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All The World's A Stage MAG
"All the world's a stage,
And the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and entrances ..."
"Thelma," Rick paused, sighing, "I have to say no. I won't, can't go out with ..."
Rick was interrupted by a colossal boom, acacophony so loud he winced and closed his eyes in pain. Above it all, louder than the crashing and roaring about him, a monstrous voice was shouting.
"CUT, CUT, CUT!!!" it roared over the din. Just when it was becoming unbearable, the noise began to ebb, and in a few seconds a bewildered Rick opened his eyes to a sight that did little to cheer him.
Thelma was gone, and so was all of Roosevelt High for that matter. Instead of standing next to his locker on the third floor, Rick stood alone on a wooden floor stretching into eternity. Above him, a ceiling full of scaffolding and lights loomed infinitely high. This, too, stretched as far as he could see. The first thing that came to Rick's mind, edging toward insanity, was an image of an infinitely large auditorium stage. All he could do was stand and stare as his mind began to question his sanity.
"Thelma?" he asked in a feeble voice.
"What in the name of heaven do you think you're doing?" The voice was similar to the one he had heard in the roaring but considerably lower in volume,and it came from all directions at once.
Rick spun around to find a source for the voice. He saw a slightly overweight man wearing slacks, an open shirt, and a beret striding determinedly towards him. As the man got closer, Rick began to see that the man resembled Steven Spielberg. In the man's hand was a clipboard, and around his neck was a small spyglass.
"That's not in the script, you dolt. What are you doing?!" The man sounded more angry than annoyed.
"Huh?" was all Rick could get out.
"Listen, you fool, you're supposed to say yes to Thelma! How else can we get to the part where she becomes pregnant and you both decide she should have an abortion? We've got to fit a moral crisis into this act!"
"What?" Rick's mind spun wildly out of control.He felt like he had just ridden seventy-four roller coasters and left not only his stomach, but his entire body somewhere on the first drop.
"What do mean Awhat'? Are you some kind of moron?" The man screamed as he strode up to Rick and at glared him. "Say," he said after a pause, "you're not Svenglidorf Nuvelistien, are you?"
"No," Rick managed to get out in an extremely half-hearted manner. "I'm Rick Travers."
"For cryin' out loud," the man turned and screamed off into nowhere. "How in heaven's name did he get here?"
An apologetic voice gave an answer. Again, it came from all around him. "Uh, the author has been hangin' around lately and, well, his imagination has leaked
little," it said.
"A little?" the man screamed. "He left the original character to wander onto the set. Where was security?!"
"Sorry, sir," another voice replied. "He slipped by."
"For the love of fools" said the man raising his hands in a pleading gesture, "save me from authors, and bad stage managers. Get Nuvelistien out here and take it from 'Rick I was wondering' ..." Gruffly he grabbed Rick's hand and told him to hold on. Everything became a blur, and the next thing Rick knew he was standing in what appeared to be the wing of a theater. Looking out to the stage, Rick saw himself, or at least it looked like him, talking to Thelma Roberts. It was the exact conversation they had been having when Rick had apparently gone insane. He watched in utter fascination and total bewilderment.
"Rick," Thelma said to him, or someone who looked like him. "I was wondering ..."
"Yeah? " he, or himself, or whoever that was, asked.
"You know, I like you a lot, and I was thinking," Thelma paused, apparently to think. "Would you like to go out with me?"
Rick was interrupted by a tap on his shoulder. He turned from watching himself to the man who Rick now believed was a product of his now hopelessly crazy mind.
"You really don't have any idea what is going on here, do you?" The man asked him.
"Yes sir, I do," Rick answered. "I am going absolutely bananas."
"Apparently, you don't," the man told him. "Have you ever read any
"A little," Rick replied, "in English class."
"Have you ever heard the saying, AAll the world's a stage,' et cetera?"
"Yes, As You Like It, Act II, Scene vii."
"A little? Well, Willie S. hit it right on the nose. The world is a stage."
Right then, Rick confirmed it for himself. Yessireebob, he was absolutely, definitely, positively, without a doubt, going one hundred percent looney tunes with a little Brahms thrown in for effect.
"What?" Rick asked.
"Just what I said. The world, life, your reality, is all a play," the man told him. "You're just a character, an idea,which has escaped from one of the author's minds and has wandered onto the set. We had that problem with Shirley McClaine a few years ago; it was very distressing. I," the man said with a certain air of superiority, "am the director of the Rosevelt High School act."
"Undoubtedly insane," thought Rick. "It's the only answer." Rick pointed to where the person who looked and acted like him was. "Is that the play?" he asked.
"Of life? Yes," the director answered. He looked about anxiously for a few seconds. "Can you stay right here?" he asked Rick. "I've got to go direct. I'll notify security so we can get you back into our author's head as soon as possible. If you're not there, you won't be in the next script and we'll have to write you out, and say you died or got pregnant or something like that. I hate when that happens, ruins the story line," the dirctor said as he rushed off.
"Pregnant?" Rick asked, bewildered.
Then a familiar face caught his eye. Rick jerked his head around to see who it was. He almost collapsed in total brain shock. There, about ten feet from where he was standing, was his dead mother, whose appearance dispelled any notion of sanity Rick had left in his now maniacal brain. Seeking what was sure to be an impossible answer to another completely wacky question, Rick rushed over to his late maternal influence and cried, "Mother, I thought you were dead."
The woman turned and looked at him with a puzzled expression.
"What?" She sounded even more puzzled than she looked. But no matter how puzzled she looked, or angry or sad, for that matter, she looked exactly like Rick's mother.
"Mom, you're alive!" Rick shouted with jubilation as he embraced her.
The woman just shoved him off and stepped back a few paces. "I have no idea what you are talking about," she told him. "I'm certainly not your mother. My name is Vlerdainissa Hopelcheckski."
"But ..." Rick's mind took yet another plunge into the ocean of incomprehensibility.
"Wait a minute," a spark of recognition lit up the woman's eyes, "you're Svenglidorf Nuvelistien, aren't you? Yeah, I played your mother in that bit part a few years ago."
Rick's jaw dropped not only to the floor, but through it and the five floors below.
"It's been nice talking Sven," Vlerdalnissa said cheerfully. After a pause, she added,"I gotta go. I've got a fill-in part as Barbara Bush in a few hours across town. See ya. Oh, and I liked that scene you did where you lost your virginity."
In a stupor, his jaw dragging behind him, Rick staggered over to a wall and sat down. He was determined to go catatonic if it killed him. He was almost there when he was interrupted by the director and another man accompanying him.
"Okay, kid," the director said to him, "you gotta go." He pointed to the man beside him. "This is our author. He needs you back."
Rick just nodded slowly, a dazed look on his face.
"Crazy," he thought as everything went black, "aren't I?" n