Keeping Up
CHAPTER
1
Marlene and the Techno Stage School
Marlene looked up at her clock. It was ten minutes to five. She had only five minutes before the audition started. She was going to go to a new school that just opened up in her country. It was called Techno Stage School.
The students those who get an A or above in their studies are allowed to stay in the school. They all practice, dancing, singing, playing and every stage talent. Then the students compete in the Techno Challenge, and they get prizes. They all restart their lives as a new person, a new famous person.
The difference is, the stage moves it’s “blocks” and they must not fall. The band students experience a whole music video right on the stage. The blocks make it look realistic and very 3D!
She wondered if she would make it. After all, 500 students compete and only 150 are selected.
She had never danced or sang or even stood on a techno block all her life. The only block she ever got on was one of those fake life-sized dice in the Mini Play Place theme park. It had horses wearing giant suits of armor, to dress like the ones in chess, and “rivers” flowing with different colors and goldfish in it.
She quickly drank some water from he fridge, pulled up her striped socks and tied her shoelace. Then she combed her fringe once more. She was now ready.
With her mother, she walked to the Techno school. They waited in an AC-ed room, with a number written on a piece of paper Marlene was holding. Her number was 204. She looked at the number boards stuck above the doors of the rooms. She was auditioning for singing, after all, she was an amazing singer. When she sings, her mother usually tells her to keep singing, even when she has finished the song, but she hardly got tired.
Some sort of an alarm sound came from one of those number boards of room 3. It said 204.
“That’s you, Marlene. Let’s go,” said her mother. Her mother held her hand and they both walked into room 3. It was an auditioning place, that reminded Marlene of the hospital.
They walked in, to find five judges seated behind a long table. Four of them were smiling. And the other one looked very, very grumpy. Three of the smiling ones were women, and the others were men.
“This lady must be good. I already got tired of seeing those singers that sing off beat,” said the grumpy man. “She looks confident. She can handle it. Can’t you?” said a woman. “Um, yes,” said Marlene.
Marlene’s mother gave them the background music CD, and Marlene picked up a microphone. She pressed the ‘on’ button and waited for the music to go to the singing part.
Then she confidently sang. She also moved a bit, and used her empty hand for actions. It made her feel more confident. She looked at each judge, but not the grumpy one. She was afraid he’d think she’s not good at singing. When the song was over, the four smiling judges clapped. The other one clapped once, no more.
Marlene was worried. Maybe she didn’t make it. Or maybe, the grumpy one was trying to surprise her.
“I love it,” said the smiling man. “So do I. And I’m sure the rest of us like it too, right Max?” a woman asked the grumpy man. “Yeah, but under a condition,” said the grumpy guy, Max, “She needs to look once to all the judges. Or the big ones will think you are scared.”
“Okay. I’ll improve that,” said Marlene. “Good, then you get a pass. You can go to Techno school now. Here’s your card,” said a woman. Marlene’s mother took the card. It was the membership card.
Marlene smiled on her walk back home. “So you’ve got to study hard if you want to keep up. Or you may not last in that school until the next term,” said Marlene’s mother.
“I will, I will. Mother, how about the uniforms?” said Marlene. “They are ready. So tomorrow is going to be your first day at Techno school. Good luck,” said Marlene’s mother.
Marlene thought about it. Some of her old friends were going to techno school. And the children go to school for 12 hours. It was a lot, but that was because the school took extra time for talent practice, like singing. She was sure that she would get selected for the singing group. That way, she can participate in all the singing competitions. And lucky thing it wasn’t a boarding school, because she will miss her mother. And the rest of her family.

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