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hs66150.jpgbuy prints of select halfsquatch photographs at etsy or dawanda. (prints of all photographs are available upon request) day 66

The scene backstage at the Vacancy finale show was frantic. The lights went out, silencing the crowd. In a moment they were up again, this time blinding and bright, accompanied by music set at a punishing volume.

Jimbeau gave the models who didn’t look like models last-minute direction. The tall, skinny girl with the buggy eyes and dark circles was to double up in exaggerated hysterics as she walked down the runway. She was decked out in a bikini top and the puffy pantaloons Jimbeau and Stacey had argued about. She carried beat-up shopping bags from designer stores and a film loop of old homeless ladies rummaging through trash bins played as she walked.

The tall, skinny girl with the crooked nose and pointy breasts wore a dress made entirely of designer labels that Stacey stitched together. The film Jimbeau shot depicted a group of thirteen-year-old girls dressed in private school uniforms and carrying thousand-dollar handbags moving closer and closer to the camera, laughing and taunting an imaginary schoolmate. “Make it look like you’re trying too hard,” Jimbeau said before releasing the girl into the hot stage lights.

The tall, Halfsquatch girl with the wiry hair and the unmistakable stoop was the last model who didn’t at all look like a model to walk. Rebecca wore a black low-cut tank top and a short black leather skirt, black boots with skinny heels that made it hard to balance and forced short steps. The bison hair capelet was brown and fastened with a snap and a small pink satin bow at the neck.

For Rebecca, Jimbeau had no special instructions. “Just walk,” he said.

Rebecca teetered down the runway slowly, keeping her eyes on her feet. Behind her, a Jimbeau’s video collage of media images beat in time to the music, all hard cuts and sharp like a strobe. She stopped at the end of the runway and looked up briefly before turning back.

She was close to completing her walk up the runway when her ankle weakened. Rebecca tried to steady herself. She swayed to one side, then the other. Her arms were spread like a bird’s. The audience gasped. Rebecca regained her balance and walked, making her way back to where she started.

Stacey gave Rebecca a quick hug. Jimbeau grabbed his camera and ordered the house lights up. He rushed out on to the stage and recorded the faces in the front row. “Stacey! Rebecca! Come here!”

The girls joined Jimbeau on the runway. “See,” he said. “I told you people would cry.”

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                                                                                                                                                          ©2008 pamela klaffke