👹 V.S. PT3 CH9 // I'm thinking of... Letting Things Out the Bag - Pres(Sure).AM

The next day was weird, to say the least. Hollywood was still inexplicably upset about last night's main event. But Father and I—well, Father and I—were now the bestest of friends. He was sharing stories from his days in Sicily, his great migration to the good ol' U.S. of A (big rahhh), and how, at the age of 18, he and a couple of compatriates from the island got into the hospitality industry and grew a pretty reputable name for themselves. I was studying hospitality then, and I had no choice but to take notes on all the behind-the-scenes fables (obviously). It was a real bonding experience, I won't lie. At least, that was the P.G. version. Man's was seriously a well-decorated degenerate, and we laughed the day away reliving his collection of "Greatest Hits." Funny how men have the innate tendency to bond over violence like that. I'll never pretend to understand it; what about those short bursts of musky, volatile bravado engendering such an unwavering bond built on the laurels of mutual respect? I have no clue, But I'd be a fool to deny its relevance. 


P.S. Father also made a MEAN Strawberry-pistachio Cannoli, and trust, I hold that recette near and dear (trust and believe I'm still allergic, but You got me all the way messed up if you think I was gonna go out as being the kid who was deathly allergic to a nut in-front of this goat... Now that I say that... Masculinity might just be a deadly sin... TBD).

Regardless of the newfound brotherhood Father and I established, Hollywood wasn't having it. Every time I looked over, there was another eye roll of disgust. Another deathly sharp side-eye. She even sucker punched me for some comment I made about her dad being the cool kid on the block (in my defense, he literally was every time we stepped out into the city. Everyone seemed to know the guy, it was actually insane for a whole weekend I felt like a celebrity's plus one. Lil ol' me!) Regardless, he assured me she'd return to her cheery persona once we saw the Broadway show.

And he was right. Around 7 - 7:30, he had a driver pick the three of us in an armored escalade. The second those blinding LED lights came up the driveway, she started bouncing across the room with enough vigor to make the energizer bunny turn shades of green. She was ecstatic, chattering about how Cats is her favorite musical, raving about the choreography for Mistermastoffelles. The second our lovely chauffeur opened the car door and unveiled the theater, She broke into Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats. Yes, I told y'all before, but in case, Hollywood is what we call a "Grade-A Geek. But I found it cute; something about people being passionate about things is endearing no matter what it is.

Now, I want to throw this in for later consideration. I did see Cats with my mom and one of her friends (non-derogatory) when I was younger, and I remember enjoying it. I'm not entirely uncivilized. But it only took 10 minutes before I was out like a light.

The next thing I remember, I was on stage under those scorching lights. Melting with the cast as one lovely belle riffed and ran through their Invitation. As the scenes continued, this tribe of hopefuls showed me an ironic welcome to little old me in my Armani bomber and black trousers -- what I mean to say is I definitely did not come off as a cat, and by no means did I seem ripe for ascension. But in their song and dance, they approached me with open arms, their touch soft and compassionate; even that depraved fellow Macavity (an absolute bop of a song, btw) was uncharacteristically nice -- I don't know what that says about me. However, it was around the time that Psycho went on a kidnapping spree that I noticed only one dark figure in the audience. Unfortunately, there was no time to investigate because just as Macavity cast his net, the figure stood with Tommy gun in hand and rolled the clip.

It was a massacre. Blood ran like the Niagra, and bodies laid brick by brick like Giza. I felt an inexplicable wave of guilt flush over me as I stood under those beaming lights. Backing under the pressure of that spotlight. Strange how, even after that warming display of acceptance, I stood out as the lone outcast, reduced to a mere impersonator amongst their ranks, and I survived for that. I chuckled uncomfortably as an ominous blue gleam flickered in the house, gradually approaching as a cool air overtook the cool-silver illusions of their stage. I thought this was all just a dramatized recall. But as I stood atop those bodies, my lungs collapsed under the immense pressure of the spotlight as applause from a vacant home resounded from every direction, each clap like bullets perforating my canvas and exposing my essence, leaking the darkness. I realized the parallels collided into an intersection meeting at a singular point. I couldn't yet explain it, but I didn't feel the same shame and cowardice that was present that night. I stood proud above the remains like Atlas, tired but unyielding under the pressure instead of rottenly shrinking under their weight. I stepped down from my pyramid of sacrifice. I walked out stage left, galloping to their nearest restroom. I looked into my reflection in the gaudy, dystopic but elegant mirror to see that my complexion, once rich with tones of ruby and almond, now exuded a pure black undertone (on some Youthforia Type...). My left eye had now muted into an unimmersed blue. No sooner was the writing stained into the mirror that a shattering jolt ruptured through my arm, and I was teleported back to my seat. 

Hollywood crossed in vex: "You're gonna miss your theme song, dufus—" a whisper that delivered more like an airily faint shriek!

At least she remembered it was my favorite number -- or maybe she was calling me a villain? TBD.


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