it’ll just be
about the sex. But the sex was so good…”
“A relationship would be better.”
“You’re right. As usual. Guess that’s why I keep you around,
“Nah, you keep me around because I know where all the bodies
Together, they said, “In the graveyard,” then laughed at the
familiar refrain that had amused them since they were college roommates.
“But Gayle, if he does the Bluebeard thing and tells you
there’s a locked room in his house you can’t go into, for God’s sake don’t
check to see if it’s a shrine to his ex. Just get out, while you can.”
* * * * *
When Tuesday night rolled around, Gayle arrived early at the
theater. She took her time filling out the audition form, and ended up assigned
the fifth spot. Close enough to the beginning that she didn’t have too much
time for nerves to tighten her throat, but with a few other songs first to get
a feel for how the accompanist played. He was good, but nowhere near as
talented as Rikard.
Gayle handed her sheet music to the accompanist, and took
her place at center stage. Closing her eyes briefly, she imagined Rikard
sitting in the darkness at the back of the theater, hidden in the shadows
underneath the overhanging balcony.
She sang to him, letting her voice fill with all of her
emotions, the way he’d shown her during their date. He was the one whom she
couldn’t get out of her head, thinking of him constantly. And now that he’d
brought her body to life, she’d die without his masterful touch.
There was a moment of silence when she finished her song,
and she inclined her head in the slightest of grateful bows. Her competition
had stopped talking and humming in preparation of their own auditions to listen
to her, the best compliment they could give her.
She darted a glance at the director as she walked back to
the piano. He was nodding, a faint smile on his face. The accompanist was also
smiling, holding out her music to her.
He traded a look with the director, then added, “You should
probably stick around to the end of the auditions.”
She walked off stage, her knees starting to wobble as she
descended the steps. She managed to stagger back to the eighth row before she
collapsed into a seat. Then the delayed reaction of her audition hit, and she
began to shake, her heart pounding and every breath a struggle through her
tight throat. She couldn’t have left the theater if she’d wanted to.
By the time the eighteenth auditionee had performed, her
reaction had run its course. She settled back to watch the remaining
candidates, idly critiquing their performances and judging which she would
choose if she was casting the show.
A pair of young women who auditioned one after the other had
sweet voices, but couldn’t project past the third row without microphones. A
young man allowed his nerves to throw him out of tune, growing worse as he
realized his mistake, until the dissonance between his voice and the piano made
her cringe. A blonde woman sang Rizzo’s solo from Grease , her stylized
movements and perfect delivery indicating she’d performed the role many times
in the past.
Finally, the last candidate completed his audition, and the
director stood to address the two-dozen people who’d been asked to remain.
“Steve has some handouts for you. I’d like to hear you read
them, please. Number five. The witch’s speech.”
Gayle returned to the stage, picking up the paper from the
pianist. It contained five short paragraphs, from different characters. She
read over the witch’s speech to the baker, settled her body to mimic the
witch’s stance, and read it for real.
“Thank you. Number nine. The baker’s wife.”
Gayle walked off stage as the next woman came up, returning
to her seat in the audience.
The director and pianist conferred briefly after the last
person had given their reading, then the director announced his choices.