What happens to an actor who can’t learn the proper lines.
Photo credit: Dave Herholz
The city teemed with revelers, tall torches casting dancing shadows, drunken singing echoing from every plaza. Behind the Performers Guild stage, two oldsters watched a middle-aged man emerge from inside, fondling a giggling woman. Re-lacing her costume, she straightened their false crowns.
“Who’s she, then?”
“Garrad’s new stage-wife.”
“What’s his real wife think of this one?”
“Jaenarra caught them yesterday, stormed off. She might leave him this time.”
“Eh, not her style.”
The “royal couple” strutted onstage for the Ballad of the Red Cup. Everyone drank from the cup, despite its owner warning them not to. One by one they died, collapsing melodramatically as the audience howled. The owner sang the chorus several times, milking the laughter. Finally, they all stood to bow.
Garrad’s stage-wife screamed. They were carried off—one limp, one flailing—as the next act hastily began.
In the audience, Jaenarra smiled. As any actress knew, timing was everything. Stupid man. Always eying the ladies, ignoring the “boy” handing out drinks backstage. He never learned.
Ah, well. Too late now.
For a bonus, the last chorus of the Ballad of the Red Cup:
Fie, fie, the foulest crime, to take the cup from me
For I chose the red cup, and the red cup chose me
Inspired by this week’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers photo challenge. Big thanks to Priceless Joy for hosting, and to Etol Bagam for the inspiring photo! Click here to see the other entries, and to add one yourself.