She Wore Red Lipstick…

Standing off stage, Judith fingered the tube of red lipstick that had come her with a copy of the script. Definitely not her color. As a cast member of the show ‘Red Lipstick’ she’s being told to wear it. Putting it on ‘screamed’ she was being fired, since she was to play the part of the next ‘victim’ in the show.

“Someone else can wear it. But she wasn’t going to,” she thought as she set it beside another script that was lying on the table next to where hers had been. “They can wear it,” she muttered.

Why had she stayed tonight to study her lines? Seeing the time, she gathered her things to leave, and was turning off her room lights, when she heard voices. She hid, she shouldn’t to be there. Everyone had gone home; she had watched them all leave.

At first the voices she heard were indistinct, but the closer they got the clearer their words came through, as if she was standing there with them. That is when she heard them planning a murder of one of the richest persons in the city and oh my God, they were using the plot from the show ‘Red Lipstick.’

One of the female voices said, “We need to stop. The cops are stupid, ya know. Someone will realize we are using the scripts as our plans.”

A man’s voice replied, “You are right, this will be the last one. This guy is the worst on our list. The police and FBI could not touch him, either. Remember, we’re helping them do a tough job. What we do is righteous, and someone has to do it. Vigilante justice has been around for centuries and it does not differ from citizens’ arrest.”

Trembling so hard she had to wrap her arms around herself to keep from hitting the sides of the desk leg hole she has been hiding in. Judith can hear footsteps walking away and the voices were fading. Hearing the side door open and then shut. She waited a few minutes to make sure they had left.

Muttering to herself about being in the wrong place at the wrong time, she knew she has to do something, but what? She can’t report it who would believe her, a fairly new actress against the word of a group of headliners. They hold these people in high esteem from all their charitable activities, and they had tons of money to pay for a defense. Something she didn’t.

Hoping she there had been no evidence of her presence, she got up and moved swiftly out the door to the bus stop around the corner.

When she got on the set in the morning, she realized they knew she had been there. How?

Her acting must be better than she thought because no one else notice how terrified she was at the looks she was getting from the ‘Script Murderers,’ she had dubbed them that on her way home. Going to the police now, it would be her word against theirs. She had no proof. They could say they were rehearsing for a future show. And these were very influential people, while as she was not really a blip on the screen yet. But it wasn’t just her life at stake. More would die if she didn’t do something.

During their lunch break, she went to her dressing room to think of what she could do that wouldn’t be so confrontational and protect her. And a way to make sure the police knew what they were doing. Instinctively, she grabbed a tablet and started writing everything she heard. Dates and times. Names of those involved. Next door was the admin office. She slipped over and made two copies. She put one copy aside to put in her safe deposit box after the show, and another in a sealed envelope addressed to David Cragg, her friend, Chief of Police, in Chester, Arizona. He’d know what to do with it. Looking at the clock she saw she still had 15 minutes, she dashed to the main lobby where visitors began their tours of the TV set and picked up a phone in a corner where she could watch as she talked. She called the Homicide Division and blurted everything out, then slammed the phone down. Running to the dressing room, she touched up her lipstick, smoothed her hair and walked out joining the other actors.

The Stage Manager shouting across the stage, “Places everyone.” Judith, wearing pink lipstick, went to her stage spot.

The lights dimmed.

Thump.

Something large fell to the ground.

A scream filled the room.

The Stage Manager yelled, “Lights!”

Judith was still screaming as she tripped over a woman’s body. Oh my God, it was one of those she’d overheard. Glancing at the victim, as she struggled to get away, Judith saw she was wearing the red lipstick and a hatpin through her heart.

Judith felt a man’s arm helping her untangle herself, but her eyes were so fixed on the victim she didn’t notice who it was. When she went to look up, men and women were milling around. She smoothed her dress down out of nervousness and started when she felt something in her pocket. Pulling it out, she found a crumpled note. Opening it, she read, “Join us or die.”

I originally wrote this story under the rules of ‘300 words exactly’ (not including title) and had to have ‘red lipstick’ in the story’s body. This is the shortest story I have written, and I submitted it to a contest with www.deadlineforwriters.com