“First day, easy exercise. Look into my eyes, think of the person you don’t want to think of ever and with all the air in your lungs, yell at me – YOU! It’s simple.”
Adrian stood at the centre of the stage, under a single spotlight – nimble on his feet, hair tied in neat pony, back straight as a sentry – like he owned the theatre, its air, its mood, even the people inside. His penetrating gaze scanned through the almost empty seating and stopped at the only person who was eagerly waving her hand in the air, trying to catch his attention.
“Would you like to be the first one?” He scanned through the rest of the seating, fixing his eyes to the farthest end of the theatre, albeit for a fraction of a second. “So be it. Come on up.”
Debbie, trying to act every part of the example she was about to set, walked gracefully to the stage. As she entered, a second spotlight fell on her and followed her as she walked closer to Adrian.
She took a deep breath; put her left hand on her hip and with an exaggerated swing of her right index finger spat out, “You!”
The shrillness of her voice resonated from the walls. Adrian stood like a rock. “A sincere but bad effort.” He spoke softly. “If only you had listened to what I said than just hearing my words before raising your arm in the air, perhaps it would have been an iota better. But that wouldn’t have been a lot either. Nevertheless, thank you for being the only enthusiastic one in this class of zombies.” He smiled curtly.
There was a little stirring in the class as Debbie got back to her seat awkwardly, averting the eyes of her peers.
“Is there a Cassy in this class? The one recommended by the mighty famous Rubello?” Adrian asked, stressing extra softly at the adjectives.
The farthest end of the theatre stirred. “That would be me.” A hand stuck out in the air.
“Step up for us, will you now Cassy. Let me take a good look at you – the girl Rubello staked his reputation for. What was it he said about you? Beacon of young actors? And where did he meet you exactly? If the talks are to be believed, he met you at a small retail store conning him with a fake discount offer of sorts? Fascinating how the grapevine works. Anyway, do you mind showing us all what he saw in you, wherever that was? Rubello… the acclaimed actor for years, my peer in this very institute thirty years ago… I want to know what’s become of his judgment since.”
Cassy walked to the stage, struggling to gather her thick wavy hair in a rubber band.
“Yeah, so what lines are we reciting?” she asked, rubbing her hands, shifting her weight from one leg to the other.
Adrian arched an eyebrow, trying to make sense of her question.
“You see, I was listening to Eminem on my iPod when someone nudged me to raise my hand. So I have no clue what you said till someone nudged me again to walk to the stage. So what are we doing, fill me in Proff…. Sorry didn’t catch your name. I am Cassy by the way. Nice meeting you. You have a nice setup here. You don’t see us, we don’t see you if we don’t want to. I like it. Convenient.” She winked.
The class erupted in laughter, but one sharp shift of Adrian’s gaze brought silence back again.
“So, you didn’t listen to a word I said all this while?” Adrian asked in a low voice, a strand of hair falling to his face.
“That is correct.” Cassy nodded, hands on her hips.
For the first time since the class had begun, Adrian seemed to lose control of the situation. He fumed and looked around dangerously.
“You… prick of a girl. How dare you talk to me like that! I always knew Rubello’s mediocre acting experience could only manifest into such notions of good acting! Whatever he might be outside, I call the shots in this institute, and I will have you out of these premises before the day ends. It is but my solemn pledge.”
“Why, that would make me 100$ rich! I bet Ruby boy I won’t last a day. I could ask for an extra bonus for winning with such flying colors! We are… what 45 minutes into the first day? How awesome is that!” Cassy chuckled.
Adrian was wild and confused with anger. “You!” He growled, hurt like a child. “You!” He looked at her like he could rip her apart.
Cassy, no longer laughing crossed her arms and stood still. “I think you are not doing it right Adrian, it needs to be louder than that. Fill your lungs and spit it out is what you said, right? Something like this I s’pose.” Cassy stepped closer to Adrian, eyes wide staring into his, arms still crossed, body relaxed and feet light. Her face a stone, only her mouth moved as a deafening, loud and intense voice came out. “YOU!”
Adrian stepped back in shock, a look of pure hatred on his face at the realization of what just happened.
Cassy began to descend the stage, but turned back again. “Oh, and the grapevine is right. I was conning Rubello at the retail store, but the offer was not fake… only strategically worded. It is part of my job. I am a sales girl you see. Rubello told me about you. He told me there’s a weeping woman behind the curtain of your primness. Be good to Debbie next time, she works as hard as you used to back in your day. You don’t have to be your professor. Be the difference you wanted to see.”
“This… You… I… I will not spare you girl, I promise”, Adrian spoke feverishly; sweat trickling from his temple.
“Oh but do spare me please! Frankly, this is a waste of time. You have fun with your art and craft, while I experiment at the truth lab that’s real world. And, here’s my card. Drop in at my store sometime. I would love to have you as one of my closed opportunities! Yes, I am that good.”
She sauntered out of the theatre, humming Space Bound.
This is my entry for Inspirational Monday this week hosted by BeKindReWrite. I have used the prompts – “woman behind the curtain” and “the truth lab”.
Inspirational Monday is a word-prompt challenge with no stringent word limit where various word prompts are given to choose from and spin a story around anytime before the next Monday. You have the creative freedom to use the prompt anyway you like. It is an enjoyable exercise and worth trying!
To check this week’s prompts and last week’s entries, please click here.