Thursday, May 21, 2009

Story, part two

Another installment of the story that will never be finished or make sense, The Case of the Missing Plot, part two.

Backstage, Wanda was putting the finishing touches to her costume. She planned to sing a medley of songs about sheep while dressed as Bo Peep. On the surface this idea had some merit. The name Bo Peep sounds dirty, and the sheep offered all sorts of possibilities. Sadly, Wanda just wasn't that kind of girl.

That kind of girl did exist, and her name was Mona Moanz. I knew from experience that Mona really did moan. Unfortunately I had always been on the other side of the door or wall whenever I'd heard her. Mona wanted to be a star, and knew she'd gone as far as she could in my dive. She was looking for a way out, some rich idiot to give her her shot at the big time. She'd told me that while I was a big enough idiot I was nowhere near rich enough.

Moan was the headliner, so it was bad news that she was showing a keen interest in Wanda's Bo Peep. Mona was clever enough to want to get rid of any competition, and she'd happily kneecap you before the starting gun was fired. The soft and fluffy Wanda was going to get the full treatment ... the sort of treatment usually reserved for raw sewage.

"She can't have my sheep." Mona was staring daggers at me, but I knew she'd never stab me from the front.

The sheep in question were technically mine. Tufts of wool glued to blocks of wood and mounted on rollers. I owned the club, and therefore the props. But Mona had an act she sometimes dusted off late at night if she thought there was a rich stiff in the audience who could help her climb the greasy pole. The sheep sketch actually used a greasy pole. It wasn't very subtle. While it was always a success, it did signal the end of the evening's entertainment. No-one dared follow Mona's sheep bit. The stage was too slippery for a start.

"It's okay, Mr Hammet, I don't need to use the sheep."

Wanda was a sweetie, but she didn't understand how the game was played. She'd never pass 'Go' or collect $200. She might just be lucky enough to win second prize in a beauty contest.

"Surely she can have one, Mona? After all, they aren't technically yours."

"Don't get technical with me, Hammy. Technically those are balls nestled between your thighs."

She was right. I kept two stress balls in my pocket. I fiddled with them whenever the pressures of the job got too much ... like now. Sure, it looked odd. Maybe even a little disgusting and disturbing. But it felt good, dammit.

Wanda spoke up again: "It really is okay, Mr Hammet, one of the stage hands has offered to dress up in a sheep costume for me."

"Who would do that?!?" Moan was furious.

"I think his name is Donny? He seems very sweet."

On cue, Donny arrived in his sheep costume. He was obviously smitten with Wanda.

"Donny, I forbid you to do this!" Mona was on the warpath. Someone was going to get scalped, and I didn't want it to be me. I'd paid too much money for my toupee.

"Now, now," I said, trying to play peacemaker--a fun game where the aim is to be hated by both sides just the right amount. "Donny's big enough and old enough to do whatever he likes."

"He's supposed to be repainting the Parisian cafe backdrop so I can use it tomorrow."

"Gosh, Miss Mona, but I've already finished ... even put a fresh set of red wine stains on the floor." Donny wasn't even looking at Mona when he spoke. His eyes were locked on Wanda. The kind of lock that required either dynamite or some guy with the nickname 'Fingers' to open. Mona had been whipped. Normally you'd have to be a Hollywood agent or a Senator to do that. She walked off, her shoes tapping out an angry staccato.

It was time for Wanda's stage debut, with Donny as her obedient little lamb. If only I'd known just how bad it was going to get.

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