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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Hey! You! Get Out of My Way! Part 13 Back in Albany New York


The theatre is a dinner theatre located in the back of a four star hotel, hence the name “The Four Seasons Dinner Theatre.” It is run by a married couple named Mimi and Barry. Barry owns several jewelry stores and Mimi had her own television show in the 70’s entitled “Coffee Break with Mimi.”

Tonight they are looking to cast “Man of La Mancha,” “Annie Get your Gun,” and “The Sound of Music.”

Later when I got the job we would rename all these titles as “Mimi of La Mancha,” “Mimi Get your Gun,” and “The Sound of Mimi’s daughter. Every show either starred Mimi or someone in Mimi’s family. But tonight I was dancing and learning the choreography to be one of the horses in La Mancha.

Andy was sort of a big star in the dinner theatre circuit and on the way in, he said his hello’s to everyone in the waiting area. He even sat through my audition and beamed with pride. The director was named Dick, and oh was that telling. He was an effeminate large blustering walrus of a man. His face and nose had been wrecked by alcohol and tonight he clearly was a “little off” the wagon. I could actually smell it coming from him.

“Lift your legs higher when you prance,” blusters Dick the walrus waving the back of his hand in my direction. Mimi and Barry are sitting behind the directors table for casting as well. Barry keeps winking at me when Mimi’s not looking. I’m hoping that it’s a nervous tick.

At the end of the audition, Mimi stands from behind the table and asks for everyone to be silent for a moment. Clearing her throat she sounds like a parrot that lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.  To be precise, I would place her on 75th Street between Broadway and West End.

Mimi’s thick New Yawk accent hurts my ears. It is the accent everyone does when they are making fun of New Yorkers. “Thank you for coming out,” she says folding her hands in front of her. “I saw a lot of talent and it is going to take a couple of days to put the casts together.” “You will hear from us in about four days.” “If you don’t hear from us, don’t call us,” interjects the walrus.

Mimi smiles and her eyes crinkle, then she goes on to tell us her entire resume, how her and Barry met and that she was raised by a black maid. It was a lot of information that I wasn’t really sure where she was heading. I look around and people are taking notes as she speaks. It is clear that this bunch wants to work and will hang on Mimi’s every word. 

At the end of the night Andy is ready to take me back to the group home. Before I get into the car, he walks over and with the key and unlocks my door. As I turn to thank him he grabs me and kisses me. As he pulls back he looks into my eyes and says “I love you and want to spend the rest of my life with you.” To most people this would be the most wonderful thing to hear. Somehow this terrifies me to the depths of my soul.

Andy pulls out of the parking lot and turns onto Washington Avenue extension. I look out my window for most of the trip home. Every time I look at Andy he is staring lovely at me. His eyes glance every now and then at the road. I should feel warm and safe but I feel the mounting dread that I am too young to think about spending the rest of my life with Andy. 

As Andy pulls in front of the house, he turns the car off and leans across the front seat to kiss me. He pulls his face back, “Can I come in?” he asks. “Of course,” I tell him, hoping that he can’t see the lies I feel that I am going to tell him in the future. He reaches out and grabs my hand. “You’ll get the job,” he tells me, completely misreading my hesitancy. 

We walk across the sidewalk and into the house. We silently try to climb the stairs hoping that we don’t wake Jonathan. At the top of the stairs, Andy reaches out and flicks on the light. I gasp when I see that Jonathan was sitting in the dark waiting for us to get home.

“Mickey and Judy got out of their cage while you were gone and I don’t know where they are,” Jonathan says without missing a beat. There is not a moment of sadness in his voice. I also realize that he refuses to look into my eyes.

To be continued……

Geoffrey Doig-Marx holds all written and electronic rights to his writing "A Day in the Life". It can not be reprinted in part or whole without his written consent.

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