The Home For Wayward Ladies

The Home For Wayward Ladies by Jeremy Blaustein Read Free Book Online

Book: The Home For Wayward Ladies by Jeremy Blaustein Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jeremy Blaustein
well rested,” I whisper in his ear.
    “I guess I had sweet dreams,” he replies. 
    The hook on his tunic is undone and my fingers fumble when I try to latch it for him. “Dreams of what?”
    “Wouldn’t you like to know?” he says, and grabs my hand to hold it steady. I can smell the Altoid under his tongue when he looks me over like I’m the apple to his Sir Isaac Newton, as if our experiments with gravity will happen in a matter of time. I never know with him. Every time I think I’ve crossed the line, he inches it farther away. I’m just glad my hands are busy stuffing all those Playbills. With his warm body next to mine, I don’t care who’s watching; there are a number of other things my hands would rather stuff.   
    The moment is officially ruined when he spooks because he’s convinced every other usher is watching. I remember why I’m going to die alone when he pulls away. I don’t know why he gives a shit about what other people think. Especially these people. For a lot of ushers, this job is the only reason they have to shower every other day. Those people are the lifers. They’ve spent years mastering the fine art of pointing at a chair and smiling. For the rest of us with bigger dreams (like Jason and me, thank-you-very-much), this job is a means to an end. All that matters to us is that someday it’ll be our names in those Playbills and some other SOB will have to show old ladies where they can take a leak. For the most part, both sects get along. It’s not as if the younger staff is trying to find a way to revolutionize how to tell people to take their goddamn coats off the balcony rail.
    As for myself, I’ve never been ashamed of who I am. Every day is an exercise in not apologizing to anyone, even if they’ve earned it. Knowing that, it’s hard for me to respectfully lust after someone like Jason who’s trapped in a translucent closet. I know that Jason wants me. The hard-on that’s visible through his trousers says plainly that he knows he wants me too. I don’t know what he’s so concerned about. After all, there’s an understudy going on. Everyone else is preoccupied by prophesying how she’s going to do.
    “Don’t get me wrong,” Jason says. “I don’t want to see her fail. But wouldn’t it be fun if she did?”
    “Why, Jason, I had no idea you possessed such a delightful little mean streak.” My eyes dart back and forth to make sure important ears aren’t listening in. “I don’t think she’s even had rehearsal. Just when you thought expectations couldn’t get any lower… But, look on the bright side: if the understudy sucks, there will have been at least one performance of this trash that people will remember.”
    We are called to the grand staircase for our staff meeting. Jason’s hand brushes against mine as we make our way. I nearly die. For this bloated operation to run smoothly, each of us is randomly assigned one of twenty-six positions. Predominantly, you can plan to spend your evening or afternoon showing people to their seats. Every now and then, though, your childhood dreams come home to roost when they hand you a laser gun so you can scan tickets at the front door. The rotation is the only thing that helps stave off monotony, especially when I get put near Jason. Our manager reads off the list and I listen for his name before I think to hear my own. This afternoon, I’ve been forsaken. The fickle finger of fate points him Mid-Orchestra Left and me Dress Circle Right, an entire floor away.
    “That’s a real pisser,” he says, before he reluctantly leaves my side. “Catch you after the show, handsome.”
    Fucking swoon.
    The only reason I don’t mind being put in the Dress Circle is because it seats so few. Since I’m not expected to pay the rent on this theater, for me it’s: the fewer, the better. I give my section a once-over like I’m supposed to. It’s clean. Well, it’s clean enough.

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