My Heart Awake(WIP) Written by Nathaniel Mercier CHP.1 I guess you could say it all started with the movies. They were filled with magic. The very idea that you could sit around a room with your family and watch moving digital images in a colorful box was fascinating to me. There was a majesty and a respect for those in the business. I would pretend all my life being these characters, these walking visions. I once began wearing a fake suit and harbored a lunch pail that looked like a briefcase while standing behind a cardboard television being this character late for his train to work. I would line up all my stuffed animals and my toys to watch me make this splendid scene of magic, even though it was just me. My parents both thought I was crazy, I would laugh at them and say, “No guys, I'm just being my own big picture.” I was gonna be a star one day, there was no doubt about it, my life was Hollywood and fast cars, jazz and liquor, showcase and showman! I was going to pants the world and give them one helluva entertainer. But one day, just one day was all it took to turn me into a recluse; the day my father died. My mother lost her mind, and I had to be the one that found him. I was 12. I'm 16 now. 16 years sane after all that crap. It didn't stop there though, I started losing hope in my dreams, I stopped believing in the magic that movies made, I started seeing props and fake walls and green screens instead of mystical stories and explosions. I fell into a depression. My heroes on screen and my fixations with pretend couldn't pluck me out of the deep dark hole I got my ass stuck in. I began taking happy pills and got a job at a grocery store I hated. I slowly started to forget about my father, and have more hatred towards my mother. It was just me and my mom now, in debt, in pain, and incoherent. Life had baffled us, and we let the sorrow take over. There was a small part of me that still wanted to be immersed into the massive world of media and show business though, that wanted to learn more, that wanted to still feel the power of production. I lived in the town of Eagleton, California, where it had contained within it a small glimmer of hope in a blackened pit of oblivion, it was known only as, “The Kettle”. The minute I saw this tiny shack of a thing, I was mesmerized. The small blips of flashing blinking lights, the decay of a tarnished sign, the jagged letters, the busted bulbs, this shit carton actually had character! The fact it was still standing after its current state of shittyness astounded me. I was lured in like a mentally challenged moth to a dying flame, I had walked there after work one day wishing for anything else than to have to go home to my mom's binging. At 16, this place was a dream compared to our apartment. I walked there with no real purpose, a tall slender kid with dark and battered hair, bags under my eyes, and dirty ass shoes that smelled like cat fish and looked like they'd fit the feet of a retired clown; yeah, I'd fit right in with this place. The entrance to it was locked. An old rusted chain covered the door with a pad lock that anybody with half a brain could easily break off, but I didn't want to waste my time. Old posters of productions layered the walls, most of which were torn or discolored from stains and sitting so long. I couldn't really make out what the titles or the words on them said. I snuck around the back out of curiosity, there was another door. This door, however, was open just a crack. Now if this was a horror movie you'd think it wise to slam the door shut and run off, but it was just some run down old hobo house to me, but the potential was there, the nerves were there, and it's instinct to open an unlocked door, hell, how do you think science got started? Taking risks, opening doors. Fuck science by the way, I am a firm believer in Oreallyism. In other words, oh really? I'm too busy doing other less important things to care. So I open the door, and the moment I turn that damn knob the hinges swing open and knock me on my ass. Some guy with badly gelled hair and a loosened dress tie around his neck comes rushing out with a cell phone to his ear and the stench of piss and Budweiser gleaming off his button up and khakis. This is where my life began again. I have never seen such a pompous prick in my life. He was wide framed, had the gut of a volcano bellied Santa Claus, and the dimples of an ugly Marx brother. But it had to be the handlebar mustache that really threw me for a loop, it was like a dying caterpillar trying to escape its predator. This man was more appallingly interesting and much fuglier than the place itself was, and that's saying something. He started ranting and raving something about dancing midgets and dramatic elegance before he hung up the phone. After he was done ignoring that he just slammed me to the ground he placed his hands on his hips and gave me the lookover. Oh what was he...I was looking up at the face of a male prostitute I just knew it. Or a porn star for some sadistic grease ball movie, one or the other, both seemed logical at the time. “Are you crippled, or are you just gonna lie there sonny?” I raised a brow at his comment wondering why this guy himself wasn't in a god damned wheel chair at his weight. Obviously he wasn't gonna give me a hand up so I stood up and dusted off my ten dollar jeans and 5 dollar shirt I got at the Good Will and gave him one pissed off stare. I was much taller than him, already I had the higher ground. Try me. “Say, you've got a good stature son, you're the perfect size for what I'm lookin for!” I wasn't buying it. Now he was buttering me up. Butter, he'd like that wouldn't he? “Sorry sir, I don't do nudity.” He bellowed a terrible laugh. It was like a toad croaking with a ball of snot in its throat. “Hahaha! Ofcourse not! This here place is a theater, boy. I'm the owner of this fine establishment, I'll be honest, lately times have been rough. It ain't been doin too well but I'll be darn if I let it get the old noose now. I'm scouting for talent right now for an upcoming show we be doin. You interested?” I hesitated. “You mean, you want me to be in a movie?” He shook his head, his short neck made it look like his face was coming out of a womb in small disturbing swaying motions. He really was a creepy amazement to my eyes. “Movie? No my boy, LIVE theater! On stage, performing in front of crowds. Entertainment kid!” Wait a second. This dirty and mold infested sewer pike known as The Kettle, was a small theater made for real time performances? I was dumbstruck! Live theater, LIVING BREATHING people in front of your eyes dancing, and singing, and talking, and laughing, acting out stories just like the movies! This place was giving you a dose of real time storytelling for your imagination to actually believe in. I suppose this is kind of where dreams begin, the very bottom, and boy did I feel deep in it. “Well, what kinda show would I offer my services in?” There was a glint in his eyes as I asked this. “A live production of Beezleman's Cabaret! A traditional musical that my brothers and I made ages ago. My brothers are all retired now, so they left me this little theater and seein as getting rights to other shows is so expensive and all, I only got our one show right now to offer to the kind community of Eagleton, I am lookin for real talent, people willin to do pretty much anything, except nudity ofcourse, to try and perk up our once prestigious company again. So whatdya say? I'm sure you'd be perfect for our cast as one of the monsters.” Mr. Beezleman of the Beezleman brothers, what an attractive name. But why me? And why the hell do I have to be a monster? This was stereo typing if I've ever seen it. But at the same time, I thought to myself that this was my moment, my chance to have some kind of foot in the door, proof that my dreams of being on the big screen and being in the business have a start, the path would be long and treacherous, yet here it begins. “Does it pay?” Another disgusting laugh left the bowels of this man's mouth. “What's your name anyway?” About time he asked. “My friends call me Joey sir.” Mr. Beezleman smirked a smirk of a thousand rotten teeth that moment. “Well Joey, yer really funny ya know that? You'll fit right in. As for your question, you ain't there yet, kid. But you've gotta start somewhere. Something tells me yer a rookie to all this theater stuff, so let me be your shepherd. Come, come!” And just like that, I was in the hands of a slimy angel, whisking me away into the dusty crevices of his theater and showing me its pint sized stage and seats that barely fit forty people. But there was something I felt that day as he was touring me around the premises, when my feet hit that stage I knew there was no other place I had wanted to be. I was now on my way to exposing the world to my beautiful mug. Every news stand, every channel, every website was going to scream my name, Joey Jefferson, the king of entertainment. I was ready. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thoughts from fellow writers and theater lovers appreciated!