Lit Up!

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic

A 350 word story about a man's attempt to kick a habit.

The reluctant star wished he had a cigarette.

 Oh, he was trying to kick the habit. His guidance counselor suggested community theater as a different sort of release for pent up passions. Make new friends, the world’s a stage, all that rubbish. And, she coyly added, batting an eyelash, you could be a matinee idol in no time.

 He didn’t have the heart to tell her a fear of public speaking got him puffing in the first place. Never mind the smoke shop lay across the street from the civic arts center.

Three months later, he fidgeted behind the curtain, a nervous wreck, aching for a shot of nicotine. In moments he would be parading about in tights before a crowd of bored third graders and their yawing parents in a musty auditorium, with the sound of flapping program flyers serving double-duty as an orchestra. He doubted even the kiddies’ teachers were worked up over a recital of diluted Shakespeare. Forget the poppycock plot, he barely knew his lines, let alone channel an inner Olivier.

A smattering of tired applause shook him from his reverie. The devil take that ham on-stage soaking up the dusty limelight. To think, now he had to follow such an act.

 A stagehand signaled a curtain call. The director smiled encouragingly.

He wiped his damp palms on his leotard and heard a faint rip.

The urge to run shrieking to the cigar shop overwhelmed him.

But no, the show must go on!

 On cue, he staggered onstage. Gods, he needed a smoke.

He tried to remember the pose he practiced in front of the mirror, so his toga would extend past his posterior.

He needed a drink.

Drat his counselor. Drat the seamstress.

He needed a—

Thrusting trembling fists into the spotlight, his dry throat rasped a stammer: “Ahor! M-my kingdom for a-a hore!”

 The adults hooted. The kiddies wondered why.

 Applause washed over the newborn thespian, baptized in sweat.

 A star was born.

Hooked.

He took a deep bow.

For life.

The End.
 


Submitted: August 15, 2015

© Copyright 2020 pwl. All rights reserved.

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