Roberta: Elegy

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Operator Record
Roberta icon.png

The performers of a dirge perform for their own sake.

Unlock conditions

  • Raise Roberta to Elite 2 Level 1.
  • Have at least 50% Trust with Roberta.
Male Columbian icon.png
Morgue Worker
Female Columbian icon.png
Tall Woman
Mansfield Morgue
In Columbia, Roberta makes funeral arrangements for a friend who unfortunately passed away.
<Background 1>
[A worker enters the morgue...]
Morgue Worker Here we are, Miss Baker. My condolences.
[...with Roberta following.]
Roberta May I see her?
Morgue Worker Of course.
[Roberta pulls the cloth over a deceased woman's body to see her face, which belongs to a friend of hers.]
Roberta She looks peaceful... like she wasn't in too much pain.
Morgue Worker She was in the final stages of her disease, and she insisted further treatment was pointless. Most of the plans the doctors came up with were palliative, and so...
So they gave her a lot of suppressants.
Roberta (Wipes tears from eyes)
A while ago, she wrote me a letter to tell me she was sick. I was gonna head back as soon as I could to pay her a visit, but I couldn't take time off work.
When I finally got a few days off and made it to the hospital, her bed was already empty. I asked the nurse, and she gave me this address.
Morgue Worker It's a good thing you came today... If you were just a day later, I'm afraid you wouldn't have been able to see her. According to the schedule, she's going to be cremated tonight.
Roberta Right. So I came just in time.
Morgue Worker Sorry, I didn't mean it like that...
Roberta No, I'm not trying to blame you. I'm just lamenting.
Morgue Worker Are you okay? I can bring you a chair, if you need it.
Roberta No thanks... Did she leave any personal effects?
Morgue Worker Um... We found lots of cosmetics in the apartment she rented. There was also glue, clay, oil paintings, wigs, and some really scary-looking props.
Roberta I guess the room probably looked like a serial killer's hideout.
Morgue Worker Right, we cleared out six cans of fake blood from that room... not to mention the fake limbs and eyeballs.
Roberta Was there anything else?
Morgue Worker Oh, she was holding a notebook when she died.
Roberta Can I see it?
Morgue Worker Give me a minute. I'll get it for you.
[The worker leaves to pick a notebook and returns to give it to Roberta.]
Morgue Worker Here. To tell the truth, as someone who works in a morgue, I can say for certain that this is the scariest thing I've ever seen in my entire life.
Roberta (Flips through the pages) ...
I didn't expect her to hold onto my pictures.
Morgue Worker This scary old woman here... Is that you?
Roberta Yeah, we used to practice on each other. The monster with the pustules all over is her.
[Roberta sifts through the notebook's pages.]
Morgue Worker Hm? Is that a letter?
Roberta "For Baker."
[Roberta reads the letter,]
Roberta Baker:
You awful bitch. It's been ages since I sent you that video tape. The least you could've done is write back, whether you've watched it or not. Mario and I knew
The Living Dead on the Frontier was going to bomb in the theaters.
We had a tight deadline and a tight budget. By the time we were in post, both of us were stretched thin. The only thing that wasn't tight was our pants, with our waistlines shrinking by the day, starved as we were. Mario's still going to get his next picture financed, but most of the producers know his reputation. No one is giving him any money.
I was thinking of helping out after I got discharged, but the doctors all had such long faces. They insisted on me staying in the hospital. The days here are boring, and that got me reminiscing about the old days. That room in the basement we spent all that time in, the ice cold beers with white foam, and the movies we never got tired of...
I'm really scared. I'm scared I'll die alone. If you get the time, could you come visit me?
I really miss you.
Cynthia Edith
Morgue Worker I'm really sorry. We were too careless and didn't notice the letter. If we'd found it, we would've contacted you immediately.
Roberta It's okay. The stuff drawn on here is scary. I get how hard it'd be to look over everything.
Morgue Worker Still, it's an oversight on our part.
Roberta Even if you managed to get in touch with me, it wouldn't have changed anything. I just would've found out she died sooner.
Morgue Worker *sigh*... Once they're dead, they're gone forever. Miss Baker, at the end of the day, you're here. She'll have someone to send her off as she departs on her final journey.
Roberta Is there anything I can do?
Morgue Worker Nothing. I cleaned her body yesterday, got her out of her hospital gown, and changed her into some proper clothes.
Roberta Thanks for that.
Morgue Worker I was just doing my job. In a minute, I'll put on some makeup. She'll look much better.
Roberta Makeup? Is that something you usually do?
Morgue Worker Oh, it's just some broad strokes. There's really nothing that special to it.
Roberta Is it okay... if I do it?
Morgue Worker Well... Are you sure about that? Knowing who you are...
Roberta I don't mind, and I just so happen to have all the tools I need on me.
Morgue Worker But...
Roberta Let me do her makeup one last time, like the old days.
Morgue Worker Yeah... I guess I couldn't do it as good as you.
Roberta Now that's not true. You're the expert here when it comes to embalming. I'm sure I'll have questions for you later.
Morgue Worker Not at all...
Roberta (Wipes the deceased's face)
Do you know... how she died?
Morgue Worker Chronic poisoning. The doctors think it's because of long-term exposure to cheap, low quality paint. The staff who handled her belongings also complained about how pungent those things all were.
Roberta ......
Morgue Worker You don't seem surprised.
Roberta When a low budget production finally gets funded, who'd spend the money on a makeup artist instead of a couple more hot actresses? Of course they'd just keep pinching pennies on every opportunity they got.
And I warned her about this a long time ago...
(Looks up and blinks)
Never mind. It's all in the past now.
(Picks up the brush)
Morgue Worker Why did you stop?
Roberta I've never done makeup on the dead. She's here, but she can't say a single word to me. I really don't know how she wanted herself to look in the end.
Morgue Worker Actually, when we apply makeup to the dead, we don't always do it the way they'd want. Sometimes, we do it the way their family wants them to look.
Just make her look the way you'd want.
Roberta The way I'd want...?
Morgue Worker That's right. The most beautiful she ever looked in your memories.
Roberta The most beautiful she's looked...
<Flashback starts here>
<Background 2>
[Roberta is lost on her thoughts while waiting someone.]
Roberta ......
Tall Woman Hey, Baker! Baker! Something on your mind?
Roberta Cynthia! I've waited for you for a whole hour! You know that?!
Tall Woman Sorry, this meal's on me, okay?
Roberta Where have you been?
Tall Woman I ran into Mario around the corner, so I talked to him for the better part of the day. I got no idea who he ripped off this time, but he came up with the money to start shooting his next picture.
Roberta He never knows when to give up, huh?
Tall Woman You know, I'm not one to give up, either!
Roberta I know, but the last couple times you two worked together... really bombed. You know what the stuck-up critics call him? "Box Office Poison," "Wrankwood's Tumor."
Tall Woman Hmph, the same people called him "Father of the Slasher" and "Master of Horror" fifteen years ago.
Roberta Cynthia, it's time for us both to admit that slasher flicks are out. Mario's time has come and gone.
Tall Woman Do you remember that time we got together in the basement and watched The Vault of Gore together. It's what inspired us to become makeup artists.
Roberta The bizarre, horrifyingly lifelike looks scared us shitless. It wasn't until later we learned it was just latex and oil paint.
Tall Woman You kept freaking out on the way back home. It was so annoying.
Roberta Look who's talking. You were so freaked out, you couldn't say a single word. You ignored me the whole trip.
Tall Woman and Roberta Hahahahaha!
Tall Woman Haha... *cough*...
Roberta (Quickly gives her a cup of water)
Are you okay, Cynthia?
Tall Woman *gulp* *gulp*... I'm fine. So anyway, why did you ask me here today, Baker?
Roberta A crew working on a historical drama came looking for me. They need a makeup artist to help them do up a whole gaggle of Victorian noblewomen. I'm thinking you might be the right girl for the job.
Tall Woman A Victorian period piece... We're talking elegant eyebrows and extravagant hairstyles? Interesting.
Roberta It's funded by the Victorian government, so the budget's solid. The cast, director, and everyone's the best of the best in the industry. You'll make all kinds of connections.
They'll see what you can do. And after this job, you won't ever have to worry about getting work again.
Tall Woman Nah... Maybe next time. I already told Mario I'd do his movie.
Roberta Please, Cynthia. Turn Mario down. This is the better opportunity.
Tall Woman Say what you want, disgusting, extreme, but those bloody scenes inspire me.
Roberta You know you sound like a serial killer?
Tall Woman Good idea. Sounds like a fine career.
Roberta I'm not kidding. You need to think about your future.
Tall Woman I know the B-movies I work on have stupid plots full of holes and crude cinematography. I know they're so weird and out-there that audiences ignore them and the critics razz them.
But I don't care. I think there's nothing more awesome! My movies are brave enough to actually do stuff the mainstream films shy away from. The cookie-cutter blockbusters don't dare to imagine what the B-movies do.
They're eccentric, weird, absurd, and over-the-top. And that's what freedom means to me, it's what I've always dreamed of.
Roberta But how are we supposed to chase our dreams with no food on the table?
Tall Woman Life is short, Baker. The more you want, the less you actually get. Sometimes, we have to focus on the things that we really want, instead of everything.
Tell me. Do you really like those pictures you work on? Is that 'refined taste' really worth pouring all your energy and effort into?
Roberta I... I don't know. It's all just work to me. I just do my job.
Tall Woman What about all the stuff that you've shelved? When will you go back to that?
Roberta When I get the chance... I... I'll revisit them.
Tall Woman I can't wait, though!
I'll never stop or compromise. I'm gonna do what I love every day, as long as I live, even if it only brings me pain.
<Flashback ends here>
<Background 1>
[After Roberta remembered her times with Cynthia...]
Roberta ......
Morgue Worker Did you come up with something?
Roberta I just remembered a conversation we had. She said she was going to do what she liked.
It was a cloudy day. The guy who owned the restaurant was so stingy that he didn't want to turn on a few more lights. It was completely dark, so I shouldn't have been able to see her face all that clearly...
But I still vividly remember her smile.
The face before her, white as a sheet of paper, overlaps with the face full of resolve and hope in Roberta's memories. She picks up her brush and starts painting the lifeless face.
As her brush applies the makeup foundation stroke after stroke, the face starts to become more vibrant, its dried out cheeks looking plump once more.
Roberta (Sets down the brush)
Morgue Worker Are you finished?
Roberta Yeah, I'm done.
Morgue Worker It's like she's only sleeping. You know your stuff.
Roberta You think so?
I've known her since I started in this industry.
Back then, I didn't have a penny to my name, and I couldn't find a place to stay. She took me into her little basement.
After that, the two of us hopped from production to production, looking for work that could earn us a living.
She was a first-class makeup artist. She could turn a face into something totally different.
Morgue Worker From the sound of it, she could've made a lot of money in Wrankwood.
Roberta You need more than talent to make it big in Wrankwood. Her luck was rotten to begin with, but she was stubborn, too. She skipped every opportunity that came her way.
Seven years. We knew each other seven years. I remember how much energy she had when she got here, how she slaved away at night working on her projects, how excited she was when she got her first credit, and now...
Now she's lying here in the morgue.
Ice cold, pale, and lifeless.
Morgue Worker But she looks much better after the makeup you did on her?
Roberta No, this isn't what I wanted...
Morgue Worker Huh... Is it not good enough?
Roberta What do you think...? If really did it right...
Then why isn't she opening her eyes? Why isn't her heart beating? Why are her lips shut tight...?
Why is she just lying there... in silence?
Morgue Worker Well... because she's dead.
Roberta Right... She's dead... Gone forever.
A sense of perplexity spreads from Roberta's face. At a loss, she simply looks at the tall, lifeless body.
With her guard down, the pain in her heart takes its chance to strike. The sharp sensation spreads out to every corner of her body.
At last, she finds herself unable to stand. She squats down into a ball, buries her face into her knees, and cries uncontrollably.
Roberta If I was... just a little determined, just a little stubborn, would things have turned out different for her?
Morgue Worker What makes you say that?
Roberta In Wrankwood, two things top the big studios' wishlists. First and foremost, they want people who follow orders. Next, they want technique. Your dreams and interests don't matter.
I know that better than anybody, but I gave up on pushing her. I couldn't do it.
Because... there was a voice in my heart that told me she was right.
But I decided to ignore it. I couldn't keep going, like she did.
I made it all the way to today. I bowed my head to put food on the table.
I gave up and sacrificed a lot to stay commercial. And so my work became more and more successful.
At the same time, my stuff got less interesting. I'm sure, one day, I'll be completely sick of it.
But the excitement and joy she had never died down from the day she started in the business.
I think... with nothing else, that could've pushed her to make a name for herself.
I've always held out hope that her luck would turn around, that she'd be the exception to prove the rule. I really hoped for her... but I was wrong.
Sorry... I'm sorry, Cynthia.
Morgue Worker Miss Baker. How... how is any of that your fault?
Roberta (Cries uncontrollably)
Morgue Worker ......
<Background fades out and in>
Roberta Sorry, I lost my cool.
Morgue Worker Don't worry about it. People break down in here all the time. You actually kept it together pretty well.
Roberta Honestly... The moment you sent her into the cremator, the thought of wiping all the makeup off crossed my mind.
Morgue Worker Why?
Roberta I was thinking, how could I let a peaceful sleeping face define her whole life?
I covered up all her life experience with makeup and forced a peaceful expression onto her... How is that any different from everything I gave up?
Morgue Worker But you didn't... Why?
Roberta At the very moment... all of a sudden, I didn't wanna be a makeup artist anymore. I told myself, for just a second, I would become an embalmer who's committed to her work.
I wanted to let her leave this world happy, even if it's all fake.