Paco Rabanne, take 2

A one page ad in a glossy magazine: image of a man sitting in a brightly lit theatre, looking towards an empty stage that’s framed by deep red curtains. There’s no one else around. His feet are up on the back of one of the seats in front. The man’s in casual daytime clothes. He’s wearing the fragrance that’s being advertised, thinking over the events of the afternoon. He’s been rehearsing the actors in his new play. This is Sweden, perhaps, and the theatre is in the middle of a small Swedish town. But the actors, they’re not very good. Or they’re not quite right, although they were the best from the auditions. He feels differently to yesterday. Not one of the actors has given any indication of really understanding the material, and he’s worried that its message might be getting lost. If only he’d stayed in the city where he lived before. If only he was still in Stockholm. If he were in Stockholm, there’d be a larger pool of talent to choose from. Of course he’s considered the possibility that the play itself might be at fault in some way. That perhaps it’s a little abstruse in parts. There’s nothing to be done about that; the play can’t be rewritten. There’s nothing to be done now about any of it. In either case, whether towards the play or the actors, he’s aware that he’s harbouring less than kind thoughts, and he’d hate for the actors, or anybody else, to be privy to those thoughts. He closes his eyes and kneads his brow and silently berates himself. He’s tired, he’s doubtful. He’s had enough, for today. Head down, he becomes aware of a pleasant subtle scent. His cologne, upon his clothing. The quiet personal fragrance that develops many hours after the cologne’s application. A smell you can’t rush towards. He’s rarely aware of this, his scent. He likes it whenever he catches it. Unrushed, quiet, breathing. He forgets where he is, is briefly disarmed. He reopens his eyes. Enough of this ad. On, to the next page.

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