Today’s Word: Floccinaucinihilipilification
Astus hitched his powder-white skirt up by the single strap cinched round his muscular right shoulder. Silver paint bled off his papier-mâché short sword, coating his palm, but the young actor ignored it.
His cue was coming up. The Italian, Adolfo, had reached his single monologue, bellowing like a gelded bull before the lovely Celeste, the finest actress in the city-state. How Adolfo fawned over the young phenom. But to her credit, the buxom soprano ignored his sweaty backstage advances with the kind of cold scorn only achieved through breeding.
“What hero could save me from such a one as you?” asked Celeste, and Astus exited the dark wing, sword raised.
The crowd cheered.
It would have been a grand entrance — his third of the day — but the latchet holding Astus’s right sandal chose that moment to unfasten. In the next horrifying instant the young actor tripped. His fake sword slipped from his hand, spun through the air, and struck fat Adolfo in the head. The singer crashed to the stage like the very hammer of God.
Some people laughed, some screamed, but in the foremost center row the most renowned, the most respected critic in all the world, Lord Gino Rolinsino Tremholm III, sat with his hands folded, his steely blue eyes fixed on the stage.
Astus stared into those calculating eyes and knew that, despite his many good showings in the last three seasons, all his work would be counted Floccinaucinihilipilification by this, the arbiter of every actor’s career.