Chapter 3: Man with a Hidden Face
The following day Peter went to the bar after work and George was so eager to greet him. “Do you have the things I asked for?” Peter asked and George nodded and showed him towards the backstage. “Come on lets fit this on you” George said and he placed a long hair wig on Peters head. He fixed it to cover his face and said “There now your face cannot be seen or distinguished” and Peter adjusted it more and tried to move. “Yes, this will do fine. Now what name will I use?” he asked. “Would like to use the name Kyle? It was my son’s name and he loved to sing but he died of an illness” George revealed. Peter looked at George and said “So Kyle it is. Come on let’s start the ball rolling” Peter said but George laughed. “I think you better change your outfit first” and Peter remembered he was still wearing a semi formal suit on. “Don’t worry I got you an outfit that would match that hair” George told him and revealed a pair of tattered pants and a rocker’s shirt. “Now that would really make me look different” Peter commented and they started laughing.
A few minutes later the bar was full and the customers were the same people who came in yesterday. George stood on the stage and announced “Ladies and gentlemen I present to you Kyle!!!” and the people started clapping as Peter entered the stage with his new look. As he sat down he adjusted the microphone and said “For those who saw me yesterday please let’s keep it a secret. It’s complicated, the looks may be different but the voice will sound the same” and cheers started to get louder. When the guitar started to sound everyone became silent, once Peter started to sing everyone was again mesmerized.
Two weeks have passed and George’s bar became famous. Even at the employees’ lounge it was the topic of many. Peter was once again seated on the couch facing the window holding his camera and Anna sat beside him. “Hey Pete, have you heard of the bar a few blocks away from here. They say that there is a singer named Kyle who really sings well” she told him. Peter smiled at her and said “Oh I don’t go out after work, I just go straight home.” Anna sat back and shyly asked “I was wondering if you like to go with me to that bar later after work” and Peter looked at her and could not say anything. “Come on its just once, I am sure you will like It there” she adds. “I can’t promise you but if I can make time I will go I promise” Peter said and Anna smiled at him.
“Hey newbie! I challenge you right here right now!” Melanie suddenly shouted. Anna turned around and stood up while Peter remained seated and stared at the window. “Hey newbie are you deaf?! I said I challenge you now come on are you scared?” Melanie said. People started to gather around and looked at Peter who slowly stood up put his camera inside his bag and turned around. “I heard you the first time Melanie. Whatever challenge it is I give up, you win” he said and people were disgusted. “You are scared of me?” Melanie asked him. “Yes I am scared of you” Peter replied and almost everyone turned their backs but Anna suddenly interrupted. “No he is not! Come on Peter show this bitch who you are” she told him but Peter patted her shoulder and shook his head.
“So I see the newbie is a faggot, he even has a girlfriend who does the fighting for him. Hey Anna, you’re just a secretary so butt out!” Melanie lashed at Anna. “You don’t have to say that. Okay come on let’s do this” Peter said and everyone started to get excited. “Johnny are the computers ready?” Melanie asked the guy with glasses near the computer section of the lounge. Johnny gave the thumbs up sign and Peter and Melanie proceeded towards him.
There were two desktop computers faced back to back so that each contestant could not peek on the other. Not even the crowd would be able to see what the contestants are doing. As the combatants were seated Johnny stated the rules “Okay, both of you have the same picture to work with, all you have to do is clean out the picture and isolate the human figures. After that you have to paste those human pictures on the second picture and you have to match them well. No traces of editing should be visible. You can add effects if you want too if you have the time. You only have ten minutes to do this.” Peter and Melanie both nodded and everyone was crowding at the back. “Start now!” Johnny shouted and the two started working.
The lounge was noisy and everyone was so excited to see the two face off. Five minutes passed and Peter showed no change in emotion while Melanie had her angry face on. Thirty seconds left and suddenly Melanie stood up and yelled “Done!!!” and she tilted her monitor to face the crowd. Peter stood up and offered his hand “Congratulations you win” he said. Melanie accepted and held her head up high. Peter walked away and headed back to his favorite spot and Johnny went over to Peter’s computer and checked.
“Wait! You guys have to see this!” he yelled and everyone gathered around and even Melanie rushed towards his side. Everyone was amazed with what they saw on the screen, Peter did not only accomplish the task but he even made it a screensaver where the background was changing scenes. He did not only work with one background photo but he managed to place the human photos on eight different backgrounds. “Newbie wins!!!” yelled one employee and everyone burst into laughter and cheers. Melanie had her fists clenched and she could not believe what Peter had just done. When everyone turned to look for Peter he was nowhere to be found.
After work a lot of employees headed towards George’s bar, Melanie and Lorna tagged along. Anna who was with the group distanced herself from Melanie but she kept looking back just in case Peter wanted to come too. Little did they know Peter ran as fast as he can towards the bar, he entered all sweaty and catching his breath. “Hey Pete, what’s the rush?” George asked. “They are coming” Peter managed to say as Harold rushed over to hand him a glass of water. “Who is coming?” Harold asked. “The people from my workplace are coming, about thirty of them” he said as he ran towards the backstage. George started to panic and Harold ran towards the bar and got things ready. A few minutes later a horde of people came rushing in the bar just as expected. The noise in the bar could be heard backstage as George enters to check on Peter.
“Hey why are you not dressed yet?” George asked. “Man, I am so nervous, what if they recognize me?” Peter asked. A knock on the door frightened the two of them as George slowly opened it. Harold entered the room and handed Peter a glass of pineapple juice and Peter quickly gulped it down. “Oh my, I forgot to tell you I added a little alcohol to remove your stage freight” Harold said and Peter laughed. “Maybe its just what I need” Peter said and stood up and wore the wig. “Hey Harold do you know where Peter went?” George asked. “I don’t know boss, he was just right here a while ago” Harold said and the three started laughing.
Ten minutes later Peter took the stage and the crowd became silent. Seated right in front of him were Melanie and Lorna and right beside their table were Anna and Mrs. Jenkins. Peter’s heart beat faster and he looked at George. He took a deep breath and started to strum his guitar to which the crowd clapped and cheered. His intro was a bit longer since he was scared to see Mrs. Jenkins in the crowd, he once again looked at George who was egging him on to begin and Peter drew the microphone closer to him and the crowd became silent. He started to sing and for the first time he saw Melanie smile; as he looked over to Anna she was also smiling and even Mrs. Jenkins seemed impressed. This gave Peter much confidence to sing out louder as the crowds appreciation was evident as each song ended.