“Thank you,” he raised his voice to override the applause. “Thank you very much,”
So many faces, some solemn, most smiling, a few wet with tears of realization. It was the last he worked for. They reminded him he was only a conduit and the real work was done through him, not by him.
He waved himself off the stage though the applause hadn’t subsided any. There would be another hour signing autographs – a change made by his new assistant, Marlene. She’d been aghast when he’d told her he normally just signed for whoever was at the door on the way out.
“You don’t reach nearly as many and it’s, rock starish.”
The last reference had bothered him so much he’d agreed to try it her way. Now the idea of sitting for yet another hour sounded exhausting. At least his way he was on the move toward an evening of rest. Her way he was stuck. He would try it. He needed to be open. Then he’d kill the idea. He grinned. Ego was alive and well, thank you.
He paused as Marlene hurried over to him from her makeshift desk behind the stage. She was a bit too heavy – though not fat. Her makeup was more apparent then he cared for. He kept himself in good shape because of the image he wanted to promote. At 6’3, in his mid 50’s, he was physically fit. His face was longer than he liked. He had blue eyes, was going bald and so admired Marlene’s glorious head of auburn hair – past shoulder length, full and shiny. “Brian,” he corrected yet again.
She flashed him a smile of acknowledgment. “I’ve a place set up for you to relax for a moment. There’s juice and some light snacks.”
It was nine p.m. already. He set his jaw, the good feeling he’d had from tonight’s talk fading. “Let’s get started, shall we? I don’t need to relax.”
Her pleasant smile vanished. He read the look on her face because it was one of the reasons he’d hired her. A reference for her had said ‘you have to be careful because she injures easily. She cares about doing her job to the heart.’
“Marlene,” he kept his tone gentle. “This is our second seminar. We have to grow together. I learn from you, you from me and we adjust – that includes guessing wrong once in a while.”
She nodded but her smile didn’t return. “I’ll bring in the first group.”
It was an intense hour over and above the two-hour talk he’d given. Ten minutes with groups ranging anywhere from two to six autographs. Mostly it was people who wanted to meet, the autographs a way to do so. Some had honest questions, some wanted to exhibit how developed ‘they’ were – baggage stories of overcoming.
Marlene shut the door behind the last group. She looked at him for a moment. “Rock star has its advantages?”
He nodded wearily.
“I had Ted clear the area so you can go straight to your car. We won’t do it this way anymore. Thank you for letting me try.”
This time she wasn’t injured. This time she had been wrong, knew it, and moved on. He liked her for that. As he rose, he reminded himself to stay open to her ideas.
* * *
“And so, you, with the power, ARE in charge of your life. And the Power’s only desire is for you to be happy and at peace. Thank you,”
The applause started and he acknowledged it as he moved off stage. Marlene was waiting for him.
“Did you want me to get dinner ordered for you at the motel?”
“No. I want to stay and watch.”
Marlene raised an eyebrow. “I thought we were tired after our talks,”
“We saw how she bubbled at the results and wanted to see for ourselves.” He rubbed a hand over his bald head.
She’d waited a while before presenting a new idea and she incorporated the learning from the old. “Stay hidden then. Otherwise, it will be expected next time.”
Stage design was perfect for staying hidden while watching so it was easy to find a comfortable place to be while Marlene went out onto the stage. “Those of you who have purchased special tickets, please remain seated while the stadium clears.”
Marlene had gotten her idea from a man’s comment during the question and answer sessions. ‘We come here, get all pumped up, go home and fall right back into the same patterns,’
The auditorium cleared of all but about twenty people. The tickets were expensive for the added session. It paid for the actresses and actors and made