I never would have taken the summer job doing all the little things, like supplying props, designing the signs, making the masks, and ushering, for the stage play of The King In Yellow if I’d known the rumors of the effects of reading the second act. Not that I believed in the supernatural, but I would have thought few would attend, for fear of being taken down into the depths of psychosis after their last sane intermission of their lives. And I would have assumed the reverse placebo effect would make all involved with the production act out every shadowy wildness in their psyches they didn’t want to take responsibility for. But I’m a guy who keeps commitments. And I’d signed on to rent a golden-painted attic with a slanted roof and a tiny closet along the floor, which was two blocks from the theater for three months. It took the last of my money, and I had a drawing habit to support, so I had no choice. I decided to embrace the adventure with a sense of glee. It would be macabre fun to watch the world around me go mad. I’d draw the distraught actors, the intrepid director, the fainted audience, and sell the art around Paris to the locals and tourists, as the event would no doubt garner some voyeuristic fame.
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