The curtains slowly drew together and as the stage lights began to fade and the audience began to clap… He lifted the gun in his hand and fired! The shot rang around the auditorium and the claps were frozen in an almighty gasp.
The lights came up. The curtains opened. The crowd roared and stood up to clap louder. The cast came out and took a bow, then He came out, a massive grin on his face as he received their acclamation. The buzz was electric. The best yet! A stupendous high! The Adrenalin rushed through his veins… The best yet… Yet it was also the last time, a swansong for the production. So that even as he enjoyed this feeling he could anticipate the LOW which would inevitably follow… Tonight, He would take the buzz and ride with it.
He changed out of his costume and stowed the starter gun and caps at the bottom of his Adidas bag. In the bar, he spoke to the barmaid he had invited to watch the performance the night before.
“I’m glad I met you before I saw you act!” She said with a wry smile.
“Because you scared the shit out of me, you scary bugger… I would have thought you were a real psychopath!”
“It’s just an act.” He said, happy that he’d been that convincing, and made to the table with all the other cast members and the director. They were all verbally patting each other on the back… But he didn’t feel part of it anymore. They had slipped effortlessly back into their middle-class personas, and he wanted no part of that. He moved on to the table where his friends sat, Jane and Geoff.
Jane was a spiky character, with a Mohawk haircut and many facial piercings. It Had been her advice that had helped him find the character of Paul within himself. She had taught him to walk with a “fuck you” attitude… She had lent him her parachute boots and combat jacket. Here, she was ebullient, full of the message of the play, anti-modern life anti road building anti all modernity. Geoff was just relieved. He had been the Stage Manager and the Actor was really tough on things going wrong. Geoff had made sure that everything went smoothly.
These were his people. The rest, the cast and director had been picked by the writer, Michael. He had been vaguely disappointed with the way the play had been directed, but the actor told him he only had himself to blame, He had chose them all after all.
After one drink, the rest of the cast rose as one and said they were going for a celebratory curry.
The actor, Jane, Geoff and Michael, the writer, went back to Geoff’s house to have a few more drinks before going to have a curry. Geoff and Michael said after a pint that they better go and join in the celebrations. Jane, swigging from a bottle of white wine, said she didn’t fancy a curry. The Actor said he would rather drink than eat, and to wish all the others all the best with their future careers. Fuck Them! Is what he really meant!
Jane, swayed across to Geoff’s extensive record collection…
“What music do you want to fuck to?”
The actor choked on his pint… She could do that to you, totally blindside you. They had not fucked before. They were mates. Jane claimed to be a lesbian.
She picked up a copy of Devils by Xmal Deutschland,
“Whatever you want my beautiful bitch!”
“A bit of German Goth should fit the mood”
She put the record on the turntable and swayed towards him. As the beat kicked in, she pulled him up to an embrace. They kissed and swayed, she circled him sinuously, bumping and grinding against him like a stripper. He grabbed her face, and kissed her deeply… She pulled away from the kiss and looked deeply into his eyes… Then she slowly slipped down to her knees… He closed his eyes and sought bliss. It didn’t come. They tried hard to create the friction and fiction of love, but it was too full on too needy. They got there, but with no crescendo and no finesse.
They sat on the settee and enjoyed a large spliff. They drank. They talked. And they were mates again. The lovers lost out to the need for a close friend.
The others returned. They spoke of amazing curries… You should have come.
“I did.” The actor said.
“So did I.” Jane chimed in. The others didn’t know where to go with this.
The Actor walked Jane home. As she walked along the side street she began to kick the mirrors off parked cars.
“Don’t do that!” He cursed.
“Fucking killing the planet…”
“Not these people, these are poor, don’t brake their cars, you can’t blame them.”
She stopped kicking cars, and ran up the road screaming loudly, in joy rather than anger.
At two in the morning, people cannot tell the difference, and to be honest, they don’t care. A hundred yards up the road, a police car pulled up beside them.
“Where do you two think you’re going.”
“I’m going home, officer, I don’t know where he’s going, he keeps following me.”
“Jane behave. Hello, officer, I’m just walking her home.”
” What have you got in the bag? We have had reports that somebody was trying to brake into cars.”
“I have my costume in the bag officer, I’ve just come off-stage at the Meridian Theatre.”
“Would you mind opening the bag?”
“Not at all, as you can see, Its a combat jacket, boots, parachute trousers… I was playing an army type character.” The cop looked into the bag and rummaged around. He was satisfied… He let them go, then he called the actor back,
“You want to be careful with her mate, she’s a right nutter, she threatened to stab one of our plain clothes men when he spoke to her.”
“I’ll be fine thanks.”
The policeman got back in the car and drove off down the road.
The actor pissed himself laughing. Jane looked angry,
“What the fuck are you laughing at?”
“That cop… What a dick. I’ve got the gun and ammo in the bottom of my bag and he didn’t even notice… Thank God!”
this is mostly a true story. Which bits are not are for me to know and you to guess.