He paced back and forth in front of the door, wringing his hands. He still couldn’t believe he’d gotten a summons to perform. He stopped pacing and took the letter from his tuxedo jacket pocket and looked at it again. The letter certainly looked authentic. That certainly looked like her seal at the bottom, with her signature. Sure, it could have been faked, the seal and signature could be counterfeit, but really, he thought, who would go to so much trouble to fool a veritable nobody like him like this? He went back to pacing.
“Calm down, Marcus,” his friend, Liam, told him from the chair beside the door. “You’ll wear a rut in the floor.”
Marcus stopped pacing and faced Liam. “Calm down? Really, Liam? Have you ever felt the sort of pressure I’m under? I have to put on a good show. I have to impress her!”
“I know you do. And you will. You’re great. She’ll love you. Now calm down and don’t let the pressure get to you, or you won’t do your best.”
Marcus took a deep breath and let out a slow exhale. “I suppose you’re right.” He gave Liam a small smile. “Thanks.”
Just then the doors opened and an older man in a butler’s suit motioned to Marcus. “You may come in. She is ready to receive you now.”
Marcus nodded and followed the butler into the large and elegantly furnished receiving room. At the head of the room, in a large, plush and ornately decorated chair sat a lovely middle-aged brunette woman in satin gowns of royal purple and who wore a golden coronet on her head. The butler led Marcus to stand before her.
“Your Imperial Majesty,” the butler said with a deep bow. “I present to you Marcus Mercanto, whom you summoned to perform for you.” Then he turned to Marcus. “Mr. Mercanto, I present to you Her Imperial Majesty, the Empress Caroline.”
Marcus gulped and gave her a deep bow even as he thought to himself, “No pressure.” When he came out of the bow, she gave him a small smile, a slight nod, and a wave of her hand.
He took a deep breath and began to sing.
This short story post is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday: