Did you miss Chapter One?
Did you miss Chapter Two?
From Killer Cravings
After lunch, we caravanned over to the theater. On the drive,
Laurie giggled and did her cutsie baby babble, putting me in
an unusually chirpy mood.
We pulled into the back-parking lot of the theater, and I parked
next to Paula and my mom who’d ridden there together.
I scurried out of the driver’s seat and removed Laurie’s portable
car seat from the car. As soon as she got near me, she went straight for
“Ack!” I yelped, taking hold of her tiny wrist. “Sweetie, no – no!” I
said, and my mom hurried over to step in to my aid.
“Yeah, I never wear earrings anymore,” Paula said as she locked up
“Laurie, let go of your mommy’s earring!” my mom said, laughing
a little too hard at my uncomfortable misfortune.
“I suppose I should know better by now,” I groaned as my mom
wiggled my earring and the lower half of my ear free of my daughter’s
tight grasp. I passed Laurie off to my mom so I could rub my tender
earlobe, then remove my earrings altogether. I tossed them into my
front seat cup holder, as Laurie squealed and giggled about what she’d
“You little stinker,” I said to Laurie.
Paula pointed to her teal necklace. “Check this out,” she said. “Def‐
initely going to snag you one of these for your next baby shower.”
“What? A plastic necklace?” I asked.
“It’s a teether,” Paula said, taking Laurie from my mom. Laurie
went straight for it, biting and drooling all over Paula. “They’re super
cute; I even wear them when I don’t have my little ones with me.
They’re stylish necklaces made out of safe teething materials. So, you
can still get a little dressed up without having to worry about little
ones snapping the chain on your nice jewelry.”
“Don’t think that would work in an earring form,” I said, still
rubbing my sore earlobe. “I swear, she just tried to rip my whole ear
“That’s not even close to the worst thing she’ll ever do to you,” my
mom said, laughing. “Glad mine’s grown up now so that I can just be
grandma.” She patted my head and strutted toward the theater.
Paula snapped Laurie’s portable car seat onto the stroller for me.
From the back of the stroller I nabbed a box of baby wipes and
handed one to Paula to rid her necklace of my child’s slobber.
Paula laughed, and removed the necklace. She handed it down to
Laurie who eagerly reached for it, her eyes wide. “Tell you what, you
just take that one,” Paula said. “I have plenty at home. Laurie seems to
like it anyway.”
Paula pulled her children out of her mini-van and securely
fastened them into her double stroller. Both were sound asleep.
“How do you do that?” I asked.
She laughed. “I’m a baby whisperer, don’t you know?”
“I guess,” I said pushing Laurie toward the theater’s back exit.
Paula giggled. “I also put the heater on super high in the car and
play this new agey meditation tape on the stereo. They fall asleep in
record time, but I have to be careful or it puts me to sleep too.”
We chuckled together as we strolled our little ones through the
back door of the theater. “So, let’s see this super awesome set I’ve
heard so much about,” I said.
Paula grinned as we entered the back of the building near the
actor’s greenrooms, and I hear a number of voices – they seemed to
be running lines. I peered into the greenroom, and sure enough there
were a handful of actors running through lines while waiting for their
Upon seeing my mom, a few of them hopped up excitedly,
requesting she run lines with them.
“Easy there, everyone,” my mom said. “Give me five minutes. I’m
about to give my daughter the grand tour.”
“Oh, so this is your daughter?” a handsome older man asked,
standing. “Peter Jones. I’m playing your mother’s other half in the
play.” The slightly gray-haired gentleman approached me, and
extended his hand to shake mine. He didn’t quite make it to me
though, before getting distracted by Laurie. “Oh, wow, she’s adorable!”
I grinned. The best way to any mother’s heart is to shower her
children with compliments.
“Thanks,” I said. “So you’re playing Vicente’s leading man?”
“In other words, I’m playing a weird version of Vicente,” Peter said,
winking slightly. “I’m still a little nervous about the direction the
director chose to take. I don’t like disappointing the playwright.”
“I’ve been told the director has turned this thing into a comedy?” I
question, and Peter nods – a few other actors snicker.
“It’s not your fault, Peter,” a woman with bright orange hair said,
getting up to come greet us. “Director Ricky made the call.”
“I write myself,” Peter explained. “So, messing with someone’s
vision this much, well, it feels kind of unfair. I would hate to see
something I wrote turn out so differently than what I envisioned.”
The woman shrugged and then looked at Paula and me. “I’m
Natalie. I bring the character Jezebel to life.”
“Jezebel?” I questioned.
“Yeah, not the best name choice, but the character does run a dive
bar,” Nate said, laughing. “I am basically a bar maid in the play.”
“So, the play takes place at a dive bar?” I asked.
“Most of it does,” Paula said. “You ready to check out my set?”
“Oh, so this is the set designer!” a third actor jumped up. “I’m Tony
Yipps. I’m the one who sent you the color swatches.”
“That was you?” Paula said, smiling. “Thanks for the recommenda‐
tions. I think they went perfectly with the background.”
“Have you seen it yet?” Tony asked.
“Not yet, we’re headed there now,” Paula said.
“Let’s all go,” Peter suggested. “We can run through blocking
before Ricky gets here.”
We all scooted down the hall toward the stage wings, and when we
stepped out onto stage, it was, well, incredible.
Stage left was the bar. It looked positively gorgeous. The play,
from what I skimmed during lunch, takes place in northern California
– Gold Country. The backdrop for the stage was a mountain range
and some elegantly painted bright yellow trees. Stage right, a sort of
makeshift garage look.
“Wow!” Paula shrieked excitedly. “They finished putting it
together! Hold on, I have a few boxes in the car for some of the final
Paula scurried off, and I stood center stage staring at the beautiful
design. I could hardly believe how beautiful it looked.
“I like the way she set up the garage,” my mom said, pointing
toward the rusty front half of a car that poked out onto the stage. “All
the set crew has to do to move half the set on and off stage is put the
car in neutral and roll it back – the rest of the garage part of the set is
on wheels and drilled to the back of the car. It’s so easy to move on
and off stage despite how complicated the look is.”
“Clever,” I said and then looked at the bar. The bar side of the stage
was set up on a wooden platform about a foot high. It could also be
easily moved on and off stage with a simple pull or push despite its
large structure. The color contrast between the bright backdrop and
the darker bar and garage scene was simply stunning.
Paula arrived seconds later with a large box, and she added a few
details. A stained-glass window for the back of the bar and some old
beer and whiskey bottles filled with water and food coloring. She had
brought a can of paint, and she carefully dabbed areas in the garage to
make it appear more rustic and covered in oil.
When she stepped back, finished with her masterpiece, the entire
crew started clapping excitedly.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”I couldn’t stop reading!”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”Fast-paced and fun. I love these mysteires!”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”Diana Orgain is my new favorite author!”
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