2009: Worst Play Ever

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Read after Blood Moon 001.

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Point of View: Julian & Jeremy
Featured Characters: Julian Hollinger, Jeremy Hollinger, Sandra Hollinger, Angela Mercy
Word Count: 1626

Julian finds being the center of attention a little difficult.

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“Okay sweetie! Your scene is coming up next, lemme check your hair.” announced her Mom, not giving her much say in the matter. She had some kind of preheated torture device in her hand and was already recurling the loose strands of hair messily swept up in Julian’s pony-tail.

Julian stood patiently, if only because she didn’t want to accidentally end up burned. Again. Sandra Hollinger was a beautiful and elegant woman, graceful even, when she put her mind to it. …and yet somehow she had the world’s clumsiest butterfingers.

“There’s a lot of people here.” Julian commented with a grimace. “I feel a little sick.”

“That’s just the nerves! Don’t worry, rehearsals went flawlessly. Even Angela managed to remember all of her lines. You’ll be perfect. There we are, gorgeous. See?” she turned Julian around towards a mirror, then gave a few finishing fluffs to her hair.

Julian blinked at her reflection. She questioned her Mom’s standards of beauty, but Julian guessed she looked the part. The black eyeliner and purple smokey shadow were a lot of fun, but the ginormous fluffy hair nearly devouring the shiny tiara on her head looked crazy. Her deep violet dress itched and the corset tied way too tight. Tonight she portrayed Snow White’s Evil Step-Mother in the middle school play. Both Mother Hollinger AND Angela pitched a fit about Margrit getting Snow White, but Julian was more than happy to let Margrit have it. She wasn’t all that interested in a staring role. Especially today, when the thought of stepping out on stage in front of all those people made her feel increasingly green.

“Yeah. But. A lot of people, Mum. A LOT.” she insisted. Julian wasn’t the only one feeling nervous and nauseated and that was making it WORSE. She was certain Knucker Polk was on the other side of the stage trying not to pass out and he was only a tree.

“Picture them naked, sweetie, that’s what all the professionals do. You- Dear heavens, Paolo, put that shirt back on this instant! No one is actually supposed BE naked! There are NO shirtless dwarves!” Before she could give any more stock advice, Sandra chased after the shirtless boy.

Julian stepped over to the edge of the stage and peered around the curtain to take a look at the crowd. Picturing them naked didn’t help at ALL. Especially since her Dad was right there in the front row. Great.

Jeremy Hollinger didn’t fail to catch sight of her either. He grinned and waved, holding back a laugh when she disappeared in a flash.

“Hey.” He whispered and leaned closed to the man sitting next to him. This was one of Julian’s teachers. The one his wife erupted in to giggles around every time there was a parent teacher conference. “Would you mind switching seats with me? My kid’s coming up and I want a good view.”

The two switched seats just in time for whoever was playing the piano to stumble through their introduction to the next scene.

“Go, go!” Sandra urged, having to forcibly shove Julian out on to the stage.

Julian only stumbled once before getting her bearings and straightening. She strode across the stage as proud as any queen, straight to her mark. Right next to Angela who was standing behind a silver painted mirror frame and giving Julian an expectant look. When Julian just stood there staring at her, she twitched the corner of her eye and gestured with her shoulder.

Your lines.” she hissed out through a clenched smiled.

Right, her lines!

“Mirror, mirror… hum… on the wall.” Oh god. There were hundreds of eyes staring right at her. Watching. Waiting. Thinking. About HER.

She’s going to choke.

Oh, this poor kid.

My daughter would have been way better.

Can’t believe I skipped the playoffs for this.

Angela picked up the problem real quick.

“WHO IS THE FAIREST OF THEM ALL? You’ve asked every day for twenty years, I know how this goes.” she declared. It drew a fair amount of chuckles from the crowd. “You’ve come to ask the mirror on the wall, and for once I have something new for you to hear. SNOW WHITE IS NOW THE FAIREST OF ALL, MY QUEEN, AND THAT BLOWS!” The rhyming was terrible, the delivery over-acted and dramatic but it did the trick of keeping the crowd’s attention on her long enough for Julian to get herself together.

At least that was the plan. Julian did not seem to be IN on the plan. Her hand pressed against her stomach, Julian was trying really hard to suppress all of the things weaseling a way in to her head. None of it was working. She was going to faint.

Passing out would have been a blessing, but unfortunately for Julian that’s not what happened. This was where she was supposed to give her grand speech about how she was going to kill Snow White and then call in the Huntsman to do it. She even turned towards the crowd, walked to her mark at the edge of the stage and tried to dig up her lines.

The only thing that got dug up was PROJECTILE HURLING. Coincidentally right where her Dad used to be sitting. Her teacher shouted a few obscenities while Jeremy Hollinger jumped to his feet clapping.


Angela jumped right in on cue. “YES! Screw that pale-faced orphan! She’s not as pretty as my Queen! Lets summon the Huntsman and KILL HER!”

Before the Huntsman could leap out on to stage the curtain drew closed quickly. A hand snatched Julian and dragged her back behind the curtains.

“Dude, that was the coolest thing EVER!” Angela squealed, pulling Julian away and off the stage towards a trashcan, but wisely staying out of range in case there was anymore vomiting.

It only took her dad three seconds to make his way back stage, and then he was immediately met with his wife’s flailing hands trying to smack the shit out of him.

“You KNEW, you jerk! My poor baby up there and just- YOU JACKASS!” Sandra hissed and swatted some more until he finally had to stop laughing and grasped her arms.

“Sandy, she’s been trying to tell you for a week she didn’t feel right about this. You weren’t listening.”

“Everyone gets nervous about their first performance! I didn’t know she’d be THIS nervous!” Sandra lamented, perhaps looking even a little guilty.

“It’s not about the play, Sandy. It’s something else.” He didn’t have to explain, she realized it instantly and he recognized it by the way she wilted and formed that little O with her mouth. Jeremy might’ve laughed again, but instead he kissed her forehead. “She’s fine. I’ve got this.”

He found Julian sitting in a chair and hugging a trashcan, with Angela trying to insist the entire play was a million times better now and that Julian hadn’t just embarrassed herself in front of everyone they knew.

“Mercy, you’re up. Understudy away.” he stated, dropping in to the chair next to Julian.

“Fuck YES.” Angela cheered, then paused suddenly. “Uh.. I mean, yaaaaay.” she escaped quick to go make her wardrobe change.

“I threw up on my teacher.” Julian muttered meekly.

Her dad nodded. “Yep. I don’t think he’ll be asking your Mom out for casual coffee anymore.”


He grinned. “I guess it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. What did I get wrong?”

Julian stole a glance at him and shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t know. It was okay at first. But then they were all focused on ME and I could feel it. All of them. I couldn’t think.”

“…Ah.” He let out a curse under his breath. “I never considered that. You’re not hurting are you? No headaches? Do you want to throw up again? I’m sorry, kid, I never had a whole crowd focused on me before. I wouldn’t have let you up there without some help if I had thought about it.” Shifting towards her, her reached out to grip her chin and tilt her head around looking for signs of duress or worse. He looked only minimally relieved when she huffed and swatted his hand away in that way kids always did when they were trying to be tough.

“Stoooop.” Julian fussed pushing him away far enough where no one was going to think she was getting babied by her Dad. “I’m okay, nothing hurts. It was just a lot at once and I already felt kinda sick anyway so it just bleeech. I think I can do better next time.”

Jeremy didn’t look too convinced, but then again… Julian was not exactly the everyday brand of Hollinger psychic. When he was her age, his biggest problem was trying not to gleam what his crush was thinking. A whole crowd of people was a different world altogether. “Does that mean you’re ready to get back out on stage?”

Julian wrinkled up her nose and made a face. “I just threw up on my TEACHER in front of EVERYONE in Silent Pines. That’ll be a cold day in hell.”

“I’m not sure I’m liking this new cursing thing you and Angela Mercy have started. You could at least wait until you’re in High School.” her dad chided.

Julian slapped her hand over her mouth, eyes wide. “Erm surreh.” She muffled out.

“Don’t let your mom hear it. She’ll blame me.”

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