The Called Part 4

March 11th, 2011 by Wordsman

He coughed into his fist, an awkward, contrived gesture that he had never before used in a public speaking situation.  “Good morning.  Or, um, if you’re watching this in the afternoon, then good afternoon, I guess.  And if you’re watching it at night . . . no, why would you be watching it at night?”  A not-so-faint groan could be heard coming from somewhere off-camera.

The cough was repeated.  “In any case, my name is Peter Hamlin, and I am here today to introduce my sister, Louisa.  She has been playing the trumpet since she was eight years—”

“Seven,” said the off-screen voice.  The number was delivered in a tone of exceeding obviousness; it was not the “seven” that was the answer to “In what year was Publius Quinctilius Varus appointed governor of Germania?” but rather the one that follows “What comes after six?”

“Right.  Seven.”  At this point the actor became flustered—well, even more flustered—and wondered if perhaps he should have spent more time—any time—memorizing his lines.  A more expensive camera (this one had been purchased for $35 at a garage sale) might have picked up the cold front of sweat that was forming along his forehead and preparing to rain into his eyes.  But Peter Hamlin was a fighter, so he continued his valiant but ill-advised struggle against the evil red light.

“She has performed in the Laragheny County Youth Band for four years, and was recently awarded the Most Promising Musician, uh, award.”  He looked up hopefully, but the light refused to wink out, meaning his trial was not yet done.  His script, however, was.  Peter Hamlin, who had once come up with a ten-minute speech on financial deregulation off the top of his head, improvised.  “Um, her parents are Paul and Joan Hamlin . . . her grandparents are—”

If this had been a full-scale feature film production, he might have heard a “CUT!”  Instead he got, “I don’t know what to do with you.”

Peter took the opportunity to collapse on a nearby ancient couch beyond the bounds of the impromptu film studio.  Free from the camera’s terrible gaze, he could relax, at least as far as a man in a suit and tie can relax.  “Let me go?”

“Oh no.  You’re not getting away until we finish this.”

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