Pensively they sat, eyes narrowed to squints and applauded. Their hands snapping together in a frenzied attack on the performer, the actor, the pretender’s senses, as he rounded another genuflection at the altar of his gods.
“Oh, wasn’t that little fellow clever? His rendition of Dogberry was so witty and thoroughly provocative!” one breathed behind an outstretched pink palm to another eager, tilting, half- turned silhouette.
“My goodness wasn’t that thing just, well, just fabulous. So real, so sensual, so very guttural, just so very, very raw and naked, altogether believable, don’t you agree?” one emaciated body sighed to the other as their puny arms and fingers flung faded flowers onto the edge of the stage where he bowed, bowed and bowed with the pomp of a Roberson in Othello at the Savory.
My how, they enjoyed the little man’s performance while clapping, cackling and snickering to one another and to the dry, dark spaces.
“Imagine that puppet thinking and acting like a real person! How could they make him move so flawlessly?” One tightly pulled face grimaced to the other.
The irony and sheer ridiculousness of the entire act sent ancient shivers recklessly creeping down their wizened, bony backsides and drew within them wickedly dark and perverse designs.
He stood facing the stage with black-laced shoes and a velvet overcoat buttoned up the neck with a white dandy’s shirt, on a fractured stage.
His head and neck lifted towards the rafters, snuggly closed eyes, unaware of the softening applauses, his senses stumbling along with the amused crowd into the darkening night as the stage lights dimmed in their hearts as well.
Left with the fleeting satisfaction of a brief cum in a discarded tissue, the puppet mused crudely to himself, “But I have more, come back! I haven’t begun to finish! There’s more to me than these few jokes and worn out puns!” Still, alone on the nearly barren stage, in his depth was an insatiable, jarring hunger for something more, more of the peoples’ attention, more of their applauses and of course their acceptance and approval.
Their hurried escape, their leaving was to effect a certain emptying of him. He felt himself shift and vitality departed from him. So much so that he began slowly deflating in size and in posture. He slumped inwardly and backwards onto a beleaguered bench prop. He jested a tune he knew to himself,” Alone again, naturally or unnaturally.”
The bare theater, dealt him a suffocating sensation and he fingered his wooden throat as if he were actually breathing in dank, cool air. The strings no longer taut produced within him a certain uneasiness and weariness, something akin to a dangling, plastic mask on a coat rack. So much so that, his head, his arms and bodice bobbed and bent over at his waist.
Confused and exhausted, the little Hamlet exclaimed with much anguish, “All have conspired against me. My kingdom for a horse in ad infinitum and more!”
Then he thought,” But then again, maybe I’m just tried and need a nice nap, right about now!”
He knew this. This fatigued foreshadowing of the coming darkness and of the maddening loneliness. And somewhere in his being, in the timelessness of his domain and in the blackness of his thoughts, he heard a familiar slapping of a back and one well known voice glibly laughing and saying to someone else he knew, “You’re a master, Geppetto! How you make that thing appear so utterly believable and real, I’ll never know!”
Photograph by Rob Cartorres