Sunday January 4th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the entertainer.

So about yesterday's adventures. You didn't think that escaped video capture, did you?

That is only a very, very small portion of his on again off again performance. One of the better bits, certainly, but definitely not the best.

I have a longer video as well, but there's a lot of breaks and distraction in that one, so I figured I'd just share this one.


The dressing room is cramped and poorly insulated. I can hear every word the idiot going on before me is saying. I'd really rather not, but at least I know I don't have a hard act to follow.

I light another cigarette and wish there was a window to open. No such luck, but I'd known that from the moment I walked through the doorway. From the smell of the place, previous occupants didn't have my knack for dealing with preshow jitters.

You'd think the least they could have managed was to eat something a little less foul for their last meal before hitting the stage.

My notes are scrawled across the flash cards in my jacket pocket but I don't bother pulling them out. I've done this enough. Preparing the cards is just part of the routine, as ingrained as the four smoke minimum, but not as necessary.

My opening act finishes up to a round of thunderous silence. I crack my neck, decide against sipping the glass of water I'd found waiting for me when I arrived (Tap water? Seriously?), and head for the door.

Let's get this over with.


Greg said...

I can't watch the video at work, but I'll definitely check it out this evening; I'm sure Max is performing his little heart out :) And you have just the right thing to show his first prom date in fourteen years time too!
I like the world-weariness of your entertainer; I guess that's what happens when you do the same thing over and over again for too many years to count. I don't think I've ever seen anyone quite as cynical as that on stage, but I can definitely understand how you'd get there. All the little details: the smells, the food, the rituals, add really nicely to the atmosphere of the piece. I just wish I knew your entertainer's name (so I can avoid his shows)!

The Entertainer
"Her husband got a new job in Spring, you know," said Heather. Dave, who was driving, just grunted and the kids, who had been invited to this birthday party, were sitting in the backseat with headphones on staring slack-jawed at PSP4s and iPads. "She said that it was a promotion, but I talked to Gerta whose husband works in the same department and he said it was more of a lateral move. Though it did pay better, she said he said." The car turned in to a driveway where four other cars were already parked up, and halted. "So I'm expecting something good from this party."
The family walked slowly up to the house, and then round the side to the back garden where the party was happening. Heather fidgeted, plucking headphones from ears, straightening bows in hair and twitching cardigans and jumpers until they were straight. They paused at the gate, looking over the party.
There was a bouncy castle looking slightly deflated on one side, with children bouncing determinedly up and down in it. Screams came from the interior. There was a paddling pool with a leak; a coconut shy with only two, broken, coconuts set up; a spavined donkey tied up next to a sign saying "Pony rides"; and an apple-bobbing tank filled with turnips. Heather permitted herself an extremely smug smile before patting the children on the shoulders and ushering them in to the party.
Judy appeared moments later, her hair askew and her make-up smeared. The mascara round her eyes had run making her look like she'd been beaten up.
"Did you get a good entertainer?" asked Heather, nastily. It was clear from the party that Judy couldn't have afforded even Andy Dick.
"I tried to get clowns," said Judy, trembling. "I really did, and they were so expensive. I went with what the agency said was the next cheapest option instead though. They're in the bouncy castle."
"Who are?" asked Heather's husband, sudden looking worried. "The cheap clowns?"
"The murder-hobos."

morganna said...

Detective Wilkes started asking questions. Not among the office staff or his fellow detectives, obviously, but among his informants, the casual hangers-on of the streets and businesses around the precinct house.

He had no luck. No one had seen anything suspicious, nothing at all, honest, Detective, wide-eyed. He knew enough to distrust the wide-eyed look, but it didn't help much when he already had suspicions.

Then quite by chance, he ran across the entertainer who'd done a comedy act a few weeks ago in the pub across the street. A nervous chainsmoker, he wasn't from this part of the country, he was from Scotland, oddly enough, and he saw no reason not to talk to the local police.

He had chanced to see a very well-dressed woman in heels striding into the precinct house late at night, perhaps around one in the morning. He thought it odd how well she looked so late at night.

He was shot dead the morning after talking to Wilkes, at the train station, by persons unknown, as he prepared to board his return train to Glasgow.

Peter Fletcher said...

The Entertainer

His old, threadbare coat hung loose over his thin frame. His limp, grey hair fell down over his shoulders meeting the long wisps of beard. This, and the way his back rounded over with osteoporosis, gave the impression that gravity had a stronger hold over this man than everyone else and was slowly pulling him to the ground. Everyday, at around ten in the morning, he would wheel an old, half sized, broken down piano down the sidewalk of the market. He would stop at the corner beside the fishmonger and play. He played classical music. And he played it beautifully. The little piano would send rich bass notes and delicate trebles through the air to land gracefully on the ears of the passersby. The symphony of sounds seemed out of place in the grey dreariness of Seattle. I listened to him every morning with my tea in hand. Finally, one day, after a particularly moving piece, I asked him why he doesn’t play in concert halls. He looked at me with drooping eyes and said, “People stop and listen while their children dance. People walk by holding hands, whistling along with my piano. You come and listen to me every morning and drop a couple of dollars into my hat. I am an entertainer. Are you entertained?” “Of course,” I answer. He smiled, took a sip of his coffee that was left for him by the baker, and said, “Why would I need anything more?”

Anonymous said...

He's so adorable!

The Entertainer:

To make laughter bubble,
Tears rain, fear shake,
And anger tense,
To instill these feelings
Within the bowels of curious
Onlookers is a true talent,
Indeed. But to wear the mask
Of ambiguity, to become a separate entity
From one’s own emotions,
Caging the quelling forces within
In favor of sights more appealing
To the biased observer,
Is a gift to rival the
Lapis philosophorum
In this, our time of deception and trickery.

Marc said...

Greg - I hope you were able to find time to watch it!

Love the reference to Andy Dick, as well as the return of the murder hobos, however out of sight they may have been :)

Morganna - hmm, our dear lady is quite intent on keeping her secrets... secret. Knocking off talkative witnesses is a new side to her!

Peter - that is a lovely piece. I'm assuming it's true, but even if it isn't there's a wonderful sentiment behind it. Nicely conveyed, either way.

Ivybennet - yeah, pretty much :P

That's an excellent poem. I like how it builds momentum around the middle and comes crashing into that ending with full force.