Old Man Down (Sample--can't help it...have to get it out)
I stood next to the outside of the dorm hall with tears streaming down my face and my heart feeling like it would crack a rib or two...if only Michael had been there to slam Richard's head into the wall; or we both could have taken turns at him. What I had said in there was the truth and I was happy, in a way, to say it to him but I also felt like I had loaded the rifle and personally handed it over to my executioner; or at the very least, I was in for mountains of paperwork, administrative hearings and several calls from my father about the hell I most likely unleashed.
I was okay with that.
The thought of being separated from Micheal was a bigger hit to me. Yeah, I probably be alone in the women's dorm room, either in some protected area--like in a hastily reconfigured janitor's closet or next to a dorm hall monitor. We would have less time to spend with each other and I would miss having him sleeping next to me--as having him close was the best thing in the world--and that thought made me smile as I stepped away from the dorm room and walked to the theatre.
Mrs. Peterson, Richard, my dad, ...yeah, they were all on my check list of people I didn't want to ever have to deal with but I would have to deal with Mrs. Peterson for a little while longer--with the battle scar on my arm; Rick, perhaps for only another day and dad...well, my name was no longer be Novoselic in a few months and he wouldn't have to worry about me or anything I did.
The stage was lit up but no one was there. I slowly walked down the aisles became at the time I was kind of afraid of everything--or at least of some people. My podium was where it normally was, devoid of any demonic looking teachers or letters from dungeon--dorm--masters.
Heather stepped out of the wings and ran to me. I wasn't sure how to feel at that moment--I mean for as long as we knew each other, she had the fondest disdain for me and I guess my expression tipped her off.
"I. Want. To apologize to you, I mean I just thought about it yesterday and I thought, man...I was a bitch."
"Excuse me?" I had no idea what she meant at that moment.
"I tried to steal your boyfriend."
"Fiancée', actually," I replied as she hugged me.
"Even worse...I mean--I see why you were like that and I--"
"It's okay," I replied as she stepped away. "We're used to it."
"Also, I want to thank you for what you did and about Miss--Holy shit, where did that come from?"
Heather looked at my arm.
"Miss Peterson." I replied.
"She grabbed you?"
"Uh-huh," I sighed, "but I'm okay. What doesn't kill you makes you strong, right?"
"You should report her."
"Some battles are avoided in order to win a war, you know?"
Heather's expression stated that she wasn't sure how to answer my question as the other members of the troupe filed in with Mr. Montesi rushing in from behind.
“Everyone on stage. Quick, quick , quick now! Tally ho and all the sort.”
Heather and I joined the rest of the group. I got a few friendly waves and a look of arrogance from Marcus, but I didn’t really care.
“Everyone take a seat on the stage. Wherever. That’s good.” Mr. Montesi paced back and forth and looked up a bit. “We have a small problem. We have received threats.”
“I knew we should have performed MacBeth; less controversy,” Brendon raised his hands in mock anguish.
“Maybe 12th Night?” Marcus interjected.
Mr. Montesi shook his head.
“Yes sir?” Marcus laughed for a moment.
There was some muffled laughter from the rest of cast, but Marcus looked away from the group.
“What was the threat about, Mr. Montesi?” Halley asked.
“A part of me thought it was a hoax—made by theatre hating pond scum of the lowest caliber. I guess we if erected goal posts at the ends of the auditorium, maybe. Anyway, It may very well be nothing. In fact, I admit I shouldn’t have told you. Keep it to yourself, they told me, but you’re all old enough to know about security matters and I just want you all to know that there will be security present tomorrow. So, I suppose we will kind of be like a football game—we just won’t sell beer.”
“What was the threat?”
“They didn't say, Chad. The office just said there was to be a heightened presence of campus police. If all goes well will have quite the captive audience. Let’s get going. We’re starting at the beginning of Act Three.”
We all got up and walked to the back of the house as the lights went down.
The stagehands and actors criss-crossed past me as I readied a headset.
“Test check, Mr. Montesi?”
“Check, Kristi,” came the reply. “One minutes to start.”
“Yes, sir.” I waited a moment as the actors moved into their places. “Mr. Montesi?
I hesitated my question, for fear that is would sound like I was either feeling like I was extra special or that I was a pariah on the production. “Was the warning about me?” I asked, possibly loud enough for everyone to hear if everyone wasn’t in their own world.
“Don’t worry about it, Kristi. Everything will be fine.”
“Yes, sir,” I replied as I clicked the microphone off “Curtain!”
Practice continued as if nothing was wrong.
Technically, that was true. Nothing had happened and it didn’t help to dwell on an imaginary boogeyman—but of course, I had to. I had to think of the worst; the 21st century of a witch hunt or a tar and feathering party. I mean I had a radio on me so I could contact out for help and I had a cell phone to notify the police or Micheal but I didn't like the anticipation.
I took several deep breaths. I had to break away from my thoughts; concentrate on the comedy before me.
“Kristi?” Mr. Montesi’s voice came over the radio.
“I’m in the audience, near the back, we need to adjust the lighting on the right stage for tomorrow night. Please note that.”
“Acknowledged,” I replied as I scribbled down the instruction.
Yes, if I could keep busy—any minor detail would do: lightning, a microphone issue, earthquakes, birds, snakes, airplanes…Anything to keep my mind off of what I knew would be impending doom.
My cell vibrated in my pocket and I took a second longer than I normally did to think about looking at it. The caller ID read it was my parents so I declined to answer it.
“You okay?” Heathre asked as she stepped up behind me. She was in costume; one which left so little to the imagination that Shakespeare
would have had to excuse himself.
“Yeah, yeah, I’m fine, I—“
“So, about Miss Peterson?”
“I’m not going to confront her. My word against hers and I’m not going to go down as some scapegoat to her twisted idea of society.”
“Who said anything about confronting her? I hear the power is in the pen, right?
I had to smile at that—as she was so right. It appeared that we both missed out on a possible earlier friendship. Maybe I really should not have said “Yo baby” to her.
“I can help with your list of demands.”
“I don't have any demands.”
“Sure you do. To be seen for who you are, right? To not have to sit in the back of the room like some of freak of nature.”
“Been there, done that.”
“And you’re telling me it doesn’t piss you off?”
“It would have been fine if my parents had just signed my birth certificate as they should have—but—but they didn’t. I was talking with Amanda Marks about it all too, I—“
“I’ve met her…kind of sweet,” Heathre replied with a hint of sadness to her voice. “I mean, she’s an okay person.”
“Yeah, I did, but—Jacob.”
“Don’t let hm stand in your way. If anything, you’d be the best thing for her.”
“I don’t know,” Heathre twirled her hair between her fingers as she fidgeted with the gold prop chain. I seriously hoped she wouldn’t get her hair caught in the chain. “I mean, look at me, I’m—“
“Strong, out-going and willing to get what she wants, right?”
“But, you’ve seen her, and—“
“Why do I feel we should have talked a few months back? Let’s go talk with her, after practice.
“Kristi?” Mr Montesi’s voice broke the conversation.
“Make a note on spotlight four. It’s a bit too dim and I want Marcus to enter in from stage left instead of get center.”
“Yes sir.” I turned to Heathre. “Sound good?”
“Yeah, you’ll be there, right?”
“I will. And you’re on in thirty seconds.”
The rest of the dress rehearsal went on as normal. No one was put off by the earlier threat and several jokes were made about it how it must have been from the one of the fraternities or a football player who suffered trauma in high school form having to read “Romeo & Juliet”. I admit, I even fell into the self-induced poppy field that is all going to be okay; not like the building would be rigged to explode or anything.
We lowered the curtain at seven-forty five and everyone pretty much fell where they were standing except the make-up department who tried to get everyone who had breads or other prosthetics to come back to the wings to have them carefully removed.
Marcus and Brendon ripped each other’s off in a “this will hurt me more than it does you” competition.
I handed over my long hand written list of notes that Mr. Montesi has me keep track of—as my playbook margins were already filled with short-hand hieroglyphs and then went out to the auditorium to see Micheal sitting in the middle row.
“How long you’ve here?”
“The last few scenes.”
I ran to him and he almost picked me up and over his shoulders—and as much as I would have loved that—he lowered me down.
"Are you back to your stage manager job?"
"Yeah, but I'm fine with it. Heather's good with her part. I really misjudged her then, I mean she admits she was being a bitch now that she knows."
"Knows about the 'us' part, right?"
"Uh-huh, she just thought I was some goth punk."
"Aren't you still?"
"I think the correct term is "emo", now. But I'm not emo."
"Is that short for emotional, because if it is-"
"You're so hilarious. How was work?" I asked as I took a short look back to the stage
"Long, hard, draining, but worth it. I get to work with my hands."
"I know something you can work with your hands."
"I like how you think," he replied.
“But first, we have a short, kind of get together,”
“Get together with?”
“Yes,” I replied. “And Amanda.”
“I’m going to be so out-numbered,” Micheal whistled.
“I spoke with Richard today.
“I’m not going to have him threaten us. Oh, anyway it was just a threat and he is just—“
“Worse than that,’ I replied as Heathre walked down the aisle.
“Heathre, this is Michael Nelson.
“Hello, fellow Vol, right?” Micheal asked.
“Yeah, not one of my better lines.” She replied as her face turned bright red. I’m not sure if Micheal noticed or cared to acknowledge it.
“As I’l ever be. Let’s do this before I get cold feet, turn around and run away.”
I took my cell phone out and made the call.
Heathre’s eyes widened—I never mentioned I had Amanda’s phone number.
“Yeah, I was just wanting to know if you wanted to talk, I—“
I looked to Heathre and gave a thumbs up.
We met up with Amanda as an Italian entry located on the strip and sat in a booth in the far corner of the restaurant. It was an eatery know for its cheesy calzones and speedy delivery to the campus…at least according to Danny, as always ordered pizza from them.
Amanda and Heathre sat across from Micheal and myself. It was kind of a strange set-up and to be honest, I wasn’t exactly sure if I could get anything sparked between them because, well, I didn’t know how it was going to go.
“So,” Amanda said as she looked at everything else besides the three of us, I’ve never been here.”
“They got a wonderful salad,” Heathre said, “you can ask to have it servered in a bowl made from calzone. To. Die. For.”
“All kinds of cheeses?”
“Skies the limit.”
I tried to hide a smile, no such luck, as Micheal patted my leg—unseen by the other side of the table.
I felt my cell phone buzz in my purse and retrieved it. There were thirteen calls, all coming form the Memphis area.
“They called me five times today. No voice mail.”
“Dad hates talking to machines. Excuse me,” I said as Michael got up to let me out. “Hello?”
"Why am I'm getting calls from a lawyer for Stephen English about his daughter? What's going on?"
My dad’s voice was a mix of frustration, slight annoyance and a loss rise of anger on the side.
"Karen Anne?" I asked as I walked away from the table.
"Was that her name?"
"Uh-huh," I replied as Micheal walked over to me,
"What happened? He says something about she's being seen for mental anguish."
“I don’t know, maybe she couldn't take the truth.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about, Kristopher.”
“Yeah, about that,“ I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. “I’m not your son."
"You heard me."
"I’m not your son. I still don’t understand what would make a father mutilate his daughter with parts of her dead brother."
“What are you talking about?”
“Really? You’re going to play the ignorance card on this?”
“Elizabeth!” Dad called for Mom and did not bother to hide his anger. “Kristopher Allen, we have had this discussion.”
“I came out at school.”
“Came out. It was a wonderful looking skirt, it goes with the green streak in my hair.”
I had the thought it my head that I was being a bitch. I mean, I knew what buttons to push .I knew how to piss my father off and I head just given him two pieces of the triangle.
“Aaron, what is going?”
“Will you talk some sense into him, please?”
“Kris, what is going on?”
“Hi mom. I go by Kristi now.”
“Kristi?” She asked. I could feel my father’s veins pulse in his forehead as he turned a deeper shad of scarlet.
“Yes, please put the call on speaker.”
“Okay, one moment, I—Can you hear me?”
“Ask him if he ever got a haircut?”
“No, I have’t, dad. It’s kind of long.”
“Kristina. But, okay, if that’s the way want it then, fine, I came to college as your so-called son, I am going to come home as your daughter. Oh, I’m getting married next year.”
“Kristopher Allen Nos—“ I flipped the cell phone closed.
“You realize you just told your dad off?”
“Yes, and it felt so liberating I want to do it again!
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