Saturday, April 10, 2010

THE PRINTS AND THE POPPER ~ ~ Epic*sode 6 ~ ~ "I SEE THE LIGHT" ~ By Absolutely*Kate and Harry B. Sanderford of Harbinger*33






Epic'sode 5: "Lucky Shot"...Epic'sode 4: "Hi Jinks 
Epic'sode 3: "Groping Against Grope"... Epic'sode 2: "Clot Thickens"

~ ~ EPIC*SODE 6 ~ ~
"I See The Light"

~ By Absolutely*Kate 
Harry B. Sanderford

"That was Kate just chatting? Chatelaine AT THE BIJOU?"
"If you mean the dame who runs the movie-house next door under the guise of gall and gusto and brought a dilapidated theatre to a recharged life with extra wattage juicing uptown spotlights -- the one who ups the ante of bottom-line businesses by urging ticket sales on talent's tales to stellar showcases of Double*Feature Tuesdays and Thursdays plus Weekend Matinees -- the dame who just dashed? Yep, that's Kate. Wonder what her hurry out of here was?"
"You get anything for a plush plug to her posh place with a smooth soliloquy like that to newcomers?"
Anthony Venutolo, ever astute profiteering proprietor of the local Lucky Shot Bar & Grille  grinned the grin which globally conveys an in-the-know slice of Yeah, y'know, then added a twist to his own splash on the rocks, "I get a decent percentage and she sends thirsty traffic back my way. That's how this town runs ~ on give & give. So what are you in Hazeltown for? What's your story? Say, you seen that hustler gal Kate was shooting pool with? She was just over there by the remains of the seemingly bottomless Mexican Martini pitcher."
Several leaning Lowenbrau cans took a tumbled topple behind the savvy owner of The Lucky Shot. A soft breeze stirred saloon air. Across the room, the soft spill of a gal under a green felt billiards table felt a tug on her sleeve that just wouldn't leave the percussion in her mind to its own rim shots.
"You feel that breeze?", muttered the Kozel beer sipping solo patron of a warm afternoon in Hazeltown. "Well mate, make my pleasure bourbon now and allow me to introduce myself. Paul Caracas, InterNoir."
"Rather like you Yanks' concept of Interpol, but a pre-strike crime investigation branch comprised of those in the know of Noir."
Drying martini glasses in counterside contemplation of a good evening crowd, Anthony V was intrigued. "So you talkin' writers? You write about some crime in progress? This some get-good-material flim flam for fictionists?"
"No, no, no ~ on the contrary. We're an up and up thought-evoking provoking group called in when a chain of mysterious occurences begin their beguine. We change the observation of the crime scene to plausible twists, turns, plots potentially underway. Ostensibly, that's our way."
"Interesting. Who do you work for? Who hires you?"
Caracas one-fingered an affirmation to leave the bottle, sipped thoughtfully, judged well, and looked up into Anthony's seen-a-lot-of-life gaze. Solemnly, "Why the highest bidder of course."
The Phantom of the recent can-can show themed to make an apparition appearance apparent to one of BIJOU's prime patrons, Carrie Clevenger, silenced his own spirited exhale. This spiffy dressed feller, puttin' on his smooth talking to Ant was going to be hot-shot news to Ms Kate over AT THE BIJOU, most likely mid-hip-deep in the pile'up of murder, mayhem, disappearing acts, bloody trails sinking in and the keystone ~ cops all amuck at what was usually a light and laughable hangout for lively townsfolk plus those passing through, tipped off by the affable Lucky Shot barkeep. Best to head her off at the pass on this one once he made an accomplice out of the no longer passed out Carrie. There. Better. She was comin' round after going 9 rounds to see if liquor loosened the lock on what she realized she knew, wondering if others did too. Don't know why the other BIJOU folks sometimes dub her bravado actions scary. Wish more were like her. Open. Wary.

"C'mon, walk with me girl ~ THE BIJOU needs us. NOW! C'mon Carrie ~ here's what you do. Leave a tip for Ant and smile him up so all is solid copacetic. Then, if you can jostle the feller on the barstool as you turn to leave, I've got a ghost of a chance for a reach-and-grab, but you'll have to take and tuck my pass-off under your linen blazery garb, got it?"

Carrie took this in with not much time to do much else, hazed as she was in Hazeltown from the MexiMart pool shoot which hadn't ended up the way she had set it up. "Barkeep," she endeared with a slow-mo wink at an Anthony worth plenty of more lingering lookovers, tendered a few bucks and then tried out her luck at The Lucky. Spun to the left toward the door, let her sandal foot catch her leg to the leg of the stool of the man of the moment, some Euro-looking type from what she'd seen in movie castings. "Sorrrrrrry sir", tumbled breathless as charm on a spree as she caught her balance on his sleeve. Mmmm, nice material, class. 
Swell, The Phantom had made his swoop. Carrie doubled over, took the lateral to her linen lining. "G'day Gents!"

Out under the light of day, Phantom telepathed his say, "You get it?"
"Got it. Saaaay, how'd you ask me that? Do that again?"

Hustling up their steps up towards the front steps AT THE BIJOU, The Phantom side-mouthed ~ "Well, what IS it? I had to go for the slim package, but that gent's genuinely packing.
"You mean -- "

"Yes Carrie." 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Kate saw that the incoming call was from Jeanette and could hear background noise but not her friend. She hit the redial after hanging up and was immediately connected to her friend’s voice mail. She left a message for a call-back but had an eerie feeling she couldn’t quite put her finger on. Kate had learned not to ignore these feelings and that is why she left The Shot . . . well, like a shot. Quizzing Carrie on what she figured for Phantomy feelings would have to wait. She double-timed it back towards THE BIJOU and when she spotted the ambulance and fire truck just pulling away and the police cruisers that remained, she picked up her pace.

Sugar spotted Kate coming quick and she and Zelda rushed to catch her up. Laurita leaned into the fast femme filling-ins, saw that Joey had a leash of a hold on Jinx and followed the ensemble in the rush of no hush through the mahogany double doors AT THE BIJOU.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Eddie was somewhat hesitant to reveal Miss Kate’s secret to Detective Davenport but it was either that or face explaining their way past all the cops up front. He decided he was just going to have to trust him. “This way!” he said and shouldering his pack he led him back inside through the secret wallway. No stranger to doing his own detecting undetected, Leon had to give the boy credit for stealth.

They emerged from the secret passageway to find the theater empty. “Where’d everybody go?” asked Eddie.

“My guess is Constable Phillips and his boys are up front stretching yellow tape. The Prof is probably headed to the hospital and your new projectionist to the morgue. What do you know about him anyway, this uh, what was his name, Sparkler?”  

“Sparky, Sparky Denton.” Eddie replied.

“Right, Sparky, how long has he been AT THE BIJOU?”

“He’s new, well was new anyway I guess. He just started last week, filling in for Chester while he finishes up his community service over in Alice.”

“That’s right, ol’ Chester. I read about that in the Holler.” 

The Hazelton Holler was the local newspaper. Aside from reporting breaking news like that of Chester Hookem’ Hanks being arrested for fishing drunk without a license for the fourteenth time, “It ain’t the three dollars and twenty-five cents,” he told anyone who would listen, “it’s the dang principle of the thing!” The Holler also kept citizens abreast of school lunches, church socials, Garden Girls meetings and maybe most importantly, the movie schedule AT THE BIJOU.

Hookem’ just can’t resist them fat cats over in Alice,” Leon remarked with his trademark chuckle.

“So where should we start Mr. Davenport?” Eddie asked steering them back to business.

“Well Jun… er, Eddie I mean, I think we better have ourselves a look around the projection booth and I need to know everything you can tell me about this feller Sparky.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Jeanette might have sat there and cried were she not fit to be tied and the fact that she already was, only served to make her madder. She wanted to scream but she knew it would do her no good. So she focused her fury on her confines. She no longer felt the pain when she yanked her arms against the ropes. She pumped back and forth, lunging forward then pulling back like a girl on a swing pumping to go higher. She felt the chair rock and she built a rhythm with each tug. The front legs cleared. She now understood the exhilaration of a foolish schoolboy balancing his desk for attention. Upon settling back she leaned forward bringing the back legs up. She was rocking now and when she arced backwards again she twisted with all her might, balancing briefly on one rear leg before toppling over sideways. 

The crash slapped her head to the floor and dazed her a bit. It also loosened the arm of her wooden prison. The ropes had gone slack and she was able to work her hand free. Triumph may have been postponed but it was only sweeter for the delay. Before even freeing her other hand she yanked the gag from her mouth and pushed the blindfold up from her eyes. Even without the blindfold it was too dark to make sense of her surroundings, the only illumination a horizontal slit of light below what she knew must be a door. As she struggled to free herself completely, she focused on this sliver of light. Her passage out. Her escape.

Just as Jeanette untied the last rope from her right ankle, her beacon blinked out, only to be replaced by a new vertical and widening strip of light. This time Jeanette did scream.

* C * L * I * F * F * H * A * N * G * E * R * !


Please return to next Saturday's Matinee
for the next gut-gripping epic'sode!

" The Prints and The Popper "


Wendy said...

Sweet Jeanette, I am confounded by the amount of problematic circumstances you've found yourself in lately. Maybe you need a Knight in Shining Armor!

Another spine-tingling episode ~ Great work, Har and Katers

Carrie Clevenger said...

[GASP!] The clot pickens, err the plot thickens. Gosh, maybe I DID have one too many? ;)

Anonymous said...

Thank God, for good friends. Sugar, Jeanette couldn't have made it if you hadn't cheered her on.
Carrie you're starting to sound like Katers.

Kate, Jeanette cried when she couldn't talk to you (poor reception).

My favorite line in the episode is...Anthony's seen a lot of life gaze. That's priceless. Thanks for including me in all this. It's been fun.

Paul D Brazill said...

Aaah! Bloody good!

Kate Pilarcik ~ absolutely said...

Why thank you most kindly MR CARACAS -- I mean, MR BRAZILL. *wink*

CARRIE ~ The fresh air will do you good. You'll have your elbow on a bar rail in no time.

SHOOGS ~ You're such a champion of sweetness overcoming nasty. Let's just hope you're right ... for poor Jeanette's sake.

Kate Pilarcik ~ absolutely said...

Ah JEANETTE ~ Including you? You're our damsel of discerning distress and doing your darnedest to ditch it. Don't know what's up on how your fate just opened the door. Perhaps next week we'll learn more ... and you really should get Verizon.

Glad you picked out another 'optical allusion' line to make your fave and not chide us on (Kate did not roll her eyes when she wrote this)

Crybbe666 said...

This is just a fantastic series...I am really beginning to wonder what poor Jeanette has done to deserve all these unfortunate circumstances!!

Great job again, you two...another successful installment!

Matthew S. Magda said...

Plenty of mystery here for all. A secret passageway, that "feller Sparky" as Davenport labeled him, a holler from Hazelton, the Phantom, and that illumination that did not illuminate. Well we shall have to see as we wait another mysterious epic-sode of the "Prints and the Popper." My bet is that Jeanette screamed for ice ...........

Harry said...

Poor Jeanette doesn't seem able to catch a break. She is a determined one though so we'll just have to see what happens next week. Thanks for reading everyone!

Crybbe666 said...

Kate, I have nominated you 'blog' for an award...check in at my page for the scoop!!
Thanks for being such a great pal!!

Kate Pilarcik ~ absolutely said...

Well Paulie, On behalf of the fine renowned staff AT THE BIJOU, I am most honoured and will indeed seek and savour the scoop ~ wonder if it's French Vanilla, Butter Pecan or Orange Sherbet?

Thank*YOU sir for the prestige and the pal'ship across our mere seas. You're e'er a joy even if you don't read Fitzgerald or Shakespeare. ~ Absolutely*Kate

Unknown said...

Love the razzle-dazzleness of the tales.. Your barkeep is quite a character. Reminds me of some guy named ... Rick. ;)

Kate Pilarcik ~ absolutely said...

Anthony, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.