@Unknown @Unknown @Rosie It started with a soft rustling, like a woman pulling a satin panty along her thighs. I thought of the auditorium, filling with people, the sound of their clothing brushing against the fabric seats, the shuffling of programs opening and closing in their fingers. I remembered the darkness on stage, caused by blinding light, illuminating me utterly while casting all else into shadow. I knew they were there, but I couldn’t tell how many. I wondered if I had a full house at last. The stage smelled like pomade and perfume, a hint of booze, and the vaseline we rub on our teeth. I smelled dust and grass and a sour sort of smell like old turkey sandwiches, and a tangy sort of smell like the way orange tic-tacs taste. I thought I should be afraid, so I looked for the familiar anxiety of a performance. I found it, was tinged with regret, and perhaps a sense of satisfaction for this last audience. I felt the familiar burst of adrenaline, then- that energy necessary to really create, to take action. It filled my ears with a rushing sound, a rhythmic thumping, my blood singing a battle cry, drowning out everything else. My heart soared for a moment, then ached, and then went still, all the energy seeping into the grass. The rushing in my ears subsided, and only a gentle flutter in my chest stirred the night. There was no grand finale, no surge of appreciation…it was not such a spectacular performance, after all. The light faded and I could see my audience again. I expected this. I knew they would come. No one passes up such a final performance, or a free meal. The crows gathered noisily in the darkness, waiting for my silence.