Riches to Rags

Chapter 2 (Korra)

“Ahhh shit! Sorry!” I grin awkwardly at the director. I fumbled my lines again. Tenzin’s okay, though. He’s strict, he’ll allow the occasional slipup before he throws a tantrum, where he’ll usually turn bright red –that’s when it’s time to flee the scene.

“Korra, calm yourself now. Did you memorise the script?” Tenzin asks, slowly stroking his white and grey goatee.

“I did, I did. Just this part has me all riled up, you know?”

And it does, too. I already made my name recently with ‘Max Fury’ – a flick that starred a hard-ass female cast, in roles that were actually heroic rather than damsel-in-distress. But this one’s something else… in this one, I’m the main character, a woman who knows no limit. It’s kind of like a matrix-meets-fifth element kind of thing. I can’t say much more, it’d spoil the story… But I play Dainya, and she is totally. Hard. Ass.

“Korra?” Tenzin shouts my name, and I blink.

“I’m here, sorry. Just REALLY excited.”

“I think you need to lay off the coffees, don’t you?” Tenzin asks, mild irritation now apparent in his voice. I can’t blame him, he’s probably used to working with professionals, and despite my recent success, I still can’t think of myself in their league.

“Okay! Okay, I’ve got this,” I say, rolling m y shoulders, and cracking my neck.

Thankfully, I manage to play the scene perfectly this time, conveying my concern for my younger brother, who’s bed ridden, and my eternal gratitude to Rayne, the red-headed woman who’s been at Dainya’s side since the start. I feel a nervous energy again, that I’m privileged in being here, part of the first ever mainstream Hollywood action movie with a lesbian, main character! Oh, the walls this’ll break… and it’s about time, too.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, and giving you spoilers about my awesome movie. I apologise.

“Cut!” Tenzin calls, beaming at me. I guess I did good, then. I hug my fellow actors, and head off stage to grab a cold water.

“We done for today?” I ask Tenzin.

“Yes, great job, everyone. Two cuts under par, I hope this continues!”

“Fantastic,” I say, grabbing my coat and keys, “I’ve gotta head out for the usual, see you later,” I say, waving. On the way out of the studio I gulp down the remnants of my water, grab a couple more bottles, then head to my car. It’s a hell of a lot fancier than the old banger that I used to drive. Ahh... My new baby… an Aston Martin DB9. Crimson red, my favourite colour lately, though at one time I did prefer blue. The engine roars into life, and I can’t help but grin at the sound before driving to my usual Friday-evening haunt.


“Korra!” my friend Priscilla says, beaming from ear to ear. Her skin’s darker than usual, maybe from her recent vacation to Barbados.

“Hey Prisc!” I call back, hitting the lock button on my key fob, then returning Priscilla’s fierce hug, “Let’s do this,” I say, mentally preparing myself for another exhausting evening.

I follow her into the shelter, eager as ever to pull my weight. Sure, I might a successful actress now, but the only luxury I’ve ever really afforded myself is parked right outside, and that’s just because I have an unhealthy obsession with cars, so I couldn’t help it. Other than that, I’ve saved some money, and donated large chunks to the shelter. I’m still living in a humble apartment, and I haven’t ever forgotten my roots, nor will I ever.

A familiar face saunters up to the counters, and I scoop up some hot porridge from the massive, heated vat, serving it into a large cardboard container then passing it over.

“There you go, Arnold,” I say, grinning. He’s one of our regulars, and he stretches his lips into a cute, toothless grin, taking his food and a bottle of water, then sitting at one of the long tables. On one hand I’m glad that I’m getting to know the folks here, but on the other, it breaks my heart that they’re stuck in this predicament in the first place. Even with my half-decent income, I can’t afford to look after them all, give them all homes. And if I did, there’d always be more. So instead, I do what I can, donate what I can, and give them almost all of my spare time, trying my best to help, to look after them. They’re in the same place that I used to be, so, you know, it’s the least I can do.

A large crowd turns up, to be expected at this time of day, and I get to work dishing out food, handing out water, asking people how they’re doing. Some don’t talk, and I’ve learnt to respect that, to not take it personally. Soon enough, everyone’s fed, and it’s time for me to leave. Next up I’ll do a quick street sweep, then finally head on home.

I jog around my usual streets and corners, handing out cans of food, bottles of water, provisions that I’ve brought with me in my backpack. I have this weird feeling, though. Tonight feels different, like there’s a strange pull, dragging me away from my routine. For whatever reason I take a left instead of a right, rushing past a few unfamiliar stores.

And then, I see her. At least, I think it’s a her…

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