Thursday, August 11, 2005

Chapter 17: June 7, 2031

Giant miller moth shadows rushed across the nearly bare stage at the Fillmore. The stage was a judge’s eye view of a courtroom. Seven microphones and three instruments, for the chorus and the trio that would accompany them, sat on a rail in front of a church pew that symbolized the jury box. Two tables with chair flanked a lectern. A raised dais, the witness stand, took center stage. Each seat in the house had a card one side white, the other black. On the “white” side of the stick was the evening’s program “The People’s Case”, “Intermission“, and “The Defense Case and Verdict.”, followed by the names of the leading cast members. On the reverse side of the stick were the chorus, orchestra, and back stage credits.

A banner over the proscenium proclaimed the show, “The Little Opera: Bowers v. Hardwick.” Liner notes on copies sheets of paper on each sheet, in pink, proclaimed that the opera was based on a true story that led to an early, anti-gay U.S. Supreme Court case originating in Georgia, which was overruled seventeen years later.

The Fillmore’s cooling system start up hadn’t been scheduled for another week, but summer had not decided to wait. The half filled seats contained a crowd older than a concert, but younger than for a typical play, fanning themselves with their guilty-innocent cards. Many glanced nervously at pagers custom designed to like their children. The baby sitters, nannies and grandparents had the number for the devices, and every one of them dreaded the prospect of a red glow from within their unit. The rest of the crowd was busy ordering cocktails and h’orderves. Most of the cocktail orders included the addendum “on the rocks.”

Cass and Lily, of course, didn't need pagers. Cass, with his usual knack, had managed to have a server deliver the gourmet mini-hotdogs (allegedly with an authentic Southern hot sauce) and martinis on the rocks the moment they walked in the door. Cass had learned better than to wear his dress uniform by now, but his white linen suit and bow tie was probably more out of place than his uniform would have been. Lily wore a sleveless, backless gown out of a new synthetic material which felt like silk but looked like clouded ice crystals, with the diamond earings and pearl necklace that Cass had bought her. It was suitably cool. She had just a touch of a perfume designed to make those who smelled it come to attention and feel alert. She'd tucked her ID under her dress, but didn't bring a purse. Why bother? Cass always paid and she wasn't the type to adjust her makeup at the intermission.

The lights flickered. They took their seats, guilt cards in hand.

* * * * *

When the final applause came down, and the last encore had been sung, Lily was dumbstruck. Once again, on a date with Cass, she'd experienced a performance she'd never imagined was possible.

When they finally got outside the theater and breathed in the evening air, the slowly walked to his car. Despite the fact that they'd been dating for almost half a year, every few weeks, she'd never been to his house, she'd never spent the night with him.

He asked: "Would you like to spend the evening in my abode?"

Lily just smiled and got into the car.

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