The Life and Times of Lee Graham, Chapter Eight: How Lee Decided To Be An Actor

One day the teacher in Alma decided her class should put on a play.  She chose Romeo and Juliette, saying it was high time her students learned about the marvelous work of Mr. William Shakespeare.  Auditions were to be on a Friday after school.  

At first Lee Graham showed no interest whatsoever in participating in scholastically sponsored dramatics.  Even when his teacher, Miss Laslow, told him there are never enough boys who try out for parts in the theater, Lee shook his head, no.  Even when Mrs. White and Esther tried to talk him into reconsidering what they considered to be a surprisingly unadventurous choice. 

"I've never known you to avoid a challenge," said Mrs. White. 

"I bet he's chicken," said Esther, trying without success to goad the boy into auditioning for the play. 

Even Lee's own mother could not convince him to try stepping out onto the boards of Alma's tiny theater. 

"I don't think so," the boy told Polly Graham.  "There's too much to do after school already!" 

Of course what he meant was that he enjoyed spending many afternoons with his compatriots in the Alma Hill Cowboy and Indian raids and still more afternoons sitting across the street from St. Matthew's, hoping to catch a glimpse or two of Cybil Wheeler.  It just so happened that the day the big auditions were to occur was a day Lee was stalking his oblivious lady love in her usual after school routine. 

Cybil did follow her usual routine that day.  Up to a point.  She took the usual route from the schoolhouse to the church, where she went inside to greet her father.  She was there for the usual length of time.  Then, she came out of the church and walked next door to the church rectory.  Lee watched the girl carry her schoolbooks into the house, heard the family dog bark her the usual greeting, and watched the door close as it always did.  Lee slipped the book he was pretending to read that day into his pocket and started to head up the hill to find friends with whom he could pass the hours before supper playing Chief Running Mackerel meats Colonel Edifice Unmovable at the battle of Little Big Creek.  This was a game in which half the towns boys pretended to be the Indians loyal to their chief and determined to protect their only source of water from US Cavalrymen determined to deprive them of what was rightfully their own.  The other half of the town's boys were naturally obliged to be those awful soldiers set to take control of Little Big Creek, the tribe's only source of fresh water. 

Just as Lee was turning to head for the hill, the rectory door opened and Cybil Wheeler stepped outside.  Her arms swung gracefully at her sides as she walked toward Lee Graham where he stood transfixed in the town square.  Was it possible that this celestial creature had grown more beautiful in the previous two minutes?  Her hair glistened in the mid-afternoon sun.  Her skin was made of pure alabaster.  Her eyes, oh how they sparkled! 

So mesmerized was the boy by the girl's appearance right in front of him, standing not two feet away, that he did not at first realize she was speaking directly to him. 

"You coming to the auditions?"  Cybil Wheeler wanted to know. 

When the boy failed to answer immediately, she rephrased the query.  "Lee, are you going to be in the play?" 

When that failed, she tapped the boy on his shoulder and said, "Lee Graham, are you okay?  Lee? Lee?" 

Luckily, Esther came along at just that moment, carrying her day's groceries, and saw what was going on.  She realized right away that Lee Graham was hypnotized by the beauty of the girl and that she must do something immediately to save him from humiliation.  Esther walked right up to the boy and stomped on his foot.  "Wake up, Boy!  Somebody's talking to you!"

To Cybil Wheeler, Esther said, "Don't mind him.  Sometimes Lee gets lost in his thoughts because his thoughts are so very interesting.  Isn't that right, Boy?" Esther asked Lee, trying to decide if she should step on his other foot. 

"Huh?" said the boy.  "Oh, yes, right," he stammered as it finally dawned on him that Cybil Wheeler had been speaking to him and he'd frozen his jaw shut in response.  "What were you saying?" he asked the girl. 

"She was asking if you plan to try out for Romeo and Juliette!" Esther told him. 

Lee asked his own question then, "Are you going to be in the play, Cybil?"

"I am hoping to be Juliette," she announced. 

"You are?  Then, I shall hope to be Romeo!" 

Esther was impressed the boy had the nerve to say that aloud.  She patted him on the back. 

"We'd better hurry to the theater then," said Cybil.  "Miss Laslow said the auditions would begin at 3 pm sharp!" 

Previous Chapters of The Life and Times of Lee Graham can be found here. 

* Lulabelle Gimlin is an SL RP character of Stephanie Mesler.  The Life and Times of Lou Graham is copyright Stephanie Mesler, 2014.  This story may be reprinted for inworld RP purposes with proper attribution to its author, Lulabelle Gimlin (Stephanie Mesler). 

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