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Andrew Tortora is quite possibly a wraith that missed its mark and alerted only a meridian house cat that went right back to licking itself with inhuman pleasure.

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Three Character Production 

Andrew Tortora

Read by Anonymous, Anthony Scioli, and Stephania Reyes

The fool takes his place upon the stage, ready to deliver the prologue, only a few lines composed in short sentences. But when he opens his mouth he finds he’s forgotten them, they’re irretrievable, lost somewhere dark he can’t make shine.

The audience grows restless, they’ve come to hear something, to see a show, to exchange dreary life for dazzling entertainment, but the poor fool just stands there, rubbing the heel of his right foot against the instep of his left foot. They’re starting to boo, to hiss, to jar phlegm loose that they mean to weaponize. And by now the fool’s blushing a deep red. But he won’t vacate the stage, he defends it with a doltish elan, strong, but without reason, aiding the edge with a quick rush, intercepting spit aimed haphazardly.

Someone’s yelling: Let’s go! On with the program! and another cries: This isn’t amateur hour! and then comes a vulgar whistle, followed by: It’s never like this in London! Leave it to the Yanks!

The fool finally slinks from the stage, coaxed off by his handler who stands in the wing, rattling a tin ball filled with the extracted teeth of children who ate too many sweets, and never really existed, because really this man’s a liar: they’re only stones in there.

Here comes another man, one with a lead face and erotic physique. He’ll begin the introduction proper, and so he does, and the audience goes silent, ready to be swept away. But this one’s a bore; despite his easy charm and cuckolding grace, he has the depth of a grammar school sketch.

After a few minutes some in the audience are calling for the fool to return, but when the fool dashes towards the stage his handler grabs him around the waist, dragging him to their shared dressing room, giving up half way on explaining the jest.

The leading man’s lassoed around the neck, yanked off stage as someone in the wing plays a short paean on the kazoo. For a few minutes the nasal waves cut across the stage, and just when the audience seems ready to revolt, to demand entertainment or blood, the leading lady comes out: fully dressed for her first appearance, but within seconds she’s beginning to strip. Low born men married high clap their encouragement, and a few wise guys sing a tune in the style of the Andrews Sisters, but none of the women in the audience are amused. Quietly they murmur about what it would be like if the roles were reversed. perhaps. through. grassrootspoliticalaction! But quickly the stage manager comes running out with his coat, and, sort of (not really, not enough to make matters worse) drags her off stage.

After a few minutes of outrage (and several foiled attempts at a satisfying masturbation by a vagrant who’d been living on the balcony) the footfalls flicker, and they all claim a seat.

The stage manager comes back out to face them, wiping the sweat from his brow, transferring the excretion from his palms to his pants before he makes the House Announcement: “I’d like to thank our audience for their patience, and I regret to inform them that tonight’s production featured only three, and since they’ve been rejected as either idiotic, or boring, or lewd, there shall be no production tonight. Refunds shall be offered in the form of a complimentary showing in the near future. Thank you, and be well.”

The audience applauds, giving the stage manager an ovation that extends long after he bows with a flourish and exits stage right.

Left alone they file out in rows, some complaining about the quality of the show, some waiting to see if the leading lady would be grateful for the exotic flowers they’d sent. All of this further preventing the vagrant from spurting his seed.

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