Drama Fiction Friendship

Oh my goodness goshness, Sophia! If you don’t audition with me, I’ll make an empty threat and never go through with it!” 

“That’s redundant, Cindy.” I poked her in the shoulder.

“So?!?” She tore the paper off the announcement board. “I’ll staple it back! Don’t look at me like that.”

It was printed on purple cardstock and it read:



All 5th graders here at Trapton School for the Unlearned are eligible to audition for the upcoming play: “Seussical the Musical”

Please sign up below by 3:30pm today.

Auditions will be held Friday at 4pm.

The official cast list will be posted here on Monday!

Excitedly yours,

Miss Ivy Celeste Tarry


This may not make sense right now, but all of this confused me at the time.

A couple of weeks ago, I was in the Teacher Workroom making copies for Mrs. Dinners. The principal’s office is in both ear and eye shot of the photocopier. That means I was a silent party to the following conversation: 

“Ivy, it’s a waste of time and taxpayer money.” 

“Oh come on, Carl.” Miss Tarry bats her eyelashes much better than Docile Lilybalm. “I’m sure we can agree that there is non-monetary value in the arts. What’s your favorite Broadway play? What show do you and Mrs. Castigate watch after school?” She paused to read his expression. “Wait a minute! Do you even own a t.v., Carl?!”

The Principal snapped forward and flattened his palms on his plywood desk.

“Of course I own a television! I watch the news. I enjoy sports. Sometimes even a sitcom strikes me as funny. Like, that one about the old man in his La-Z-Boy recliner…” He leaned back in his swivel chair, closing his eyes, and spinning just a little. “You see, his sons are too fancy, and he’s just, well, laid back. They all live in the same house, and the old man has this nice caregiver from another country…” Miss Tarry caught me peeking in, and she winked before I could look away! She was wearing her ‘mystery smile’ as Cindy and I call it. 

Castigate snapped forward again in his chair. “Hold on!” His stubby tie dipped into his coffee and stayed there. “Why am I explaining myself to you? The answer is a solid: NO!’ No. Drama. Club. At. Trapton.” He punctuated the words with his pointer finger. 

Miss Tarry stood up like her cat just died. She pushed in her seat and turned to walk away.

“Um, well, thank you for your time, Miss Tarry.” Mr. Castigate stood up.

Ivy spun around and lit up like a lighthouse in broad daylight. 

“Oh, thank you for sharing a bit of your life with me, Carl!!! Thank you for your time and for all of your effort! I will definitely look into that interesting show that you mentioned! Have a magical afternoon!!!”

Miss Tarry caught my eye and winked again as she walked by the Teacher Workroom. I was in on a secret that was even safe from me.

So, here we are two weeks later. Cindy is gripping the audition notice with both hands. “Let’s make a copy for ourselves! We’ll have to sneak into the workroom.”

We edged our way over, squeezing up to the cold concrete wall. We could hear Mrs. Dinners trying to whisper. She likes to prop the door open with her standing fan but the sound of the fan is never enough to drown out her voice. 

So, Castigate comes in the very next day with a dusty VHS tape: his favorite episodes of Fraisier.” I could hear the smile in Mrs. Dinner’s voice. Mr. Knight, the custodian, was trying not to crack up.

He leaned in. “Was it for Miss Tarry?” 

“Yes! Then, next thing you know: ‘On with the Show!’ Noah, I’m telling you, Ivy Celeste Tarry could charm the stripes off a tiger!….and then turn around and call him a lion!”

Cindy and I started to giggle. We had to regain our composure to sneak into the office. Undetected, we made a copy of the audition notice. Then, we stapled the original back to the board and headed off to lunch. 

We sat at our usual spot in the cafeteria and put the paper on the table between our sloppy joes and salads. 

“Ok, Sofia, are you going to audition for the ‘main role’ group or as a ‘supporting actor’?”

Cindy! I’m trying to work up the nerve to be a stagehand.”

“But, you’re so fun and funny! You could totally play Mayzie.” She paused to take a bite. “I bet Tarry will cast you as Gertrude though. You’re too humble for Mayzie. She squared up with me one last time, “At least shoot for the chorus, or I’ll cut off your allowance!”

I put my head down on the table until the bell rang. The audition notice was folded neatly in my pocket. It’s corners scratched my leg as we walked down the hallway.

Once back in Miss Gruntles’ domain, Cindy and I pretended to pay attention, but, really, we were just passing notes:

CINDY: Are you going to go for it or what?!?

SOFIA: What if I don’t get picked for anything? Or, worse, what if I do? I’m a Doctor, Cindy, not a dramatician!!!

CINDY: Have you been watching Star Trek again?!?

Miss Gruntles can smell paper being used to pass notes. 

“A note! In my class! You dare to pass notes during instruction? Surrender the evidence.” She stuck her hand out palm up.

Grunts has a method for dealing with note passing. It’s posted on the wall. I handed it over, crossed my fingers and looked up at the poster:

Note Passing Consequences:

A) Report the infraction to Principal Castigate.

B) Toss it in the receptacle.

C) Return the document to the student(s) to be completed at a later time.

Our note was on the back of the audition notice. Grunts read both sides before revealing her verdict. She looked down at Cindy and then at me. Her face was a blank slate. She folded up the paper neatly and handed it back.

Cindy and I looked at each other like we had just seen Jesus walk on water. 

An hour later, when the final bell rang, we rushed down the main hallway to the announcement board. Before signing, I grabbed Cindy by the shoulders.

“Cindy, can we just keep it a secret?”


“I mean, which section we sign up for.”

“Ok, girl. I get it. But, you’re main role material!”

We made a big show of hiding our picks, then giggled our way to the bus stop.

Friday arrived and we auditioned. I can’t really describe what went into that for me, so I won’t even try. My mom knows, so you can ask her.

The next Monday at 3pm, Mrs. Dinners got on the P.A. system to make an announcement. “Will the following students please report to the main office: Ernest Workman, Skip Adsly, Britnee Marshal, Sofia Sitzalone, MacKenzie McAllister, Docile Lilybalm, Cindy Speaksmore,...”

Cindy and I jumped out of our seats: both of our names had been called!!! We ran out the door without even asking Miss Gruntles.

When we got to the bulletin board, Miss Tarry was standing there like the Spirit of Christmas Present. The rest of the kids trickled down the hallway as she started to speak. “Hello, my lovelies!!! Gather round the official cast list of Seussical the Musical!!! I’m SO thrilled!!! Ok, ok. Take your time to see which role you landed!”

We swarmed around the bright green paper on the board:

JOJO: Ernest Workman

HORTON: Eakin Stinkers

MAYZIE LABIRD: Britnee Marshal

GERTRUDE MCFUZZ: Sofia Sitzalone

SOUR KANGAROO: MacKenzie McAllister

YOUNG KANGAROO: Docile Lilybalm

JUDGE YERTLE: Cindy Speaksmore

MR. MAYOR: Bruce Lee Basherdon

MRS. MAYOR: Sally Struggles

“Oh my gosh, Sofa!!!!” Cindy calls me that sometimes. “You’re Gertrude McFuzz!!! You went for it!!!”

“Congratulations, thespians!” Miss Tarry shook all of our hands. “Better scuttle back to class before the bell rings!” 

When we got back to Room 114, Miss Gruntles was looming in the threshold. We lowered our eyes to slink by, but I glanced up for just a second. She was wearing a quiet smile as if she were keeping a secret all to herself. 

March 10, 2022 23:08

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Sum E
21:56 Mar 17, 2022

Cute little piece. Makes me think of my school years, takes me away from the present where it’s just tiktoks and narcissism.


C.B. Oates
13:43 Mar 18, 2022

Thank you & Amen to that! It's crazy out there. That's an accurate description.


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Benny Regalbuto
21:17 Mar 16, 2022

Super cute story. Love the naming conventions and the child-like voice.


C.B. Oates
23:34 Mar 16, 2022

Thank you, Benny! Hoping to self-publish an elementary chapter book.


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