Nelson watched the door, waiting as people filtered in. Today was the first meeting of the people working with him on his play, and he was excited to get to meet all of them and figure out how all of this was going to work. He would tell them about the different parts, figure out who wanted a part and who was here for building, and explain his overall vision for the play.
When there were seven other people in the room, which was how many names he had on his list, he stood up and said, “Alright, so, I think everyone is here. Well, as you probably know, I'm Nelson Gardner and I'll be directing this play. Before we get started, I'm going to call roll to figure out your names.”
Looking at the list, he said, “Hollis Mason?” A brunette smiled and raised his hand, and Nelson went to the next name on the list. “Byron Lewis?” The dark haired young man who raised his hand looked a little nervous to be there, and Nelson wondered if there was something bothering him. “Sally Jupiter?”
He knew of her, and had recognized her immediately. She had curly red hair and was pretty well known for her looks around school, and even though she was only a sophomore, there were a lot of guys who had their eye on her. Nelson wasn't one of them, but he knew that she had expressed an interest in acting for a while, and it was no surprise that she was here.
“Bill Brady?” Nelson knew Bill as well; they were in the same grade, and Bill was a star athlete. Not exactly a theatre type, but everyone was welcome. “Ursula Zandt?” The dark haired girl had a pointed face and looked a bit impatient. Nelson had never seen her before and was sure that she was an underclassman, but he still felt somewhat intimidated by her.
But that was nothing compared to how intimidated he felt by the next name on his list. “Rolf Mueller?” He was in Nelson's class, though Nelson didn't know him well, and he was tall and he was vaguely terrifying, and he was almost definitely here as a part of the school's plans to have students get involved with community service rather than just being forced to attend detention.
The final name on the list, Eddie Blake, belonged to a young looking guy, with a lazy grin and shaggy brown hair. He had to be a sophomore, at the very least, if he wasn't a freshman, and he smirked a bit when he raised his hand, as if laughing at his own private joke. If Nelson had to guess, he would say that this Eddie fellow was here for the same reasons as Rolf, and he hoped that neither of them would make any trouble for him.
“Alright,” he said, “I'll do my best not to get any of you mixed up, but if I do, feel free to correct me. Now, as for this play. I'm sure you all know that I'm the writer. This play is going to be about the Minutemen, and there will be a few key roles.
“First of all, we have the lead role, a brave soldier who has to keep the group together. Another crucial role is his best friend, the man who supports him and helps him keep his head high even as he struggles.” Nelson couldn't help sounding a little proud of himself, as he believed that his script was a pretty impressive one. “There are parts for enemy soldiers, and always room for a few bit parts if the need arises. The script is open to revision. Any questions?”
“Um, yeah, I have one,” said Sally, raising her hand. “What about the leading lady?”
“What about what?” asked Nelson, confused. “There aren't any female parts. It's a play about soldiers in the Revolutionary War. I figured you and Ursula would work on painting sets or something.”
“What?” she asked, looking more than a little outraged, and Ursula's expression seemed to match.
“Absolutely ridiculous,” said Ursula.
Even Byron Lewis muttered something, shaking his head, and Eddie Blake snickered, saying, “Strike one, eh, Nelly?”
“I don't...I didn't think that would be...a problem?”
“Not a problem?” Sally practically shrieked. “There's going to be a lot of problems if there aren't a lot of 'revisions' to your little script! I didn't sign up for this to get stuck painting sets, and so there'd better be a female lead!”
“I'll, uh, I'll see what I can do,” he replied, feeling very singled out and very uncomfortable. He had completely lost his train of thought, and he decided it might be time to cut the meeting short. “Well, I think it might be time to let you all go early. Please, take time to think about what sort of part you'd like to play, and we'll begin assignments at the next meeting.”
One by one, they all shuffled out, Ursula giving him a sharp glare before doing so and Sally going on to anyone who would listen about how she wouldn't take part in this if there weren't a female lead for her. Hollis Mason ended up listening to the brunt of her rant, and when everyone was gone, Nelson sunk back down into his seat, sighing. This might be a little more difficult than he originally thought, and now he had to shoehorn in some sort of leading lady.
“It's a total shitshow,” Eddie said, laughing and shaking his head. “This Nelson guy has no idea what he's doing. I swear, the guy still thinks it's the forties or somethin'. Ya shoulda heard the way he talked to Sally! Tellin' her she an' this frosty junior bitch couldn't be in the play cos there weren't women in the Minutemen or something.”
Edgar Jacobi laughed as well. He was Eddie's best friend and partner in crime, and had, unfortunately, not been around to get caught for the prank that had landed Eddie in this predicament. And, being the good friend he was, Eddie hadn't exposed the other boy, so he was suffering punishment alone.
“Yeah? And what'd Miss Jupiter have to say to that?”
“She raised hell about it, of course. Now ol' Nelly is gonna try to write in a part for her, which is almost enough to make me wanna try acting, if you know what I mean.” Eddie snickered.
“Oh, come on. There's no way a girl like her would give you the time of day, onstage or otherwise, and she's a sophomore! You better not get your hopes up about this one.”
“Hey, ya never until ya try, and you lose every fight ya don't show up for,” he said, grinning at his friend. “Just you wait and see.”
“Yeah, yeah, whatever you say, Eddie. I almost wish I was doing this stupid play, just so I could watch you humiliate yourself over Sally,” said Edgar with another laugh.
“Yeah, well, you shoulda ended up in the same boat as me, so consider yourself lucky I didn't rat ya out and quit givin' me reason to reconsider,” Eddie replied, only half-joking.