2 Truths, 1 Lie: Permutation #3

“Are you sure this is alright?” Star Dog asked as he followed his human companion for the day around the stage. His ears were slightly laid back and his steps were tentative as he watched all of the other volunteers at work on the stage. Some were painting a few fixtures, others were taping blocking on the stage, and a couple with headsets were off to the side looking over the stage directions on a clipboard.

“This is community theatre, and you are part of the community, my good sir,” Clancy said with a smile as he pranced around the stage before resting against a hardy stage set. It was on wheels, so he was able to easily spin it around to reveal a fancy circular staircase. “I told Nathan you’d be getting in a lot of work experience today, and I intend to hold to my promise.”

“I just want to make sure I’m not in the way,” Star Dog said, but even while he wanted to remain modest, his curiosity was being tugged in so many directions with all lively activity surrounding him. “I didn’t imagine it could feel like this.”

“What were you expecting?” Clancy chuckled as he started roving through the costume rack backstage. He found a vampire lord outfit from last Halloween’s production and held it against himself while looking in the mirror. Star Dog eyed the costume as well. “Did you really believe Nathan when he said this theatre was haunted?”

“Would it be foolish to admit it?” Star Dog said to the dirty blond teenager in the mirror, who turned and dramatically grasped his muzzle in the crook of his finger. He peered into his eyes and smiled widely.

“Absolutely not, because it’s absolutely true,” Clancy winked and then went back to ransacking the costumes before explaining. “There’s so much energy poured into theatrical arts, especially here. It’s impossible that none of it was captured in the walls and in the sets. Everything is made from our sweat and breath, so everything we do captures a little bit of it. Our spirit beats on this stage, and in many other places. Our director swears up and down that she saw a ghost in one of the halls. I’m telling you, it’s one of ours.”

“Interesting,” Star Dog said, not sure what else to say. He wasn’t sure if the tale intrigued him to stay or gave him second thoughts. He had faced all manner of mortal men, but anything beyond the realm of the living and he wondered if it really mattered how many abilities genetic engineering bestowed on him. Ghosts probably don’t care if a dog can talk or not.

“Here, try this on,” Clancy interrupted his thoughts by tugging on a Victorian suit and cravat over Star Dog’s lupine snout. It took some fiddling, and Clancy even had to re-do it once he found out it was a three piece suit, but after the torture was complete, Star Dog couldn’t help but flash a toothy canine smile in the grimy mirror at his own dapper reflection.

“If only I had some steampunk goggles,” Clancy muttered with his fingers to his chin thoughtfully, but he clapped his hands joyously anyways. “You look great! We could really put a twist on this new vampire screenplay we got in. Have you acted before?”

“I guess you could say that,” Star Dog muttered while considering his reflection. Does it count as acting when others thrust the role upon one without their knowledge or consent? It technically is still fulfilling a role, which is something Star Dog was all too familiar with – but that was behind him now, as he had to keep reminding himself.

“There’s so much that goes into acting,” Clancy said while picking out a costume for himself. “So much more that goes into theatre. I can show you how to work the lights, and we can help build a few last minute sets. Are you good with power tools?”

“Can I start with the powerless tools?” Star Dog whimpered, and Clancy laughed.

“You’ll do fine,” he said while donning a frilled shirt and a billowing velvet cape. “The show must go on!”


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