The actress was sitting on a chair. Pale, slender fingers curled seductively around the cigarette a dozen men had fought to light and her chest moved in time with the delicate wisps of smoke leaving her throat. The camera panned away from her face, focused a fraction of a second longer than appropriate on her bosom and skimmed the length of her body to shapely legs and feet encased in designer heels.
The interview was staring, entranced, at the intimacy between her lips and the Marlboro. His notes lay on his lap, forgotten, until she smiled, the corners of her lips lifting like the crew’s collective blood pressure. There were no teeth.
“Are you quite ready?” she murmured, tapping ash off the end of her cigarette into the dime-store silver ash tray the cameraman had to avoid getting in the shot. He panned to the cigarette, giving the interviewer time to collect his wits.
He began the scripted tirade of questions, vetted by his people and hers, so as to avoid any uncomfortable discussions. The cameraman kept his focus above their waists though he himself was drawn to the ceaseless rustle of the silk taffeta dress against her thighs. Her eyes told the same lie to every man in the room and her laughter, when she indulged, boiled their blood.
The interviewer was laughing with her at a joke he did not remember telling, his laughter discordant with the richness of the actress’ voice. In high spirits, he glanced at his papers. One question remained, a pencil scribble he had added himself only hours before that hadn’t been seen by either of their managers. But surely she wouldn’t mind if he asked it. She’d been so nice.
The laughter died away naturally to leave a patient silence.
“Mrs.–,” he began pleasantly enough, “There are some rumours that I am sure you’ve heard. Come now, tell us. Did you kill your late husband?”
The question shattered the silence like china. There was the sudden feeling of ice slicing through one’s veins, none so chilled as the unfortunate upstart . The actress uncrossed her legs. The look she gave him was deceptively lethal.
“Why, Mr. –,” she fairly purred, “tell me: do you think I killed my late husband?”
The remaining crew shifted uncomfortably in jeans that were suddenly slacker than they had been moments before. The interviewer was sweating uncontrollably. Dimly, the cameraman heard the thundering steps of an irate producer but he kept the camera focused firmly on the actress who was sitting on a chair, smiling around the flickering end of her last cigarette.