Who Turned Off the Lights?

By: Rachel Arnold

Zachary sighed and put a hand to his forehead. He took off his glasses and rested his head on his arm, wishing he could find even one decent actor. He and the writer and the director of the film had been here at the studio for hours, watching failure after failure prance across the audition stage. This was a low budget film, so even though he had managed to get a few well-known actors for the leading roles, they still had to go through many inexperienced unknowns before the supporting roles were filled. So far, all three of them were frustrated and exhausted with nothing to show for their efforts.

The director waved off another completely horrible attempt at acting and stood up with a sigh. He pulled on an overcoat and shuffled some papers into his briefcase with an air of fatigue. “Let’s call it a night, fellas. Zach, you see if there are any more auditions signed up for tomorrow.” Shoving one hand into his pocket he trudged out the door. The writer gave Zach a pathetic, gloomy look before tipping his hat and shuffling the same way the director exited. Zachary just sat there for a moment, looking around the desolate studio for a moment. ln due time, he gathered his things and shrugged into his collared wool coat. He fitted his newsboy cap over his nappy blonde hair and cast another glance around the infernal place before he began heading for the door. He lingered at the exit only long enough to switch off the lights and watch the studio darken.

It was interesting how the first section of lights would slowly dim until they had completely shut off, and the instant they had gone dark, the next section immediately began to dim. That’s sort of how he felt about his life sometimes. All the lights in his life used to be shining, illuminated, in perfect working condition. He had graduated college, married the girl he loved, and gotten a job in Hollywood. He was well known, respected loved. But then someone started turning off the lights. His wife divorced him for some actor, and in turn, his job went down the drain. Soon, no one wanted to see Zachary Stoll movies – they just weren’t Hollywood quality. He got fired after his third catastrophe of a movie, so he packed up his things and moved all the way up to New York City.

Now a small films producer, he had yet to find a masterpiece to revive his career. He had been hoping that this would be his salvation – the screenplay was fantastic, the director pretty successful. But this drawback of having to audition amateurs was a trying process. Zach felt tired all the time, bone weary, broken. Who turned off the lights? He wondered. Who could turn them back on? His hand still rested on the switch and he toyed with the idea of reilluminating the building. Nah, he decided, it would take too long and electricity was expensive. He pulled up the collar of his jacket and went into the chilly night, shutting the door on the dark, taunting building.