From the terribleminds challenge: Plucked from the Pages of History. http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2011/08/26/flash-fiction-challenge-plucked-from-the-pages-of-history/ It's late so I am giving a double dose. First up - this thing:
“They left. The bastards, it's just some mule outside.”
“I know Julius but what can we do about it?” “Yeah Julius, if they left for that we were stinking anyways. Mom won't be happen when we get home.” The Nagadoche theatre was largely dark, the stage was lit by flood lights and three all but identical kids were staring out into the wings. The seats were empty except for one man, who rose and made his way to the stage where the three boys were just beginning to argue. He vaulted up and stood by as they continued. “Texas, what a load. Adolf, why did mom even book us here?” asked the one called Julius. “Because she could? Come on, she means well and they did pay for tickets.” “She booked us in a middle of nowhere flop to sing for hicks.” The quietest of the three finally notice the stranger, a dapper smiling gent with a briefcase in one hand and a card in the other. The boys went quiet.
“Nice to meet you boys. Adolf, Julius and Milton is it? Ah yes, the Three Nightingales, here to serenade us with sweet songs. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Mr. Fleas and I think I can help you.” He offered a card to each of the boys with a small flourish. “I think you have talent, really. But you won't get anywhere singing. No you need something bigger. Let me manage you and I can take you the height of drama. I guarantee it.”
Adolf read the card aloud, puzzling over each word as if trying to grasp a deeper meaning. “Mr. Fleas, agent to the stars. Working with the Lower Nine agency. Results guaranteed, contract required.” He turned to speak but was interrupted by offstage yelling. “Hey, whatsa matta you? Get offa da stage, eh?” Another double to the boys, just a bit older was storming towards them. “I'm da manager, and who are you?” He demanded of the tall man. “As I was just telling your brothers here, I want to sign them up for the big time. Have a card Leonard.” There was a deathly silence, Leonard dropped his accent. “How did you know my name?” “It was on the program.” “We ain't got no programs. Just their names on the poster.” “I overheard it.” “You heard no such thing.” Mr. Fleas started stammering. “Listen, it doesn't really matter does it? I mean. I'm offering you something big here.” Julius stopped him. “You keep saying that but what are you offering?” “Twenty years at the top boys. Two decades guaranteed success on stage and screen. All the fame money and women you can handle.”
Mr. Fleas drew a small wicked sharp knife from his breast pocket. “A hand if you please.” Adolf stared at the blade, “What's it for?” The noise outside was dieing down. The crowd would return soon. “To sign my dear boy. Easier to get a drop of blood than put dozens of signatures down.” “Right, could you give us a moment?” “Make it quick, the crowd will be back soon.”
the four brothers huddled together further upstage. Adolf spoke first. “I think he's a devil. Why else the blood and the nice offer?” Julius and Milton nodded in agreement, but Leonard seemed more reserved. “He's probably an old kook. So we wants some blood. Come on, it's worth the gamble.” Adolf gave him a hard stare. “Leo, your the one who taught me never play against the odds. This is against the odds.” For a moment there was tense silence. “Ah, so we tell im to wander off.” They stood up and stared at the waiting devil.
Doing his best uncaring walk Julius crossed the stage. He bowed overly deeply and snapped back upright. “Thank you for your offer but I would not like to be represented by any agent who will take me as a client. Good day to you.” Milton gave a polite no and when he was done Adolf stepped forward with a horn. He bleated out two notes in what could only be a negative, and Leonard just waved him off with a dismissive noise. The crowd returned finding the kids loafing around on an otherwise empty stage.
Unprepared Julius piped up instantly. “You know, Nagadoches is full of roaches if they left us for an Ass. Then again the jackass is the flower of Tex-ass.” The others recoiled at his sharp tongue but after the tiniest pause laughter erupted from the seats. And thus a comedy legend was born. You know them best as Groucho, Harpo, Chico, Zeppo and Gummo Marx.