Aug 2 2008
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Readers, though, the way that I look at it is this: Would the hook itself interest you in reading the book. If yes, what interests you and if not, what would you change to make it more appealing?
The show was going fine until someone shot the Fool. Decent crowd, not too many fights breaking out, nothing had caught on fire, and Barthelme Banton had a head cold that was really cutting into his normally determined overacting.
Half the stage crew had gotten in a drunken fight with the other half, so I was running around trying to do the practical effects and all the special effects too. I’d jogged back and forth between the space where my stage model and magical effects were laid out and the galleries all night, and I was itchy and tired and covered in sweat.
I was up in the gallery, hauling up on a scratchy hemp rope as I tried to lift up the chandelier that had illuminated Banton’s touching death scene as Lord Paulus. The actress playing Lady Pauline had shed some moving tears, ably assisted by a handkerchief full of onions. The half of the crowd that wasn’t drunkenly feeling up the orange sellers had been soaking it up appreciatively, and then the Fool came tumbling on in his particolor hose to deliver the Epilogue and dance a scabrous little jig.
Usually I hated fools. We had a new one for this production though, an incredible acrobat. I was getting distracted watching him do backflips and tumbles, and the rope holding up the chandelier was starting to slip, when suddenly his body seemed to stop and jerk in midair. Rivers of red pulsed across the yellow patches of his motley. His flight was arrested mid-tumble, and he fell heavily to the stage.
I tied the chandelier rope off on a stanchion and dodged around the rafters while the sound of the gunshot was still echoing in my ears. Then I raced through the gallery, dodging the members of the audience who’d climbed up for a higher view, and pushed my way through the backstage area. My clearest thought was that Spruce was going to kill me if the Fool died. It was too late to replace him in tomorrow’s performance.
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