Ventriloquism pt. 1: Cecelia

Vocational Ventriloquism: The Story of Who You Thought She Was

Pt. one.

"There is no future in ventriloquism. I can tell you because I know from experience. And from the scars it gave me all over my hands and wrists from too much puppeteering.

I find my ventriloquism most clearly in the night over candle flickers and the smell of whiskey. Suddenly my words unfurl into something like a cocoon around me, and my lies make me strong, spitting me out as a newly decorated creature. On 13th street I become wise with drink, and fashion new dummies from the same fleshy wax.

The first one is called Cecelia. She has dark hair and a manner of speaking that requires all five senses of her listener. She gesticulates fluently to her own diction, kneading the air with her fingers, touching her collarbone gently with the pads of her fingers as she searches for a word. She wears scented lip glosses or sucks on strawberry candies that make the air around her head feel pink and edible. Her voice is falsetto and sometimes almost too soft to hear, like a small music box that does not have adequate surface to vibrate and mature to its full volume.

When it is your turn to speak her eyes meet yours in full concentration. Her full lips pout and she looks foolish for it, but you forgive her immediately when you realized it is only because she is wrapping herself around each of your words, so attentive and focused that she’s lost all awareness of her own composure. She is a graceful and an accomplished academic (you learn later), but when you ask of her pedigree she will only say that she "loves books." Cecelia has a charm that runs so deep it was not even her own.

Because in fact, it was mine, the ventriloquist."


Fiction, excerpt from journal, The Ventriloquism, pt. 1 short story