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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 29th day of Gathering, Yr 22
The Neopian Times Week 105 > Short Stories > First Act

First Act

by operafloozy

"Get me another round of Krawkade," Edward J. Fancypants told the waiter in a firm, but sophisticated manner. It was rather ironic that he was drinking Krawkade when he himself was a Krawk. This was of no importance to Edward, though. He found it both bold and daring to do such a thing. And Mr. Fancypants always strove to be both bold and daring. It was his way.

     He gently tugged his sleek black sportscoat into place and took a glance at his gold watch. Fifteen more minutes until the act began. At the moment he was sitting at a snazzy little club tucked comfortably in the middle of downtown Neopia. Jazztime, as it was called, was the hip and happening place for all the hotshots in Neopia. Neopets like Edward gathered there nightly for entertainment and good dining. Today, though, Edward was on a business venture.

     You see, Edward wasn't your typical rich bloke. One who sat on his bum and received Neopoints for something he didn't do. Rather he was a movie agent as well as a producer, and worked decently hard for what he earned. Today he was at Jazztime searching for a talented young Neopian to work with. His last actress had been snotty and narcissistic. Impossible to work with really, so he had eventually fired her. He drummed his fingers impatiently on the table and crossed one of his legs over the other.

     The waiter arrived at the table and set Edward's drink down. He lifted it to his lips and delicately sipped at it. He hoped the act started soon. He wasn't the most patient of Neopians.

***

"Stunning, Absolutely stunning!" a Lenny stagehand gushed as she zipped up the back of Lyla's dress. The Lenny flashed the actress a beaming grin before disappearing behind the curtain to fix some of the lighting. The actress in question was a slip of an Acara, done up in a sparkling silver dress. She turned back and forth, watching the skirts twirl around her legs. This was her first real performance, but she wasn't too concerned. A twinge of excitement was making her heart flutter, but that was it. Lyla had been working on this act for ages, there was no way she would make any mistakes.

     Or at least she hoped.

     Backstage was all hustle and bustle. Actors were warming up their voices, applying makeup, and other such things. Stagehands were gathering props, doing the lighting, and various other backstage-like duties. Lyla made her way through the crowds, her costume tinkling slightly as she moved. She was the first act up and needed to be prepared to go on stage. Her thick blue curls bounced at her shoulders as she made her way towards the stage.

     Suddenly music began to play, and it was not her act's music. Lyla frowned petulantly and quickened her pace, she was in no mood for her act to be trifled with. She was almost to the stage when a tall, gaudily dressed Aisha bumped right into her.

     "'Scuse me hun, but I've got to get on stage," the Aisha told her with an air of superiority to her voice. Lyla caught the condescending tone and did not appreciate it.

     "I'm afraid there's a mistake... I'm the one who's supposed to be one stage. I'm the first act up," she explained calmly, not wanting to get into a petty disagreement before going onstage. It was just a mix up. She'd go on stage still, right when she was supposed to.

     "No honey, I bought your spot from the club's owner. Sorry, but that's the way the boat floats." The Aisha wore an unswaying smirk as she responded. "Can't miss my cue, See ya later kid." She winked and went on stage.

     Lyla was seething with anger, her entire body trembling with fury.

     Nobody stole her spot. She was not the type to get walked all over, and she could not believe her time slot in the show had actually been sold! She muttered darkly and turned on her heel to speak to the manager, but before she did that she listened to the tune of the music.

     She knew that song, she knew it well too. A smug smile found its way to Lyla's lips, she smoothed out her dress and went on stage.

***

Yawn. Edward was bored already, it was such a dull act. It had been done time and time again. Mediocre dancing, high pitched obnoxious singing. Where was the spunk? The pizzazz? That's what he was looking for. The Aisha on stage didn't even seem to want to be there. There was no passion, no drive, and he was disgusted by that. He hoped inwardly that it would end soon. This was not what he'd been hoping for.

     Suddenly, another actress burst on stage with a flourish. Her voice was a low sultry bellow and it filled Edward's heart with a warm fuzzy feeling. The Aisha didn't stop singing but turned to give the new actress, an Acara, a look of consternation. The Acara didn't so much as bat an eye, she belted out the song and dazzled the audiences with an array of fresh new dance moves. She lit up the stage with her attitude, and the Aisha was horrified to see she was being upstaged.

     So, naturally, she leapt at the Acara trying to throw her off balance. The other actress feigned not being able to see the Aisha and spun out of the way with ease, as if she didn't even notice her. The Aisha made several other attempts to tackle the Acara, but all ended in failed attempts. The Acara sung on, and the crowd burst with noise after the act was finish. The Aisha was scarlet from embarrassment and the Acara bowed as roses and Neopoints were flung at her from the audience.

     That's my girl, Edward thought to himself. He made his way towards the stage in leaned in skilfully, standing on his tiptoes to see over the stage apron.

     "Hey, Little Missy! What do they call you?" he asked her with a small side smile.

     "Lyla! Lyla Stripeheart!" she replied, gathering up her gifts and bowing as she did so. "I'm Edward J. Fancypants. And Well Lyla Stripeheart. You've got the makings of a star!" he told her.

     "Oh I know Mr. Fancypants. I've always known that," she responded, but amazingly there was no hint of snobbery in her voice. It was simply the plain truth. She waved to her adoring fans and started to leave the stage, but Edward spoke again.

     "Once you're done backstage, I'd like to have a word with you," he told her, tipping his top hat in her direction. Lyla gaped. Could he really be an agent? She disappeared backstage to get changed, but the way to the dressing room was blocked by her "partner," the Aisha.

     "You lookie here, nobody messes with MY act!" she hissed through gritted teeth. "I'm a star, and no young thing like yourself is going to upstage me!" she yelled with her arms crossed. She was obviously trying to appear intimidating. It wasn't working.

     "Some star you must be, if you have to buy your way on stage," Lyla retorted bluntly. This hit a nerve.

     "You didn't..." she trailed off, pulling up the sleeves of her dress. "I'll show you a thing or two!" But before she got a chance to show her anything, Lacey (the Lenny stagehand that helped out Lyla) whacked the Aisha over the head with a piece of set she was moving.

     "Nobody talks to Miss Lyla like that!" Lacey told the Aisha firmly with a cross look on her face.

     "Look at all the pretty Pteri..." was all the Aisha could say. The smack on the head had obviously dazed her, and she was sprawled across the floor.

     "Lacey... you didn't need to do that... but thank you! I've got to hurry and change. A Mr. Fancypants is waiting outside for me. I think he may be an agent!" she said excitedly. Lacey squealed happily and helped Lyla to the dressing room. While Lyla was changing she turned to Lacey.

     "Why did you do that? You could have just let her chew me out, you know," she asked, quirking her head to the side.

     "You're the only actor who's actually nice to me, the rest of them think they're too good for me." Lacey's face fell sadly. "Don't get my wrong, I love my job. I just wish I was treated a bit better."

     "Come with me then Lacey. If I do get hired, you could be my own personal assistant!" Lyla told the Lenny excitedly. Having her own personal assistant! How wonderful!

     "I would be thrilled to Miss Lyla!" Lacey replied leaping to her feet. "Let's go talk to Mr. Fancypants!" Lyla nodded. The Lenny and the Acara scurried out of the room and picked their way into the club. Finally, Lyla spotted Mr. Fancypants, he was resting his legs on top of one of the tables and leaning back in his chair. At the sight of her he put his legs down and grinned.

     "Well, There's Lyla Stripeheart! Captivating performance, you really spiced up the show you know," Edward told her, taking off his hat in a sort of salute. Lyla merely flashed him a dazzling smile and took a seat in the chair next to him. Lacey stood up and fidgeted excitedly in place. "So, I'd like to take you on. I'm an agent you know, and I could find some high profile projects for you."

     "That would be amazing Mr. Fancypants!" Lyla's eyes widened and her jaw dropped. "But... may my stagehand go with me? She's a huge help really and..."

     "No, No call me Eddie. And yes -- yes, of course," he said waving it off. "Anything you'd like. You are going to be Neopia's greatest star you do realize. So I'll cater to any of your needs." He got to his feet and picked up his briefcase. "Come Lyla, We'll discuss your contract and find out what we can do."

     Lyla seemed to glow with happiness as she followed Eddie. She was going to be a star, and nobody was going to buy her time slot ever again!

The End


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