Short Story: Stuck in the Middle

“Wrong!” Carter yelled startling Benny out of character. “You can’t just say the lines, you have to know what they mean!”

“I think I know what they mean,” Benny said a bit frightened.

“Well then tell me what they mean.” Shouted carter.

Benny gripped the script in his hand as if it holding it tighter would help him somehow.

“Well… I think the person in the script wants to eat the new chicken sandwich that is being sold.”

“You think, or you know,” Carter said sitting in his director’s chair that he had stolen from a movie he was an extra on.

“I know,” Benny said confidently.

Carter shot out of his chair, launching it across the room.

“No! You obviously don’t know because you didn’t even mentation the central conflict of the piece!”

“Central conflict?” Benny began looking at though the one-page script he held in his hands.

“This offer is so great and is exactly what the character wanted in a sandwich, but the tragedy of the situation is that it’s only for a limited time. Deep down the man knows that the offer will come into his life and leave all too quickly.” Carter said with intense passion.

Benny just stood there watching his friend. “Yeah, I’m not getting any of that.”

“And that’s why I’m here, you obviously can’t do this on your own!”

“I know your right,” Benny said sheepishly. “But it’s just a thirty-second commercial, do you have to get too angry.”

Carter began pacing the beautiful, but sparsely decorated loft. “You don’t get it. You have to treat every part as if it’s the most important role of your life. If you don’t understand that then maybe you’re not cut out for this.”

Benny’s timid nature melted away to let lose his inner anger that he so often suppressed. “Well if you’re such a great actor, if you know what makes a great script read, why didn’t you get the part!”

Carter was taken back at the sudden outburst, his friend’s words making a deep cut to his ego. “There, that’s the passion you need!” Carter said trying to save his own ego.

“Oh don’t go turning this back on me, Carter. You told me you were going to help me practice and yet all you’ve been doing is insulting me. Maybe that’s why no one wants to work with you, you try to hide your lack of talent by saying everyone else is untalented.”

A heavy silence filled the mostly empty loft as Carter placed the chair he had thrown aside back where it was before. Carter was having trouble with this as one of the chair legs had snapped in half upon impact with the coffee table.

“Look, Carter, I’m sorry. This whole situation has been really stressful. I shouldn’t have taken it out on you.”

Carter just stood over the broken chair waving his hand to indicate that he was ok but said nothing. This was the first time since Benny met Carter that Carter had not had a long-winded vocal response to something.

“Let’s go through it one more time,” Carter said moving the broken director chair aside and sat on a metal folding chair instead.

– Matthew Brosche

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