Flash Fiction Friday: The Method Actor

Hello Readers, Writers, and Friends,

Flash Fiction returns again as it does each Friday.

But first can I just say, there is WAY too much candy in my house right now. Here in America we are galloping toward Halloween. This means decorations from the campy to the macabre (Seriously, creepy clown house? Seriously?) all over the neighborhood and half a dozen or so events celebrating the harvest (now a year round phenomena) and doling out the sweets in massive measure.

I combat the temptation to revisit the Halloween’s of my childhood, a great sweet bender that punctuated months of dinners filled with veggies and overly cooked meats, by stocking some better for your treats from companies like Lily’s and ChocZero (Not sponsors! Just a few tasty favs). I also make low carb hot chocolate by the bucket load and supplement with almond flour based baked goods. i can usually make it through without falling off the wagon more than once. The ensuing inflammation and general ick-i-tude that follow are reminder enough fo why I don’t eat that stuff anymore.

But my sugar related groupings are not why you have come.

You are here to see me dive into a couple of prompts and see what bit of fun fiction I can come up with on the fly. Remember I don’t edit these, purely so you can see that no one rights anything perfect the first go round. And to be true to the writing exercise spirit in which this is done.

This week’s prompts are: actor, house fire

This feel seasonally apropos Photo by Yaroslav Shuraev on Pexels.com

I didn’t notice it at first.

In fairness it started out so small that most people wouldn’t have noticed it at all, except it seemed like a joke.

See, when I’m on stage I get really lost in the character I’m playing. The scene feels real to me. And when the character in question had lost a button, I ad libbed a little.

“Perhaps you’ve hidden it in your pocket?” I accused one of the other actors. They rolled with it and the scene was great. As we walked back stage she checked her pockets, and sure enough there was a button that went to my dress. She said I should have told her I’d put it there, but I hadn’t. In hindsight, I guess I kind of did.

Over the next few shows there was always something. A bottle that was supposed to be empty was full when my character lamented its emptiness. A cushion for the chair I kept complaining was too hard. That one I asked whom I should thank for the gift, but no one claimed credit.

I still didn’t realize what was going on. Not until the monkey. In the middle of a disagreement with his brother, my character says, “Next thing you know you’ll be sporting a mustache and carrying around a pet monkey!”

Cue monkey, stage left.

It was a tiny squirrel monkey, but there shouldn’t have been a monkey at all. No one blamed me. I was on stage at the time, Couldn’t have been the one to bring it in and set it loose. But I had felt something. Like a tug on the inside of my breast bone the wicked away a little of the passion I’d generated. And then poof, there was a primate on stage.

It scared me, but I couldn’t stop acting, it was my livelihood, my bread and butter. I took smaller parts, and put less emotion into the bigger ones. But of course the directors and producers and other actors noticed. They all wanted to know what was going on with me. Most of them figured it was drugs or a bad relationship. They gave me hotline numbers and terrible dating advice.

I convinced myself that the monkey was a fluke. I auditioned for everything and did it with all my heart.

I got picked up for Henry V. As the chorus and a few other bit parts.

Opening night I stepped out onto the stage and said that first line, “O! For a muse of fire–” And I felt the pull in my chest. I tried to tamp it down, squats it somehow, but it was already done. The mezzanine railing burst into flames. Since I can’t control it, I can’t act anymore. Not until I’ve got this figured out.

I’m sorry, I kinda got a little lost there, what was your question?

“What makes you qualified to work at IHOP?”

Well, I hope you enjoyed that. I hope those of you that celebrate it have a happy Halloween. And that those of you that do not have an excellent weekend.

~Anika

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