Thursday, June 18, 2020

DRAMA CLUB – The Coach (Part 2 of 3 Parts) blog post #394

Theatrical Spot Lights
Last week, Jarrod Gray got caught servicing a freshman in the lighting loft at Casa Verde College’s Thespian Hall. This week, we’ll see the price he has to pay for such shenanigans.



Nothing happened for three days except that Bobby didn’t come around to bother him. On Friday, the drama coach sent for him.
“Hello, Jarrod,” Thad Reid responded cordially to his knock. “Have a seat.” Jarrod sat and waited wordlessly. He was impressed by the coach’s cool. “I’m taking Bobby Lyles out of the booth and assigning him to sets, okay?”
“Fine,” Jarrod said calmly. “Who are you sending upstairs?”
“Let’s get through the first production and worry about that later.”
“Sure. Whatever.” Jarrod hesitated. “He ask to be reassigned?”
“Well, yes. Felt he’d do better backstage on the sets. Guess one of his buddies is on sets and scenery.”
“Yeah, sure. That all?”
“No. When someone does his job well, I don’t like to interfere… but I’d like you to remove that mattress. Probably the easy chair, too. Give the loft more of a professional air.”
“They’ve been there for three years, Mr. Reid. I spend a lot of time up there working on control panels, setting up new lights. Sometimes I need to study, so I use the chair. When I need to rest, I use the mattress.” Jarrod clamped his jaws shut. “You tell me to bring them down, I will. But I’m asking you not to. I need them.”
“Son,” the term didn’t fall from Thad Reid’s lips gracefully, “college is about more than just classes. You need to develop socially, not just academically. There’s more to your world than the lighting of a stage production."
“I don’t care about any of that stuff.”
“Someday you will. Thanks for stopping by.”
Jarrod left the coach’s office confused. He was certain Reid had seen him servicing Billy Lyles. Yet all he’d done was reassign the freshman and ask him to remove the mattress from the loft. It didn’t look like he was going to make a federal case out of what he’d witnessed.
Figuring he was lucky to have gotten off so lightly, Jarrod went about his business. Then one day, as the club began working on the first play, he ran across Reid on the Thespian Theater’s stage. They exchanged greetings before Jarrod ascended to the loft by the rope.
A few minutes later, he noticed the rope going taut and beginning to jump as someone on the other end ascended. In no time, Coach Reid stepped onto the stage.
“Neat way to get up here.” Reid wasn’t even puffing hard.
“Quickest too.”
“Thanks for getting rid of the mattress. You understand why, don’t you?”
“I just stowed it away in a closet at the back. If I’m gonna sleep over, I’ll haul it out temporarily,” Jarrod responded a little defiantly
“No reason to sleep in the theater, is there?”
“Sometimes when there’s a play on, I work on changing the lamps at night. It’s easier to sack out there. Wrestling them around and getting them bolted in place is hard work sometimes.”
“And you do it all alone?”
Yes, sir. Always have.”
‘Well, if you need assistance, let me know.” Coach Reid changed the subject. “Have you read the play yet?”
“Few times. Blocked out some ideas for lighting although I gotta see the sets before I can bring anything to you.”
“Good. Tryouts start next week, and I want the stage backlit softly with a highlight halo in the foreground. No spot. No filters. Just plain light.” The man rushed on in front of Jarrod’s objection. “I know, you usually work the lights and make everyone look as good as you can. And I understand you’re scrupulously fair about it. But I want to judge the raw material. I’ll narrow the field and have a second round of tryouts. Then you can do your thing. Okay?”
 “Makes sense. Sure, I’ll do that. You’re the boss.”
Reid left shortly after that, departing the way he came. Jarrod watched him cross the stage, noting the power and grace of the man’s movements. A little shiver ran down his back.
An hour later, he looked up from rewiring a portion of the control panel to see the rope dancing again. His heartbeat increased at the thought of Reid paying him a second visit. To his surprise, Bobby Lyles stepped onto the loft platform. Jarrod smiled. The kid had made the climb easier this time. He nodded his greeting as Bobby stood there uncertainly.
“Hi. You doing okay?”
Jarrod nodded. “Fine. What are you up to?”
“Just wanted to check the place out. Haven’t seen much of you lately.”
“See you in class,” Jarrod said.
“Yeah. Look, Jarrod, I didn’t fink on you. Mr. Reid found out about what we did some other way.”
“I know. He came up the ladder and saw us.”
Bobby’s fair skin reddened. “He… he saw us?”
“Yeah. Don’t worry. All he had me do was remove the mattress. That’s the price I paid.”
“So you don’t have any place to….” Billy turned scarlet again. “You know.”
Jarrod indicated the worn overstuffed chair. “Sure I do. He asked me to remove the chair too, but I didn’t. Apparently he’s okay with that because he was up here and didn’t say anything.”
An awkward moment passed before Jarrod spoke up. “You plop that trim butt of yours in the chair, and I’ll know what you really came up here for.”
Billy met his gaze briefly before his glance slid away. But he covered the distance in three steps and settled into the chair.
Jarrod stood in front of him. “Take your shirt off.”
“W-what if he comes back.”
“He just left. He won’t be back. If he does, he’ll just make me get rid of the chair.”
Billy licked his lips before shimmying out of his shirt.
Nice. Good pecs. No six pack, but the belly was trim.
“Now the pants.”
“But what if someone else comes up?”
“No one else has come up here in three years unless I asked them up.”
Billy stood and dropped his trousers, revealing he was ready.
Jarrod knelt and gave the frosh what he wanted so desperately.

What was the punishment? Stowing away the mattress Jarrod had had in the loft for three years. How will he survive without the mattress? Oh, yeah. There was the easy chair, wasn’t there? But the tale isn’t finished yet. Check it out next week.

Until then.

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