So, for a moment, I stand there dumbfounded. I look back at Acker and Blacker.
There standing not three feet from me, is one man dressed in a plaid button down collared shirt and another in a neutral colored collared shirt. The man in plaid gives me a smile.
"Really," Blacker says. “This isn’t some well concocted ruse”.
I take the white pages filled with what I gather is an amazing collection of words. Held together by a single silver ring in the upper left hand corner of the page. The cover sheet lays out each section of the forthcoming show.
I scan the pages. I see the cast. I stop and stare.
There in black. Listed as a cast member credit in the script. Is. my. NAME! I gasp.
"Really?" I shake my head in disbelief.
Acker and Blacker look me in the eye.
"You sure about this?" I stammer.
Acker and Blacker again shake their heads.
Now, I don’t drink alcohol. But after looking at the script and seeing my name in print upon this script. I seriously consider to start drinking.
I take a deep breath. I step back, almost wanting a quick getaway as I feel a pang of stage fright in my gut.
Acker and Blacker reach for me.
"No, the stage is that way! The Bens says in perfect unison. Pointing and gesturing for me to go.
Looking back, I eye the stage door for a hasty getaway. But, just as my muscles twitch for a spontaneous exit, a door opens. Out steps, Paul F, Marc Evan, Gags and Craig. They block my path. On the opposite side backstage, Annie, Paget and Autumn prevent me from dashing off in that direction. They all gesture with their expressions and heads to head towards the stage.
I pause. I swallow. Even though my throat is dry and a desert that has had no rain in forever.
The Bens clear a path for me. I stutter step to the backstage area where the curtain is. The music is beginning to play by Andy Paley and his orchestra. A moment later, the music gently settles down.
I keep pushing forward and in a dream like state the other WorkJuice players push past me almost dragging me like a twig in the current of a river. And get me on my mark, just behind the curtains.
I can hear Hal is beginning his narration for the first segment of tonight’s Thrilling Adventure Hour.
In one last gasp and one more moment of panic, I look at the script that is in my hands. I instinctively look for my part in the show. I find it. All those butterflies are gone. I am now a consummate profession. I will go on and perform this show to the best of my abilities.
My part is. The Echo. Everything Hal is to say I am to echo in either a mimc, caricature or even a to ally different voice to what Hal says.
The Bens have not told Hal this (his script has no mention of me anyway), everyone else backstage is in on it. They smile and urge me on.
The curtain is pulled back. The lights shine so bright at me I envision this is like the light at the end of the tunnel. And I am not going to die onstage! I WILL NOT!