A short story
By Paul Warwick
Cindy Rella walked up the four flights of stairs to the top floor flat on one of the many blocks on Peabody Estate, Clapham Junction. The five bags of shopping she was carrying weighed her down, and even though she was 17, was slim and fit, she felt tired. One of her neighbours passed her on the stairs and he smiled at her and she felt slightly lifted. Cindy was used to men smiling at her. She was mixed race and beautiful.
When Cindy got in the flat, her aunt Cynthia, an overweight, black Jamaican woman, said coldly, “What took you so long. You’ve been forty minutes.”
“Sorry,” said Cindy looking at the floor, “It was quite crowded in there and there were long queues at the tills.”
Here aunt just looked at her sternly, then said, “Make me a cup of decaf coffee, and make sure you only put half a spoon of sugar in it.”
Cindy had been adopted by her aunt Cynthia, when Cindy’s mother had died of cancer several years before. And Cindy’s aunt also had two ugly daughters, who like Cynthia were wicked and mean, and Cindy had to do all of the house work, all of the shopping and all of the cooking. Cindy was treated more like a slave than a member of the family.
Cindy was doing the washing up when the two sisters came into the kitchen and told Cindy to make sure she ironed they’re clothes for tonight.
“Where are you going?” Cindy asked them smiling.
“We’re going to a dance audition in a nightclub,” said Dion, “M.C Ghetto Star is gonna be there judging. The dancers that get picked will be in his new music video and will go on an eighteen month world tour as his stage backing dancers.”
“Cool,” said Cindy dreamily, then she asked, “Can I come?”
Dion scowled, and Charmaine made a snorting noise like a pig, then said, “You can’t dance. And anyway, you gotta be on the guest list. Its invites only. We got on the guest list by applying to the audition over a month ago.”
“Oh,” Cindy said deflated, “Good luck anyway.”
That night the two ugly sisters left for the audition, wearing mini skirts, high heeled shoes and low cut tops with spilling out cleavage.
Cindy’s aunt Cynthia also told Cindy to iron a dress for her and Cynthia told her that she was going to a West End theatre show, then for a meal with her friend and said she’d be back by half past midnight.
When Cindy was left alone in the flat, she made a cup of tea and said to herself sadly, “Why can’t I ever have a night out or go to an audition? I’m a brilliant dancer.”
Just then a fairy appeared in the kitchen and said, “I’m the fairy queen of bling.”
The fairy was dressed in satin hot pants, a tight low cut top, high heels, lots of jewellery and she had two small wings and a tiara in her hair.
The fairy continued, “Cindy Rella. You shall go to the dance audition.”
“But Dion and Charmaine will see me there.”
“Don’t worry,” said the fairy, “I’ll change your appearance.”
The fairy waved her wand and Cindy’s long afro hair suddenly turned into blond plats and Cindy was also wearing a cat mask over her eyes. She was also now wearing tight leggings, trainer boots that were encrusted with jewels and a tight fitting silk blouse.
“Cool,” Cindy said in awe when she looked in the mirror, then she asked, “How am I gonna get to the audition? And how am I gonna get in if I’m not registered?”
“Look out of the window. That limousine is for you, and your name is on the V.I.P guest list.”
The fairy continued, “You must make sure you leave the club by 12 Pm though, or your limousine will turn back into a pumpkin, and you must be back here before your aunt returns at 12.30.”
“Ok,” Cindy answered smiling.
Cindy arrived at the club in the limo. People who were queuing up asked, “Who’s that?” As Cindy exited the vehicle after the chauffer opened the door for her. And instead of joining the long queue to get into the main club entrance, Cindy walked to the side door that had V.I.P written on it, and the bouncer outside it smiled and asked, “What’s your name luv?”
“Cindy. Cindy Rella.”
The bouncer checked the list, “Ok luv…Go in,”
When Cindy entered the club, a woman approached her and asked, “Are you auditioning to dance, or are you a spectator?”
The woman then gave her an armband with the number 79 on it, and asked Cindy what track she wanted to dance to, and Cindy replied, “Waiting all night, by Rudimental.”
Then woman then told Cindy that they’d play two minutes of each track the contestants wanted to dance to, and she added, “You’ve got two minutes to dance your arse off.”
Cindy smiled and the woman asked, “Do you know what the prize is?”
“Yeah. The winners get to dance in M.C Ghetto Star’s next music video and travel with him on his world tour.”
The woman smiled and said, “Good luck.”
Each dancer did they’re two minute dance on stage, in front of which sat M.C Ghetto Star and two other judges. Behind the judges were about three hundred seated spectators. For some of the dancers the audience cheered, and for some they booed. Some people just couldn’t dance, as simple as that.
The ugly sisters Dion and Charmaine were number 48 and 49. And Cindy felt slightly bad for being happy when the crowd booed them.
About 11.15 Pm, it was Cindy’s time to dance and the crowd loved her. The two ugly sisters watched in envy and Dion said, “There’s something familiar about that dancer,” but they didn’t know it was Cindy.
By 11.30 the last dancer had performed, then ten minutes later MC Ghetto Star said into the microphone, “Could number 9, 23, 42 and 79 come back to the stage.”
When Cindy and the three other called dancers came to the stage, they were stunned to be told that they had won the audition. M.C Ghetto star then invited them to come to the V.I.P bar, and whilst there Cindy spoke to M.C with the other three dancers and they were all drinking Champaign that M.C had ordered.
“Why don’t you take off your eye mask now,” M.C said to smiling to Cindy.
“I can’t…There’s people here that I don’t want to recognise me.”
“Come on,” M.C teased, “I just wanna see all of your beautiful face.”
“I can’t…Not yet,” Cindy replied looking around nervously.
M.C continued, “Where do you live?”
“Peabody Estate, Clapham Junction.”
“I know that Estate. One of my school friends used to live there.”
Cindy stayed silent a moment and she could see that the other three dancers looked a bit jealous that she was getting all of M.C’s attention. Suddenly she looked at her watch and saw that it was three minutes till midnight and she remembered what the bling fairy had said to her.
“I gotta go,” Cindy said standing up abruptly and she started walking quickly to the exit.
“Wait a minute,” M.C said standing up to follow her, “What’s the rush?”
But Cindy was starting to panic and ran out of the club and as she got to the kerb her limousine pulled up. She quickly got in and the car whisked away.
M.C stood looking after the disappearing limo sadly. As Cindy had got into the car she’d dropped her small handbag accidently and M.C picked it up and took our her Oyster card and he smiled to himself as he looked at Cindy’s photo on it and he said softly, “Beautiful.”
M.C Ghetto Star suddenly remembered that Cindy had told him she lived on Peabody Estate and he felt the happiness that came with hope.
In the morning M.C arrived at Peabody Estate and he suddenly felt daunted. The Estate seemed bigger than he remembered it, “Where do I start?” He asked himself.
He decided to start with the ground floor of A Block and knocked on several doors, asking people if they knew Cindy Rella and what block she lived in, and the third person to answer, a teenager white girl smiled and said, “She lives in 15 Q Block.”
M.C was elated and the girl continued, “Are you M.C Ghetto Star?”
“Can you just wait a moment?” the girl asked excitedly, “I just wanna get my sister to take a photo of us together if you don’t mind.”
M.C smiled, “No problem.”
After a couple of photos for the two sisters and signing autographs for them, M.C knocked on the door of 15 Q. Dion one of the ugly sisters opened the door then stood there a moment looking shocked, then she said, “Oh my days. Its you,” then Dion shrieked hysterically, “Charmaine. M.C Ghetto star is here.”
Charmaine came to the door thinking it was a joke, but when she saw him she almost fainted. She then smiled showing her uneven buck teeth, and for a moment M.C thought that this ugly black girl looked a bit like a horse. Charmaine then said excitedly, “You’ve changed your mind about our dancing. We’re gonna be in your next music video and come on your world tour.”
“I’m sorry ladies but it ain’t you I’ve come to see.”
The ugly sisters looked confused, then Dion asked, “So what you doing here then?”
M.C held up Cindy’s Oyster card and said, “I’m looking for Cindy.
Just at that moment, Cindy who’d heard all the commotion, came to the front door smiling and when M.C saw her, he took a large envelope out of his bag and said, “Cindy…Here’s the contract for appearing in my next music video and for joining me on my world tour.”
The ugly sisters looked stunned for a moment, then they looked at Cindy with pure evil jealousy, but it didn’t deflate Cindy’s joy one bit. It finally sank in that Cindy had been chosen and it felt like the best day of her life.