Posts Tagged ‘in the spotlight’

STORY – Public Speaking

Thursday, March 8th, 2012


When called upon to express himself in a timely manner, the rather embarrassed full-length midget of uncertain parentage came forward to the microphone in front of a quiet audience of lots and lots of people.

He stood and glanced up at the microphone. He licked his lips and they licked him back. No faces were seen through the bright hiding glare of the lights right in front of him and at the sides of him and then more lights further out, out there. But lots of people were somewhere there, beyond the lights. He heard coughs and shifting bottoms in comfortable seats.

Unaccustomed as he was to speaking in public, or, indeed, speaking at all, he launched manfully into his much rehearsed outburst, which consisted, spasmodically, of three syllables in the wrong order.

Silence greeted his immense effort.

He should have known better, in fact he did know better, but was talked out of this knowledge by someone backstage who was in it for the money.

Emptied of effort, he turned to walk off, or was it waddle off, it was hard to be exact about a full-length midget’s gait, while detecting, or so he imagined, almost wished, some distant though heart-felt boos coming from the Great Out There. If no one liked him, then he would never have to think about doing this again, which would give his limited expectations but immense imagination much time and opportunity to think of nothing but nothing at all, for as long as he wished, or as long as his heartbeats held out, as long as he lasted. He would not ever have to do anything ever again.

His immense imagination was already imagining he heard a wall of nasty boos washing up from the unseen audience, overwhelming, over-stating their distaste for his brief effort at speaking what was on his mind, in public, on stage, when, he knew, he had little to say, declaim or state.

This was now officially becoming a rough day for him. He would take a pill to sleep this evening. After he dealt with his three wives, especially the one who had been particularly demanding in sexual matters, and those two second cousins who’d shown up out of nowhere, and then, of course, feed the cats. Always, endlessly, the need to feed the cats.

Someone or two, out there, damn them, applauded, briefly, three times, like syllables said, in, of course, the wrong order.

He halted, hips turning forward, stepping toward the edge of the stage, moving his face beyond the bright, blinding light, beyond the few dying boos, beyond this point in his life, to see into this impossible sea of darkened, demanding souls, seeking that face, perhaps brighter than the rest, the one with the hands still in a phase of three-syllabled clapping, waiting eagerly to be seen by him, so he could say, without hesitation, beyond three syllables, into the dark, with a darker hope, to the person with applause in his or her hands, “Is there someone out there who wants me to go on?”

A third person applauded. A fourth. More? Was there more yet? Perhaps the sound would soon be deafening. And he would need to imagine more syllables, more than the three he had memorized and already used up. His face went through the curtain of light and into the dark, where he squinted, trying, as always, as forever, to see beyond what he had got used to seeing.