“Looks like ‘Ab’ sent ya a letter,” the mailman intoned, “…is he really in Absentia?“
“Yeah“, I told the type-cast Nosy Clerk. “He’s covering the elections; the Absentees fill out their ballots this week.” (So far, so good…)
“Cause I was there once.” he adds. Uh-oh.
“Are you sure? It’s just a made up place, ya’ know. A little joke from my blog site.Here, let me sing about it:” I say, trying to steer the show back onto the paved road.
“Oy, I only wish it were! I was actually there. Had just an awful time.“
People were starting to gather around, on cue, there in the mock-up Post Office. This happens in musicals, when the cast knows there’s a song being cued up by frantic Orchestrians. Or ‘Chestrians’, whatevah…
“See, I was looking for Hope Springs…” he continues, to the over-rapt audience and to me in specific. Yeah, ‘Specific Groves’, that’s was show’s fictional ‘Our Town’ . But I digress, which was not the Director’s wont.
“…for what seemed like an eternity. Finally stopped in some knee-jerk, jerk-water hamlet and asked a guy for directions.”
“Do go on.” I told the mailman, (as if I had any choice?) Scenery-chewer!
“Yeah, nu, so what did the guy say?” asks a lady behind me with a kid in a stroller. It was hopeless.
“Well, I think he was the Mayor. Or the King or something. I mean, he had at least two teeth.” says the Postman, on a roll.
“In the Land of the Teeth-less, the Snaggle-tooth is King.” pronounces the guy on my left. That wasn’t in the script either.
“Just like in the Republican primaries…” added a wise-guy from the back. The drummer’s rim-shot only added fuel to the guy’s fire.
“So I says to him, I says, ‘Looks like I’m here in error’, an’ all he does is shake his head and grunt ‘Nope, Error’s up the road an’ then a left’.”
“‘But I looked for a sign back at the last junction…’, I protested.” the Mailman drew out the tale.
“‘In Vain?'” the Mayor asks me.
“Yeah, there weren’t no signposts. What’s with you people and directions? Can’t get a straight answer.’ I tell him.”
“Try asking in Earnest?” the Mayor offered, and I took him up on it:
” Ok, your Mayoralty, I’m sincerely lost, and I entreat you to see it in your heart to help me find my way to Hope Springs.”
“‘Can’t get there from here.’“ was all that dental cripple could say, and I was about to give up.”, the mailman was on a roll with his impromptu tu-tu.
“But then what happened?” came a chorus from the riveted cast of extras in unison. Small ‘U’. The band was meanwhile vamping on an Ab7th chord, trying to professionally finesse this obvious ad-lib ‘excursion’. I mean, the Mailman wasn’t even a goddamn speaking part in the libretto. He was just in there as a tool to prompt my show-stopping ‘Oklahoma’ rip-off aria: ‘Hope….it springs etern’ly like the dew on the flowers in the spring…’ (I didn’t write the song, by the way.)
I made a command decision: The show must go on. But not necessarily ‘on and on’. I turned around, all the better to hear the roar of the grease-paint, the smell of the crowd and loudly declaimed:
“Well, Mister Postman-wanna-be-a-star here found another luckless pedestrian, who explained:
“You just keep on driving about five miles, get to the cul de sac, ok?”
“‘That’d be my Wit’s End, right?‘ he asks.”
“Yup, and then look to your left, there on the hill. Three towns, you can see ’em from the road. The middle one’ll be yer Hope Springs. It’s above Reproach but below the ‘Radar-enabled Digital Gated communities for the Disabled’.”
“‘Gee thanks. So where am I now?‘ he asks the fellow, getting back in his car.” I continued the song lead-in, giving the maverick Mailman a look which screamed: ‘You’ll never work in this town again!’
“Yeah, where indeed?” the cast found their spots on the stage, finally sensing progress.
“‘In Absentia. Now get outa-heah, before they come looking for ‘ya.’ were his last words.” I concluded the spurious saga, nodding to the piano player, who rolled an Eb7 and breathed a sigh of relief.
Wu: Roll credits?
Me: Ok, Greg @MelFamy for the Concept, Jeff @doahsdeer for the Groucho clip, and ??? @Kellsbella for the showbiz memories.
Wu: Takes a Village, huh?
Me: Yup, Xanga-ville. Where we strut and puff and the Play’s the Thing.