said with a twinkle in her eye.
I walked across the room to stand in front of her. Capturing her dark brown eyes with mine I whispered, "that wouldn't be my first choice."
Hey I think the line moved! I hope I get to see my case worker soon. This waiting is almost as bad as the post office near Christmas time. What? Oh yes. All night. She was very good. I had more orgasms in that one night than any other night since I got to UCLA. Of course the only thing that had brought me to orgasm on campus was Pinky. I had gone through 3 sets of batteries since arriving at school, but then I was just too busy to go out and get a girlfriend of my own.
Chandra was great for me. Neither of us had the time or energy for a committed relationship. We did have plenty of time for the sex though. As I learned more about Chandra and her movies, I became very curious about them. I had watched some of her movies and the production quality was kinda weird. They obviously used decent equipment, but sometimes the audio was bad, or you would see cameramen in the background or in mirrors. I thought those errors ruined the fantasy of the scenes. Of course I was in film school. I could do better scenes with the poorer equipment the school used.
Anyway, a few weeks later I was working on a project in our dorm room when the phone rang.
"Bunny, It's Chandra."
"I need to ask you something, so let me get through the whole thing, okay?"
Wondering what could possible make Chandra speak in circles, I quickly agreed.
"Okay, the girl I was supposed to do a scene with later today just blew out her knee in a another scene and they are taking her to the hospital."
Chandra stopped for a breath while I wondered how someone could blow out a knee making a porno movie.
"We have been going crazy trying to find someone to replace her but none of the other girls are available and we only have this place rented for today. I know you may not like this idea, but I thought you might replace her."
"ME?" I hollered into the phone.
"No wait, let me finish. We would do exactly the kind of things we do when we are alone at night. Just you and me and about 10 guys in the film crew. Of course you would be paid for your time."
"Paid? How much?"
"One lesbian scene is fifteen hundred."
I was amazed. "Fifteen hundred for both of us?"
"No, for you. It would be your only scene in the movie. I'm in most of them so I am on a different scale than you would be. You interested?"
That was a lot of money to me. I thought I could cut down on a few hours at the restaurant for a couple weeks. Maybe have some fun and go out some night. It was just sex with Chandra and we did that a lot. "Okay. I'm in."
Two hours later I was at a house in the Hollywood Hills. Chandra met me out in the driveway when I pulled up. We went into the house and made our way to the kitchen. I filled out some paperwork and they checked my ID. Within thirty minutes Chandra was undressing me in front of the camera.
Hey, I think something is happening up ahead. Oh! They are dividing the line. Look, a woman up there is directing people. Ahh, here she comes now.
"How did you die?"
"I tripped and fell"
"Accidental death, move to the line on the far right," the woman intoned with no emotion.
Well, now that I am in another line, I guess I shall continue the story. After our scene, Chandra and I moved back into the kitchen to get some refreshments. A few minutes later the director of the shoot came in to thank me. Then he asked if he could talk to me alone. I figured it was time to get my check so we moved off to a nearby room.
"Bunny, I really want to thank you for helping us out today. I just want you to know you did a great job in there and its well worth what Chandra asked us to pay you." He handed me a check and then continued, "I'd like to make another offer to you."
Looking at the check for fifteen hundred bucks in my hand, I wondered just what kind of offer he wanted to make.
"You and Chandra burned up the camera today. You two are very hot together. I'd like to offer you a three movie deal to costar with Chandra. I think you two will sell lots of video's"
"Wow, that's forty five hundred bucks!"
"Actually it would be more. You would be costarring."
I was shocked. "More? How much more?"
"Three movies, ten grand a movie," he said calmly.
I was stunned. Floored. You could have knocked me over with a feather.
"Look, let me send in Chandra and you can ask her any questions you have. We need to move equipment upstairs for the next scene we are shooting. Find me when you make a decision."
"I will," I was barely able to mutter.
He smiled and walked out of the room. Chandra walked in a few minutes later and handed me a bottle of water.
"Jeff tells me he pitched a deal at you. What do you think?"
"To be honest, I'm in shock."
"Do you have any questions?"
"Well, how much time are we talking about here?
"If the movies are shot locally, two or three days each, otherwise include travel time to the locations. Sometimes on the better quality stuff you add a couple days."
"Will they work around my school hours?"
"Sure, we shoot on weekends most of the time."
"Umm, do you mind that we would be.. Umm... Working together?"
"Not at all. I called you today didn't I? We are very good together. I've actually been thinking about asking you to do this. I didn't mean to do it spur of the moment like today, but we really needed you."
"Will they mind that I'm gay?"
"Nope. You might want to mention it though or you might get a straight scene."
"Ewwwww! Now that's a disgusting thought." I looked again at the check in my hand, realizing I could soon have twenty times as much. "I think I'll do it. I could certainly use the money."
"Well, go find Jeff. He'll be upstairs somewhere."
I went upstairs and found Jeff as they were setting up the next shot.
"Jeff, I'm interested on one condition."
"I want my on screen partners to be women only."
"No Problem, anything else?"
"Well, I'd like to use a different name."
"You sure? Bunny is a great name in this business."
"Yep, but I'll keep Bunny, I want to use a different last name."
"What did you have in mind?
I gave Jeff my most serious look. "Bunny Rabbit"
Jeff stared at me for a second, then collapsed in helpless laughter.
At least this new line is moving faster. Maybe I'll see the case worker soon. I wonder what the case worker does? I guess I'll find out soon. So, I'll try to hurry my story along. I finished the three movie deal and got the cash. I was surprised how fast everything worked. The movies were shot in a couple days, and thirty days later the movies were on store shelves across the country. Amazingly the movies sold a ton of copies and made the studio big bucks. There were even Chandra and Bunny web sites all over the net. We were a hit!
As the movies continued to sell well, the studio approached Chandra and I to do some more films. I told them I wanted more control over what had our names on it. I wanted better scripts with actual plot lines. I wanted better production values. I wanted a musical score that didn't sound like a porn movie. The studio balked at the idea since there would be much higher costs involved. I then told them that Chandra and I would waive our fees for the control we wanted, but we also wanted a piece of the profits.
There was a large demand for more 'Chandra and Bunny' movies and eventually the studio let us have our way. I recruited some of the people in film school that I trusted. We came up with a real story. It took almost 10 full days to shoot, which was unheard of in the industry. I directed and edited the movie. Almost three months later "Girls on Film" was released to the world.
It outsold the first three movies combined. The profits were enormous and Chandra and I made a bundle with our cut of the money. I went back to the studio with more ideas. First I asked for a three movie deal under the same conditions as the last one. Then I asked that our first three movies be released for free on the Internet to build even more hype for us. The studio was now happy to give me what I wanted.
One year later, Chandra and I were rich. Our movies were selling more video's than some mainstream theatrical releases. We appeared on talk shows and magazine covers. We used our fame to promote gay rights and AIDS awareness. We did even more movies for the studio making even better paydays over the next couple of years.
Then, we both graduated from UCLA. Chandra and I had a private celebration that lasted for hours. We were both lying in bed, still damp with perspiration from our exertions when an new idea came to me. Chandra and I talked about it and decided we would take our money and form a new studio. We wanted to make movies that people of any orientation would like to see.
By the time we reached our thirties we had it all. Well, at least we had the material things in life. Although Chandra and I loved each other dearly, we were never in love. The sex was still great on or off camera but our love was that of deep friendship. It was time we moved away from the cameras eye. We both started doing things that were important to us. Chandra and I worked hard for the fight against AIDS. We also became involved in political issues. I feel we had a hand in the military dropping the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy in 2008.
Then, on my 35th birthday in 2011, Alabama became the 50th state to allow gay marriages. Chandra and I had achieved so much over the years, but we had also managed to piss off just about every narrow minded conservative from the religious right. In 2012 I was making a speech at the Gay Pride parade in San Francisco when shots rang out. People screamed as I was swept off the stage by security into a nearby limo.
As the Limo pulled away from the scene, I saw paramedics rushing around on the stage. It was then that I noticed that Chandra wasn't in the car. While I was being swept away to safety, my best friend lay bleeding her life away. Chandra died that day, and my life changed. The guy who did it was proud of himself. He told the court that God had told him to shoot the dyke bitches from hell. He also told the court that he wasn't alone. Others would come to understand 'Gods Will' as he called it. He believed his death at the hands of the state would allow more people to see the truth of his ideals.
I used all of my friends and power to make sure the bastard would get life in prison instead of the death penalty. I later learned that he became a prison yard bitch. It was the best news I had heard in a long time. I hoped the bastard lived to be 120.
Two years after the bastard was convicted, members of the religious right convinced the right people in the IRS that I should be audited. The damn IRS guy pointed out two things for me. My accountant was robbing me blind, and because of that I owed more than I had paid. When the beady-eyed little man told me I needed to pay an additional million in taxes and penalties I jumped up to check his figures, tripped over my own feet and fell. My forehead slammed into the corner of the desk and my life was over.
So, that's my story. Just in time too. Looks like we are nearing the end of the line. I wonder what will happen next? I mean, I know I am in heaven, but I thought there was so much more I could do with my life. I thought the fight against AIDS was important. I thought the fight against gay discrimination was important too. I guess I have some issues to discuss with my case worker. Well, I'm next. Guess its time to discover my heavenly fate.
Stepping up to the desk, I looked at the woman with curiosity. She set aside some paperwork and looked up to me. "Name?"
"Ah yes, Ms. Bradshaw. Top floor, room 401. The stairs are right over there. You are expected."
A few minutes later, I came to a door labeled 401. I raised my hand to knock when a voice from within called out, "Ms. Bradshaw, Please come in."
I opened the door and stepped into the room. It was huge and empty, except for a lone chair in the center of the room. Slowly I walked to the chair while looking around nervously. The room was bright white in color. Floors, walls, and ceiling. There were no windows, wall decorations, or anything at all. Except the chair. The chair seemed to be made of the darkest mahogany I had ever seen. I sat down and waited.
It was then that I noticed a small white fluffy cloud in front of me. It ever so slightly changed a shade darker when the same voice that had invited me in said, "well, Ms. Bradshaw. I hope you are comfortable. It is time for us to begin."
"It is time for us to begin your remembrance," the voice intoned. Suddenly the little cloud moved toward me. Closer and closer until it was all I could see. Then it was surrounding me. "Relax now Ms. Bradshaw, for it is time for you to remember all."
As I relaxed, images flooded my mind. It was then I knew I was so much more than Bunny Bradshaw. Each life I had lived had been with a purpose. I am many women. I had been Amelia Earhart, Emily Dickinson, and Joan of Arc. I had been Sappho in ancient Greece and Nefertiti in ancient Egypt. I had always been a woman who had fought for and loved women.
More images from my pasts slipped through my mind. Every woman that I was, famous or not, strove for a single purpose. I toiled for the world's acceptance of all sexual orientations. It was then that my earliest memories were brought to the fore. I had been Eve. I was the first woman. As my visions cleared from my mind, I looked at the cloud which was in front of me again.
"Welcome back Eve."
"Thank you, Father."
"My daughter, we are nearing the end of the journey. Everything you and I have labored for is close to reality. Taking that rib from Adam was the best thing I ever did. I am very proud of you My daughter. Your lives have been my attempt at fixing the mistake that Adam was."
"I am glad to serve you Father," I expressed with love.
"Well I have apologized before, and I will do so now. The experiment I created with Adam and you went horribly wrong. The fact that humanity sprang forth from you through Adam's forceful means was never my intent. What was born in you in that moment was more than a child. You showed Me the answer to My dilemma. I'm so sorry that Adam caused the pain he did, but the fact is that all of that has brought us to the present."
"Father, I never blamed You for what Adam did. I have accepted that his need to force himself on me was all about him. I am grateful that his act has led us to the point we have reached. There are so many descendants of mine to be proud of."
"Very true, My daughter. It is now time for us to move ahead." The voice paused as the cloud became brighter. "You will go back soon. You will become the one who does what needs to be done. Your work through the ages has brought us to this day. While woman was my greatest creation, man was my greatest evil. It is now time to fix my mistake."
"What will I do Father?"
"You will be the one to do the genetic research necessary for women to no longer need men. When you are finished, women will be able to have children without man. You have made sure that women are now much more numerous than men. You have even convinced many men that love between two women is a thing of beauty. When you finish this task, the male breed will slowly die out. Wars will end. Starvation will cease. Love and peace shall reign."
"Thank you Father. Thank You for choosing me for this task."
"Come, My daughter. It is time for your return." The cloud started to move toward the door.
"Yes, My daughter?"
"I would like to a couple of requests if possible, Father."
"And what would you request of Me, My daughter?"
"It has been a few lives since I last found true love. I would like to find my soul mate on this trip."
"Certainly Eve, anything else?"
"I made a close friend this last trip. I'd like Chandra to be there as my friend again."
"This I can also do for you."
"This time, I want to remember everything. All my lives. It will help me focus on our goal. I need to know it all."
"Done. Is that everything My daughter?"
"One last thing. Please make sure I never have to deal with those idiots at the IRS again!"
The cloud turned very bright, and her Father's laughter infused her being with boundless love and joy.