“Ladies and gentlemen, the ten of you have been chosen to present your script to Mr. Cartwright. You were chosen for one reason or another. It’s likely that your script sucks and you just happen to know somebody that knows somebody. One or two of you may actually have good work in your hands. We’ve numbered you, please come forward when your number is called. In the meantime, I suggest you pray, if that’s your thing, meditate, or perform some other time consuming task.”
Ron stared past the speaker; a tall, well dressed, slightly pompous man of about 38 years in age. He looked instead at the stage in which he would present his script to Bob Cartwright. Ron imagined the elongated individual, as he turned his back and retreated, as a trim grizzly bear fresh on the trail of honey.
Ron held fifteen pages of dialogue, plot lines, characters, and conflicts. He committed almost all of his script into his now fading memory. He was visibly nervous. Holding his teeth motionless had became impossible. He held his breadth once before, but made a spectacle when he released the hold. His exhale resulted in a loud air-belch. Now he was actively counting down from one-hundred. In his head he thought, 67, 66, 65 (I’m going to fall), 64, 63 (What did Raúl-), 62 (-say when Eloise-), 61 (-blew smoke in his face?), 60, 59.
“Number 423001. You’re up.”
53, 52, Ron looked down at his number, read it forward and backward before realizing he had been called first. He inhaled a big breath and followed the man in dark clothing to the stage.
The stage was big, bigger than it should’ve been perhaps. Ron climbed the five or six stairs. He noticed that his shoes produced a minor squeak as he walked to the standing microphone planted in the center. It was far too short. While trying to elevate it, he spoke louder than was necessary, “Hello.” It left his voice with an echo and was a bit inflected at the tail end as if it were a question.
Bob Cartwright removed his charcoal colored hat and placed it in front of him with the burgundy feather facing Ron. “You may proceed, but please.. do not waste my time. This is my only request.. now proceed.”
The way Cartwright paused in his sentences gave Ron the impression that he was not done speaking. This thought was interrupted, “Go on sir!”
Ron began reciting from memory without once looking down at his script. “It was her dark hair that absorbed Raúl’s attention. He couldn’t resist the urge to walk toward her. He allowed her beauty to be his guide.” Ron proceeded through roughly two minutes of plot foundation. The core of the story was Raúl’s continued deception. He relentlessly tried to match the lifestyle of the beautiful woman he was pursuing.
After a few more minutes the trail of Ron’s script shifted. The shift was captured by a single word from the mouth of Cartwright, “Oh.” This was to be the only audible expression he made during Ron’s entire presentation. Ron walked his audience through several dates that the woman had with Raúl. Eventually, she grew tired of what she described as his ‘boring upper-class persona.’ Her departing words to him were, “If only you were…. different. Maybe, you truly would’ve had a chance.” The entire story was told by a reminiscent Raúl to an attentive friend. At this point Raúl says, “And that was my biggest flaw Arnold. I just needed to be comfortable being me. I learned from that. It’s why I’m happiest at home or with friends. Here, I’ll show you my bookcase.”
This brought Ron’s script to a conclusion. He watched Cartwright’s attention focus downward at his empty note pad. The silent man wrote a word or two and placed his pen horizontally on the pad’s surface.
The man Ron’s earlier imagination turned into a grizzly bear motioned Ron off of the stage.
“Thank you 423001. We will call you if you’re script has been chosen.” Ron handed his script over. “Have a good day,” the man said.
Ron walked out into the arms of sunlight and open air and thought, today is the perfect day to write another story.
– Eric McCarty (2/8/2012)