Management Skills Excerpt

Copyright © 2011 January Rowe
All rights reserved — a Carina Press publication

Grant sat alone at the best table in the house, directly in front of the stage, nervous as hell. It was opening night of the newest Vault production. The club’s gothic architecture afforded perfect acoustics. No expense had been spared in the costumes, the scenery, the tech. But something could still go wrong. The show was the most complicated piece of stagecraft Grant had ever designed.

The house lights dimmed. Members of the exclusive fetish club waited, along with Grant, for the spectacle to begin. Out of the darkness, a shimmering balloonlike spaceship drifted down to the stage floor. Music throbbed with tension.

Grant scribbled notes on a pad of paper. Follow spot, too hard-edged. Smoke effects, synchronized. Electrics, a bit sharp. Sound, balanced.

The occupants of the spaceship, a dozen astronauts in reflective-armor costumes, strode out. Each astronaut wore a different color. The overall effect was dazzling. The stage lightning slowly illuminated the background, a planet of twisted trees. Next a series of spots lit the denizens of the planet. Primitive creatures, all men. The music swelled. The giant men, wearing nothing but crude breach clouts and carrying large sticks, stalked the astronauts.

The astronauts were prey.

Grant continued taking notes. What to tweak, what to outright change, what to throw out.

Waving their sticks, the nearly naked giants confronted the astronauts. The audience gasped. Would the brutes kill the elegant metallic visitors?

The two sides, the brutes and astronauts, engaged in a violent, wild dance. Music throbbed. Color exploded all around. Grant took more notes. Mechanical color scrollers, good. Dance boom light levels, too low. Overhead shutter, pulled in too far.

The dance grew even more frenzied. The giants roughly stripped the protective armor from the astronauts. But it wasn’t war. It was seduction. The astronauts were women, now nearly naked. The club patrons collectively drew in a stunned breath.

The brutes and women paired off. Some willingly, some not. They engaged in fierce, stylized couplings. Crazy artificial lightning effects, created by media and the gobos, strobed the stage. Electricity sizzled. Drums thumped.

The dance, the stagecraft, the music, evoked sex and fury.

The spectacle was beautiful.

The illumination changed, slowly. The light irised in on one silver-armored astronaut, whole and proud. She stood in the center of the stage. Her costumed body was brilliant, otherworldly. A huge, half-naked brute surged toward her with his stick. Suddenly the stage lights dimmed to darkness. Blackout. The house lights came up. It was intermission.

The audience sighed.

A cocktail waitress in a skintight black leather dominatrix costume slithered toward his table. “Would you like something to drink, Sir?”

The waitress was a sweet little thing with rosebud lips and wide blue eyes. Her youth and eagerness didn’t jive with her fetishwear.

“Thanks. I’ll take a scotch. Neat.”

He nursed his scotch during the rest of the intermission, reviewing his notes. On the whole, it was going well. He hoped the owner of the Vault would be as happy.

The house lights dimmed again.

The armored astronaut, so striking in silver, stood with the half-naked giant in a pool of light. She was fearless. Suddenly, with an eruption of sound and radiance, she ran from him. The brute followed.

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