a cub scout star is born

Submitted into Contest #50 in response to: Write a story about a person experiencing pre-performance jitters.... view prompt



Mrs. Conley was a clever lady. She even seemed to enjoy the noisy little boys who showed up after school for their den meeting.  She always looked happy. She wore those plastic rimmed glasses, and and her light colored hair was curly with a maroon scarf tied to keep it neat looking. Mikey liked going to school in his uniform. He had a special hanger for it in his closet, and draped the yellow bandana over the neck. It was a nice dark blue, long sleeved shirt with 'cub scouts' embroidered in yellow thread. on one pocket. He used to have a neat clasp for his bandana, but it's lost somewhere. It probably rolled of his shelf and went under the bed, who knows. Maybe his mom'll find it. So now he just ties it, like doing his tennies but without the loops. It still looks cool.  

   So, after school, he heads down the stairs and looks down the street. Yep, there's Mom's car. So she drives Mikey to Mrs. Conley's house, she's the new den mother, the other side of Madison Creek. He likes where her house is, all those tall trees on that street. They make it all shady. So today, there's a rehearsal for Saturday's Pack Meeting. It's where a lot of dens in town get together and Mikey's den puts on a show. Mrs. Conley has some skits that she and Mr. Conley came up with. They're supposed to make the other cub scouts laugh.  

  Mikey's friend Dennis, he's in his class at school, likes to show off. He's always doing stuff to get attention. So Mrs. Conley picked him for one of the skits. He was supposed to be Juliet, and Jacob Conley was Romeo. Jake, Mikey calls him, cries out, "Juliet, Juliet, wherefore art thou, Juliet. Your face is like a flower, pillsbury flour, and your eyes are like pearls, cess pearls." He was supposed to say pearls like pools. That was a lot to learn. Dennis was all smirks and giggles with a curly wig on and a long skirt. As he walked up the covered step ladder, he was supposed to step on the long skirt and make it droop, showing off his bright pink underwear. Mikey was in another skit as a doggy, and just barked when Bobby said, "Are you still hungry" It was a rather one dimensional character, this dog thing. Then he was supposed to whine at the refrigerator, which was just a white box with a door painted on it. Willard Martinez pretends to pull a big (plastic) bone and throw it off stage, and Mikey barked and chased it. It wasn't real funny, but Mikey did do a good dog bark that sounded like a real dog.

  So, Mikey's Mom takes him on Saturday to the two story lodge building downtown. She was carrying a bowl of green jello for the potluck, the kind with fruit cocktail mixed in. He saw the inside packed with boys in cub scout uniforms, a sea of dark blue and yellow. He saw his den clear across this big hall, especially Dennis doing some kind of waving his arm and stuff. Mikey took up yelling, "Hey, hey!" but had to stop, his mother was way behind. "Wait, Mikey...where are you headed?" Her face was all frowny.So he stopped to show his mother by pointing over to where his friends were all gathered. Some lady we didn't know came up to his mom. "Is that a dessert? Okay, all the desserts go down to that table, see the red haired fellow over there? On that table."  

  So, Mikey and the other boys go into a little room after the potluck where the costumes are. Mikey sees Dennis looking all sad and teary eyed at Mrs. Conley. Mrs. Conley sees Mikey staring at them. "Mikey, come here a minute." She's waving her hand. "Dennis says he doesn't want to dress up like a girl in front of all the other boys. He says Tommy Crawford is here and always makes fun of him. Can you do it? Wouldn't you like to make our audience laugh? Come on, it'll be fun!"  

  She had no idea, but Mikey was hoping something like this would happen. His dog part was kind of lame, and had barely made the other den scouts even smile. This was great. He got a big smile and said "Yeah! I can do it! Juliet, yeah!"

  So, the scene is set on a balcony at one end of the hall. A spotlight comes on, and Jake throws open his cape and cries out, "Juliet, Juliet, wherefore art you, thou, Juliet?". Then he stares for a minute at the audience. He sticks his bottom teeth out and has a worried, almost panicky look. He forgot the next line. Mikey stands in the dark waiting for the line. He does a practice step to make sure he catches the skirt hem. Then Jake remembers, "Your face is like a flour, pillsbury flour" and the audience laughs and makes the last part hard to hear. But Jake waits a moment, does a flourishing dancing move, "Your eyes are like pearls, cess pearls!" More laughing, kids cackling. That's Mikey's big cue. He cleverly puts his forefinger delicately to his chin, turns his head and smiles sweetly at the audience. This next part has to be done right, so he then slowly takes the steps up the step ladder. It works, the skirt slips off Mikey's little butt, and the audience screeches in joyful laughter. They love it. Jake ad libs, "Juliet, you is one ugly girl!" and the audience laughs again. It was a hit. There was even talk in school about how funny it was. Mikey was so glad that poor Dennis had caught a case of stage fright that night. Later in life, he was a local hit at the town's comedy club, and drew big, big audiences every Friday and Saturday night.

  A year or so later, Mikey Gilbert didn't show up for work at the club. The club owner didn't say a thing, and booked a couple of acts that didn't catch on right off. Then on the next Saturday, he stood on the little stage, got some polite applause, and told his audience to watch the big TV monitors he has set up. The lights went down, the show came on, starring Mikey Gilbert, Comedy Central's great new discovery...

July 13, 2020 17:47

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