House of Fire

sin-chronicles-volume-5

I arrived at SIN last night around 8pm and shortly thereafter the house would be rocking for the next three and a half hours. There were so many instances of quality interaction that it’s hard to keep them all straight so I’ll plunge into the highlights momentarily.

But first, a few notes on the cast and crew. When I arrive, if possible, I like to go through the house and get a feel for the vibe. As with any volunteer effort there can be a fairly significant change in crew from night to night and week to week. It is typically during this walk through that I release Vermin and I will interact with everyone as that character. If I’m not familiar with someone I might introduce myself (as Vermin of course) or else I’ll take the opportunity to mess with them.

There were a few new faces throughout the haunt but each seemed excited to be there and committed to the act. I never did get a good look at the kid in the dining room, so I’m not sure if he was new or not, but he was a frenzied ball of energy when I escorted a trio of jumpy ladies though the attraction not long after my arrival. The hallway following the Gacy room featured several notable additions which included a green laser, a neon-colored sign that read “Clown Lives Matter” and of course, public enemy number one: clowns. Three or four big, intimating dudes considerably shrunk the available space and transformed a boring transitional passage into a high-water mark of SIN.

THE SHEARING OF THE SHEEP

I learned a lot of names last night, discovered where people lived and found that the vast majority of people I smelled had a pleasant scent. For some reason a lot of people ask if I’m wearing a wig and when they do so I encourage them to touch my hair. Sometimes I even offer them a smell although most decline the opportunity it doesn’t stop me from expressing my interest in smelling their hair and that is something that a lot of people are pretty uncomfortable with.

One quartet was from Monroe, a place I’ve lived at two points in my life, so I drew on my familiarity of the area and cracked tasteless jokes about the Custer Statue and the heroin epidemic that has plagued the county. Yeah, Vermin has no shame. I try to make a point to introduce myself to every guest waiting in line and due to wait times I generally have the opportunity to interact with the same group two, three or four times which requires a lot of improv and on occasion it affords me the opportunity to elaborate on Vermin’s checkered past.

Sometimes, I like to slip in facts about my own life to lend more authenticity to the performance and boy does that work like a charm. If you watch the body language of people and the position of their eyes, it will reveal a lot. I love to see a change in their demeanor when I go a little bit darker, cut a little bit closer to reality. You can almost see the gears in their head turning, wondering how much of this is purely shtick. It amuses and pleases me to no end to have so many customers seek clarification on my position within the haunted house and question whether or not I officially work there.

No doubt the highlight of the night came when Daffodil appeared and we worked haunt zero in tandem, we would later be joined by Dr. Giggles as well and then we really had the room jumping proper. Some teenager playfully insulted Daffodil and the no nonsense, Brooklyn girl brought her grievances to Vermin who promptly and angrily confronted the young man. I wouldn’t say the kid was scared but he was undoubtedly uncomfortable as I delivered my demands with force. We isolated him in one corner of the room and made him apologize which he did quickly, too quickly. He was then told to drop to his knees, it was there that the apology would be delivered.

There was a pregnant pause in the room, all eyes were on this poor bastard by now. He hesitated to comply and every second he delayed was further fuel for either Vermin or Daffodil. One of us was going to shred this kid in front of the whole room so I watched and waited while I blocked his path back to his friends and that’s when Daffodil went for the jugular. Without remorse, without even a hint of speculation she stated as fact that the young man should assume the position in which he undoubtedly had spent so much time. The room exploded with “oohs” and “aahs” like it had suddenly transformed into The Jerry Springer Show. Daffodil snapped her neck, popped her hips and watched that kid sink to a knee as he kissed her offered hand as an apology. A superbly timed scene that may have caused me to hide my smile behind my long locks.

SAY WHAT?

In my mind, Vermin has a New Orleans accent and some people have commented on how convincing it is, but others have compared it to a long list of celebrities and fictional characters which I find interesting, amusing and, at times, disappointing. Last night alone the voice was compared to Bill Clinton, Forrest Gump, Christopher Walken and Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday in Tombstone.

I think the Walken comparison is a stretch although I can see where someone would make the link. Clinton and Gump do sometimes come through with certain phrases and I try to limit that, but the Val Kilmer one stuck. I hadn’t thought of that myself, but I was okay with it not only because the cadence was undeniable but also because Doc Holliday was one cool son of a bitch in Tombstone.

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