PROMPTuesday #31: Faking It
Deb at San Diego Momma is hosting PROMPTuesday #31: Faking It
Deb’s prompt: Write a story about someone faking a skill to gain the attention of someone else, which only forces him/her into a situation where s/he must use this skill in order to save him/herself from a bigger threat. Include a cast-iron lamp and two nuns giggling in the corner.
She was ill the day that the choir director held tryouts. She had auditioned every year for the past three, but had never been chosen. When she approached the director at the first rehearsal, she had reconciled herself to the expected rejection, but she planned to ask for a make-up audition anyway. It was worth a try. She badly wanted to sing in the choir. Stephen with the black plastic glasses was in it every year, and she wanted to be near him.
As she approached the director, he said shortly, “Soprano, Alto, Tenor or Bass?” She paused, stunned momentarily, but quickly recovered. “Soprano,” she answered, not knowing where she belonged, but instead choosing the voice she’d always wanted to have. “Go take your place,” he snapped, annoyed. She paused again, thinking the better of this opportunity to perchance steal this coveted membership. “I haven’t auditioned yet,” she explained, “I was sick last week.” The director barked, “We’ll audition you after practice. We’re starting now.”
She grabbed a spot on the risers, and the members of the choir who weren’t already in place quickly filled in the rows. The director stood in front, and the pianist began to play the first song. She moved her lips, but did not sing aloud. She was afraid if she did, she’d be called out, in front of everyone, and Stephen. She soon realized that the girls on either side of her would know that she was lip-syncing, but nobody else would be the wiser, and she might be allowed to stay that way, at least through the first rehearsal. One week near Stephen was better than nothing.
At the end of practice, she filed out of the risers along with the group. She was emotionally exhausted from faking and waiting to be caught, but she had just enough energy to walk right past the choir director without asking for her tryout. The director was absorbed in conversation with the pianist, heads bent over sheet music. She walked out of the auditorium, looked up at the afternoon sky, and noticed a couple of dark clouds in the distance, like two nuns in black habits, perched in a corner, giggling over her dilemma.
The following week when she showed up for choir practice, the sky was cloudy again, and a dim yellow glow outside of the auditorium came from one in a pair of old cast-iron lamps hanging on a wall on either side of the double doors. Stephen was standing under the lit lamp. He walked in with her, and she wondered if he had timed his entrance with hers, if he’d been waiting for her. But he acted nonchalant, and said nothing as they walked to the risers. She momentarily wondered if the director would remember that she had not auditioned, but he said nothing and neither did she. She took her place on the risers, this time on the very end of the first row of sopranos. Stephen was in the end position on the other side of the risers, with the bass singers.
From behind the black music stand in front of the group, the choir director announced, “We are going to run through the music once as a group . . . .” He broke off, distracted, and the pianist began playing. She lip-synced again, this time with feeling. She might just get away with this after all, she thought. How bad could it be standing in the choir all year, just a few feet away from Stephen, week after week? And was he looking at her just now, from the corner of his eye? It was hard to tell with the glare from his glasses under the florescent auditorium lights. At the end of the first song, the director tapped the black music stand and announced, “Now we are going to audition for the soprano/bass duet. Let’s start with the singers on either end and work our way to the middle.”