by Elizabeth Hammond
by Elizabeth Hammond
On the director’s call of “Cut”, Pacha Deluxe dropped the cane and strutted past her male co-star’s red behind into the dressing room.
She needed to shower – Pacha was big on exfoliating.
An hour later Anna was soothing her skin with moisturiser in front of the mirror. Her face looked different without the thick make-up and lipstick pout.
Anna needed to go to the museum again.
She’d been a shy kid. But she’d had a dream - to be an actress. Being on stage, speaking someone else’s words, Anna felt free, outside of herself.
After school she applied for a drama course. She was rejected – not enough experience. She was working in a newsagent’s when she saw the ad for actresses to audition for a low-budget film. No experience needed - nudity required. Anna got the part. Pacha Deluxe was born.
And now she was earning stacks of money, so what was the problem?
That painting in the museum, The Cry, said exactly what the problem was.
She’d started going to see the painting every day. Afterwards, she’d close her eyes it was still there. It was getting hard to think about anything else. She had to have it.
Stealing it was so easy, it felt right. She took a hammer, smashed the fire alarm, hid behind an Elizabethan wardrobe while everyone was evacuated, cut the painting from its frame, rolled it up, hid it under her coat and joined the exiting crowd.
What happened afterwards didn’t feel right though. It turned out The Cry was famous and valuable. The museum offered a reward, a million pounds. The press reported that the police were investigating an international art smuggling ring. But the letters pages troubled her.
‘After seeing The Cry I made the decision to leave my abusive husband’, one woman wrote.
‘The Cry helped me seek help with my alcohol problem’, wrote a man.
‘That painting inspired me to clean up my act and work for a career in art”, a young artist wrote.
Anna had been blind. The Cry wasn’t only important to her – many others, all struggling through life as best they could, needed it too.
Anna approached the museum reception desk and unrolled the painting.
The Cry was back in gallery the next day, lit by a multitude of flashbulbs. Once it emerged that the thief was Pacha Deluxe, the papers offered Anna heaps of money for interviews before the trial, but they wanted photos, and Pacha wasn’t around anymore.
It was a year later when the prison governor allowed Anna out for the night. The tag around her ankle didn’t exactly complement her evening dress, but as she stepped onto the red carpet outside the cinema, the photographers turned from the immaculately groomed actors and actresses and snapped away at her like a river of hungry piranha.
‘CAMERON DIAZ IS PACHA DELUXE’, read the banner above the entrance.
“Wonder how she likes it”, whispered Anna.