Life is good.

I’m living in Coventry with 4 genteel gentlemen in an overpriced house. We’ve had an ace gap year together, full of Danneh P enchilada dinners, Kung Fu Chaos and Alias box sets. Today’s a normal day at Nexus, the music college that completely dominates our lives. We’ve had our early Monday morning theory lesson, and been called together for a meeting to discuss something.

Something new.

Guitar Teacher Catley announces with sizeable zing that Nexus is holding a Rag Week fundraiser. Everybody hates fundraising, so Catley rallies the troops by emphasising the amount of ding. There’s a selection of events to choose from. I could do a bike ride from John O’Groats to Coventry!

I probably won’t.

There’s a few other options, but they’re rubbish.

And I have to do something.

Gah.

I look again at the rubbish options (or ‘roptions’). And see one roption… that might be alright. I scan the sign-up sheet, and see the names of housemates Danneh P and the unceasingly stylish Dave Jones.

I sign up.

And have to start raising funds.

Gah.

I ask Catley for extra ding.

He says no.

 —————–

It is Sunday and I am walking to church with housemate Roger The Man of Nobility. Today we’re going to church to get money.

I’m a televangelist!

I hate myself.

I sigh. This is for Nexus. And this church is Nexus’ good mate. It’ll probably be fine. I spot friends Chris and Jane, and decide to bypass awkwardness by making things ridiculously awkward.

I fall to my knees in front of them.

It works!

Every time! And soon I have all the IOUs.

 —————–

I am playing Kung Fu Chaos on Roo’s xbox when Danneh a-P-ears.

“You looking forward to Rag Week, Danneh?”

“Not really, Dan.”
“What? Why not?”
“Well, do you enjoy wearing makeup, Dan?”

Oh.

Oh yes.

I may have ignored that. We have four days to complete our challenge. To learn, rehearse, and perform a musical.

 —————–

The big day arrives and I’m in The Vocal Room ready for the big unveiling of the cast list. I’m a nice guy, but at Nexus I’m only a medium fish. Or a mini fish with chips. I expect I’ll only get a small part.

The cast list is nailed to the wall.

I scan it.

Cast List

Bugsy Malone – Tom

Fat Sam – Danneh P

Dandy Dan – Dan Mohr

Fizzy – The Unceasingly Stylish Dave Jones

Oh! I’ve got the third biggest part! I get to be Dandy Dan!

Hang on.

Dan Mohr is Dandy Dan?

 

Really?

 

As if.

We read through the script with New York accents. We reach the end with much rejoicing, and it’s been hard work. Everybody’s been wincing throughout, certainly every time I had a line.

I am told that my part has a song to sing.

I hear some more wincing.

I smile, and feel a scollop being placed on my face.

 —————–

Two 13-hour days go by. I’ve plugged Rag Week at home, and got My Brother to sponsor me £50 if I mention The Edge in the play. He also tells me to get in his catchphrase ‘Mother of Pearl!’ Which I’ve already done in practice, making the cast fall about laughing.

£50 rests on me finding a way to say ‘The Edge’.

  —————–

Thursday arrives, and we’re in a large church. We’ve built sets, synthesized music, sorted costumes, learnt lines and rehearsed and blocked the scenes. We’ve had the final rehearsal, and I haven’t found a way to get in ‘The Edge’. Showtime’s drawing nearer, and we enter the final stage. The one I’ve dreaded like no other.

It’s makeup time.

I’ve always been scared of having my face painted. I ran away from it in reception, and now I’m having mascara put on. By the hot 2nd year girls.

Somehow I get through it.

 —————–

The play opens, and it goes well. The audience react to my accent. They’re probably amazed at just how good I am.

The penultimate scene arrives, and with it my rant at Fat Sam, my surprisingly Mancunian New York nemesis. “Mother of pearl!” The crowd laughs. Now’s my chance! I turn my face toward them, and smile.

“The Edge.”

Silence.

I continue my rant, and lead my ‘gang’ backstage where we arm ourselves to the teeth with shaving cream guns. It’s a foambath. And my cue to sing. It’s beautiful, and people seem to be dancing with their eyes.

 —————–

It’s over, and Dave, Danneh and I get home and discover that we’re still wearing makeup. We are embarrassed, so defy physics by all charging through the door at the same time. The moustaches come off nicely.

The mascara is… harder.

It refuses to come off! Oh no! I can’t wear mascara! I’ll end up in sequins quoting Bono! I try everything. By which I mean my toothbrush. It fails. Leaving me with one choice.

I grab the scouring pad.

 —————–

10 minutes later I’ve removed the mascara, and most of my face. I sit down, bleeding. Danneh is excited.

“Enchiladas tonight?”

I smile. And watch Alias.

Life is good.

I bleed.

 

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