“Within every woman lives an actress in need of an audience. You men don’t understand the high that comes when dozens of eyes devour you. We women literally feel it on our skin the moment they look at us,” said Carmen.

“Yes, that’s difficult to understand,” Roy agreed half-jokingly.

They stood in the sand at the water’s edge. The incoming waves barely touched their feet.

“And in every woman there lives a prostitute as well. There is not a woman, no matter how proper, who in the depths of her heart has not dreamt at least for a moment of being the lowliest whore.” Carmen fell silent. “Okay, that’s all for you. I’ve given away too many of our female secrets. By the way, is it okay that we’re standing here so openly and that everyone sees us together? Your wife, you see, will soon strain her neck by walking around and looking at us all the time.”

“It’s ok. She trusts me. She isn’t jealous,” answered Roy, amazed at the ease with which he mentally distanced himself from Michelle.

“Watch out, amigo, so you don’t have any problems. Oh!” Carmen suddenly exclaimed, lifting her foot while resting her arm on Roy’s shoulder. “Looks like I stepped on a shell.” She pulled a tiny black sliver out of her foot. “When are you finally going to show me the last video you took?” she asked, a whimsical note in her voice, and took her hand from his shoulder.

“In a few days. I still have some work to do on it.”

“At least tell me how I turned out in it.”

“The same as always—stunning.”

Roy mentally played the unfinished trailer he’d shot: Carmen in a negligee creeping from the roof of his Buick into the car. The car starts to move and rushes to the cliff’s edge. Aha! That’s what’s missing, what he needs to add. The final scene: it has to have the car flying off the cliff into the ocean, and then Carmen appears in the water, enveloped by the flames.