A good night*. Henna glanced at a turn of her wrist; 7.57. For a full house, it was surprisingly early. There were a few seats left, but any more walk-ins would have to try the bar stools near the back of the house or stand in the back. From downstairs came the sound of a hoot and the ragged strains of an Irish Drinking Song. A good night.
“Hello!” Henna beamed. The slightly lost girl returned a nervous smile and adjusted her overlarge spectacles. She muttered something about being here to catch Garen — “Just in time, we’re starting soon, we’ve saved you a seat near the front!” — and bustled off, lost slightly in her own world. Henna took a moment to admire the girl’s long, glossy hair before she disappeared into the throng.
“Oh no, wait!” But it was too late, the girl was lost in the bustle and hustle of the crowded, rowdy room Henna frowned; didn’t Garen reserve two tickets? Was she bringing a friend? Thumping footsteps suggested that the performers were coming upstairs, then suddenly —
“Holy Cow! Janice, what are you doing here?” Garen’s exclamation thundered up the stairs. The remaining performers shuttled past, ‘Variations on an Amused Smirk’ playing across their faces. Henna wished them luck as they passed her at the door, with a slightly panicky Garen bringing up the rear with an unfamiliar girl, her long hair in a complicated braid. Hmm. Were long hairstyles back in fashion?
“Hi, uh, Henna, yes, this is my, um, this is Janice, hello. She’s a walk in, she doesn’t have a ticket.” Garen’s eyes widened urgently and his lips mouthed shapes. The penny dropped and something clinked. Janice handed over money, Henna stamped a mark, and Garen gestured vaguely towards the empty seats. “Yeah, she, uh, decided to surprise**** me at my show. I’m really surprised, wow. Okay. Um.”
“Oh, um, no, those are for the online bookings.” Tim was gesturing frantically from the stage. “Garen, why don’t you get onstage, come with me, Janice, this way please.” Expertly, Henna guided Janice to the other side of whoever else Garen invited. This was a strange, unusual turn. The show kicked off, Henna returned to guard the door, before suddenly –
“Hello, I’m Mindy!” Henna’s jaw dropped. No way. Mindy was gorgeous in the way a girl could be gorgeous to men, but absolutely repellent and unattractive to women. Low-cut top, short skirt that didn’t fit, skin flashing everywhere except for her face, caked with make-up, breathy voice and vacant look…Setting aside the politically inexpedient question of what she saw in Garen was the larger and looming question of what in the world Garen saw in her. Shallow was the least offensive word she could summon up*****.
Before she could react, though, a pair of hands gently shifted Mindy out of the way, revealing a pleasant-looking girl with long dark hair. She smiled and dug in her purse for a card, which she presented to Henna. “Hey there. Garen gave me this, he said he saved me a ticket? Mindy’s along for company, she came along at the last moment as a walk-in.” The card turned out to be a namecard from the company, scrawled with Garen’s florid flourishes:
Dear Henna, please let Wanda in. Cheers, G.
Henna had no choice but to lead her over to where G’s previous guest was, doing her best to catch Garen’s eye, onstage. He winked, then blanched immediately as he noticed Janice joining Wanda, Mindy and spectacles at the same table. Well, at least Garen had some standards (sniffed Henna). Long hair, eh?
Oh boy. Intermission was going to be fun…
*Based off true stories***. Henna, for example, is a girl’s name that resembles a shade of brown often used to describe trees and nuts, cough cough. Tim is a rhyme for a less common name (which experiences immense popularity in North Korea, cough).
** Holy shit this is actually happening. #fuck
*** I just want to ask why so many people on Tinder chat me up by asking if I sing, act, and dance. As a matter of fact yes, I am trying to round off my triple threat, but suddenly the Reindeer Ears, Red Corduroy Trousers and Crimson Suspenders seem to detract from my personality, rather than expand it. I have become objectified by my accoutrements, and I must ask why.
****True story, though not mine.
*****Well, I am on Tinder…