Chapter Thirteen of THE OFF STAGE, a fictional serial examining the life, real and imagined, of an out of work actor.
By, Melanie Bell
I awake feeling fairly romantic, probably the booze still filtering through my system. There is a vague memory of a discussion with Kepik and Jasper before sleep, the pair of them perched on the end of the bed with the sad fat cat coaxing me into my own personal mania.
Possibly a dream. I did dream, I'm sure of that, some wide long trial filled with people from my past. You know, the usual flying through an exploding mind-shaft with Megan the Pony-girl from second grade, and the smell of the dreaded X streaming in, as strong and vivid as cupping a jar of vanilla extract under the nostril.
Just another full sensory night ghast.
I settle on Megan the Pony-girl as I stretch out my tight limbs like a hibernating grizzly awakening to the spring. Megan the Pony-girl is just the kind of strange girl who might appreciate, or at least offer no judgement, to my hanging of my shoes in the Shoe Tree. She thought she was a pony, I mean really. She galloped everywhere and wore her waist length hair in a thick plait. She only responded in whinnys and neighs when one asked her to play at recess. I remember finding her odd, but fascinating. I thought of her as brave somehow. Maybe she's galloping through the Redwoods now with some equally crazy/brilliant stallion. I hope so.
I sit up having a faint flash of vertigo, and I scan the room. Pizza box loose on the floor, beer cans, a lighter, my pants. Must have been a good night! Or something.
At least the options of what shoes to put on for the day have decreased, that'll save me thirty seconds at some point. I spent two weeks as a child trying to be an efficiency expert because of Cheaper by the Dozen, and occasionally I think like this. Best tidy up a bit and then get on with the figuring out my life bull.
No Christmas show means I should probably either take advantage of the hospitality industry's most popular month and make some money (savings is beginning to deplete) or book a ticket back to Cali for the traditional family affair. What to do.
As my hangover registers with a hearty blow, I really begin to search my mind for what went wrong with the shows. My height? My tap dancing stills? (I have no tap dancing stills.)
I feel overwhelmingly useless. I simply must be creatively useful, the thought clings to my heart in a depressingly desperate way. Everyone wants to be useful, to be needed, think that's universal. But I need to be creatively useful, needed for my imagination, my ability to make a story, to make something, anything! Whether it be a painted popsicle stick castle or an original cello concerto, small or grand, just some form of creative usefulness.
I begin to pick up the strune randomness of my belligerent evening, wandering around in only a short Mickey Mouse jumper with the rash jolting movements of one attempting to convince thyself of upstanding soberness. Drunks do their best to not appear drunk, great tid-bit for portraying one on stage, and I'm giving a steller Method-esque performance right now as I fall face first into my duvet while trying to pull it straight and cleanly up to the pillow.
No time for wallowing, I gave myself a night, a night of debaucherous soul searching and communing with nature.
Must be productive!
Bloody fuck! It's Bonfire Night!