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English: Theater at the Performing Arts

English: Theater at the Performing Arts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The odor of stale candy and dried soda fills Pete’s nostrils and he sags against his cart as he pushes it through the multiplex halls. He grunts while bending over to scrape up the ground-in gum in the carpet. It will have to freeze off and will take him forever and he barely cares at this point, wanting only to get through the banality of his shift so he can go home and crack open a cheep beer. The dull ache in his soul has been replaced with a mildly angry resignation that this is his place, and all he will ever have.

It was not always like this. Fresh out of college, with a four point oh in theater, he was going to set the stage on fire, probably metaphorically, as he produced play after brilliant play. He was going to redefine drama and open the minds of actors and theater goers alike. They would heap mountains of praise on him and he would retire, early of course, to reviews and retrospectives claiming him to be the greatest of legends. That was seven years ago, when he came to the city to make his mark. Instead the city marked him.

He has not completely given up. He still reads the dailies. He keeps in the know, but he has accepted that for real people, unlike the characters in a play, dreams often do not come true. Some small part, deep inside, hates himself for being so willing to acknowledge his fate. His fire has been doused by the cold rains of life and he cannot reignite it no matter what, even enough to try a new career at the entry-level.

Cleaning up after vapid movie goers only compounds his ennui and hopelessness. This is a dull, uninspired life, he tells himself. He lets his heart and mind sink ever deeper into a groove of routine of self-pity and loathing. This life is one of boredom and monotony, unworthy of anyone’s interest. Who would care what a failed producer/play-write turned janitor does with his life? Who would pay to watch or read about that? He does not know it yet, but way back in the recesses of his once blazing mind, a spark has lit the kindling.

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