Thursday, April 2, 2020

The Drama Club-Part 3 (The Chameleon-Episode 1 of 3 Episodes) blog post #383

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More requests bring more Jarrod Gray and the Casa Verde College Drama Club. Let me know when you get tired of it. Here’s the third Jarrod Gray story. By the way, sorry Part 1 of the Drama Club got switched with Part 2. I’ll swear the computer did it. Whatever, I hope things will stay straight this time. Here we go.


Junior year. Casa Verde College. The Drama Club. Lighting and Curtain Director. It all sounded good to Jarrod Gray as he looked around the first Drama Club meeting of the school year. Thespian Hall held a slightly musty smell that would dissipate with the coming and going of student over the coming weeks. Someone dropped a book, sending an echo throughout the big hall.
Most of the faces were the same as last year with a few new ones scattered around the group. His eyes involuntarily searched for Kahn even though that beautiful young man had graduated last spring. As had Rick, the year before. What would these people say if they knew he and Rick, the school jock and leading man two years back, had been lovers. And Kahn, that wonderfully compact Vietnamese who transformed the stage with his beautiful sets last year.
The buzz of conversation died as the school’s drama teacher Mrs. Atherton called the group to order. Jarrod’s jaw dropped when she announced the first play this year would be a musical. A musical, for crying out loud. Did she really think this bunch could bring that off? Wow. His talents would really be tested for a production like that. His lights always made the actors look better than they were, but singing and dancing? Wasn’t much they could do to enhance that.
Brett Starrett, a hunky guy Jarrod recognized from last year, caught him on the way out of the meeting and was a little more upbeat. “Might be fun. Some pretty good voices in the club. The dancing might be a problem.”
“You trying for a part?”
“For the chorus or something.”
“Didn’t know you sang. You dance too?”
Brett blushed, which on him was attractive. “A little. My mom made me take tap and a little ballet. Some flamenco.”
“Flamenco! Thought that was for Spaniards.”
The brown-haired, hazel-eyed senior laughed. “That’s me. At least mom was Mexican. And there’s some Portuguese and French thrown in there somewhere. Of course, my dad was Scots and Welsh.”
Jarrod smiled. “You’re a regular chameleon. Don’t know what I am except for English.”
As Brett walked away, Jarrod climbed a rope hand-over-hand to his home-away-from-home, the maze of lofts and catwalks above the big stage at Thes Hall where he spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning out months of accumulated dust and litter. His easy chair and mattress both required a good beating. He caressed the mattress fondly, recalling times there with Rick and Kahn, examining and identifying stains he’d not been able to wash out, associating them with one boy or the other. Damn, it was good to be back!
Jarrod’s world was bi-polar… the stage at Thespian Hall and everything else, which he called the classrooms… or just rooms.  He existed when he was in the rooms; he lived when he was at Thes.
By the time Mrs. Atherton started preparing for the season’s first play, he’d long since done a read-through and experimented with the lighting and moving spots, spending time on back-lighting ideas, and imagining things you saw at the Oscars or TV extravaganzas. He was working on some rewiring for one of the ideas when he heard a step on the ladder to the loft.
Bret’s head appeared in the opening. “Hey, your own little kingdom, huh? You permit visitors?”
“Right kind,” Jarrod grunted, still concentrating on his work. “Come on up.”
Brett explored the loft and walked the catwalks while Jarrod finished what he was doing. Returning from his explorations, Brett flopped belly down on the mattress and gazed over the edge of the superstructure down on the stage. The sight set Jarrod on edge, reminding him of others who’d lain on that mattress.
“Man you can see everything from up here!” Brett said, his head hanging off the edge of the loft.
“Yeah, saw a guy getting it on with a gal at the back one night during rehearsals,” Jarrod said, licking dry lips as he took his place beside Brett. No way he could keep from making comparisons with others who’d lain there. Brett was tall and slender. Good hips, slightly smaller waist, and good shoulders, although they looked a little bony beneath his shirt. Interesting.
Brett turned over and faced him. “You saw them screwing? Who?”
Jarrod smiled. “You knew them both.”
“Are they still in the club?” Jarrod shook his head. “Graduated, huh? Or left. Let’s see. Likely candidates if it was two years ago would be Shelly and Rick. That’s who it was, isn’t it?” Jarrod’s smile widened. Brett laughed and slapped his knee. “Old Rick. That jock made it with about half the women on campus.”
Jarrod bit back a retort as Brett moved on to another subject, as was his wont.
‘You know, this is a good stage.”
Jarrod lay beside him, shoulders and hips touching slightly. “Yeah. ‘Bout as good as a professional stage, except maybe the big ones on Broadway. I love it.”
“Just think, a musical! Never thought I’d get to be in one.”
“You get off on that, huh?” Jarrod asked.
“Singing’s okay, but it’s the dancing I like. Man, I dance every chance I get. June and I go downtown to a club about every weekend.” Jarrod knew June had been Brett’s girl last year. “You and your girl oughta go with us sometime.”
“Don’t know how to dance,” Jarrod confessed, And no girl, either, he added mentally. “You oughta try for the lead this year, not some chorus position.”
“Probably get to dance more in the chorus. Besides, I’m not leading man material,” he said turning to face Jarrod, his square, regular features strangely appealing. He wasn’t classically handsome like Rick or darkly beautiful like Kahn, but he was handsome in his own way and exuded more sex-appeal than any other guy in the club, including the pretty boy who’d probably go for the lead.
“I mean it. The script calls for some intricate numbers with the female lead. If Blue Balls”—his derisive name for the pretty-boy snob—“goes for it, Ms. Atherton will have to dumb it down to his level..”
Brett frowned, wrinkling his short nose. “Yeah. That’s true. Be a shame.” In one of those lightning changes, he returned to the previous subject. “Really, you oughta double with June and me. Nothing to it…social dancing, I mean. I can show you sometime. Hey, I gotta run. June’s meeting me at the cafeteria.” Brett scrambled to his feet and stepped over Jarrod’s inert body. Jarrod had to clasp his hands to keep from grabbing him.

It looks as though Kahn didn’t manage to stay in the picture after graduation from Casa Verde, but perhaps Jarrod is zeroing in on someone new… a song and dance man this time. Will he be successful? Tune in again next Thursday.

Until next week.

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