Sunday, November 05, 2006

New York, 1997

I was standing on 47th Street near 8th Avenue in Manhattan. For a boy from Buna, Texas, this was freaky enough. When you grow up in a place that's barely on a map, where the most exciting traffic jam you've ever seen consists of six pick-up trucks simultaneously waiting at the one traffic light -- a blinking yellow light out by where the state highway passes through the thick east Texas forest -- standing on a street corner in New York City is overwhelming to the senses with its cacophony of horns blasting, people shouting, children yelling and the millions of smells that appear around every corner. (When my parents visited the City once, they were petrified. I still remember the image of them huddled together on the subway like frightened rabbits.)

47th Street between 9th and 9th, though, has lots of trees. I was enjoying the crisp October morning. For some reason, it felt like this was "home." I felt like I belonged here. Also, something big was happening to me. My show, THE LAST SESSION, was actually opening off-Broadway.

Suddenly, a big truck pulled up to the exact spot where I was standing. I jumped back, fearing it would hit me. Two burly guys jumped out of the cab, pulled opened the huge door in the back, and threw out a bundle of paper. Little booklets of some sort wrapped in bailing wire. They tossed it onto the sidewalk next to me. And, without a word, they piled back into the truck and drove off.

Puzzled, I looked around to see if anyone was watching. Then I walked over to the bundle, pulled away some of the packing paper and saw a flash of bright red and yellow. It was a Playbill.

My heart started to pound. I ripped away more of the packing. It was a logo. Our logo. Our show. I looked back behind me at the red building with its marquee and box office.

And suddenly, it all became real.

I screamed out loud. "THE PLAYBILLS!! THEY'RE HERE!!"

Our show. Our names. New York City. Off-Broadway. Playbill. It was actually happening.

And now, it's going to be happening again.

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