Auditions in Session

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic


"What if someone had seen? Had heard? No one does anything outside The Script. So… Why did I?"

Submitted: August 03, 2018

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Submitted: August 03, 2018

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I walk down the market street, head down as I pass vendors selling everything from Pod pockets, to luxury brand tuxedos, to imported papayas. It’s about noon, so as always the streets are crowded, adding to the early autumn sun’s sweltering heat. You can see the sweat trickling out from underneath the various masks on people’s faces. I sigh. There’s nothing new or particularly interesting to see, really. Walking down for another few minutes, I’m about to dodge into the PC mechanics shop, my part-time work, when a young girl - no more than six - runs full speed into my leg and falls down onto the cobblestones.

The young girl yelps in surprise and started whimpering. Her mask is plain white plastic, with exaggerated eye-holes and an equally large one for the mouth. Her family must be foreigners. That style of mask went out of style over a month ago.

“I’m…a…an apologies! Sorry sorry!” an older woman who looks to be the mother, her mask also made of the outdated plastic material, kneels down next to the child, attention torn between her now crying daughter and the small but thick book that had been drawn from her purse. Rapidly reading, she shows it to her daughter.

The girl stars reading, lacking most of the emotions. “Ouch! Ouchies! I’m hurt! What happened? Where’s my momma?” She looks up for approval.

The woman nods and dutifully reads off from the same page. “Oh my god! Baby are you okay?! I’m sorry,” a pause, and she glances up at me before continuing, “Mister. I hope we didn’t cause you any trouble.”

Tiredly, I smile. Obviously they aren’t used to the system yet. It’s at about age eleven that people here memorize The Script. They’re definitely not from any of the Western countries. “It’s okay. No harm done, Miss.” Turning to the child I say, “I hope you’re knee gets better.” Of course, it’s not the girl’s knee that’s scraped up; it’s her shin. But more often or not, it’s the knee that gets hurt in a tumble, so The Script doesn’t say otherwise.

Conversation done, the mother turns to help up her child, who’s genuinely wincing at the small pain. The image startles me… When I look back on it, I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen any child older than four know how to make true, unscripted, reaction. And I realize just how strange that is. How strange it is that a mother is acting only to her child. That in this time there’s a child who’s not acting because of what they see on a screen.

Making a rash decision without knowing why, I take a glace at the people milling about me, and get close by the mother’s side to say under my breath, “Get both you and your daughter’s masks updated. Now. Plastic went out of style over a month ago - you’re lucky the market is too crowded for anyone to notice. And have your daughter memorize at least a few more lines as fast as you can, they have tutors now for ‘slower’ kids. Since she’s so young it’ll be easier to pass her off as challenged. Being known as foreign means a hell of a lot of trouble for the both of you, so be careful.”

The woman just stares at me…dumbfounded. “H-how?” Her voice is barely there are tears are welling up in her eyes. “Why would you…you help us?”

I run a hand roughly through my hair, unsure. “I don’t know. I don’t know, okay? There was… a family. Across the street. I was just a kid, but….maybe things would’ve been different if I would have thought to tell them...” Suddenly I know how those frogs in the science classrooms might feel - every part of you taken apart and scrutinized under a microscope…to figure out why. “Well…I have to go, but,” I turn to the little girl, “I hope your shin feels better. And…” Turning back to the mother, I hurriedly take out my wallet, emptying it of all the notes I had. “Here. Maybe this will help. Bye.” Shaking, I dart into the crowd. That was too damn close… What if someone had seen? Had heard? No one does anything outside The Script. So… Why did I? 


© Copyright 2018 Jay Rose. All rights reserved.

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