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Reader to Reader

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They told us we'd be working to-night, but they didn't offer any details. They just told us when to show up and handed us some glow sticks.

The lights go down and two huge projection screens light up. The word VIAGRA appears on both in tandem, followed by the image of six women devouring hot dogs.

I've been working as an usher at the Auditorium Theatre for about a year--mostly for rock concerts and dance performances. But I've never seen anything like this, a private party hosted by Pfizer, the company that makes Viagra, for its employees and clients. To a cavalcade of clapping hands, tonight's keynote speaker, some bigwig with the company, provides a brief history of the venue. "The Auditorium Theatre, built in 1887, has played an important role throughout history." As a matter of fact, he tells us, the first official function of this theater was to host the Republican National Convention.

Glow sticks swirl like neon lassos. The crowd roars. A chant begins: "Four more years."

A beleaguered eastern European woman brought in for the sole purpose of fetching mimosas for those VIPs scattered throughout Lower Box Left--she never introduced herself but I'll call her Julia, my fellow black sheep in this Orwellian nightmare--takes a deep breath before distributing the goblets balanced on her tray.

The din dies down. The speaker tells us that an 18-year-old intern who assisted on the theater's construction went on to become one of the greatest architects of his era.

"And his name was Frank . . . Lloyd . . . Wright."

He says Wright's name with the very same cadence that the crowd just used for "four more years." The theater becomes a cacophonous sea of luminescent blue noodles.

Julia rushes back down the aisle. She has a glow stick hoop draped round her neck like a collar, courtesy of some VIP.

As she starts toward the steps, she leans into my ear. She whispers three words.

"What . . . the . . . fuck?"

She might as well have slipped me a note that said "I love you."

"Four more years!" the crowd shouts, over and over. "Four more years!"

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