Chicago rocks! I watched it maybe a month ago, and went straight on the site to read the fics. I got through them all in a shorter amount of time than I would have liked, so I decided to contribute to the numbers. And so, the result of some thinking and a bad mood; a short, dark fic, brought to you by Miss Poisonous, in her first attempt to honour the brilliance of Chicago. Thanks heaps to sweet775, who lent me a few gimmicks from her story! Enjoy, please review, but beware! Angsty Velma ahead!!
Disclaimer: I totally own Chicago, being a musical and choreography genius. That being said, I am nothing but a storyteller and I don't own anything worth owning. Except the dvd.
Roxie didn't suit black. Dark colours weren't really her thing. She preferred bright, light, cheerful; like herself. Black was reserved for the dark and mysterious – those who wanted to hide from the world, who wanted to scare people away, who had something they didn't want others to see. That wasn't Roxie. She wanted to be seen. She wanted people to know her. She wore colours to get noticed.
But today she wore black. Because today Roxie Hart had something to hide. Guilt.
"Mary Sunshine reporting from the Cook County Jail, where today, Velma Kelly will hang for the murder of her husband and sister. After being abandoned by Mr Billy Flynn, Ms Kelly's case was taken, and lost, by Mr Gregory Anderson. She ascends the steps now, not a trace of fear in her proud eyes. She faces the crowd with an almost petulant look on her face. She's going to speak…"
Velma looked at her audience, quite satisfied with the turnout. She would not let them down. Never let it be said that Velma Kelly went out without a bang.
She stepped onto the platform. Camera after camera flashed in her face, and she smiled for them. She would not lose her cool. She would never lose her cool.
"Thank you all for coming to see me today. I'm sure you are all anxious for the show to begin, but first, I have a few things to say. Assuming, of course, that I am allowed to address the public?" She gave the policeman next to her a vampish smile. He went slightly red and nodded.
"Great. There are just a few things I need to set straight before I go, you see. So, take a moment to listen, and listen good, because I can assure you I won't be repeating myself."
She had them captivated now. Everything was silent. Not a bird or even a breath of wind could be heard. They still had some respect for her.
"I'm sure everyone thinks they are familiar with my story. And you certainly would be, if it was my story. But it's not. And that is because Billy Flynn is a selfish, worthless, lying scumbag. He invented the story that I didn't remember anything about the murder of Veronica and Charlie. It's not true. I remember everything about that night. And if you still haven't figured it out, yes, I killed them. Because they were fucking behind my back. The only people who meant anything to me betrayed me without a second thought. And do you know what they did when I found them together? They laughed. And kept right on going while I was still standing there. So I took the gun from Charlie's open suitcase, and I shot. I shot them until they would have drowned in their own blood if they hadn't been dead already. That is the truth.
"But Mr. Billy Flynn couldn't risk his precious reputation. 'Never lost a case, Vel,' he'd say. 'I'm not about to let you ruin that.' So he created a new story, one where I never shot anyone and was just the heartbroken victim with a slight case of amnesia. Of course, I didn't want to swing, so I played along. But considering the current circumstances, I feel perfectly justified in telling you about the real Billy Flynn, the deceiving, cheating bastard who talks shit for a living. And I'd bet my life he faked that Hart bitch's story too; that is, if I had it to bet."
Velma stared out at her crowd. They were still silent, but it was a different silence. In the beginning it was curious, now it was shocked, horrified, almost frightened. She looked at them all defiantly, daring them to feel sorry for her.
"I hope that I have corrected your false interpretations of Billy Flynn, and with a bit of luck, Roxie Hart as well. They are not amazingly talented lawyers or innocent little housewives. He is a greedy, lowlife fraud, and she is an obnoxious, egotistical slut.
I realise I could also be called a fraud, as I lied to save my neck. But now that I am where you apparently want me, I have nothing left to lose. And I will rest in peace if I know I have taken those two down with me.
So now you know the real Velma Kelly story. My husband and sister hurt me like nothing else could, so I killed them. My life was destroyed that night. My existence is destroyed today. I have a few people to thank for that, and I'd like to do that now. Thankyou Roxie. Thankyou Billy. Thankyou Mr Harrison. Thankyou Veronica. Thankyou Charlie."
For the first time, a tear found its way down Velma Kelly's cheek. She shut her eyes, and when she opened them again, she looked formidable, yet still as stunning as ever.
The crowd stared up at her in a kind of chilled awe. They didn't know what to do. The policeman looked extremely awkward, looking around him uncertainly. When no reassurance came, he reluctantly made his way very slowly towards the tigress before him. Regret plastered all over his face, he took the rope, regarding it as though it was a venomous python. He slipped it over Velma's head, and carefully tightened the noose.
Velma lifted her chin, and tried to smile, but hot tears spilled over of their own accord. She brushed them away, furious that they would dare to ruin her composure. She stepped onto the trapdoor, her bound hands shaking.
"And so ends 'the' Velma Kelly. Famous for a crime you knew nothing about. But it is fame, and that's Chicago; fame at all costs. It's a mysterious place, and I'm not sure how to say goodbye to it. I could hate it, because it is basically where everything went wrong in my life. I could thank it, because it earned me a living doing what I love. I could love it, because it's dangerous, it's sexy, it's jazzy…which happens to suit me perfectly. But for now, I think I'll just congratulate it, because nothing before it has ever defeated me. Then again, it only has to happen once.
Tears running freely down her face now, Velma cleared her throat with finality.
"So, goodbye, Chicago. Don't miss me too much."
No one could watch as the unfortunate policeman pulled the lever. People gasped and wept even as the swinging form slowed. No one could even go near the platform, because no one wanted to see a lifeless shell that was all that remained of the famous Velma Kelly.
About three weeks after her release, Roxie returned to the Cook County Jail. Shyly, she stuck her head around the matron's door.
"Excuse me, Miss Morton? Mama?"
"Ah, well, if it ain't little Miss Hart. What brings you back here, kid?"
"Oh, I just came to collect a few of my things, if that's alright."
"Sure hon. Right this way."
As she followed the larger woman down familiar corridors, Roxie caught the attention of several people in the cells.
"Look, that's Roxie Hart."
She turned, smiling, to see who had recognised her. A girl she didn't know glared at her from behind the bars.
"Don't smile at me, bitch. I know it's all fake."
Startled and hurt, Roxie hurried after Mama. Several more shouts issued from cells as she went past.
"Get lost, Hart, you tarnish the view."
"You've got a fucking nerve to come here, tramp."
"Hey blondie, do the world a favour and go play in the lawnmower."
Roxie caught up with Mama, who had stopped outside an empty cell. She felt frightened and confused.
"Mama, what's going on? Why were they all shouting at me like that?"
"Oh, like you don't know."
The harsh, angry voice sounded vaguely familiar, and Roxie knew it wasn't the matron who had spoken. She looked in the direction of the voice, and spotted Liz, the woman who had shot her husband for popping his gum. This had scared her right from the start, but now Liz looked positively rabid.
"Just cut the fucking act. You're not fooling anyone. Never thought playing the victim suited you anyway."
"I don't understand," Roxie whispered timidly.
"You killed Velma Kelly!" shouted Liz, her wild eyes fitting well with her tangled mane of curls. Roxie backed away in fright.
"You killed her, if it weren't for you she would've been free, it's your fault she's dead!"
"You thought you were such a big star, didn't you?" came the low, dangerous murmur of June, the milkman's fantasy. "You thought people would love you no matter what you did. Well let me tell you something, sweetheart, I, for one, would happily swing for your death, and the world would praise me for it. You're nothing but a worthless phoney, your talent couldn't fill an eggcup, and it should be you in Kelly's place now, because no one, no one would miss you!"
"Now, June, Liz," said Mama softly. The murderesses disappeared into the shadow of their cells.
"Have a look in there," she told Roxie, pushing her gently into the empty cell. Roxie spun around to look at her.
"Mama?" she said, her voice pleading and pitiful. Mama's shoulders relaxed as she sighed, but she did not turn around.
"Vel was something of a hero round here, kid," she said. "And she practically blamed you at her execution, so naturally, they blame you too. Don't take it too hard. After all, you're alive."
For a fleeting moment, her eyes met Roxie's, and the younger girl could see how they ached with grief. She was mourning Velma. Everyone was mourning Velma.
Before she could think of anything to say, Mama was gone. Roxie took a deep, shuddering breath, and walked slowly over to the boxes on the bed. She knelt down, dragged the boxes onto the floor and began to dig through them. Eventually, she found what she was looking for, and straightened up, clutching her robe and a pair of stockings. She heaved the boxes back onto the bed, and it was then that something caught her eye. There was writing on the wall, above the bed. Roxie looked around, then climbed onto the bed herself to read it.
'Ladies and gentlemen, Velma Kelly says goodnight.'
She stared at it, transfixed with shock. She got slowly off the bed and backed away. It was her cell. Her writing there on the wall, sadistic, sarcastic and bitter; the very essence of Velma. Nothing to Roxie had ever looked so terrifying, but even as she crumpled to the floor, crying as if she would never stop, she knew that somewhere, the mirthless Ms. Kelly was laughing.