This is the story Scott and I wrote, passing a notebook back and forth, instead of listening to the really boring readers at our final stop on our Literary Pub Walk. Scott’s lines are in italics.
The Story of May
“I’m leaving,” she said. “You can come with me if you want, but I’m leaving.” She grabbed her paper-bagged lunch and her Hello Kitty umbrella and stormed out. With a sigh, he followed her to the door. “I’ll pick you up after school,” he called. “Have a good day.”
At the bus stop, suddenly self-conscious, May zipped up her hoodie, hiding the Rainbow Brite tee she had put on so proudly just minutes earlier. Maybe Christine would laugh. Maybe she hadn’t meant it when she said rainbows were cool. Fifth Grade was hard, even for aspiring actresses as fearless as May. She squared her shoulders. It didn’t matter what Christine thought. She would weather today. By the time the bus arrived, she was belting Pat Benatar at the top of her lungs.
“Lord, May, give it a rest,” the driver moaned, and May trotted down the aisle to plunk herself beside Stewart, her by-default best friend. “I’ll never be understood,” she told him, as she threw her head onto his shoulder.
“Quit,” he muttered, shoving her away. “Why are you always so LOUD?”
“Even you,” May retorted, “oppress me.”
Stewart sighed. “Are you trying out for the play this afternoon?”
“Darling,” she cooed, “you know I’ll just die if I’m not Miss Hannigan.”
“If you want to be a famous actress,” he said, pushing her towards her end of the seat, “why aren’t you trying out for Annie?”
“I’m too tall, and besides, wouldn’t you rather follow in Carol Burnett’s footsteps than Andrea McCardle’s?”
“I don’t even know who that is,” Stewart said. “Can I copy your math homework?”
She reached into her bag, digging it out while ranting about the tragedy of his poor comedienne education.
At lunch time,* Stewart having abandoned her for a Student Council meeting, May braved the cafeteria alone. She took a deep breath before walking to Christine’s table.
“Hey guys,” she called cheerily, plunking her bag into an empty spot. “Who wants to trade today’s Jello for my mom’s famous oatmeal cookies?”
The table blinked at her, then conversation resumed as if she had not spoken. “It’s a way better part than Annie,” Christine was saying. “Better songs, even if it is smaller.” After a round of agreement from the rest of the table, Christine finally acknowledged May. “Oh hi,” she said.
“You’re trying out for the play?” asked May in disbelief. “I thought you weren’t into that kind of thing.”
“Well, I wasn’t, but after my solo in choir last month Mrs. Windelman convinced me I should try.”
“But … you don’t want to be Annie?” May had a sinking feeling.
“I just don’t think I can pull off a character as poor and pathetic as an orphan,” Christine stated with a pointed sneer. “It’s all about typecasting and look.”
“It’s the lead, though,” said May. “It’s the biggest part.” She could feel her face getting red.
“I’m more interested in really showing my range,” said Christine, sounding bored. “Ms. Hannigan is such a … complex character.”
“Cool,” said May, opening her brown bag and zipping up her hoodie. “I was, um, thinking about trying out for that part too.”
“Oh?” Christine smirked. “Don’t you think the part’s a little … mature for you?”
“Well, I guess that’s why they hold auditions,” May finally choked out.
Christine rolled her eyes and turned to the friend next to her, leaving May staring into the crusts of her sandwich.
* * * (**)
Sipping the iced tea from the prop whiskey bottle, May paced back and forth, nervous about her first cue. *** “I feel like I’ve missed some key plot element leading me logically to this place,” she thought, “but no matter. Apparently I was cast and Christine wasn’t and we will move forward accordingly.”
Stewart, now her stage manager, called to her, “May, it’s not about Christine anymore. She’s a scunt.”
“Oh, you’re the SM?” May vaguely remembered a series of events that made this convenient arrangement happen, but was unable to recall the exact circumstances due to the bizarre fast forwarding of time. **** “How’s the crowd tonight?”
“It’s better than when we did this same play in Middle School,” Stewart said, stroking the beard on his 22 year old chin. *****
“I’d hope so, asshole, being that we’re on Broadway,” May snapped. She couldn’t believe she was still saddled with this punk-ass kid from MS51.
“At everyone thought you’d have aborted at least two mistakes by now,” Stew added. “I’m proud of you.”
“Shows what you know,” thought May, unscrewing her flask and dumping the contents into the prop bottle.
* * * (******)
“It was a mean eulogy, but honest,” Stewart told Christine.
“Maybe if she hadn’t been cast as Annie, all those years ago –” Christine mused. “Take me home, darling.”
The End. *******
*Please note the normal, appropriate time jump I wrote here, bringing us to a new scene. This will be important later.
** I added these and whispered, “That means time is passing!” to Scott, as I passed the notebook to him.
*** “Cue?” I hissed. “Did we skip the audition?” “You said time had passed,” he hissed back.
**** At this point, Scott whispered, “Oh really? Well I can play that game.”
***** It all goes downhill from here.
****** Added by Scott, who pointed and said “TIME IS PASSING.”
******* We are clearly geniuses.