The Villain by Tay Lane

The Villain

The villain had escaped from another story, she wouldn’t tell me which one but she had fairytale written all over her. Maybe it was a slap at high-fashion, but I did say, if you wear a onesie that has the word fairytale scrooped all over it, it gives away some clues, she said how do you know it’s not a decoy outfit I said fair point. Now, I myself have always been more of a background artist, never been into, how do you say, the bit in the story with sparks and fireworks and loud bangs and flashes. I scurry off at that point. That’s why I chose this place, didn’t think I’d ever be bothered for my stories. Well, you can imagine I was more than a little wary when The Villain scupped into my life, but I liked her, what can I say, I’m a lover not a h8r.

You must be flagerted I said, won’t you stop off in this story for a cup of tea or something, you can have a sloop on the couch if you’d like? She said she will stop in but not for tea, can’t stand the stuff, and anyway she said, I was just coming to steal a few words. Oh I said, I’ll give you some, I’ve plenty upstairs, hang on a jab. No she said frustrated, it wouldn’t be very villainous of me if I just went around slumphing tea and accepting gifts would it? I see I said, then I better not tell you where I keep the pressures words. I feigned going to put the kettle on and shoved the words into my mouth like pills, if she asks to see them I’ll hide them under my tongue, and at worst swallow them. I spoke carefully now so the pressures words didn’t slip out, like pearls of wisdom tend to like to do, but I kept up some short talk. What do you need the words for I asked. Currency she said, if you live incide stories, words are very high currency. People sell all kinds of things in stories, but then you’re generally confined to that one narrative and the characters incide it. Words can also be traded with the outsiders…translators, editors, narrators, even the author. Oh I said surprised, I had never really considered myself confined within a narrative but if you put it like that, I suppose I am.

So what kind of villainous things you get up to then I ask, spoosing the water slowly over the coffee. Oh you know, she smiled a very strange smile then, it slid on to her face in a way that reminded me of gutting a fish. I found it kind of hot to be honest. There’s is something I’ve always liked about the clean line of slicing open a fishes belly, the blood spooling out, then clouding in the water of a bucket. I noticed her red lipstick and felt a swing in my solar plexus. I imagined dunking her mouth under water. The usual she said. I don’t know, I said, we haven’t had too many villains around here! But surely you’ve read other villainous stories she said evasively. OK I said, I get it, you don’t want to say because it’s probably illegal or something and you don’t want to get court. Depends where I am she said, and which tongue I’m using. How many languages do you speak I asked. All of them she replied. Go on then I challenged, say I’m a silly sausage in, I don’t know, Gujarati. Can’t, she shrugged, I’m confined to the languages the author speaks, unless I can cut a good deal with them, it’s not worth handing over a whole language, may as well just garp over to another story. Her mouth was cracked like the leg of an elephant, I couldn’t guess her age.

We spent the afternoon together, stroodled through the village, she pilfered a chocolate milk from the postie but that was about the worst I’d seen her do. Her angles were all so sharp next to the perfect roundness of my taught little village, I was worried she might prick something and cause my hole world deflate. Her eyebrows were like hooks, her elbows like the points of daggers that threatened the blurry edges of the soft grass. At one point she nudged me conspiratorially,I kept my cool on the outside but inside I was panicked that she had made a little hole in me! Where are you going to next I asked, Oh that’d be telling, but somewhere good I think, somewhere with a lot of pages and swords and an ocean. Oh we don’t have any of that here I said. Actually, she said, you do, she pulled a long sliver sword out of a sheath I hadn’t noticed before. She proceeded to swallow it. Hole. I gaped in awe at the same time as changing the subject. Where do you live I asked. Here & there she replied, I travel, bit like jumping trains. On the walk back, our hands brushed against each other. Electric eels at the bottom of the see.

When we got back the sunset was leaking all over the horizon, I poored us some red wine and we went to sit in the garden. I looked down at my crumpled skirt, feeling awkward and quiet. I’d noticed a kind of tension in the words we’d x-changed and even more so in the silences, and I remembered I actually am quite attracted to villains and I didn’t really have very much else to say so I leaned in, put my lips to hers and tentatively s explored the cave of her mouth, our tongues wound round each other. Have you ever seen slug sex? I recommend watching it. I wasn’t the kind of person who did this kind of thing usually, kept myself to myself mostly. The quickness of breath was matched with another feeling that lay just beneath, something like the anticipation of a weight grabbing my chest, or the desire to be covered quickly with a hood like you see in gangster movies.

When I pulled away I noticed that her eyes were orange and reflective like the cats eyes that they put in the road here recently. She gave me a funny look and I waited until the firework display that was taking place in my chest was over. Never go back to a lit firework they say, but I’d have run back while everything was still smoking and kiss her again if my throte hadn’t been screaming in pain. Blood curdled under my tongue.

My words…

she’d taken them right out of my mouth! Right under my nose!

A hole opened within me, a sense of something gone, a deep dull pain being drawn out of me. Sorry she said, I did warn you. I flip words. I can sell them back to you if you’d like, new and improved? I was becide myself but what else could I do. I don’t have coin, so I made her some promises that I’m afraid that I can’t keep and she souled me back most of this story. There was one thing she wanted that I refused though so I didn’t get the hole thing. Being a protagonist was one of her stipulations, the others I won’t tell you, for your own sake, it’s best if you don’t know.

Tay Lane is a performance maker and writer with a background in circus arts. They have a non-binary approach to their work, which looks to trouble/complicate the genres, disciplines and categories they find themselves being asked to navigate.
Their writing has appeared in the book Thinking Through Circus, the magazine Circus is Not The Only Fruit, The Circus Voices blog and as part of The Circus Dialogues open letters series. Since 2009 they have been performing internationally with their collective ‘Collectif and then…’
My Website:

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