"FROM THE TOP."
"AND ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR…"
I scrambled back to my starting position for the beginning of our routine, moving through the motions mechanically. We've been doing them for two hours straight. My legs jumped between two ladders as I switched my feet and arms quickly to keep up with the beat. I let out a loud grunt from safety of my mind at the repetitiveness of the routine. My legs were on fire from all of the lunges and crouching involved in the dancing. I just wanted to fall into a nice big bubble bath where mini mermaids would massage my calves with hot rocks.
I know, I know. I'm on the Broadway stage, I should be delighted. Hell, I'm on the Wicked stage, I should be bursting at the seams with contempt. But seriously, a winged monkey? This was the best I could do? Never in all my days at McKinley had I imagined that my first 'big break' would be landing the role of one of the rabid flying monkeys from Wicked.
Honestly, I don't even know how I got this gig. As morbid as it sounds, the monkey before me died of AIDs last month.
I just happened to be at the right New York City Starbucks at the right time and overheard one of the directors of the show saying that they had to look for another monkey. My unemployed poor theater major brain immediately took over and I practically screamed "I CAN BE YOUR MONKEY!" So I instantaneously whipped out my lemon scented handy dandy resume and presented it to them. Thank god they were feeling generous that day, or they would have never hired a sophomore in college.
But yeah, back to the AIDs thing. I'm probably putting some weird kind of sexual curse on myself by taking his spot, but this is Broadway. You don't give up a chance for the Broadway stage because of possible AIDs damnation.
"ALRIGHT, THAT'S IT, FOLKS!" The choreographer yelled as the music stopped. "I WILL SEE YOU ALL TOMORROW AT FIVE."
I let out a large grunt as I collapsed on the floor. I was thankful that we weren't in full costume for rehearsals, or else the spikes in my mask would have bent on the ground.
"Not used to the lunges yet, Hummel?"
My eyes snapped open at the familiar voice of my fellow flying monkey, Jackie. I've only known her for a couple of weeks, but she's still the closest friend I have in the show.
"Sorry, I haven't developed monstrous calves yet like some people."
"Well hey, I've been a dancer since I was five. These legs have the force of a well-built rhino." she said, helping me up off the ground.
"Well built rhino legs…that's…creative." I said as I walked offstage. "I think I would have to be compared to some sort of midsized giraffe."
Fifteen minutes later I was out of my leotard and wrapping a scarf around my neck. Jackie and I walked out onto 51st street from the stage door, the freezing December air immediately crashing against my face.
"Ugh, this is not a bubble bath." I grunted as I watched my feet trudge through the slush on the sidewalk.
"What?" Jackie said, slipping her arm through mine as we walked. Jackie was a very tangible person. She was never afraid to give an acquaintance a bone crushing hug if they looked a bit glum. I've gotten used to this and I just accept the friendly gestures when they come.
We made our way down the stairs to get on the Subway. I scanned my metro-card and waited for Jackie before hopping on the train.
"So what're your plans for the night?" Jackie said as we held onto the metal bars of the Subway.
"Well…I was planning on spending an intimate night alone with my couch and whatever movie's playing on the 25 Days of Christmas. Why?"
"A couple of us monkeys are gonna head out for some drinks around ten, you should come!"
"Ohhh…drinks? I—err…I'm gonna pass. I was kind of looking forward to my bad Christmas movies anyway."
"Oh c'mon Kurt! You never come out with us. It's just a couple of drinks! And some of the other guys are dying to get to know you."
"But…but…my movies." I said with a sad whimper.
"Seriously, you're turning me down for Holiday in Handcuffs? I mean, Mario Lopez is cute and all but seriously?"
"Hey! Holiday in Handcuffs is an important part of my holiday season." A part of me wanted to go, but another massive part of me was yearning for the comforts of my apartment. "And I'm only 20, how am I even supposed to get in?"
"Please, you've lived in New York City for almost two years and you expect me to believe that you don't have a fake ID yet?"
"Okay, fine, I have one. But that doesn't mean I like to use it!"
"Oh my god, Kurt. Live a little!" I sighed and gave her an exasperated look. "Okay, okay, if you don't have to go you don't want to. But the place is right near your apartment and you can leave whenever you want to."
I looked up at the ceiling of the subway car and shut my eyes, not believing I was actually giving up a perfectly good lazy night.
"Oh thank you thank you thank you, Kurt!" Jackie threw her arms around me and squeezed me in for a nice tight hug. "Sometime around ten. I'll text you when I'm on my way."
"Alright, Jack, I'll see you later." I said as the train slowed down at my stop.
"Thanks Kurt. And you'll have fun, I promise. You'll be so glad you came."
After my dinner of leftover sushi, I took a shower and threw a bathrobe on, trying my best not to look at the couch or the TV. I had this strange fear that if I stared at it for too long it would start calling my name and I would collapse on it and abandon my plans with my friend...again.
But alas, when I went to the fridge to grab a bottle of water, my eyes glanced over at the nice crocheted blanket resting on my leather couch.
"Hot boys, hot boys, think about the hot boys." I chanted to myself, closing my eyes and running back to my vanity to finish styling my hair.
I was done a little over a half an hour later. My hair looked perfect and my outfit was pretty amazing, if I do say so myself. I wore tight dark denim skinny jeans, black boots, a baby blue half sleeved shirt, and a black leather jacket with a thin cotton brown scarf hanging loosely around my neck. I looked in the mirror and thought that I had the perfect mix of badass-ery and fashion.
My phone vibrated from the edge of my vanity and I did a little skip of excitement as I went to check it. Maybe this night wouldn't be so bad after all.
I'm in a taxi right now. I should be there in like 5.
I rode the elevator down to the bottom of my building, smiling as I sent her a text saying that I was on my way. It had gotten considerably more chilly out since late that afternoon. I slipped my hands in the pockets of my leather jacket and held it close for warmth.
The bar was about a block away from my building, which was terribly convenient. When I arrived at Aura there was a semi-long line outside the door. I got in line behind the clearly underage girls in front of me. They were giggling and kept showing each other how ridiculous their fake IDs looked.
I pulled out my wallet and looked at my own fake ID. At least I had the decency to photoshop my profile into it.
The cold started to really set in and I shifted my weight from either foot in a dull attempt to keep warm. Just when I started to feel impatient, I heard soft strumming of a guitar a few feet away from me.
At first we started out real cool
I looked around and saw the source of the music, a man sitting on a plastic bucket on the ground, clutching a guitar and wearing a tattered hoodie.
Taking me places I ain't never been
But now you're getting comfortable
Ain't doing those things you did no more
You're slowly making me pay for things your money should be handling
I couldn't help but laugh at the irony. Here's some homeless guy on the street, trying to get money from singing a song about an irresponsible moocher.
I turned to get a better look at him. His voice was pretty decent, and his guitar playing was pretty impressive. However, he was wearing about three layers of pants and shirts that did not match each other at all.
Well, then again he's a hobo, of course I can't expect him to color coordinate his wardrobe.
You triflin', good for nothing type of brother
Silly me, why haven't I found another
A baller, when times get hard I need someone to help me out
Instead of a scrub like you who don't know what a man's about
At least the homeless man has a sense of humor.
I continued to watch him sing softly, trying to analyze what he looked like from behind all the old clothes. He had this thick, heavy beard that covered half of his face and his hair was a big bushy mop on top of his head. His age was completely undeterminable.
I decided that his voice was actually really nice, and he didn't sound too old so he couldn't be any more than thirty. He played the song in a different arrangement that almost made it sound unrecognizable.
Can you pay my bills?
Can you pay my telephone bills?
Do you pay my automo' bills?
If you did then maybe we could chill
I don't think you do
So, you and me are through
I turned around and saw Jackie jogging towards me. Her blonde hair was down and it the wind fluttered in the wind as she came near. She was wearing a denim jacket with a white cami underneath. The undershirt was tucked in at her stomach into short black skirt and the whole ensemble was topped off with black transparent leggings, brown boots, and pretty silver necklace. Her outfit was very New York-shique.
"Jesus, its cold out!" she said, rubbing her arms.
Five minutes later, after the bouncer rejected the underage girls in front of us, we were in front of the line. I was a bit nervous, but we got in easily. Jackie spotted her friends from the show right when we walked in. Before she could get their attention, I pulled her off to the side.
"Jack, you have to promise me something." I said, putting my hands on her shoulders and making sure she heard me. "If I get smashed you cannot by any means let me do anything stupid."
"Yeah, yeah! Sure, Kurt, whatever you want." She said, waving me off and turning back around. "Hey guys! Look who's here!" Jackie led me to a table full of attractive looking men. "Kurt, this is Alec, John, Mark, and Gordon. Guys, this is Kurt."
"Good to finally meet you!" Gordon said, smiling at me warmly. I smiled back and relaxed as I sat down on an empty stool.
Two hours, two mojitos and four shots later I was absolutely wasted. Jackie and I stumbled out of the club and slowly made our way down the icy sidewalk.
Very, very slowly.
"Hey!" I said, "It's the singing hobo!" I pulled Jackie with me over near where the man was still playing his guitar.
Here we go again
I kinda wanna be more than friends
So take it easy on me
I'm afraid you're never satisfied
"He sings pretty." Jackie laughed and nuzzled into my side. The man noticed us and looked up. A quick smile appeared on his face before he looked back down at the vibrating strings of the guitar.
Here we are again
I feel hypothermia kickin' in
It's getting colder
And I'm afraid I won't get out alive
Sleepin on these streets tonight
"Aww Kurtie, he needs a place to stay!" The poor guy looked like he was shivering. I think I saw some frost on his scruffy beard.
"Are you sure Jackie, I mean, that bucket looks preeeetty comfortable to me."
"Don't be mean!" She retorted. "He looks so cooold." She moved away from me and closer to the man. "Hey dude! Are you cold?"
The man stopped playing and looked up at us, a sad look on his face. "V—very"
His shivering tone struck a drunken string in my heart and I whimpered at his current state. "Do you have a place to stay?"
"N—not tonight, no."
I stood there and stared at him for a moment, making a decision in my mind. "Well c'mon then! You're staying with me!"
"WHAT?" Jackie and the hobo said at the same time. I walked over to the man and tugged him up.
"C'mon! You're probably freezing your homeless ass off!" I said, beckoning him to walk with me back to my apartment.
"Kurt—what—you're actually doing this? Shouldn't I stop you from doing this?" Jackie laughed at the absurdity of it all.
"Yeah, duhh." I said, picking up the hobo's bucket.
"Oh my god, I can't believe that actually worked." The man with the beard said to himself. "Thank you so much, sir."
"Sure!" I said as I began walking back to my apartment.
"Wha—well-I'm just gonna go home then. You two have fun!" Jackie said before trudging in the other direction.
"SOOOOO…" I said during the seemingly awkward silence as we walked down the icy sidewalk. "The name's Kurt." I smiled at the strange smelling man beside me, slightly surprised when he grinned back at me.
Review? Pretty, pretty please?