The Actress

Lynyrd Skynyrd blares from a boombox. A campfire illuminates the scene. Teens gather on tailgates, beers in hands.

Throughout the night, one by one, they fall victim to the sedative effects of the alcohol. By morning, a heap of sweaty bodies lay in a sweltering tent.

“Oh shit.” Angela whispers as she nudges Sabrina.

Her friend moans and pushes a passed-out body off of her. “What time is it?”

“I have no idea, but what the hell am I gonna tell my parents?”

Sabrina unzips the tent, squats outside and pisses. “I got this.”

The last time Angela didn’t come home, her father beat the shit out of her with a belt. Made her drop her pants and lay across the living room couch. Her friends watched in horror through the sliding glass door.

It was bad—but not bad enough to stop her from doing it again. From spending the night with the only people who really loved her.

Angela kicks dirt over the sizzling embers. “What’s the plan?”

“So, we’re gonna walk to your house. When we get there, I’m gonna be crying. Say that you stayed at my place last night. And on the drive to drop you off, my mom and I got into a fight. My mom then let us out at the end of your street.”

“Seriously. My parents may be idiots, but they aren’t dumb enough to fall for that.”

“I’ve been improving my acting skills.”

“Your latest role was the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz. I hardly call that a character study in how to convince my parents that we innocently slept at your house last night.”

Sabrina ruffles her jet-black hair. “Trust me.”

We zip the tent back up, leaving Andrew and Brian to figure their own way out, and walk towards my house.

A few hundred yards from my front door, Sabrina commissions a floodgate of tears. “I can’t believe she yelled at me like that. And then had the nerve to kick us outta the car.”

She’s already convinced me, so I jump on board, “Yeah. Your mom’s a bitch. No one should treat their kid like that.”

By the time we enter my home, Sabrina’s eyes are red and puffy. My shitty parents pretend they aren’t shitty, and console her.

Sabrina’s mad acting skills, curb me from what woulda been a for-sure ass-whipping.

I’d never appreciated the craft of acting more.

Acting touches nerves you have absolutely no control over.

Alan Rickman

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