The Empty Room

A man walks into a room filled with chatting people, laughter and deep conversations. A woman follows. Then two. Then more. A room filled with people of all ages, colors and creeds. Each having received an invitation to attend a special event. Food and drink will be provided. The only rules: tell nothing about yourself to anyone nor ask the same. You must wear all black. No exceptions. Enjoy your new frineds and enjoy the show.

Club Melting Pot, the sign on the door reads, “All are welcome here.”

A time passes as the minglers mingle and people move in semi-fluid bursts from group to group, individual to individual. Some struggle to find conversation. Some struggle to find words. Notes and signs adorn the bar, “Remember the rules” Some struggle to follow the rules. Announcements are made “your hosts will arrive 13 minutes after 10”.

Conversations falter, flurry and peak. “Why 13 minutes?”, “Who are these mysterious hosts?”

An hour passes and the crowd finds its rhythm. Everyone is happy and enjoying their time. No expense had been spared in preparing this wonderful night. At 10 o’clock sharp a curtain pulls from the stage a lone anonymous figure of androgynous appeal walks to the edge of the stage under focused white lights. A figure dressed so starkly in white their skin nearly blends into the lights and the fabric.

A voice is heard as the crowd becomes silent, transfixed on this mysterious figure. This person who seems so exotic, so handsome and so beautiful and appealing to both man and woman. The voice giving no clue to the hosts gender. Several guests whisper in each other ears as the host welcomes the guests.

As the host speaks, tells a joke and explains the rules everyone has received, a large group of figures dressed all in red filters out along the walls of the room. Some very tall and some very small yet otherwise equally anonymous as the host. “One final request before we being the show, everyone stay silent, silent as possibly so.”

At 13 minutes past the room is dead silent save curious stares. The red people in places spaced along each wall. Worried and curious guests gasping for answers their curiosity building inside. The host breaks the silence as low music fills the air. “Thank you for your patience the show will now begin. Please talk amongst your selves, speak freely to any and openly to all. More will be explained as the evening moves along.”

Around came several severs also dressed in white head to toe, passing out beautiful glass of Champagne, water and wine. Each guest took their glass adorned in beads and unique ribbons.  Each with an inscription “I am unique, wonderful and loved.” A gift from your host to remember this special event. Please hold on to it with care and use it all night.

A large screen drops at the back of the stage. Wonderful pictures of nature, art, film and more play before the guests. Music and narration subtlety changing with each display. The guests return to themselves enjoying each other and the conversations all around. People begin to speak freely of themselves, their lives and all that they know and who they are. Conversations abound about topics of all manner. The screen sometimes playing director influencing what people say

A boisterous couple is heard near the stage laughing and pointing in polite society ways. In moments quickly seen 3 reds make their way through the crowd. Straight for the couple speaking so loud. Guests go silent some begin to stare as the two boisterous people are escorted up dark stairs.

Shoulders are shrugged and the reds return. More leave the walls and other fill their space. Guest being escorted from the main room to some place. No fear, no worries just odd looks on their face. The main screen is ablaze with images and suddenly dark. Only for an instant attention has been made. Some people notice the mood has changed. Harsh and disturbing images and pictures of lost guests.

The volume is raised just enough to be heard. The guests hear conversations with each flash of black clad figures. Most people talk still engaged and unphased. Suddenly a slur loud and quite clear “that stupid N … that fucking Q!” reds make their rounds as the revelers gasp in disbelief. More guests removed in a line up the steps.

It becomes quite clear to some in the room, something is not right some trouble broods. More guests file up as the reds make their rounds. The crowd begins to thin and conversations take an ugly turn. Fear and concern replace the smiling lights. One after one each guest is removed.

Sometime does pass and still there are few guests. Discussing rather than talking and sharing what they each know. No answer being given as to why this strange show. And in a moment the lights begin to dim. Stage lights seem ominous as the host returns. “I give you a moment to ask me anything you please do not be shy before I  leave. “This person, this host begins to explain with each question each tease how they were brought here, or sorry they are displeased.

A man rather drunk interrupts and shouts at the host still politely answering questions as other guests approach. “Hey, are you a girl or a guy? What’s up with this stupid act?” The host without a skip continues the drill as reds sweep the guest like rude drunken swill. A point is reached and the room is laid bare. Not a single guest remains save the host and a chair.

The lights go dark and the screen changes tune. The guest have been removed to another room. The guests still unknowing are escorted back into the hall. Every last one of them drunks, bigots and all. The volume raises as a video begins. Focus on guests the real show begins.

As each guest watches some in gut wrenching horror, their images are displayed and conversations recorded are played. Not a comment nor gesture was missed on this night. Every single guest unwitting actors in this production of black, red and white.

A group talked politics how they would deny certain rights. Another talks sex and how “fags” just aren’t right.

A couple or two in small groups very few are shown one after the other abandoning parts of the room. “That ones a spic and that one’s a Jew.” Pink Floyd? “not hardly”, one guest with sadness in her eye.

Some guest grow angry and some quite displeased at this terrible joke, this invasion of their night as it unfolds on the screen. Many try to leave but are asked to stay a bit longer. Reds blocking the doors no one will pass till there is no more wonder.

The Host “You have all been brought here this night to test your will. To see who is accepting and who never will.”

The guest are then left and the reds leave the room. Soon in quick steps each quest has departed. Back to their homes and back to their places.

And each with a note hidden in the glass.

“You came to this place anonymous and free. You left knowing each other and how unaccepting some can be. Left to speak freely you revealed love and intolerance, labels and acceptance, generosity and greed. In the empty room the movies still plays like in life the show must go on. You were all treated equal. Reds removed you one by one, each person that was good and each that was not. When given the chance to say something good or do something right after you discovered each other, why were you removed… as friend, foe or other?”

The movie plays on…

A man said he was gay and after making what he thought might be frineds. They turned on him a sinner and he would never see them again.

A woman professed her religion, a Muslim of peaceful belief. Her group berated her for evil deeds done by others in land she has never seen.

A couple stood together defending another as a black man discussed his past while a white man tried to put him in his place.

Several people were seen hugging and shaking hands introduced to others they had made new frineds

A women with one arm was seeing crying in one scene. An unknowing couple making jokes about cripples was quite obscene.

A group of onlookers gawking and making faces. A transsexual woman the center of their attacks. When they first met her they welcomed her with open arms.

These clips play all night to the empty room. Some guests defending the others rights to be. When the night started everyone was the same. Off came the limits to what was to be said and people learned more than they knew. Some were angry to find out about others. Many were not. Guests were broken down to classes and labels and people began to segregate as they discovered more about each other.

In one last scene a couple was seen removed early that night. They claimed to have open minds and loved all on this Earth. But the cameras caught them discussing in a corner how disgusted they were about one flirty guests ways. Apparently they disapproved because she was not gay.

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The point of my story if you have not already picked it up. Is that everyone of us has faults and limits to our acceptance. We say we mean well and accept everyone as they are. But then the exceptions sneak in. Do we REALLY accept everyone as they are?   NO.  Though we may try. I am guilty of being closed minded at times. I have even said some very wrong things in the past that I do in fact regret. It’s how we strive to change that in ourselves and others than makes us better people. It’s not always easy to accept and be tolerant of others and their beliefs. One thing is for certain. If you never try to change or lash out at those that are different, this world will always know hate and there will always be an empty room.

Being different is not a crime. It is an honor.

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