last night I went to an avant garde puppet show. There were only eleven attendees; at the front door, we were given masks to wear. Everyone had a mask — except for the single puppet with a bald spot. The man who controlled the puppet wore a pig mask; to his side stood a man in a luchador mask. As we all sat around a single white table in the mostly dark room. As we taxi drivers planned a strike for a living wage, I could not tell:
1. Who the actors were; most of us wore the same mask.
2. Whether I was one of the actors. I mean, I had a mask on, too. I think some people asked me questions.
At one point a man whispered in my ear. I sat like a stone, wondering if I was supposed to say or do something. I was supposed to whisper the same thing to my neighbor, but I failed to help in the spread of gossip.
At the end of the show, the actors walked out into the streets, telling us there was a strike in the streets; we, the unsure audience, sat for a few minutes before I said we should see if there is more show in the streets. There was nothing outside except the puppet wearing the pig mask propped outside the door of the theater. None of the actors were anywhere to be found.
At last, the man who’d been in the pig mask, the writer of this work, approached. I applauded for him. He asked, “What, did I miss the show? I was in my truck and lost track of time.” He insisted he had not been present. When the other actors returned, they were only slightly less coy.
I think some confusion is good in language learning, but I’m not sure I was ready for my masked adventure.