“If you were an instrument, you’d be a big bassoon.”
A softness had entered her voice and she said it without reprimand, without recrimination. Her slender head nestled between his large manly breasts. Then, realizing with a snort of laughter that she had gone off script, she turned to the audience and explained. “Pretty much impossible reciting lines with such a HUNK in front of you. It’s enough to make an Eight lose her concentration.”
She slapped his buns and a small flurry of fake snowflakes fluttered to the floor. She eyed his kielbasa. Then the tip of her pink tongue touched her upper lip. It was on. A gang of Catians sprung from the shadows and pushed past me to rush the stage. With rapid taps to the shoulders in front of them, smaller ones leaped onto the shoulders of taller friends or perhaps obliging strangers for all I knew, all looking like a gleeful goblin horde, or rather, a squad of Asian gymnasts in street clothes. No matter how I hopped or swiveled, someone’s elbow, back or ass was obstructing my view. I inferred from the hurly-burly that Big John was once more a yeti prone, his Mistress rending his hide with lascivious intent.
She called him oaf, goof, and maroon–mispronounced a la Bugs Bunny–while directing ungrammatical and rhetorical questions to his awakening manhood. “Why do you (sound of fabric torn) have to be… so… Much!”
Silent John, either muffled or entirely mute, from this angle might have been either on the verge of ecstasy or about to gasp for breath.
For her part, the Mistress directed an incantation to the valley between his wobbly, rounded knees.
“Arise, pale Wyrm! You great, groggy chub! Stand! C’mon… don’t keep me waiting, chubby boy, or I’ll do this goddamn codpiece!”
A moment later, through the crowd, I could see her stand and extend her arms outward as if to balance herself. Men waited off stage with buckets and sponges in hand, towels athwart their shoulders. At this point I had to jump repeatedly to get intermittent looks. Then, almost too quick for the eye to register, she executed a leaping front somersault with a twist and impaled herself via grand plie’.
Big John bellowed. Yielding handfuls of his phony beard to the machinations of his zesty co-star, he looked neither comic nor tragic, just kind of lost in the moment. I couldn’t tell if it was anguish on his face, or pure concentration, or go-with-the-flow hilarity.
The curtain dropped and soon skinny arms and hands, busy with sponges and towels, slid around the curtain rim like aquarium bottom-feeders. Big John descended from the stage, a one-man avalanche. His strapped-on sausage dong swaying like an elephant’s trunk and drawing the eye of every one in the place. He nodded to me and came over with a depleted, vacant look in his eyes.
“Tricky Dick, hope you enjoyed our little performance,” he patted me on the shoulder and raised his hand to the bartender then dropped it realizing there was no use ordering a beer. No alcohol here; no medicine. I could tell from the way his eyes scanned the place that he was seeking an exit and pronto.
“I’d ask you how it’s hanging, John, but I don’t wanna invite a long-winded description. The life of the theater, it’s treating you well?” Then, pointing out that the cleaners had missed a spot, I gestured with a twirling finger to the moisture glazing the whiskers around his mouth.
As much to guide me as to engage in genuine camaraderie, he put a hand on my shoulder and walked toward the door labeled Dressing Room. He bent as we strolled so that his mouth almost touched my ear, “To tell you the truth, Covey, my left nut is running a little low. Thinking I need some kind of reprieve.”