Short story – What I wish I could have done

Couldn’t get all the me-too’s and sexual harassment/abuse stories I read about yesterday out of my head. This morning I opened up my word processor and this came out. Based on a personal experience.

Night_train

It had been a long night. I put my headphones on and played some calming, melancholy music. Two hours till the night train reached its destination. It was pitch black outside. Only every once in a while, a light flashed by.

I took out a book, even though I felt too tired to read. I placed my bag on the seat next to me and stretched my legs out. I comfortably occupied almost the whole four-seat area. If only I had a cup of tea. A cup of tea would have made this perfect.

I saw some movement from the corner of my eye. Someone pushed my legs aside. I looked up from my book. A young man sat in the seat opposite me. He smiled. Almost the whole coupe was empty and this guy had to force himself into my cosy space. I didn’t understand why he couldn’t sit somewhere else.

“How are you doing?” he asked.

“Fine,” I mumbled and turned back to my book.

“You’re very pretty. You have a unique look about you. Not like the other girls.”

I ignored him. Hopefully he would get the hint.

“Can I have your number?”

I kept my eyes fixed on the page.

“Those are cool shoes. I’ve never seen anything like them.” He touched my knee. It felt like a hit from a sledgehammer.

I wiggled my legs away.

“You’re very pretty.”

I glanced up reluctantly. “If you don’t mind, I would rather be alone right now.” I cringed at the polite words that came out. I should have said: ‘Get the fuck away from me, creepy motherfucker!’ Why am I always compelled to be polite?

“Can I have your number?” This asshole already had his phone out.

“Please, I would rather be alone.” I still had my headphones on. I couldn’t believe this was happening through the divine tones of Lana del Rey. I hoped I wouldn’t associate her music with this creep later.

“Give me your number.”

I stuffed my book in my bag. “Fine, I’ll leave.”

He shot back, his eyes widening. His mouth fell open with puckered lips. For a moment, I felt guilty for offending him. I hated that guilt.

He recovered. “No, don’t. I’ll leave.” He inclined his head towards me and took my hand between his. “I’ll leave.” He sounded so earnest. Yet he didn’t let go of my hand.

White-hot rage boiled up inside me. With my free hand, I reached for something in my bag. The lights crackled.

*

Half an hour later the conductor walked past. “Tick—What happened here?” She gasped.

I looked down at the cleaver in my hands. It was red and sticky. My lovely floral dress was ruined too. The seat opposite me was the worst though. Like a red waterfall had crashed over it. Then there were the body parts…

“I’m sorry,” I whispered. “I didn’t mean to make such a mess. It was just—He wouldn’t leave. Why couldn’t he take a hint?”

“He harassed you?”

I nodded.

“Oh, honey. Are you alright?” The conductor’s eyes were full of sympathy.

“I suppose. It could have been worse.”

The conductor shook her head. “Don’t say that. These things should never happen. No woman should have their safety compromised for merely being outside and alone.”

The cleaver was still warm.

“Look, there’s a bathroom up there. Why don’t you go and get yourself cleaned up? I’ll take care of this.” The conductor motioned to the carnage.

“Thank you.” I smiled weakly. “Thank you so much.”

The conductor shrugged. “Like I said, these things should never happen.”

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My favourite vampire movies

Ah, October. The most magical month of the year. The leaves are turning, the winds are howling, and Halloween is just around the corner.

One of the things I enjoy doing in October is to bundle up inside, with someone I love, cinnamony snacks and a pot of chai, and watch spooky movies. Most of the spooky movies I like seem to be vampire movies. These are my favourites:

Only Lovers

Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)

This is not just one of my favourite vampire movies, but one of my favourite movies of all time. It’s a beautiful story about two long-term lovers and how they survive in the modern world. The characters, atmosphere and soundtrack are fantastic. I can never get enough of watching this.

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Interview with the Vampire (1994)

What goth does not love this movie? Who has not fallen in love with the brooding, dramatic Louis, perfectly devilish Lestat and deceptively sweet little Claudia? This movie celebrates everything we love about vampires with all the flair and panache it can muster. After twenty-three years, it remains unrivalled.

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Låt den rätte komma in / Let the Right One In (2008)

Like Only Lovers, it’s primarily a love story. It’s also highly driven by the characters and atmosphere. The protagonist is quiet 12-year-old Oskar, who is relentlessly bullied at school and obsessed with true crime. He meets a mysterious girl who is new in the neighbourhood. Coincidentally, a string of violent attacks start to occur at her arrival. The horror is certainly there, but as a whole it’s breathtakingly beautiful.

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Wir Sind die Nacht We Are the Night (2010)

With all the brooding vampires around, it’s refreshing to see vampires who enjoy, and even revel in, being vampires. More so when those vampires are women. In Wir Sind die Nacht all vampires, in fact, are women. Doesn’t that make for an intriguing premise? And isn’t Wir Sind die Nacht a killer title?

nosferatu

Nosferatu (1922)

A classic. I have seen this several times in a theatre setting with live music and every time it scared the shit out of me. No vampire movie has scared me quite like the almost century-old Nosferatu. It’s all in the atmosphere and portrayal of the vampire.

dracula

Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)

If I believed in guilty pleasures, that’s what I would call this. The special effects, the acting, the soundtrack, the costumes; It’s all completely over the top and ridiculous, but I love it.

Hotel-Transylvania-3

Hotel Transylvania (2012)

I’m not generally a fan of (children’s) animated movies, but my girlfriend suckered me into watching this. I was pleasantly surprised. It’s a really cute story about a young vampire girl, her hilariously overprotective father, and a human boy who she falls for. In an interesting twist, the monsters in this world are scared of the humans, instead of the other way around.

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What We Do In the Shadows (2014)

Another kooky one in the mix. This is a mockumentary style film that follows a group of vampire roommates in their daily (nightly?) lives. It shows their struggles of dividing up the chores, getting dressed without a mirror, having to feed on massive amounts of blood and other ordinary things. It plays with the clichés in the genre brilliantly.

Series Review – Girlboss

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Girlboss is about twentysomething misfit Sophia and how she builds her vintage clothing business, Nasty Gal. While building her business, she has to deal with a hernia, unsatisfied customers, neglected friends and other vintage sellers who disagree with her methods. The show is full of colourful characters and fantastic fashion.

From the beginning the main character, Sophia, is insufferable. She walks over everyone else to have her own way, acts like she knows absolutely everything and expects others to be endeared by her quirks. Her best friend, Annie, is not much more likeable. This made the first couple of episodes hard to get through. And yet, there was something about the show that made me keep watching.

The story was intriguing enough and the aesthetic fantastic. Watching Sophia go through all that vintage clothing, while well-dressed herself, inspired me to go back to my favourite thrift shops and experiment more with my own style myself. Also, to get my bangs cut again. And go to San Francisco.

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Her entrepreneurship was very inspiring too. She’s not a girl you expect to succeed, but she turns out to be highly resourceful. She actively solves problems and is shown to have good business sense. Together with showing her vulnerability, she becomes a lot more likeable over the course of the series. In the final episodes I was happy to see her succeed with her business and really felt for her when she was unexpectedly betrayed.

Unfortunately, only snippets of the building of her company are shown. Most of the storyline seems to be about Sophia’s personal life, her relationships and struggles (unlike what the trailer suggests). I would have liked to see more about the business side of it. The best episodes are the ones which center on some facet of Nasty Gal, like ‘Ladyshopper99’ in which Sophia goes through every resource to satisfy a disgruntled customer. The ones which are more about Sophia’s relationships, like ‘Top 8’ and ‘The Trip’, I could have done without.

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The humour in the series is here and there. Sometimes it’s hilarious, like in the dialogue or in the portrayal of certain characters. Other times it completely misses the mark. In the already mentioned ‘Top 8’ for example; I kept waiting for those outlandish flashbacks to become funny, but they never did.

It was inconsistent in tone too. The text messages and sales popping up on the screen, to name some, seemed out of place. Those didn’t fit with the rest of the tone/aesthetic the series was going for. In ‘Vintage Fashion Forum’ the incorporation of the internet was brilliant though. I loved how they showed the interaction between the characters on the forum and in the chatroom.

If you like stories about female entrepreneurs, vintage fashion and Wes Anderson type humour, give Girlboss a shot. Even if you don’t love the main character, you may find yourself binge-watching it late into the night.