The Marionette

TRIGGER WARNING: The following post includes descriptions of physical injury that may cause discomfort. Reader discretion is advised: please do not feel obligated to read this post if this is true for you, and please feel free to stop at any point if it becomes too much.


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Where do I live? Oh, well it’s really not as glamorous as you might think: it’s in a wooden box. Big enough for me to sit in. I sleep leaning upright against the splintery wall. No, it’s not exactly comfortable, but it was made just for me and it’s what I got. No windows either, so that’s…fun.


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Oh yeah, usually when it’s showtime, I’ll know when they thump the side of my box. That usually causes me to wake up because I kind of roll forward so that my forehead makes solid contact with the door. My hands usually smack the floor, too – my knuckles are all sorts of banged up.


So as I sit there with a throbbing noggin and scraped hands, the door will usually open and I’ll have a moment of pure panic and – what? Oh yeah, it happens every time. The terror of it never goes away. So anyways, I have this moment of utter panic as the door slides open and I fall straight forward, watching my life flash before my eyes. The Hand that thumped on the box catches me…sometimes. Sometimes it doesn’t, though, which is why the ‘thrill’ of falling is always utterly terrifying. When the Hand doesn’t manage to catch me, I almost always fall directly onto my face. Once, my nose broke off. Not broke – broke off. They had to glue it back on.


But hey, the things we do in showbusiness, amiright?


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Every showtime is disorienting because I’m usually whisked from my box onto the stage in a matter of minutes. The Hands stand me up on a table, untangle my strings, and then fly me onto the stage. I’d love to say that the flying part is fun, but it’s really not. It’s kind of terrifying actually. The strings have never broken, but there’s a first time for everything, ya know?


What’s it like working with the strings? It’s, uh…interesting, and…well, it’s actually pretty weird. The strings give the Hands control of my movements, and if you’ve never had your movements controlled by something else other than your own body and mind, count your blessings. It’s a…mystifying, let’s go with that – a mystifying experience. To say the least.


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How do I feel when I go onstage?


It’s a rush, for sure. I’m not gonna lie, I live for the stage life. Being in front of the audience is exhilarating, I get this rush of adrenaline coursing through my grain every time I perform, knowing all of those eyes are on me. I’m already feeling the tingles since I can hear the sound check, and – oh I hope that’s not what I think it is…I swear to god, if we do “The Lonely Goatherd” from The Sound of f&%#!^* Music again, I’m going to rip my own nose back off…


Sorry. Anyways, the point is, I love performing and the stage is my home (even when we do the same damn show five performances in a row). I mean, it’s the only home I’ve ever known, so I can’t really compare it to anything, but there’s something about it that just feels right.


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I can’t really say I have a favorite role, mostly because the roles I play are more or less the same: Evil Queen, Evil Stepmother, Evil Stepsister, Wicked Witch, Sea Witch, Witch-who-turns-into-a-dragon, and…what’s the last one? Oh yes. One half of the nefarious con artist couple. At least with that one I get a partner to split the notoriety with.


But they’re peachy roles, aren’t they? Basically, I’m the character in every show that everyone loves to hate because the protagonist’s problems are always someone else’s (i.e., my character’s) fault. The audience always boos when the Hands bring me onstage. Once, someone even threw a cucumber at me. Not a tomato. A cucumber. I’m not sure why they had it, much less at a puppet show, but they did. And it hurt, in case you were interested.


But ya know, I’ve always kind of wondered why we never do shows where the problems of the protagonist are 100% their own fault and the entire plot is them cavorting around trying to figure out how to solve the problems that they themselves definitely caused. That’s more like real life anyways, isn’t it?


But no. We prefer stories where there is some external cause for the main character’s struggles, someone to blame for the problems the hero encounters in their perfect lives (although we all know heroes are never perfect). We love a good scapegoat. Makes for good theatre, I suppose. And that’s fine, but I just don’t want to be it all the time, in every single show! I don’t want to be the one getting booed and tomatoed/cucumbered twelve times a week – I’m capable of so much more than that!


But, I digress – you’re here to get the scoop on the sexy life of the ‘Best Villain in the Land Far, Far Away’, not listen to my unsexy hero woes.


Besides, I can’t move on my own anyways; the strings do it for me. If it’s a villain they want from me, well, then it’s a villain they’ll make me.


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How do I get into character for each show? Well, I start by – ow! What? Showtime already? The show doesn’t start for another twenty minutes, why do I have to go now? You never even take me out of my box until 5 minutes before curtain anyways! Well, at least let me answer this one last question and I’ll – Because no one ever asks to talk to me, that’s why! Just give me five more minutes and – OW! You just yanked my left-hand string out! Fine! Thank you.


Anyways, what were you just asking? Oh! Right, my process of getting into character. Well – what’s that? Look at my hand?


Ah…ahh! AHHH!!! My hand, what’s wrong with my hand?! Why is there a chunk missing from it? And why is it all red and shiny like that? What IS that?!


I need a…uh…shit, what’s that thing called? That white stuff that you can wrap around body parts? I’ve seen it on the Hands that move me sometimes, ah, um…BANDAGE. I need a bandage (I think)!


Yes, I’m breathing, I’M BREATHING…okay, but hurry, this is fReaKiNg mE OuT.


Okay, okay, I’m going to try to distract myself. Did you say something to me? I’m sorry if you did and I was too busy freaking out about my red squishy hand.


Wasn’t my string there before? Well, yeah, but that’s not the point. The point is that I’m made of wood and – well, YES, CLEARLY I AM NOT, I CAN SEE THAT. Sorry, I’m sorry, I’m just a little bit on edge and – oh god, I looked at it again…wait IS THAT BONE?! OMG IT’S BONE, DEFINITELY BONE OHHHHHH SWEET PEACHES WHERE IS MY BANDAGE?!


Oh bless all that is good, the bandage is here. Hurry up. Hurry up…hurryup hurryup hurryup hurryup hurryup hurryup WHAT DO YOU MEAN STOP FLAILING MY HAND hurryup hurryup hurryup hurryup hurryup hurryup hurryup hurryup OMG WHY ARE YOU NOT DONE YET hurryup hurryup hurryup I’M NOT MOVING YOU’RE MOVING hurryup hurryup hurryup hurryup hurryup hurryup hurryup hurryup HURRY. UP!

…you’re done now? Can I look? Oh my word, thank you so much – I was really freaking out for a second there. Okay. Whew. I’m calm. I’m cool. I’m good.


But…how did that happen? I’m made of wood – I’m a puppet. But my hand…had bone. And – what’s that pink stuff called? Muscle! And…blood. Why? I’m so confused, just…I need a minute.


…oh my gah – I can move my hand. I can move my hand. I can move my hand…


They told me I couldn’t move my hand, though…but I can?


But if I can move my hand then…I don’t…need the strings…do I?


Woah.


Do we have any more bandages? And ibuprofen? I’m going to need some of those…


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