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THE SHOW MUST GO ON INDEED
by Andrew Dunn
THE SHOW MUST GO ON INDEED
By: Andrew Dunn
“What’s he say what’s he say?”
“Give me a minute!” The hunched over figure held up a single finger Rory’s way.
Minutes felt like days as the telegraph clattered out a jumbled noise Rory couldn’t understand. It was one of his great shortcomings in life. Never learning a skill like telegraphy. Or steam. Show business had swept Rory off his feet long before any interest in the guilds had a chance to.
It wasn’t just show business. Specifically a red headed burlesque performer – Aster was her stage name – drew Rory away from all those things his mother thought he’d grow up and do. Amelia, that was the dancer’s real name, turned Rory on to the big show.
The fate of which clattered out in a stuttering barrage of dots and dits Jaspen translated into letters. One by one, letters that were ground out on to the page by his withered hand.
“So?” Rory’s impatience was palpable. There was so much riding on the message sputtering out of the wires.
“So Relax big guy,” Jaspen flashed what was either a crooked smile or a smirk, “they are still sending.”
It was a crooked smile. No doubt. Jaspen was a crooked old soul. A miser and a thief. One that knew how to operate a telegraph and charge by the letter. When all this was over Jaspen was going to charge a fortune. The thought of it made Rory queasy.
At the other end of the telegraph chatter was Kraol and one or two others. Kraol was a stubby sort of dwarf that either gave up the mines or was kicked out of them. In a sense he was a lot like Rory, all about the big show. Kraol was part agent, part union boss, and quick to run a scam if he felt like he could get away with it.
As for the others, they were the make or break part of Rory’s show. The key selling point for the whole thing was that Amelia, err Aster, was going to fly over the audience on the back of a dragon. One or two others would follow behind. Then she’d do one of her seductive little numbers while the dragons snorted a little fire so that the shadows were crazy. They’d flutter about overhead and do some acrobatic stuff too in time to the music.
It was a gold mine. Rory imagined crowds rolling in by the dozen, plunking down their gold coins, and being wowed by the whole display. They’d take the show on the road. Perform in different towns and villages. Maybe even the elven lands. That’s how big this was going to be. If the dragons would ever agree to the deal.
“No dice boss.” Jaspen’s smile was crooked as ever.
“Ask them why not!” Rory slapped the desk hard.
“They already said,” Jaspen snorted, “they want more money, better accommodations if the thing goes on the road, and yeah that other thing.”
That other thing. Yes, it was true Amelia wasn’t quite as dainty as she used to be. Which isn’t to say she was fat. Of course, that’s easy to say if you aren’t a dragon paid to fly someone around on your back between two and three shows per night.
“The show must go on,” Rory groused, “the show must go on.”
“I’ll get changed boss.” Jaspen said.
That was going to cost a fortune too. Jaspen insisted on a 50/50 split straight from the box office every night he climbed into that ridiculous dragon outfit and let Rory “fly” him around using pulleys and cables while Amelia did her thing.
“The show must go on indeed.” Rory muttered.
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