She’d practiced for months, getting every little detail just right. She wanted the performance to go smoothly. She knew each vein, every artery, of her passion by heart. She could arc her arms through the choreography in pitch black, drunk. The one aspect of her performance that had not been tried was her ability to control her nerves.
She would rely on her rehearsal this afternoon to fortify her calm.
She stood before her partner. His arms were raised softly above his head, his face tense. She consoled, “Don’t be nervous, this is how it goes.”
She waved her hand across his face confidently, the ribbons of blood behind her blade pouring into crimson flowers across the white cloth that bound him.
“Nooooo!” He screamed.
She crooned, “Well, actually, yes!” and whirled gracefully to plant her blade above his left kidney.
He gurgled, “Please listen — ”
“If only you’d asked for help earlier!” she chided, as she twisted the blade and eyed his right shoulder.
“I’ll die! Don’t do this!” He groaned and protested.
She reassured him, “Everyone dies; if you’d read about knives then you’d know exactly what dying felt like, and this wouldn’t be nearly so alarming.” She shook her head and sliced idly at his scapula.
“Oh god, I’ll never be able to play again!” He shrieked, his hysteria shrill.
She replied, affectionately, “There are several studies that have found you actually have better coordination if you practice using your non-dominant side.” She winked at him. “You might be pleasantly surprised!”
He continued to scream, and she knew it was time for the coda. She checked her breath, her smile and the pale sweating skin above his collar bone. She swung and sang, “Your carotid is the artery in your neck, silly!” as his life spewed across her cheeks.
She dropped the blade next to his twitching feet and exited stage left.
Tomorrow evening’s performance would be flawless.