Intermezzo, vol. COST OF ADMISSION

Realizing the ticket he’d stolen from a jockey to get in had been left crumpled up under his seat and never one to let good money go to waste, even if it’s not his, the Fool-errant resolved to find a…

Realizing the ticket he’d stolen from a jockey to get in had been left crumpled up under his seat and never one to let good money go to waste, even if it’s not his, the Fool-errant resolved to find a way back into the theatre before intermission, so as to catch the last four hours of the Communion scene. Finding the door he’d been chased out of locked fast, he tried a few others to no avail before turning his attention to the windows just above. Piling some scraps of trash from a bin nearby into a makeshift platform found him still coming up short, and he cursed himself, now that he had the perfect favour to call in as recompense, for never returning the self-help tapes the elephant in the attic had lent him to use as source material for a composition when he and some friends were conned into donating their time and talents to raise funds for a struggling business he now assumed three years later must be kept afloat by an inheritance that would probably go further had it been put towards an MBA first.

Ranging further afield in search of something or someone apt to extend his reach without demanding much in return, it was not long before a dire rumbling in his abdomen reminded the Fool of his lack of success feeding at the youth’s cauldron. As luck would have it, it was just at that moment that a raccoon came dashing from behind a nearby dumpster carrying part of a rather sorry-looking ham sandwich in its mouth, stopped six or seven feet away from the Fool, and dropped its spoils in alarm before scurrying up the brick wall and into the open window of a nearby record store. Marvelling at his fortune while musing on what sort of magnetic trick might make of him so keen a climber and thus solve his other dilemma, he took to the discarded sandwich with gusto, reducing it to mere crumbs in a flash, before returning to his ruminations. Certain that a way in must exist, he began to circle the perimeter of the theatre, becoming so absorbed in formulating his various schemes that he failed to notice the first intermission had let out until he walked headlong into the woman who had been seated beside him when the curtain rose, spilling her champagne all over her. Narrowly avoiding the purse she swung at his head and not quite catching the curses let fly for his carelessness, he beat a hasty retreat towards the now-open entrance, but was stopped short by the sudden appearance of the stern face he’d seen gracing the frame over the cauldron in days of yore, back when Voggneri’s epic was as naught but a babe in the bower, compared to the lanky, pimple-adorned teen it had grown into over the course of the first act.

Asking to see a ticket, the proprietor’s severe face softened gradually as consternation turned to amusement at the incredible and far-fetched lies by which the Fool attempted to excuse his lack of a ticket, inventing relatives in places as remote as Aurora, Portknockie, Manchester, Greenfield, Bellshill, and Sioux Falls, amongst others, at all of whose respective homes he had apparently awoken at some point or another that morning, proceeding to find himself in some kind of misunderstanding with the family pet shortly thereafter, be they cat, turtle, or toucan, which may or may not have resulted in the evisceration of his ticket. When the implication that his legs had carried him at least the equivalent of three turns of the earth that day on his way to the theatre finally became too much for the old proprietor to bear without bursting into laughter, he stopped the Fool mid-sentence with a kindly interjection, “My boy, enough with these absurd confabulations; employees at Jarjar Binks’ warehouses don’t even walk that much in a day! You’re lucky I love nothing more than someone with an appreciation for commedia dell’arte or I’d slap some sense into you… Now, surely it was I who admitted you at the start of the show – I don’t forget a face like yours -; are you sure you haven’t simply left your ticket at your seat?? We can go try and retrieve it together if you’d like.”

At this, the Fool’s face lit up in wide-eyed exclaim and he nodded sheepishly in silence before following the old man into the theatre. Upon their successful return to the lobby, the old man laughed again, saying, “There, easy as one, two, three, wot!! I don’t know why you weren’t just honest with me from the start, since we could have avoided all that trouble when you walked in, but what’s done is done… I dare say I’ve grown rather fond of you in spite of your eccentricity and perhaps I never would have, had you not been such an obstinate and silly fellow; things do have a funny habit of working out for the best despite expectations to the contrary, don’t they…? Say friend, can I interest you in a complimentary bowl of beans before the next act….? You’re going to want to be full for this one; it’s a doozie…..!”

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