Short Story Preview: Audition – Sue Hampton
It was just another job I wouldn’t land. I’d become quite settled at the pizza place and had expectations close to zero.
“Yeah but you look the part, right?” said Mitch. “No point me going for it.”
Mitch is grizzled for twenty-eight. He reckons he could take the lead in Fiddler on the Roof and make it edgy. In the meantime, he’s a mortgage adviser so the first, second and third rounds at The Crown and Anchor over the road are all on him.
“I do?” I asked, looking at myself on my phone screen. Mitch flicked up some of the curls I pulled back in a ponytail for waiting tables. “Pre-Raphaelite or what?”
Mitch knows his art; I don’t, beyond the waterlilies and the sunflowers.
“If you say so.” I tapped in a search and up they came, in stained glass.
“Like a girl, you mean.”
“Yeah, Guy, you got it.”
I’ve been to a few theatres where forty of us have been on stage together, dancing some routine the others picked up faster than me. This time the
audition postcode meant nothing. I arrived in a mist that wouldn’t lift.
Had I got some digit wrong?
I was standing outside a foodbank. Not the kind they have in church halls and not much of a warehouse – more the size of a prefab classroom. A black guy emerged, holding a couple of bags in one hand and his small daughter’s hand in the other. He wasn’t so much older than me but I read the despair that lowered his shoulders and kept his eyes ahead. I wondered how much the child understood, and how hard it must be for her father to make sure she knew nothing about hunger, debt, crap housing, fear …