Chapter 5 – January 7A

Janet Wernick separated from her daughter as they approached the auditorium doors, walking off to the left towards a hallway leading to the back of the stage. The Bird proceeded forward, noting the scratches on the wooden door as she pushed it open and stepped out of the bright light of the lobby into the darkness of the auditorium.

“Over here.” Mr. Jacobs’ voice called from the back row of the auditorium, the same area where she had been sitting earlier, hoping to read as she waited for her friends on the fencing team to arrive. She made sure the book was still in her left hand, that she hadn’t put it down sometime between Teddy Jasper’s introduction and her friend’s early arrival.

The Bird caught Mr. Jacobs’ eye, and told him they could sit closer. No more than twenty or so other seats in the large seating area were occupied for tonight’s dress rehearsal.

Mr. Jacobs waved her over. “Figured if we sit in the back like this, you can ask questions during the performance.” The Bird nodded, shrugged, scanned the shadowy faces surrounding Mr. Jacobs, recognizing everyone by their distinctive features — Annie’s pony-tail to Mr. Jacobs’ left, Rune’s greasy red hair to her left, the two of them giggling conspiratorially as Butch’s round face sat to their left, sitting closest to where The Bird stood in the aisle. Tall Rex sat on Mr. Jacobs’ right, Double-J and his moustache to Rex’s right, his head tilted back and resting on the back wall, eyes apparently closed.

The Bird began walking in to the back row, when Mr. Jacobs stood abruptly. They needed a seating change, he announced, to better enable conversation. He pointed to the row in front, commanded Butch and Rune to sit immediately in front of him, with an option for Annie to join them which she declined. The two teen boys rose from their seats quickly, Annie waving at Rune as he left, and as they took their seats The Bird moved closer to Annie, who patted the seat to her left on her arrival.


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