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The Pen is Mightier than the Sword
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Peredhil

Players

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He sits slumped on the stone bench, another weary holiday shopper waiting. Occasionally he uncomfortably shifts the Victoria's Secret and Macy's bags, as if to hide them. Shoppers press and swirl through the halls of the brightly-lit Mall, eddies spinning off into stores, occasional hoots of electronic alarms rising over the sounds of hundreds of people.

 

"It shall be a classic this time," he thinks to himself, "something small and easily cast. Death of a Salesman perhaps." He did this to himself, seeking inspiration in the faces, casting this person or that in a role, seeking the perfect fit. Miller required thirteen for the cast, an auspicious number. The holy number, the last supper. Perhaps in this play, he'd take a part. A mystical part, such as Ben, never directly involved, only seen in Willy's daydreams. Such fantasies passed the time, glazed reality's pressures, released his artist.

Yes, that woman over there, with the strong jaw and the almost bruised lines of exhaustion under her brown eyes. A worthy Linda Loman. And those girls over there, too young to be dressed like prostitutes, giving ambigity to their flirty ways as they strutted the hallway, followed by whispering males, acned and aching to leave their group but too afraid to lose the protection of the pack. Miss Forsythe and Letta in the flesh. Ah the flesh, the final tapestry of the artist, the disposal.

Watching the crowd, he frowns in concentration and realization, as the play seems to cast itself in his mind.

 

Jumping slightly and fumbling for his cell phone, he pressed buttons and then looked. Sighing, he gathers the bags awkwardly, and entered the flow, moving toward an entrance. To the pulsing beat of the stressed automatic doors, wanting to close and bouncing at their boundaries as countless feet trigger their pressure pads, he passes out of the mall and into the night.

 

...

 

The terrified faces of the actors flinch as the curtain sweeps to the side. The chains look delicate, ethereal, linking hands and feet. Some, like Biff's, are longer to allow for more energetic gestures, while others are shorter to force constrained movements, suggesting the passion and emotions. Sores and scabs testify to how long they've been worn, and small aged brown discolorations underlay the most recent red marks of electricity used to enhance learning. The cast have their lines and movements perfect, automatic, and are reaching for the depths that part a great performance. "Oh God, please let me have a great performance", whispers 'The Woman'. Nearly inaudible, but the others shoot looks of warning at her, without moving their heads. They all remain frozen in their places, on stage or in the wings, waiting on the Director's orders. If someone fails to deliver, it could mean weeks of waiting and training as the role is cast again.

 

Not slumped, not weary, he strides in with a jaunty air, vibrating energy. Megaphone in hand, wearing leather jodhpurs, he should be ridiculous, but no one laughs.

 

"And.... ACTION!"

 

The play begins, the intensity builds, until even the actors are lost in their roles, become their characters. A flawless performance at last, and even the pains and chains and fear cannot stop the welling pride and exultation they feel. Forced or not, even those who'd never acted before this play know that tonight, magic happened.

 

...

 

He whistles the score to "The Wizard of Oz" as he strips the flesh from the last bone and pops it into the sausage-maker for the first grinding. The bone flips with a "plonk" into the barrel of vinegar, to soak and soften before its disposal. Occasionally he stops and reveals in his memories of last night's performance. Magnificent! Once again, he is thankful for his superb memory, able to retain all senses, to replay over and over.

 

No need for the silly "trophies" that he has seen lead to the capture of serial killers on television. His trophies are his memories, his directing triumphs. Some have taken as long as two years, but he knows it is his particular genius that makes each one a perfection of the Craft. Why anyone would ever feel the need for physical artifacts was unfathomable to him. It was hard enough to gather everyone, train them, and disband the cast once done without keeping evidence.

 

It will be months before his genius stirs, rides him, forcing him to create again.

 

He can hardly wait.

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