He wanted her job and it would be easy enough for him to arrange things to get it. Not ‘arrange things’ in a mafia kind of way, although if he had those kinds of connections he wouldn’t hesitate to use them. But a whisper in the right ear or a well-placed note full of half-truths should do the trick. And he’d be in like Flynn with the management.

He was already their golden boy. They always took the time to acknowledge him, to show their respects. Even Mr. Boltroi, the gruff head of the Company who rarely spat a word out to anyone, would nod his head and say “Mornin’, Steve” if they passed each other in the hall. That most certainly meant something!

Even though his name was Ted.

Regardless, he was sure of it. Just one word and it could be him, twirling and prancing, spinning into a pirouette, balancing gracefully en point, his tutu flared out around his hips, all eyes on his graceful strength. Ted Kacowolcyk: Prima Ballerina.

It didn’t matter that he couldn’t dance. That he’d had no formal training. That his mother, though she loved him dearly, said his moves resembled “bamboo blowing in the wind.” Or that the male dancers did not wear tutus.

Nor did it concern him that, as a 48-year-old lifelong janitor, with his lack of talent, soft lumpy body, acne-pocked skin, lank, greasy black hair and scraggly neck beard, he had as much chance of entering the dance troupe as Ted Cruz had of winning the American presidency (which is to say: no chance at all).

What mattered was that he wanted to captivate an audience with his elegance, to dazzle with his swan-like moves.

He wanted to prance and trill and releve to the sound of thunderous applause, to end an earth-shattering performance with his chest heaving and his arms full of roses.

To lean gently forward into an arabesque, his leg strong yet weightless in the air, the audience gasping at his grace, the lace of his tutu fluttering like a butterfly’s wings on a gentle breeze.

He wanted to twirl and twirl and twirl till his admirers were dizzy in their seats!

To bend his – –

“Steve!”

“Huh?…Ah, yes sir Mr. Boltroi?”

“The toilet on the fourth is backed up again. Take care of that, will you?”

“Yes sir, Mr Boltroi! Will do right away.”

“And stop lurking in the hallways, Steve. We don’t pay you to stand around and watch the dancers.”

“Of course not sir. But it’s..ah…it’s actually ‘Ted’ sir,” he said to the man’s retreating back.

“Yeah okay, sorry about that, Jeb,” Mr Boltroi said, with a dismissive wave of his hand.

Ted pulled his gaze away from the principal dancer practicing her routine and lugged his bucket to the men’s bathrooms on the fourth floor. He was fairly pleased with himself. “Jeb” was much closer to ‘Ted’ than ‘Steve’. He could see that his relationship with the management was strengthening. Surely Mr. Boltroi could not be expected to know everyone’s names, but yet he took the time to speak to him directly!

Yes. He would wait for the right moment, when Mr. Boltroi and the patrons and the senior dancers were convening in a practice room, and he would sashay onto the floor and astound them with a routine so full of emotion that they would fall to their knees and weep. They would cast Irina aside and beg him to take her place and he would lead The American Ballet Company into the best season it had ever known!

Ted hoisted his mop into the air as he reached the fourth floor and pas de basqued into the overflowing men’s room.

Ted Kacowolcyk: Prima Ballerina he thought happily to himself as he plunged a load of crap from the toilet in the stall.

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