Nothing Happening Here Either 031 Agent White Interviews Robert Jacob Masters

Good Morning Ted and Jody:

The weather folks are talking about 90 degrees today. It came close yesterday, so I broke out the hoses and started the summer watering routine (pots get thirsty when the sun beats down on them all day. I have thought that it might be cheaper to get an umbrella for each pot. but then there are days with wind so I would have to chase the umbrellas. Since I don’t have to chase the water on windy days, I shall stick with watering.

Since this past weekend was the closest weekend to the anniversary of Mt. St, Helens blows, The Old Spirit Highway, WA504 leading to Mt. St. Helens, was lined with garage and yard sales. It took me a few years to sort out the beginning of garage sale season from the celebration of the explosion. Either way, lots of people supposedly go up to the Johnson Ridge Volcano Observatory on this closest weekend to the anniversary of the explosion and people with stuff to sell, put it out. Since we are overstocked with junk and stuff we don’t need, including duplicates, I refrained from stopping at any of them. Nancy is worried that I need to go in for a checkup as I have never been known to exercise either my will power or self-restraint (Indeed, little known to Nancy, I found where they were in the back of my sock drawer and put them on last Wednesday. I think I have used them enough now and need to put them back before she has me committed).

For some reason, I got hooked on Major Crimes Saturday and Sunday. This kept me from watching more news after my stationary bike ride with the Saudis yesterday morning.

I trust this finds you in good spirits, health and getting ready to party next Monday.

Warmest regards, Ed

031 Agent White Interviews Robert Jacob Masters
Fiction in 939 words by T. Edward Westen, 2017

“What brought you to live here?” Agent White asked.

“You mean in an attic to a working theater?” asked Robert Jacob Masters in return.

“Yes,” replied Agent White. “Why over a, as you put it, a working theater?”

“When I was an Agent in the Outreach Section of ATI,” explained Mr. Masters, “Some of my most productive work was in looking at the stage plays of each era. While the central themes of comedy and drama were essentially unchanged, the finesse with which the acts of betrayal and pratfalls were carried out changed over time. But the magic of the stage paly involving the audiences did not change. A well-acted play convinces the audience they are someplace else in a different time and they can suspend most normal constraints on behavior. All that is required is a costume, some makeup, well-rehearsed lines plus timing. God, I love the grease paint and timing.”

“Living here, then puts you close to something you love?” Agent White said.

“No, Agent White, it allows me to be part of what I love,” replied Robert Jacob Masters. “You, see, I have a role in each play that unfolds on that sage below. I change my appearance and become a different person for each paly. A villain in one, a handsome prince in another and indeed even a hunch back for yet another. I revel in the hisses and boos when I come on as a Simon Legree and revel again when I come on to the cheers when I am Dudley Do-Right I adapt for each part in each play and revel in them all.

“Isn’t that living in a fantasy world?” asked Agent White.

“Yes, but we all live in fantasy worlds,” said Robert Jacob Masters. “When we have to deal with the harsh realities of everyday life we love to watch others who should have no problems have serious problems. It makes us feel better about ourselves. When I am on stage, I seek to be someone else for the benefit of the audience. I derive pleasure from that, but they are entertained and they feel appropriately toward my character if I give a realist performance. But that is a misnomer, for if it were real they would not tolerate what I do when I act. Consider, a murder in a play. The audience knows it is not real, but if it were, they would storm the stage to stop me before the fact or lynch me after the fact. But it is not real and no action is required of them. I suppose that means they can vicariously enjoy a murder because they know it is not real. Don’t you find it interesting that a vile crime such as murder fills so much of our entertainment across the ages?

“I must confess, I never thought of it that way,” replied Agent White. “I am interested, how do you transform yourself into a villain or hero.

“There are three elements,” replied Robert Jacob Masters. “The first is posture.” Robert Jacob Masters lowered his right shoulder and walked across the room with a slight hesitancy of dragging is left foot. “Next I add a tone of voice,” he said with a growl of sorts and a snarl on his lips. Keeping that tone of voice he said, “And not follow me to the dressing room where I can apply a bit of makeup to effectuate, say a facial scar or hair or some other modification to make me look a bit more sinister.”

As she followed him down a circular staircase she said, “I do feel reluctance for you have already transformed yourself into something a bit sinister and evil and yet, I watched you do it.

Robert Jacob Masters straightened his shoulder and walked normally and changed his tone of voice back to its natural tenor. “Then just as on the state, I was able to successfully lead you into a fantasy world without the make-up.” Stopping on the stage floor he turned to the side stage and opened a door to a room with a bank of makeup racks, mirrors and tables. He swept his arm to include the whole room and said, “And this is where the real magic is created. Here, sit,” he said indicating a table with a mirror. “Let me show you on your own face what a stroke of a grease pen can do.” He tuned a light on over the mirror. He then took a stick of what looked like black chalk and made a mark under Agent White’s left eye and a mark over her eyebrow making it arch higher and said, “There, who do you see.”

“I see a woman who has had a stroke and is not well at all,” replied Agent White

“Yes, it is not just good and evil that we can create,” replied Robert Jacob Master. “Here,” he handed her a towel and a jar of some white cream, “you will find these useful to return to your healthier self.” He smiled broadly.

As Agent White was wiping the marks off her face she asked, “I know you chose to live here. But what do you miss the most from the real world.”

“Nothing,” he replied, Nothing at all. We have a production this evening, would you care to stay and watch? I can arrange tickets for front row seats.”

“Can I come back and bring a friend?” Agent White asked.

“By all means, there will be two tickets waiting for you at the box office,” Robert Jacob Master said.

“Until later, then,” said, Agent White. She pivoted.


About democratizemoney

Retired University Professor
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4 Responses to Nothing Happening Here Either 031 Agent White Interviews Robert Jacob Masters

  1. beetleypete says:

    21 C here today, and 30 C forecast for the weekend. We go from the ridiculous to the sublime, with little in between.
    These ‘by the by’ interviews are an inspired addition to the story, Theo. Well done indeed.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Eddy Winko says:

    I quite like RJ, I do hope he’s not the baddie. Following your comment yesterday I think I should be reading the interviews again and looking for clues 🙂


  3. We’re in sublime too, just spent the day with my camera at the beach, nice cooling breeze there. I hope it isn’t RJ too!


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