HARRY AND KAELIK anxiously searched the list of players posted outside the
auditorium for their names. It had been three days since the audition, and they
could hardly wait until they found out what parts they would play. "Here's me!"
Kaelik shouted excitedly. "I get to play Falstaff of Nova, the Jester!"
"Congratulations!" said Harry, scanning the
list. He looked up and down the supporting cast area, but he didn't see his
name anywhere. "I guess I didn't make it…"
"Aw, are you sure? Let me see." Kaelik took
a closer look at the paper. "Whoa… Harry, I'd say you made it." He pointed up
to the part at the top of the sheet where the two main characters were listed.
Harry's name was written in under Scorchio.
"…me? Scorchio? I don't know if I can… I'm a
Grarrl, after all… and Scorchio is, well…"
"Poetic license, my friend. You can be anything
you want to be on the stage." Kaelik said. "And just think, you get to have
that big kiss scene with…" He eyed the list. "…Radha."
"What?! No way! There is no way I'm going to
kiss her!" Harry moaned, and rubbed his head with both paws.
"But she's JubJubette, and the play calls for
a big smack right on the kisser in act three, scene five. Didn't you read it
before the audition?" Kaelik said, amused at his friend's plight.
"No, I didn't - or else I wouldn't have let
you talk me into auditioning!" Harry didn't' know how he was going to get out
of this, but there was no way, acting or no, his lips were going anywhere near
Miss Sundari Rahda's oh-so-perfect fur.
"Look on the bright side," Kaelik said, "She'll
totally freak to find out she's got to kiss a Grarrl."
"What's wrong with Grarrls?" Harry asked with
"Nothing, nothing. But you know how she feels.
Particularly after that Gobstopper incident. She's still bald in places. Serves
her right, though." Kaelik grinned. "Looks like rehearsal starts tomorrow night
at 6 PM NST, so we'll find out then."
"Great. Tomorrow night at 6 PM NST, my life
is completely over." Harry said, shaking his head.
When 6 PM NST rolled around the next day, Kaelik,
Scheat, and Harry were gathered in the auditorium along with the other pets
in the play. Radha and Tigsam were there too, as was the mysterious golden Grarrl.
"Who is that girl, anyhow?" Harry whispered to his friends.
"Dunno," Kaelik said with a shrug. "Some new
"She's nice - I met her the other day at lunch.
She's going to be on the stage crew." Scheat said, grinning. "Her nickname is
"What's her real name?" asked Harry, curious.
"Oh, she's got a real humdinger of a real name,
just like you bud. _Special_Operations_ is the completely freaky name she's
got. That's Underscore S-p-e-c-i-a-l Underscore Operations Underscore. Imagine
putting that on a birth certificate. The lengths some people will go to give
their child a unique name…" Scheat rambled.
"Wow… she was born with a bad name… Just like
me! I've got to meet this girl." Harry murmured, wondering how he'd do it. He
was lost in thought when Ms. Lupa walked in, carrying her clipboard and a bright
coloured pencil in one paw.
"Good evening, actors and actresses… and you
others from stage crew." Ms. Lupa said, clicking her pencil against the clipboard
as she took roll call silently.
"I think I'm insulted by that." Scheat grumbled
"Stage boy," whispered Kaelik, with a bit of
good-natured rib poking.
"Stage Manager," corrected Scheat.
"Shhhh…" said Harry, who was trying to hear
the directions Ms. Lupa had started to give.
"… and so, we'll start with act one, scene one.
You'll find your play books up here on the desk. If you lose or deface your
copy, you're in big trouble, so just don't do it. Principal Buzzard is really
not in the mood for vandals."
Most of the students shivered - the principal
was not known for his good temper.
"Ms. Lupa!" called Radha, raising her elegantly
manicured paw, "I have a question."
"Yes, Radha, what is it, and why is it more
important than what I am saying?" Ms. Lupa had a very high opinion of the sound
of her own voice.
"There has got to be some mistake. The list
of players had Harry the Grarrl listed as playing Scorchio."
"And, duh! Everyone knows Grarrls can't play
great romantic figures! Look at the size of them! And the shape, for that matter!
They're even quite common - not a romantic figure at all, really, when it comes
right down to it. And then there's the smell. And have I mentioned how utterly
common and base they are? It's really going to ruin our play if we have to have
a Grarrl in it, and I just thought you should know." Radha smiled sweetly, and
put on her best helpful face. "I just want our play to be as successful as all
your plays were, Ms. Lupa. And we can't do that with a big stinky old Grarrl
Harry sniffled. He was pretty big, though he
was sure he didn't smell since he bathed just this morning. And when it came
right down to it, he'd never had a girlfriend, so he wasn't sure about the whole
romance thing. "Maybe someone else should play Scorchio then," Harry said with
"Nonsense! I, the great Maxine Lupa, have chosen
my cast! There will be no substitutions! You will be Scorchio, Harry, and Miss
Radha, if you do not like it, we can find another girl to play JubJubette."
"But… you just said no substitutions!" Radha
"Never mind that, just get up on that stage
and act your little hearts out, darlings!" Ms. Lupa started passing out books.
"And you, stage crew manager… Scat…."
"That's Scheat. You know, like the constellation?"
Scheat snapped indignantly.
"Whatever. Gather your crew and make with the
constructing." Ms. Lupa sniffed.
Harry took his book and clambered up on stage.
He began to read over the first scene while waiting for the others to take their
places, and soon became lost in the story itself. Alstaf Poogle was a fantastic
writer! A small kick to his large shin brought him back to reality. Sundari
Radha was glaring up at him. "I don't care what Ms. Lupa says," she hissed angrily,
"You're just a dumb old Grarrl, and you shouldn't be playing Scorchio. You'd
better not get in my way, because I'm the real star here." Harry grumbled and
tried to ignore her. She was such a pain in the tail.
"Now, read through the first scene… with feeling!"
Ms. Lupa called, waving her arms to emphasise the feeling. Harry wasn't sure
he could do this… not with Radha waiting for him to make the slightest slip-up.
He needed a confidence booster. He looked out into the auditorium, to where
Scheat was talking to the stage crew and organising plans for things they would
build. He tried to catch Scheat's eye for some friendly reassurance. Instead,
he found that Peppi, the golden Grarrl, was smiling up at him. He nearly fell
off the stage in surprise, and staggered backwards, dazedly.
"Watch where you're going, you stupid Grarrl!"
Radha snapped, a moment before Harry's tail bowled her over. "Agggh!"
"Sorry…" Harry said, wincing.
"Oh, how am I ever going to get through this
play?" the Cybunny cried.
To be continued...