“Red leather, yellow leather. Red leather, yellow leather…” chanted Maurice.
“Hey, I meant to ask, did you get a call back on that audition you did for the cereal commercial?” asked Robin, flexing his claws rhythmically.
“Unique New York. Unique New York… nah, I heard that they gave that to Randall,” replied Maurice. He didn’t try to hide the bitterness in voice.
“Sorry ’bout that, man. You were so right for that part.”
The door to the dressing room opened. Skeeter, the trainer’s assistant popped his head in.
“Five minutes ’til showtime guys.”
“Thanks,” nodded Robin. “Hey Skeeter, how’s it looking out there today?”
“Packed crowd. Lotsa kids” said Skeeter, closing the door behind him as he left.
“Heh, I love the kids,” chuckled Maurice. “One good roar in their direction and they nearly wet themselves.”
“I hear they’re holding open auditions for that new Jungle Book movie,” said Robin, slapping his cheeks and stretching his great toothy maw.
“I can totally see you as Shere Khan,” complimented Maurice. Robin knew he was lying and wanted the part for himself, but in show business everyone is a phony.
“Oh, you’d be so much better,” lied Robin convincingly.
‘You think?” asked Maurice, turning to admire his reflection in the mirror.
“Oh yeah, you’ve definitely got the chops for it.”
Maurice dropped gaze.
“Are we just kidding ourselves, Robin? Seriously, we’re not getting any younger and we’ve both talked about that ‘Big Break’ since we started. Maybe we’re nothing more than low-grade hacks barely fit for a Big Cat Exhibit show.”
“Bite your tongue!” cried Robin. “Never say that. Never! You’re better than that. We both are. This is just… temporary. Something to pay the bills until it’s our time.”
“Do you believe that?” asked Maurice glumly.
“Of course. Now come on, we’ve got a show to do. Where’s that ferocious beast I know so well?”
Maurice inhaled deeply and let a huge rumbling roar blast from his throat. He finished in a coughing fit.
“Oh what the heck,” sighed Maurice. “At least the local crowds love us.”
“That’s the spirit!” grinned Robin. “Now let’s go knock’em dead.”
Two shows a day and three on Saturday. Food, a roof over their heads and the gentle pitter patter of applause from the two dozen or so people who filled the small arena each day. Maurice even got top billing on the show schedule. And to think, some tigers spent their whole lives just hunting game and lying about.
“Yep,” thought Maurice. “We’re living the dream.”