Written for the game Fire Starter–Writing Prompt #2
He took off the mask. “Dude, what’s wrong?”
I stared at the rough cardboard. “That’s what you’re wearing to play the dragon?”
“Yeah, what’s wrong with it?”
His mask was covered with so much glue it looked like if you touched it, you’d be stuck forever. “You look like a freak, is what. You can’t go on stage in that!”
Lydia poked her head into the dressing room. “Stop yelling–fifteen minutes before the doors open,” her golden princess wig bounced along to her words. “You got your costumes ready…. Toby. Oh god. What have you DONE?”
Toby kicked his foot against the bench and lifted up his makeshift creation of cardboard, glue, and construction paper. “It’s not that bad, really!”
“It looks like a booger,” Lydia said.
I pulled at the collar of my cape. “How am I supposed to kill you in the play if I can’t stop laughing?”
Toby shook his head and put the mask back on. “I’m wearing it anyway. Boogers are still scary, right?”
I tugged again at my collar, it was getting tighter by the second. I’d never performed in public before. Every rehearsal I’d managed to mess up somehow–coming on stage at the wrong time, tripping over the mountains, breaking my wooden sword, bursting into laughter whenever Toby breathed his “death rattle” as he called it.
I was hopeless, and everyone knew it. Now everyone on stage would see it.
Worst of all, I had to kiss Lydia. The play’s director hadn’t commented on the fact I’d not done so in any of the rehearsals, but he’d hinted at it after the dress rehearsal earlier, “Just a quick peck, Casper. That’s all.”
I was petrified.
The only reason I’d even gotten the lofty part of Prince George was because not enough people auditioned for the play. But after tonight, I was sure the only future parts in store for me would be as flowers. Silent flowers.
We heard the doors at the end of the long theater open and the voices of the public. I clenched my fists. This was exactly where I wanted to be, stage fright or no. I took a deep breath and looked from Lydia’s pale cheeks to Toby’s booger mask. “Okay guys, let’s do this.”