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Starbound – (twelve)

Half an hour later the threesome, Allen, Marnie and Sylvia were sitting at a booth in a quiet neighbourhood restaurant near Marnie’s apartment. After supper and desert, they lingered over coffee to talk.

“Are you from right here in the city?” Allen asked Sylvia.

“No, I came here from a disgusting little town out in the sticks,” she said.

“Another story of a girl who is too pretty for the little home town,” Allen said.

“Something like that,” Sylvia muttered into her coffee cup.

“What do you mean, ‘something like that’…what exactly,” Marnie demanded.

“Does it matter?” Sylvia retorted.

“I guess not,” Allen said.

“But I’d like to know,” Marnie put in. “C’mon kid, you’re among friends.”

Sylvia stirred her coffee idly while she thought about it. Finally, she agreed to tell her story if she had a good reason to do so.

“Oh, there’s a good reason, alright,” Allen smirked. “Your looks are gorgeous and the way you interpret the music with your movements is fabulous. You vocals however, leave a lot to be desired. You’re going to be one of The Bitches, and you’re going to be criticized and analysed by every record company executive, every concert venue manager, and every fucking fan. It’s going to be on my shoulders to make sure you bring to the performance what the performance needs from you.”

“I told you, Syl, that they would give you the voice they want,” Marnie said. Sylvia sighed, and began her tale.

“I was born in Whitewood, a village in Saskatchewan.

“Where the Hell is that?” Marnie laughed.

“It’s a bit west of the Manitoba border and a bit north of the North Dakota border. You might say it’s actually nowhere.”

“So you ran off to the big city, I guess, to make your fortune,” Allen said.

“Actually, I would have had a fortune if I’d stayed in Whitewood.”

“Doing what?” Marnie asked.

“Doing nothing,” Sylvie looked away.

“How so?” Allen asked.

“My father owns most of the town.”

“How is that a burden?” Allen said.

“My father is an Eastern European immigrant, with a strong accent and an illiterate level of English. In a redneck town, that doesn’t go down well. And we’re Jewish, which made us targets for every bigot in town, which was every citizen in town. In high school, I was shunned everywhere. I know it was partly because I’m a Jewess, which I was often called, and worse. So the tale gets more and more depressing.

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