I was sitting in Den’s late night diner, passing paper napkins to Myra. I didn’t have any handkies and the toilets had run out of loo roll. At least she had stopped hyper-ventilating now; at one point I was fearful I’d have to give her the kiss of life, like I’d had to once when we were watching television and her mother had suddenly appeared on Babestation. The diner was empty; all the other customers had left when she’d started stabbing her fork into the squeezy tomato-shaped ketchup bottle.
The auditions were over. I thought mine had gone pretty well, despite tripping up the steps to the stage and wrenching my back. This had caused a certain stiffness in my Greased Lightnin’ movements but that didn’t matter. I could tell I was one of the favourites for the lead role because I could sense a surge of interest in the hall when I took to the stage and several people even started to film me on their mobiles.
I was word-perfect! I didn’t even stumble over ‘You know that ain’t no shit we’ll be getting lots of tit” which I always felt embarrassed singing. I couldn’t bring myself to simulate the groping hands like some of the others did but I managed the hip thrusts as best I could with my bad back. The Summer Nights duet was a little more challenging but I really thought we’d pulled it off. I went wrong a couple of times but that was only because Myra got too close to me causing a temporary ringing in both my ears and I lost where we were. I know the massive last note was an absolute triumph because when I finally lowered my arm and looked down, I saw lots of delighted faces.
Myra was easily the best Sandy; I’m pretty sure no one else heard her say “you mother-f*cking piece of shit” when she thought the microphone had stopped working during Hopelessly Devoted. At the end of the evening, we all crowded eagerly around Tom the director to see who had been awarded the lead parts. I was utterly flabbergasted when he gave the role of Danny Zuko to Frankie Trevino - he’d only joined the group last month! More bad news followed when Tom gave the part of Sandy to Liz Tyler, or Thin Lizzie as she was known. Her voice was nowhere near as strong as Myra’s! We had to smile bravely and applaud, although I could see Myra’s left eye twitching, a sure sign that she was upset.
As Tom was wrapping up and preparing to give Thin Lizzie a lift home, he handed out sheets of paper that
detailed the other parts. I was to play Doody and Myra had been given the role of Jan. As we couldn’t recall these two characters from the film, Myra Googled them on her iPhone. Doody was described as ‘small and boyish, always idolising the cooler boys’ whilst Jan was a ‘chubby compulsive over-eater, loud, brash and pushy’.
Myra went into meltdown at that point. I managed to get her to Den’s Diner, but not even her favourite twice-fried crispy doughnuts could pacify her. I tried to be positive and said I thought our duet had been great but she yelled “Great? What was so bleeding great about it? You were shuffling round like you’d shit yourself!” I tried to explain that
I’d strained my back but she shouted over me “And why did you sing “she swam by me, she’s got the crabs?” That’s not the sodding line, is it? Sandy’s supposed to be the vestal virgin not a pox-ridden old slag!” I knew she just lashing out because she was disappointed. I didn’t blame her; she really should have got the part, although I thought her calling Liz “a scrawny titless rash of wind” was a little harsh. Just as she was calming down, I told her I didn’t have sufficient money to get the curry sauce to go with her cheesy chips and she started wailing again. This time, it was the squeezy mustard bottle that got it.