The audience whispered in. The orchestra was seated. The lights dimmed. Me? I too was intrigued. It was a first. For me too, given my new employer. Now on stage, the musician I’d come to review seemed oddly subdued. Anonymous. Mysterious. Everyone was transfixed, staring. What would the conductor say? Anything?
…I was a new critic, of both music and books, for a major newspaper. It was a virgin experience for me, my first attempt at gaining an audience for a column that wasn’t freelance…and about movies. How would I do? Would I be able to feed my dog, and maintain a condo downtown? Sure, it was a small condo. But my dog was big. “Big” was his name, too. “Big” the dog. Scary. Hopefully scary enough to keep muggers at bay, if not creditors. I needed a big story to afford that.
…I sat there, remembering my cushy WordPress column and Youtube channel, all about the latest movie stars. The gossip, glam, glitz. It paid well, got lots of hits. But I was bored, and lonely. There was no excitement anymore. Sure, I used my imagination to spice things up. Like the video “Spice Girls in Space.” I imagined a game show like AGT, a scifi casting call for actors who had dated one of them. Jabba the Hutt was one of the judges. Or the time I superimposed the faces of animals onto the torsos of stars being interviewed on late night shows, and changed the animals based on the questions being asked…and the responses. Someone at the newspaper saw how many hits and likes I was getting, and called me with a proposal to do a test column for them. It was exactly what I needed to hear. My excuse to uproot myself from Wichita and move to the big city. Or, rather, bigger city. The same city where the girl I loved lived. Would she finally notice me? With my new column, and everything? If she contacted me, what would I say?
….The soloist raised his violin. The concerto began. Music filled the chamber like a roaring hurricane. I thought about Sarah. Thought about what would happen if I couldn’t say anything, either. Just like the conductor. A wave of exhilaration washed over me, as I imagined saying things I never could before to her. Not even in a mirror, in practice. I closed my eyes and vividly saw her face near my own face. She was smiling. I was smiling. But when she lifted an iPhone to take a selfie, I opened my eyes and a feeling of dread invaded me, sweeping away that illusion. Had I made a mistake, moving here? What had I done? I’d given up a sure thing for this! A big gamble that needed bigger luck.
…I blinked at the stage. Was I still dreaming? No one was looking at the conductor. Nor at the soloist. We all stared–or rather I stared–at the man playing second fiddle. At Kanye.
…OMG, I thought. I must be dreaming. Had to be dreaming big dreams, too. Pipe dreams.
Like Walter Mitty?
© 2018 by JL