There’s a fine line between being awake and dreaming and while walking that tight rope of that fine line things get blurry and interesting. Gary Wight walked the fine line tonight. He had planned on staying up late and right after he sat down in his favorite chair he started to nod off. He tried to fight it and fight it he did. He tried reading, walking around the room and even drinking something with a little zing. Nothing seemed to help and sleep seemed determined to win the evening.
He started sweating a little then he was suddenly bone chilling cold. He grabbed a pillow and rolled over on his shoulder. Oh he abhored falling asleep on that shoulder and sleep myoclonus jerked him suddenly awake. Tonight, time made little sense. He was suddenly backstage in a theatre of sorts. People were scurrying around a mile a minute in various costumes. A woman singing opera while wearing a feathery boa pranced by him singing in falsetto. A large man in overalls , seemed to be courting Jed Clampett , and he did it loudly and boldly. He was not to be denied. A small woman in a white farm dress danced showing off her purple underpants. For some reason, Jodie Foster sat at a makeup desk with very little to do.
A cowboy walked out dejectedly. The casting decisions for the latest play were just announced. Two to three people competed for each part. Some who wanted starring parts, would settle for less important roles. There were whoops of celebration and dismay. A woman walked up to him and congratulated him for landing a part in a play he could not remember trying out. He hadn’t acted since he made an appearance in “Dark of The Moon” back in his days in college. He played an intelligent hillbilly who smoked a pipe in every scene.
And then he felt the air from the bedroom window. His wife slept soundly next to him, or somebody did as he was not alone. His shoulder ached, so he rolled over instinctively and he was cold again and no longer backstage. Eventually, sleep captured him once again.
He now sat in the theater seats looking at the stage he once occupied. He sat, flustered, with what he reasoned must have been the printout of the script from the play he had secured a part.
The country girl in the purple underpants sat next to him as Jill handed out scripts to be learned.
“Learn your lines, there are no shortcuts.” barked Jill from her director chair. Gary looked down at the script and he tried to read, but the ink on the paper became blurry and ran in blue blotches. He examined the paper and it was on expensive paper that would be used write an important letter. There was no rhyme or reason in a dream you don’t even know you are in. Oh, maybe it isn’t a dream.
And suddenly Gary was confronted by people he didn’t know yet somehow he knew they knew of him. They demanded to know how he landed his role in the play.
“Go ask Jill, I am simply happy to be here”
“Have you ever been in a major production of a play?”
Gary had no reason to fight and he asked himself how and why he got here. He acted years ago and he enjoyed it tremendously. That alone didnt make him any good at least compared to the people who put years of practice into their craft.
From the paper in front of him he did not appear to have many lines. He was handed overalls , a flannel shirt and a corn cob pipe. He attempted to try on the overalls and noticed he was already wearing a pair. This is when the girl in the purple underpants started once again questioning his credentials. She was joined by a witch who would not use her every day voice. In an enchantress like voice she asked a different flavor of the same old question.
“Let me hear you read your lines, show us what you got.”
A man named Uncle Smelicue, then echoed the same words with added conviction.
Gary then walked center stage, and a bright stage light radiated around him. The room grew suddenly silent and he was now sweating profusely. He looked down at the paper he held in his hands and the words again were bleeding into one another. He stammered a tad and realized that he never put those hideous stage overalls back on. There he was in his recurring dream, standing in his underwear totally unprepared. Somebody off stage rolled a soccer ball toward him and he struck it perfectly with the inside of his foot. It landed loudly in the eighth or ninth row without incident.
And there mid stage, under bright lights he shifted into character.
“Then I know that this’n I’m standin’ on, hit ain’t so much, hit little, hit twistin’ and changin’ too. And I wanta be something’ more’n jes’ that! So I pretend that things is different, that I ain’t the same as I am in the day.”
Suddenly thunder echoed through out the theatre hall which startled Gary, the girl in the purple underpants and even the witch. .
Jill bellowed from the director’ chair. “Special effect team you aren’t due to start rehearsing until week number three, so cool it for now.”
There was no answer from backstage. There was no reason to believe they would be here today. There were no tryouts for special effects.
A purple plume of smoke then moved in from the right hand side of the stage much like a fog bank moving down a mountainside. And there emerged The Conjour Woman.
“I recommended him for the part and you can see he is quite convincing despite his paltry theatrical list of accomplishments. We need new blood, new approaches to these stodgy old productions.”
And then she disappeared into the mist and purple clouds that were now covering the stage. It thundered deeply once again, shaking the wooden floor boards.
He knew the Conjure Woman from somewhere, it might have been his sister in law. Uncle Smellicue and the girl in the pink underpants had nothing more to say. Smillicue offered his umbrella as they exited stage left.
And as the bright lights slowly faded Gary was suddenly cold. He had slept on his bad shoulder again. He got up, and by the light of the moon coming in the bathroom window, he took an aspirin and drank a cold glass of water. He didn’t recognize the amulet on the counter.