Wednesday night he felt ill with anticipation. It wasn’t just the pre-stage nerves, though he routinely suffered from that affliction – one that could usually be remedied somewhat by a few stiff drinks before he stumbled on stage. It was more the anticipation that possibly Schaden could be there. In the shadows. Like she’d half-promised.
She didn’t promise at all Voice reminded him, she just said maybe, and you know what ‘maybe’ means from a woman.
The same as it does from a man he thought angrily in reply to Voice.
‘Hey Dave, you ready for the night?’
The jovial greeting came from Andrew, the manager of a number of well-known comedy acts and a regular ghost that haunted the amateur shows at the hotels and bars of the city. David turned to him, instantly overwhelmed as he always was by the sheer size of the man. David was rather delicate, with an angular face and body, more a lithe woodland creature than the big bear that was Andrew. He always thought it suited Andrew to manage. People had probably been doing whatever he said from the days in the playground. Not something that could be said of David.
‘As ready as I’ll ever be,’ David replied, ‘You want a drink? I was just going to get another one before I go on stage.’
‘No thanks,’ said Andrew, ‘I’m here to check you all out, and I like to be clear-headed to do that. You got some new material?’
David felt instantly defensive.
‘Some,’ he said, ‘I’m constantly working it.’
Inside he thought, most of your ‘acts’ Andrew, re-cycle their material year after year with the avidity and fanaticism of the environmentally sound. Why was it always only the ‘unknowns’ that had to be original these days?
‘Good job,’ Andrew said, ‘I’ve liked your work of late. We might have to talk if you’re after representation.’
David felt like fainting. A brief vision of the horror of his daily work in the accountancy office rose before him and then seemed to fall away on a great tidal wave of hope.
‘Any time Andrew,’ he replied, suddenly warming to the monstrosity before him.
He smiled at Andrew, who smiled back at him. David thought to himself Andrew might even be attractive to some people after all – he was handsome in an intensely forbidding and blokey kind of way. And he was large, but it wasn’t fat, he clearly worked out, or he just had a giant for a father. Not David’s type when his desires were so inclined, but still…perhaps not as black as he had been painted.
Then Andrew nodded to him and patted him rather patronizingly on the shoulder.
‘See you after the show maybe,’ he said, ‘I’m off to watch the acts from up the back, and to watch over my girl.’
‘Your girl?’ David asked, ‘Your wife?’
Everyone knew Andrew was married. He wore a ring, he sometimes spoke affectionately of his ‘kids’, so why say ‘girl’? It seemed a strange term to use, and even stranger that she would be here at the hotel that night. He’d always thought comedy wasn’t reputed to be her ‘thing’.
Andrew smirked at him and winked, then shook his head, withdrawing.
Oh, I get it, thought David.
About time, thought Voice.
(c) Helen M Valentina 2015, All Rights Reserved