Electricity

Bbc

“Power outage?”

For a moment Joy wasn’t sure she had heard right. After all, she’d been putting in some really long days and it was early in the morning. She hated being up early in the morning. If she didn’t love her job so much she would have hurled the alarm clock/radio across the room when Terry McLeod, sounding far too perky, had jarred her out of a dream talking about – what had he been talking about? Something to do with a quarter of the downtown being affected by a….

“Yes, a power outage,” the theatre manager was looking at her funny while she held the door open for Joy to walk through into the lobby. She glanced around at the obvious lack of lighting. God, she needed some coffee.

“So, ok. We have no power. Excellent. Any indication of when we might have it back on?” Where the hell was her assistant? Sheila always brought coffee for her. Every morning. Without even being asked to because, of course, Joy wasn’t the kind of person who would ask her assistant to get her coffee. But Sheila brought it anyways. Joy made a mental note to review the budget for next year and see if maybe a raise wasn’t in order.

“Well, we’ve already got Hydro here,” the theatre manager’s voice had this calm, soothing tone to it. She was used to having to give people bad news in her job. Something always went wrong with any show. It’s part of the fun. “They said it should only be about 10 minutes. And the alarm systems company is already here, ready to lift the fire doors as soon as power comes back on so….”

“Oh god, the fire door….” Joy glanced over automatically to where the heavy metal door had evidently slammed down when the surge had triggered the alarm. Thankfully this was happening now, if it had to, when they weren’t open to an audience yet. Imagine if people had been milling around, admiring the venue’s gorgeous architecture and kablam! Massive steel door comes crashing down. That would have been bad.

“Yes, they’ll be back up as soon as we get electricity. This one here, ” she nodded towards where Joy was still gaping, “and the one back stage.”

“Oh jeez, right…that one too.” Ok, now she knew they were lucky. A vision of actors, stage hands, technical crew all milling around in the wings, the flurry of activity that always seems to be happening backstage no matter how calm it might be past the footlights, just flashed into her mind. Along with another steel door suddenly crashing down. Evacuating people in the dark. Ok, it could be much much worse. The manager had said something about 10 minutes.

“So, just so I know, how confident are you that 10 minutes is an accurate estimate?”

“Well,” the theatre manager paused and, with alarming frankness, finally continued. “They said 10 minutes about an hour ago so…”

“Right. Gotcha. Ok then, I guess we…wait.” Joy inwardly screamed for Sheila to get there, get there, get there now. With coffee. It was quickly becoming her new mantra.

“You’re taking this very calmly,” the manager offered.

“Yeah, well, what are you going to do, right?” Joy was anxious inside, it was opening night after all, but having a fit wasn’t going to put the power back on. She’d better serve herself and the company if she spent the time coming up with various possible scenarios for the power coming on later in the day, how that would set them back, action plans just in case. “I think I’m going to pop back outside for a moment. Would you excuse me?”

“Oh sure, Joy,” the manager smiled at her. “Thanks for being so understanding.”

“Hey, it’s not your fault. Unless…there’s something I don’t know and you’re like, a renegade hydro saboteur.” Joy’s eyes twinkled a little bluer whenever she teased.

“Ha! Now that would make for an interesting hobby. But no,” the manager was heading off, getting ready to explain the lack of power to the next person. “I’ll find you as soon as we’re up and running again with an update.”

“Great. Thanks.” Joy was already half out the doors to the courtyard in front of the theatre. She headed over to one of the flowerbeds and sat down on the edge, being careful to gather her skirt up so the wind didn’t surprise her. She really had to remember not to wear a full skirt on a windy day. It was awkward trying to keep it tucked around her legs, the fabric bunched and wedged behind her knees as she shielded the lighter and the cigarette with her free hand. It took her about three tries – the wind really was tricky today – but finally she got it done.

She thought to herself for the thousandth time that she definitely had to quit smoking this year. After the run’s over. It would be far too Machiavellian to try to quit smoking in the middle of a show. With the promise to quit smoking immediately after this run made, the ritual was complete. Now she could just sit back and enjoy the cigarette. Worry about feeling guilty another time. After all, she’d already had that first drag. Damage was done. May as well finish.

It’s amazing what you can justify to yourself, sometimes. elmadağ escort

Her thoughts freed to roam, Joy turned towards her analysis of possible scenarios and back up plans to deal with them all. They’d have to get the power on within the next two hours if they weren’t going to cancel outright. They could still get the circuit boards for the sound and lights rebooted in the time remaining, so long as everything went smoothly. The performers would have a little less time for hair and make up but the show had to go on. Maybe she could find some portable mirrors. It was sunny enough they could do some of their make up out here.

She butted her cigarette, and headed back inside where she was greeted by the beatific sight of Sheila walking towards her, arm outstretched, with a venti something from Starbucks. Joy felt the usual momentary pang of guilt over her glee in such an object of westernized capitalist over-consumption, but it was quickly displaced as her fingers felt the familiar coarseness of the warm, cardboard sleeve.

“Here you go, Joy. Sugar-free hazelnut latte.” Sheila was practically laughing. She had already been made aware of the power outage situation and knew how badly Joy was probably jonesing for some java right now.

“You are an angel.” Joy barely finished her sentence before filling her mouth with ambrosia.

They started talking about some of her ideas for how to deal with various scenarios. They kept being interrupted by having to explain everything to the crew, who were already arriving. Joy and Sheila were laughing together over the nightmare that could have been if power had gone out during a show when suddenly everything flashed around them. The electricity was back on and every light in the Theatre snapped to.

It was blinding. It was miraculous. It was just in time. Only five minutes after the crews scheduled call time. Now, if they could just get the light and sound boards running…

“Um, Joy,” it was Keith, the head carpenter for the theatre.

“Hey Keith. Isn’t this lucky? We have electricity!” She was already feeling the caffeine soothing into her bloodstream.

“Well, yes. It is. Sort of,” Keith looked hesitant but Joy just smiled at him and sipped her latte. He went on, “but you know how Brent is away on holidays and we’ve got a temp guy on the lights, well, see, he doesn’t know how to reboot the system cause of the new software for it. He’s trained on the old version, and so…” Keith ran his hand roughly through his graying hair. “We’re working on it. I’m just not sure…”

“Ok, so, worst case scenario, we can’t get the lighting grid up and we just run the show with the house lights. Make an announcement to the audience apologizing for the lack of effects. Hmmm, We might have to offer refunds.” Joy cringed inwardly. In the arts, you needed every speck of revenue you could get. This could hurt them if too many people took them up on it. “Is there anyone in town we could call who DOES know the software?”

Keith looked reflective for a moment before answering. “Well, there’s this one guy. He’s not union. Isn’t even a tech, just really good at software. He’s friends with Brent and hung out during the installation a lot, helping us figure stuff out. He could probably get us back online.”

“So, what are the odds of the union approving us calling in a non-union guy to work on equipment in a unionized theatre?” Joy didn’t know why she was asking. She already knew the likely answer.

“It would take phone calls. And they’re not really quick on these decisions. If we can’t get it running ourselves though, they might have an answer in time to call him in to get things up for tomorrow. I mean, there’s a chance they’d go for it if we can find some sort of provision. List him as a repair man or something.”

“Right. Well, maybe we should call him and see if he’s even available, then get working on the union.”

“Yeah,” Keith looked hesitant again. “We could do that. Or…look Joy. Richard. He’s a good guy. He’d probably be willing to come work on this sort of under the table like.”

Joy raised an eyebrow as she scanned Keith’s face. “You wouldn’t feel compelled to inform the union yourself?”

Keith smiled at her. “Hey, we had a power outage. We gotta do what we gotta do. The guys want to get things up and running as bad as anyone. You know how they are about their equipment. They freak when anything goes wrong with it. No one from the theatre is going to be calling the union, if you don’t want us to.”

Joy thought for a moment. If this Richard guy charged something reasonable, she could probably just pay him out of petty cash and not have to worry about there not being an invoice. And they could get the lighting grid working and not have to refund a bunch of disgruntled patrons who wanted to get their money’s worth out of their entertainment dollar.

“Ok. Call him. And thanks.” Joy smiled back at him and gave him a hug. It was the equivalent of a corporate esenyurt escort handshake in the arts realm. It was such a touchy feely world. No wonder there was always so many gossip stories coming out of the cast parties.

Joy watched Keith saunter off to his office as she took the last sip of her coffee. The performers were starting to arrive, blissfully unaware of the excitement of the morning until the buzz of conversation carried the news to them. There was a patter of incredulous reactions. Joy laughed at the drama in some of them. All the world’s a stage, indeed.

The morning went by quickly. There was always lots to do on a show day, especially opening night when all the sponsors would be there, and Joy had no lack of details to look after. It was after the lunch break before she could check in with the crew. Taking the elevator up to the balcony level, she let herself into the house and walked down to the booth, coming up behind them. She saw Greg, the sound guy, fiddling with his board and media players and Larry, the temp lighting guy. And someone she didn’t recognize. Blonde. Must be Richard. Hmm, she thought to herself as she approached. He was kind of cute. Handsome, even.

“Hey guys,” she called out as she came closer. They all spun around. Greg and Larry waved at her. The guy with the amazing blue eyes just smiled. She felt a pang. It made her giggle softly under her breath as she recognized it. Good lord, girl, she thought. Get a grip. That’s all you need today.

“Hiya Joy. This is Richard,” Greg made the introductions.

“Hi Richard.” Joy extended her hand to be shaken. It may be the arts, but she didn’t even know this guy. His handshake was firm. She liked that. Limp handshakes always annoyed her. They seemed so noncommittal. “So, do you think you can get this thing working for us?”

“Pretty much already done, actually.” His smile oozed confidence but not in an arrogant way. Another thing she liked about him. Damn it, stop that! She felt like giving her head a shake but instead she just smiled back at him her most grateful smile.

“That’s so fabulous. So, we’re good to go?” Her hair fell over her cheek when her head tilted in question. She saw his eyes flash when she gave a flick to toss it back over her shoulders. Sweet, but she quickly wrote it off as likely meaning nothing.

“Yeah,” his eyes had locked back in on hers. She felt so warm all of a sudden. Must be all the stage lights that were now running. They give off incredible amounts of heat. Can burn through tin gobos in a matter of hours. “Good to go.” That smile again. Damn. Larry was already tinkering around with the settings. Joy watched how the changing colours of the different lights, flashing on and off as they were tested, made an almost strobe effect. At least, that’s what she told herself she was watching as her eyes lingered over Richard’s back while he knelt to pack up his laptop.

“So, aside from my undying gratitude,” Joy smiled as he stood to walk out, taking a moment to appreciate the obviously toned torso under the tight fitting t-shirt, “what do we owe you?”

He just smiled again, as he stood aside, gesturing for her to walk out of the booth ahead of him. How adorable, she thought. He’s a gentleman.

They walked together up the steps from the booth to the level with the elevator. She tried not to steal too many glances to check him out. As they waited for the elevator to come, she turned to him. “Seriously, what do I owe you? You really helped us out by coming in on like, no notice and taking care of this.”

“Don’t worry about it,” he smiled. She was beginning to think that smile should be registered as a lethal weapon. “I was happy to be of service.”

“You can’t be serious. You have to be paid for your time.” As someone who worked in the arts, Joy knew how often people were asked, or expected, to just provide their services for free since didn’t they all love what they do so much anyways? They did, but they also had to pay their mortgages just like everyone else.

“No, really. It’s not a problem. Let me.”

“Well, if you feel that way about it, give me an invoice and I can list it as “gift in kind” and give you a tax receipt at least. The company’s registered and…”

“How about you just buy me a drink, sometime, instead?”

Joy just laughed at his little joke. It never occurred to her to think of it as a serious come on. For one, he said it too perfectly. She could tell he was being ironic, and just trying to let her politely know he wasn’t going to take any form of payment from her. For another, Joy was too busy trying to ignore the rising attraction she felt for him to really notice that he was obviously attracted to her too.

“Ok then, deal. Drinks it is.” She smiled back this time. Even if he probably didn’t expect her to follow through, she couldn’t help but think it would be nice if she actually did.

“How about tonight? After the show? The guys gave me tickets as their etiler anal yapan escort own thank you. I’d been planning to check this out, anyways. Heard good things.”

Joy was startled. She hadn’t expected this. She thought about how late it would be when the show finally wrapped for the night. And how early she had to be there the next morning to review the receipts and make preliminary reports for the board and…

“Sure. Tonight’s great. I’ll take you and, um, whomever you bring to the show with you, out for drinks. It’ll be fun.”

He chuckled. It was a low rumbling sound that was filled with something else, something more than just mirth. “I wasn’t planning on bringing anyone with me.”

“Oh,” she was flustered. Damn it, why was she flustered? She was never flustered. “You said ‘tickets’ and so I just thought, I mean, most people enjoy taking in a show with someone else.”

“I guess you’ll be too busy, yourself. You wouldn’t be able to sit with me? Give me all the inside scoop? Feed me bits of gossip about the performers during applause?” His smile continued to do her in.

Joy laughed again. She couldn’t help herself. She was astounded that this gorgeous guy seemed interested in her. Not that she was often without interest. She just so rarely felt any back that it seemed too good to be true to have him acting like this now. She did a quick reassessment in her head. No, this wasn’t just being polite. He was gently letting her know he was interested. She liked how subtle he was being while still managing to make her feel flush with what he was saying. Being careful with his words. Leaving his true intent open enough to interpretation that she would have some question whether maybe she was reading him wrong. Then leaving no doubt what so ever with the way his eyes were glinting. His entire demeanour appealed to the part of her that loved to curl up on a rainy day with her dog-eared copy of Pride & Prejudice.

“So long as you aren’t offended if I end up having to leave you stranded before curtain or during intermission if any business arises, then I would love to watch the show with you. As a thank you.” Joy was careful to add that part. She may have felt eager at the prospect, but there was no reason to let him know that. “We could sit up near the booth. Give you a real insider’s look. I could tour you backstage after, if you like.” Joy had the vague sense that she could very well be babbling.

“Alright then, I’ll meet you in the lobby. Tonight.” Again with that smile.

“Tonight.” She shot him back with one of her own.

The rest of the day was a blur, for the most part. Her thoughts drifted to Richard every now and then, but it never took long to be distracted by someone needing something. They were pleasant, fleeting moments. She tried not to analyze why it was she kept drifting back to the chuckle of a man she knew next to nothing about and had only just met. After all, she knew why. Deep down.

There was a half hour before the lobby doors were opened, an hour and a half to curtain. Joy grabbed her purse and slid down into the dressing room area. Finding an empty station, she twisted her hair up into a knot and secured it with a silver clip. Using her compact, she checked it out from a few angles. The way the silver looked so bright against the darkness of her hair made her smile. A quick touch up of her make up, adding some shadow to brighten her eyes and make them seem a little bluer. An effort to hide the growing sense of exhaustion after an already long day. When she finished, she darted out the shop’s loading dock and had a quick cigarette. She misted herself with hairspray again after she butted to help the smoke dissipate off her more quickly and popped a breath strip onto her tongue. Hurrying inside, she used the time in the elevator to the lobby to give herself one last check. Hair still in place, skirt smooth, blouse tucked in, heels not scuffed or splattered with anything. The day hadn’t worn on her outfit too badly for a change.

She headed into the lobby and smiled to the theatre staff waiting at their concession stations. She slipped into the office, used a headset to check with the stage manager that the house was set, and told the theatre manager they were ready to open the doors. There was already a horde of people waiting outside to be let in. It gave her a little thrill. She loved when the shows sold well, and not just because of how it would help the bottom line. It made the energy in the theatre so much better. You could see it in the performances.

Walking around, she greeted various patrons she recognized, smiled welcomingly to strangers she made eye contact with, and made sure the invited guests were all well taken care of. It was while one of their donors was telling her all about her grandchildren’s latest exploits that she spotted him. He’d changed into a suit. No tie though, just an open shirt. She loved when guys did that. Nodding in answer to something the woman in front of her had said, that Joy had only barely registered, she watched him, out of the corner of her eye, as he made his way through the lobby. He’d spotted her. She felt downright silly as she realized she had butterflies. He looked so good though, weaving his way through the growing crowd, keeping his eyes on her, smiling that damnable smile.

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