There they were, adults soaked from the rain, gathered and giddy like children, sitting in the movie theater seats or on the raised floor space on the sides waiting for the curtains to lift. And they did. And the stained old theater, frayed at the edges and buckling under its own age, hidden away in a seedy part of town, began to waver and fade in the warm, golden glow of the hanging lanterns. A single man crossed the stage and placed himself in the center on a large square cushion waiting for him.
The man spoke first of things close to the people listening, observations on current events, light jokes told a thousand times over. Harmless banter to slowly engage the crowd, soft and unabrasive. But it was not safe language. His was a magical language, a bottomless well one peers into and tumbles over and down for eternity. Words flowed around the people and they laughed and sighed and did not see the trails that were being woven around them. He slowly removed his outer jacket.
And then a woman cried out.
But was it the man? The theater was gone and in its place a small house stood, a wife stood yelling at her husband about his stupidity and drinking. Or the theater became a dark mountainside where two thin men ascended in fear to the ruins of a great house to spy on a beautiful, horrible ghost. Or a ceramics store with two neighbors, one a fool and one a schemer, set out to buy a water pot. Or amongst the trees in the grip of Tengu, a mountain guardian, trying to wring the dream out of a man.
Endless stories pouring forth from this one source, this man, trained in the enchanting, engaging art of storytelling.