Miss Manners

Miss Manners by Iman Sid Read Free Book Online

Book: Miss Manners by Iman Sid Read Free Book Online
Authors: Iman Sid
the room with a Hollywood-style vanity mirror lined with light bulbs.
    At the back of the room was an ornate French dressing screen and a poster of a surreal-looking painting billowing on the wall. It was the sort of painting I had to study in art class back at school.
    I walked over to take a closer look. It was a portrait of an odd-looking woman sitting on a chair who appeared to have two faces. Scrolled at the bottom of the poster, I noticed the words ‘Pablo Picasso, Portrait of Dora Maar ’.
    The painting made me think, which was always a good thing.
    There was a knock at the door.
    ‘ Tara, you in there?’ came a gruff voice.
    I opened the door and Boris nearly fell over from leaning on it. He jogged over to Tara, gesturing at the door. ‘Are you ready yet? The act’s just left the stage.’
    Tara quickly applied a final coat of lip gloss. ‘All done,’ she pronounced.
    Tara had gone all out. Which was something of an understatement. Tara had gone all out for the Notting Hill Carnival. She looked very eighties, like Ziggy Stardust, with her silver jumpsuit, pink frills, peach wrap around her shoulders, chunky heels and, to top it all off, layer upon layer of glittery green eye shadow, orange blusher and red lipstick. It was very colourful. I just hoped it wouldn’t give anyone in the audience an aneurism.
    ‘ So, what do you think of my look?’ Tara asked, leaning on one leg and placing both hands on her hips.
    ‘ Colourful,’ I said. ‘Very colourful.’
    And with that, Tara flashed a winning smile and skipped off nervously towards the stage. Just before she opened the stage door, Felicity came over holding three cans of Coke.
    ‘ Here you go. Oooooooooh!’ Felicity almost dropped the drinks at the sight of Tara’s costume. ‘What is that?’
    ‘ What is what?’ Tara exclaimed, visibly worried. ‘It’s not my make-up, is it?’
    ‘ Worse. Your outfit. Here,’ Felicity took off her black trench coat and offered it to Tara.
    Tara shook her head, then marched off with an angry look on her face.
    The place was packed with an audience of around two hundred unsettled people who were all waiting for Quinto.
    Tara sauntered over to the CD player and placed her CD into it. But just before she had the chance to hit the play button, a crazed Boris waved his arms about like the Mad Hatter backstage.
    ‘Tara!’ he whispered breathlessly. ‘Stop!’
    ‘ What? Why?’ Tara mouthed, looking confused.
    ‘ Quinto! They’re here,’ Boris panted. ‘They’ve just arrived. They’re at the backstage entrance.’
    I decided to see it for myself. I trekked through the backstage corridors and , sure enough, there they were. Instruments being unpacked, coats being flung about, legs and vocal chords being stretched out – it was chaos. And then there was Felicity standing next to me, blushing like a sun-ripened tomato and staring at Zak Quinto.
    Tara ran off stage, past Stanley and into Dressing Room One to change out of her clothes. She appeared five minutes later fully dressed with the pink bag over her right shoulder. Looking disheartened and completely drained, she handed it over to me.
    ‘Here. I gotta get back to work,’ she said, deflated, then went to stand behind the bar.
    ‘ Poor Tara. All that preparation. All that build-up,’ I said to Felicity.
    I walked over to Tara, who was re-attaching her staff badge to her jumper. ‘Don’t worry,’ I said, squeezing her hand. ‘There’ll always be next time. Except next time, all these people will come especially to see you. You will be the main act.’ I gave her a big hug, then we both looked out at the audience and smiled.

5
     
    The Oracle
     
     
     
     
    TUESDAY, 19th APRIL
     
    The next morning, I awoke far too early. It was seven-thirty; I’d forgotten to switch my alarm off the night before.
    Today was the first day I didn ’t have a job in two years.
    Do I snooze or do I get up and start doing things?
    Now, I know I should have been getting

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