Silas held a fist up to the side of his head.
“Leave a little space for the width of the receiver,” he said, doing just that, “Cell phone? Do the C-cup.”
Silas made his hand into a rough “C” shape.
“Like you’re cupping a cell. Cupping a cell.”
Silas went back and forth between the cell phone and the regular phone a few times.
“This is what you have to learn to perform successful mime!” he addressed the group at large, “The audience is reliant on you to paint the world you inhabit and your brush is your body! Your body is your brush! Say it!”
“Your brush is your body. Your body is your brush,” the group parroted back.
“Now,” Silas turned to Alan, “what were you doing? Show the group.”
“I was -”
“Show the group!”
Alan held up his hand with only his thumb and pinky sticking out.
“Show everyone how you intended to use this piece of mystery equipment!”
Alan held his thumb up to his ear and let his pinky hover in front of his mouth.
“A finger phone! A finger phone, ladies and gentlemen! A finger phone! Alan, tell everyone how this hand position in any way relates to how an actual human being holds a telephone!”
“It – it just-”
“IT DOESN’T! This isn’t kindergarten! We’re not ignorant space creatures who have just landed on the planet with no idea how human technology operates being forced to attempt to pass as human and in the process giving away our identities by thoughtlessly holding our pinky and thumb to our face in some mockery of the genius of Alexander Graham Bell! WE ARE HUMAN BEINGS AND WE KNOW HOW TO HOLD PHONES! WE ARE NON-TO-SEMI-PROFESSIONAL ENTERTAINERS AND WE KNOW HOW TO HOLD PHONES! WE ARE MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS AND SONS AND HUSBANDS AND FATHERS AND WIVES AND GRANDPARENTS AND TEACHERS AND PLUMBERS AND WE KNOW HOW TO USE PHONES AM I MAKING SENSE TO YOU?!”
Alan nodded to indicate that, yes, it was making sense to him.
“Good. Now, Alan, I’m not mad. But, I want you to go home, right now, go home and practice holding a phone for three hours. Can you do that? Can you practice holding a phone for three hours?”
“Good. I’m dismissing you, Alan, so you can go practice holding your phone for three hours. Go hold your phone, Alan. Class, tell Alan to go hold his phone.”
“Go hold your phone, Alan,” the class repeated.
“Excellent. Bye bye, Alan. Bye bye,” Silas said.
Alan, gathered his things and went to catch a bus home.
He got to his small apartment and went inside.
Alan was very sad. This class was his last attempt to make friends in this big city and he had screwed it up again. He never should have left home. He should have known he’d never be any good.
“Go hold your phone, Alan,” Silas’s words repeated in his head.
Alan held up his hand. He put his thumb to his ear and his pinky to his mouth.
“Alan?” a voice came from his thumb.
“I want to come home, mom,” he said into his pinky, “the people here are mean and I’m never going to be any good.”
He hated crying in front of his mother, but he had tried so hard and screwed up so much.
“Oh, Alan,” his mother said, “I’m sorry it didn’t work out. Is there anything your father and I can do?”
“Blow it up, mom. Blow the whole place up,” he said into his finger phone.