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Someday, Someday, Maybe

By´╝ÜLauren Graham

1


“Begin whenever you’re ready,” comes the voice from the back of the house.

Oh, I’m ready.

After all, I’ve prepared for this day for years: The Day of the Most Important Audition of a Lifetime Day. Now that it’s finally here, I’m going to make a good impression, I’m sure of it. I might even book the job. The thought makes me smile, and I take a deep breath, head high, body alert, but relaxed. I’m ready, alright. I’m ready to speak my first line.

“Eeessssaaheeehaaa.” The sound that comes out of me is thin and high, a shrill wheezing whine, like a slowly draining balloon or a drowning cat with asthma.

Shake it off. Don’t get rattled. Try again.

I clear my throat.

“Haaaaaawwrrrblerp.” Now my tone is low and gravelly, the coarse horn of a barge coming into shore, with a weird burping sound at the end. “Hawrblerp?” That can’t be my line. I don’t think it’s even a word. Oh, God, I hope they don’t think I actually burped. It was really more of a gargle, I tell myself—although I don’t know which is worse. I can just picture the scene, post-audition: That actress? We brought her in and she positively belched all over the dialogue. Is she any good? Well, I suppose you could use her, if the part calls for lots of gargling. Sounds of cruel laughter, phones slamming into receivers, 8 × 10 glossies being folded into paper airplanes and aimed into wastepaper baskets. Career over, the end.

“Franny?” I can’t see who’s speaking because the spotlight is so bright, but they’re getting impatient, I can tell. My heart is pounding and my palms are starting to sweat. I’ve got to find my voice, or they’ll ask me to leave. Or worse—they’ll drag me off stage with one of those giant hooks you see in old movies. In Elizabethan times the audience would throw rotten eggs at the actors if they didn’t like a performance. They don’t still do that, do they? This is Broadway, or at least, I think it is. They wouldn’t just throw—

The tomato bounces off my leg and onto the bare wood floor of the stage.

Splat.

“Franny? Franny?”

I open my eyes halfway. I can see from the window above my bed that it’s another gray and drizzly January day. I can see that because I took the curtains down right after Christmas in order to achieve one of my New Year’s resolutions, of becoming an earlier riser. Successful actresses are disciplined people who wake up early to focus on their craft, I told myself—even ones who still make their living as waitresses—like me. I started leaving the alarm clock on the landing between Jane’s room and mine so I’d have to actually get out of bed in order to turn it off, instead of hitting snooze over and over like I normally do. I also resolved to quit smoking again, to stop losing purses, wallets, and umbrellas, and to not eat any more cheese puffs, not even on special occasions. But I already had two cigarettes yesterday, and although the sun is obscured by the cloudy sky, I’m fairly certain it is far from my new self-appointed rising time of eight A.M. My three-day abstinence from cheese puffs and the umbrella still downstairs by the front door are my only accomplishments of the year so far.

“Franny?”

Only half-awake, I roll over and squint down at the pitted wood floor by my bed, where I notice one black leather Reebok high-top lying on its side. That’s strange. It’s mine—one of my waitressing shoes—but I thought I’d left them outside the—thwack!—a second Reebok whizzes by, hitting the dust ruffle and disappearing underneath.

“Franny? Sorry, you didn’t respond to me knocking.” Dan’s voice is muffled and anxious from behind my bedroom door. “I didn’t hit you with the shoe, did I?”

Ahhh, it was my shoe that hit me on the leg, not a tomato. What a relief.

“I dreamed it was a tomato!” I yell at the half-open door.

“You want me to come back later?” Dan calls back anxiously.

“Come in!” I should probably get out of bed and put Dan out of his misery, but it’s so cold. I just want one more minute in bed.

“What? Sorry, Franny, I can’t quite hear you. You asked me to make sure you were up, remember?”

I suppose I did, but I’m still too groggy to focus on the details. Normally I would’ve asked our other roommate, my best friend, Jane, but she’s been working nights as a P.A. on that new Russell Blakely movie. Since Dan moved into the bedroom downstairs a few months ago, I haven’t noticed much about him except how unnecessarily tall he is, how many hours he spends writing at the computer, and the intense fear he seems to have about coming upon either of us when we’re not decent.

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