Some Kind of Superstar: Part One
“Kristen! Come here and look at this!” Mum shouts. I sigh and close my book. How many times do I have to tell her I prefer Kris, not Kristen? I toss the book onto my bed, where it immediately spirals across and slips over the side. Too hard, I guess. Not that I can’t throw. I can throw. Just not today. Just not right this minute. Anyway, Mum wants something. And when Mum wants something she gets it.
“Coming!” I call back. I open my door and fly down the stairs. That sounds weird. Maybe it should be ‘fly in the air above the stairs, heading for the lower floor’. But that sounds even worse. Whatever, it doesn’t matter because I’m downstairs and heading into the lounge room.
“Kristen, here,” says Mum (using my hated full name again) and she passes me this week’s Neopian Times. “It’s in the back.” I raise an eyebrow, because everybody knows there’s nothing on the back page except for ads. I scan down the page in question. Some of the odder ones catch my eye – someone hoping to trade a 2/3 Sausage Omelette for a Faerie Paintbrush; a Green Apple selling for one million Neopoints; someone asking to buy Neocash for equivalent Neopoints.
“Mum, what is it that you want me to see in here?” I ask impatiently. I fold the Times and chuck it down on the chair next to me before flopping over the arm of that chair and sitting right on the newspaper.
“I believe you’re sitting on a request for an audition for Caulfield Lane.” Mum smiles at me, her tone cool and amused. I choke as I try to shout in delight and ask ‘Really?’ at the same time. I splutter a bit and then stop trying to do anything except take a deep breath. Caulfield Lane is a Neovision drama about a bunch of families living down that street. It sounds dodgy when I say that, and it is a pretty boring show. I mean, sitting around in your living room watching other people sitting around in their living room is just sad. But anyway, it’s one of the most popular shows on Neovision and a great way to launch an acting career. If I got a part on Caulfield Lane...
I guess I should explain that I’ve always wanted to be on Neovision. I want people to know my name. I want people to look at my face and instantly think, ‘Kristen the Purple Shoyru.’ Either that, or look at my name and instantly think of my face. And I want the attention, the fans, the reporters, the magazine articles, the interviews... The glamour, the clothes, the money, the life of a superstar. If I get the part, I’ll be a huge step closer to achieving that.
I stand up and rescue the newspaper, leafing more carefully through the ads. I finally see the advert of my dreams –
Do YOU want to be on Neovision?
Have YOU been waiting for your big chance?
Well, here it is!
Come at 10:00 NST to the Arts Centre, 20th Day of Eating
If YOU’RE the right person, YOU could be on Caulfield Lane!
There are several details below about the kind of person they’re looking for. I pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. It sounds like they want either me, or my identical twin! Female Purple Shoyru with bright, outgoing personality, along with other adjectives such as bubbly, confident and cheery. Sounds just like me!
“Wow,” I gasp, shaking my head. “Wow! That’s just... wow.”
“It’s very cool,” Mum grins cheerfully at me.
“You can say that again,” I laugh as I cut the advert out. I’m going to glue it into my diary.
“It’s very cool,” Mum repeats. I hit her happily on the shoulder and bound upstairs, half-flying, half-jumping. I’m ecstatic, and I’m pretty confident about the audition, even though I’m not even there yet. I’ve done a couple of Neovision ads, and I always get top marks in Drama class at school. I’m also in a local acting club. I’m pretty much as prepared as I can be without actually being a big superstar already!
Although I can’t figure out why they want us to meet in the Arts Centre. I don’t know if there’s a theatre or a studio there or anything. But nobody knows where the studios are. It’s how they protect their interests or something like that. Well, I will be there no matter what!
I can’t believe it. We’ve turned up at the Arts Centre, ready to audition for Caulfield Lane; I’m completely pumped and energized, just waiting to spring into action and go for being on Neovision – and Mum insists on buying a coffee from the Coffee Shop. I stand outside impatiently, jiggling from foot to foot, drumming my tail against the ground. I can hear her inside; she’s taking forever trying to choose! Cappuccino or mocha? Black or white? Cream or extra sugar? I just want to lean through the window and strangle her, or drag her through. If the people running the audition turn up, I want to be ready. There’s no way I’m waiting for my mum to get her coffee while my chance for stardom walks away!
“Okay, Kristen,” says Mum as she comes out, sipping at something in a takeaway cardboard cup. I guess now is the only time I’m not going to be angry at the use of my full name. I’m too happy. And if she gets angry with me for getting angry with her, she’ll take me home straight away. “Now where is this audition?”
“I don’t know, Mum,” I say for the billionth time. I hold up the advert and read it again. “Come at ten o’clock NST to the Arts Centre, twentieth day of Sleeping. Well, we’re here...” I glance down at my watch. “Right on time. I don’t know. But I can’t believe it, I’m so excited!” I jump up and down on the spot, trying desperately to contain the feelings bubbling up inside me. I feel like Techo Mountain or something.
“Miss, could you come with us please?” asks a White Bruce who’s somehow appeared right in front of our faces. “I’m with Caulfield Lane casting.” He passes over a laminated card. I assume it’s his ID or proves he’s with the casting company or something. Mum glances over it and seems satisfied, handing it back.
“Of course, Mr. Steein,” she says, but the Bruce – Steein – holds up a fin to stop her.
“I’m sorry, ma’am, but only the Neopets auditioning are allowed to come,” he apologizes. Then he turns and smiles at me. “I assume you are here for Caulfield Lane auditions?”
“Oh, yes!” I squeal. I’ve finally managed to contain my bouncing around. Now I’m only fidgeting a little bit. I wave to Mum and follow the Bruce.
He leads me through a really twisted maze at the back of the Arts Centre. Just behind the Storytelling Competition is this little passage that nobody really notices, and down through there is this weird contorted labyrinth with a billion side paths, which is where I am now. This is way better than any security system you can get for your home. One, because you can’t find your way through unassisted, and two because you’ll just get bored, even if you do find the right way. It’s a really long maze.
Now when I say maze, I mean a bunch of cracks and holes in the stonework. It’s not in any way organized. I guess there are a few places that could have been enlarged artificially, but mostly it appears to be natural. I hope the walls don’t seal up and close on us. I shudder a bit, but any fear is quickly suppressed by my excitement at finally, maybe, getting on Neovision!
“Here we are,” says Steein, waving a white fin at the cavern that’s opened up in front of us. I stagger forward, amazed. The rock walls soar upwards, curing over to form a solid ceiling. The cavern is massive, dozens of times the size of a Yooyuball court. There are sets everywhere, pieces of rooms that look like some massive monster has bitten a chunk out of a house and spat it out here. Portable trailers are scattered around the front quarter or so, with various, clear labels – COFFEE; MAKEUP – WHITEFOREST, and at the back a very, very large forest of trailers. I stand on my toes to read those – AMY, LUCIE, ROBIN – C/L; TONY, ADRIAN – W/F. Those must be the stars’ trailers! C/L must be short for Caulfield Lane, and W/F is Whiteforest – a similar show to Caulfield Lane. Maybe, soon there’ll be a trailer labelled KRISTEN – C/L. Just maybe. Grinning with sheer delight, I jog to catch up with Steein, who’s already halfway to a trailer with a piece of paper stuck to the door. This sign is much less glamorous than the engraved plaques that sit on the other trailers; this one must be temporary. As the door opens I can read the sign. It sends another electrical shiver through me. AUDITIONS – C/L. It’s here! I’m here, I’m finally here! Right behind that door is my one chance at stardom, my golden ticket, my route to success. I take a deep breath and step inside.
To be continued...