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.Also, it’s probably my imagination, but sometimes when people talk to me these days, there’s this weird tone in their voice I’ve never heard directed at me before.I think it’s respect.44.Springing LeaksFive days before we open the show, Nick Brock is at my house having dinner with the family.It’s great when he comes over, because my sister is so nice to everybody.I can’t help but laugh at her when she says, “Mother, could you please pass the delicious casserole?” instead of the usual, “Give me some of that crap in the bowl before I starve to death!”I’m talking to Nick about his truck repairs and how baseball is going.I tell him I haven’t seen any of the games because of my detentions, when Lynn breaks in and says, “Could you please lower your voice?!”“Oh, am I talking too loud?” I ask.“Yes you are, and it’s very obnoxious, so please stop,” she politely condescends.“Lynn, he is practicing his projection, and he’s doing great!” Mom defends.No.No helping, Mom.“Well, Mother, all I’m saying is: it’s annoying.And he should be aware when he’s being annoying.I’m just trying to help him, like I try to help everyone,” she says.“It’s funny,” I say to Nick, “because sometimes I’ll forget if it was Mother Teresa that did something or if it was Lynn.”Brock laughs, takes a bite of casserole, and asks, “Hey, what’s ‘projection’?”Oh boy.Brock is not going to like this.Lynn jumps in with more assistance by yelling, “Nick, don’t talk with your mouth full!”Good ol’ Lynn.Helping me.Helping Brock.Two birds, one bitchy stone.“Nick,” my mom says, “projection is when people in the theater speak loud enough and clear enough for the people in the back row to hear what they’re saying.”Mother, zip it!“Why would you need to work on that, man?” he asks me.“Um.” I say.“Well, Carter doesn’t want anyone to know it, but he’s the lead actor in the spring play!” Mom blabbers.Momma, noooo!“Really?” Brock asks.“Lynn, why didn’t you tell me that?”“Because it’s mortifying, that’s why! We don’t talk about his drama problem in public,” she says.“Well, I think that’s awesome.The spring play is a big deal.You know, I tried out for the winter play when I was a sophomore, but I got cut.Congratulations,” Nick says, all seriously.“You got cut from something, Brock?” I ask in disbelief.“Yeah, I took drama classes and everything back in the day, but I choked at the audition,” Nick continues.“The play was called The Diary of Anne Frank.I really wanted to play this kid Peter Van something.”My dad chokes on his water.“Anne Frank? The Holocaust Anne Frank? No offense, Nick, but you’re like, six foot five? It’d be pretty tough to imagine you as a little Jewish boy.”“William!” Mom barks.“I imagine Nick would have been very good in the part.”Brock gets quiet and thinks about what might have been.I bet he would have been a kick-ass Peter, the little Jewish boy.It would have added flavor to the family if they’d had a muscle-bound linebacker eating all the food in the attic.I should feel bad for feeling this way, but I really like hearing that Nick Brock screws up.That he’s been cut from things and my sister yells at him too.I gain strength from his pain.“Well, I can’t wait to see the show,” Nick says.Oh? Nick’s going to see the show.“Cool,” I say halfheartedly.Not cool! I don’t mind singing and dancing with the drama dorks, but I never really thought other people would come.God, if Nick Brock comes, that’ll mean my sister might come.Jeez, I don’t like that! What if other kids wander in? Like, my boys hear about the Hot Box Girls and come down to gawk.I doubt if they’ll be as supportive as Nick.I can’t worry about it, though.I’ve got to save my stress, and focus on doing better in the show.45.Dance Fever, PunkI run into the drama wing with my backpack over my head at my usual breakneck pace, to find Jeremy laughing with Abby on the steps of the theater.His arms are wrapped around her waist, and her arms are draped around his neck.She’s cracking up and staring into his eyes.He passionately kisses her on the cheek and she squeals with delight.Well, well, well! What do we have here? A backstabbing drama nerd with perfect hair, riding the Village Bike.I thought Jeremy and I were going to be good friends, but I guess Abby has just given me my next nemesis.(Andre’s hair is growing back a lot faster and cooler than mine.He hit four home runs in a single baseball game, and he and EJ hang out sometimes now, but I don’t have time to care about him anymore.)Granted, Abby and I never actually speak outside of the dialogue in the play, but it should be pretty obvious that she’s my girl, Jeremy! How do I kick this guy’s ass? Do I outdance his punk ass? Whack him singing-gangster style and haul him off in the imaginary trunk of my cardboard Cadillac? Man, I don’t want to hate Jeremy.He’s, like, my best friend lately.He’s always showing me how to dance, sing, and dress better, and he drives me home after late rehearsals.The Andre feud almost killed me, so I’ll just let him have her.If anybody is good enough for my Abby, it’s Jeremy.I can live with this.“S’up?” I ask through clenched teeth.Abby doesn’t respond; she never does.But Jeremy projects, “Hey, hey, Mr.Car-ter!” Like that knife in my back shouldn’t hurt a bit.But I’m okay with this!We do a run-through of the second act, and I’m totally off.I know these lines—I do!—but I can’t seem to remember them at the right time today.I grab the script whenever I get offstage and look them over.I have most of my scenes written on my arms, but I’m still having trouble with them.The last scene in the play where everybody gets married is up, and I see Jeremy and Abby look at each other and share a knowing giggle as we chassé into position.My blood starts to boil [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]