READ FOR FREE
MARC BOUNDED through the door with two go-cups of coffee, two bagels and a copy of Wednesday’s newspaper. He handed the newspaper to Scarlett. The front page of Wednesday’s issue was headed, ‘Perkins’ Ghost Investigation Ongoing’ with the by-line, ‘Who’s The Dummy?’ There was a photo of the two police officers carrying the mannequin out of the theatre, wrapped in the white sheet.
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” she asked.
“I’m not sure but it sure doesn’t sound as though they are any closer to knowing who did the murder…,” Marc thought about that for a moment then added with a chuckle, “Who’s the dummy? Good one that.”
“Well I don’t like it, them using the name of my play. It’s not good advertising.”
“Any and all advertising is good advertising. Craig is just trying to sell papers. You can’t blame them for hanging onto a story when nothing much ever happens around here.”
“They haven’t got any business ruining the title of my play. I have a good mind to phone up Craig and give him a piece of my mind,” she said angrily. Then after a moment she asked,” I wonder what’s in the sheet.”
“Apparently it’s the mannequin of Perkins.”
“So they found it.”
“I guess it was hanging in that narrow corridor that they used as a passageway.”
“But how could no one know? That was virtually the only access to enter the stage.”
“Apparently it was strung way-high up in the rafters, above anyone’s heads. And the lights in the corridor had mysteriously stopped working.”
“Sounds premeditated to me. How in the hell did they find it?”
“Bruce called Paul and told him that the lights weren’t working. After some investigation they found that a bulb had been loosened and that’s when they found the mannequin.”
“I can bet that must have scared the shit out of them. They probably thought that it was another murder.”
“I would expect that it would have been pretty creepy.”
“Marc, what are we going to do? I’m just sick with the thoughts that my play might have caused David to be dead. There’s no way that there can be a connection…can there? I was so sure that this play would fix Liverpool’s tourism problem. I’m too damned tired to even think about a new stimulus plan. Shit like this just makes me want to pack up and leave town.”
“You don’t mean that. Besides you never know, maybe this murder and the play will make Liverpool famous.”
“I highly doubt that. Now, even as good as the play was, how could I ever get anyone else to audition for that role again?”
“You got me on that one. Come on, it’ almost noon, eat your breakfast. Let’s go for a walk and then I’ll buy you an ice-cream,” Marc said, knowing her weak spot.
Wednesdays were typically quieter than most and that day followed the rule. There was hardly another person out and about. The new waterfront café was Scarlett’s favorite place to go for ice-cream, even though it was badly situated with the parking lot between it and the river. That was where they headed. She sat in a window seat glaring at the Privateer Park as if it and Privateer Days were to blame for this whole mess. An occasional passer-by walked past the café and towards the park. Marc ordered ice-cream cones. She felt depressed every time that she thought about the play. She knew that she had written the perfect script, and in her mind the play married so well with Privateer Days, a play that would put Liverpool back on the map. Now it had all fallen apart. What was even worse, gossip had come her way that most of the folks in town actually thought that Perkins’ ghost was actually walking around town.
Even at that, the town had settled back into its natural calm: the garbage was cleared and there was not any evidence of there being a summer festival, aside from Vadoma’s tent that was still set up on the corner of the park. Scarlett stared defiantly at the tent and was completely lost in thought when Marc sat across from her holding the two ice-cream cones. He pressed a cone into her hand.
“Why do you suppose she’s hanging around?” she asked, holding the cone and taking a long lick of the ice-cream.
“That fortune teller.”
“I would imagine that she’s hoping for customers.”
“But there’s no one waiting. She can’t be making any money that way,” Scarlett said, as she licked her ice-cream cone again. She suddenly got up from the table and said, “Let’s go and see her.”
“I thought you didn’t believe in that stuff.”
“I don’t. I’m going to ask her why she’s still here. I think she’s overstayed her welcome.”
Marc shrugged his shoulders, knowing that there was no point in arguing with Scarlett when she was in a foul mood.
The summer breeze was warm. An earlier forecast had predicted rain. The occasional cloud built and dissipated as it usually did in the heat of the season and Scarlett doubted that they would even get a shower. It would probably move south-east. The day was so serene that it would have been easy, so easy for Scarlett to forget that David was dead. They walked hand in hand across the park, still licking at their ice creams. Just as they approached Vadoma’s tent the tiny woman pushed the canvas back, stepped out into the blazing sunshine and fixed a ‘closed’ sign to the opening.
“It was you,” Vadoma said accusingly, pointing her wizened finger at Scarlett.
“Me. What was me?”
“It was you who wrote that stuff. Digging up the past you were, and dead people too. Have you any idea how dangerous it is, tying the past to the present.”
“What the hell are you talking about?”
“Perkins’ ghost of course,” she said with emphasis on the word ‘ghost’ and waving her fingers in a ghostly way. “As if you don’t know? And you can just forget about trying to play the innocent. You can’t fool me.”
“But it’s just a play. It isn’t even close to fact. Well maybe some of it…but,” Scarlett said, trying to defend herself and her play. “It was a good play. It’s not my fault that something went wrong.”
“I’d say it sure did. Did you have them fighting in the end…fighting during rehearsal?”
“You know who.”
“Let’s get out of here,” Scarlett said, as they turned away. “I don’t have to listen to this abuse.”
But Vadoma was determined to get the last word in as she shouted across the park, “I saw your ghost…and if you’d open your eyes you’d see him too. You dug him up…you did and now he walks among us.”
Scarlett shivered at those words but did not say anything. She clutched Marc’s arm and dropped her ice cream cone in the nearest trash. She suddenly had a sour taste in her mouth.
END OF CHAPTER TWELVE
“Linda has published fifteen books. She blogs about the publishing world, posts useful tips on the challenges a writer faces, including marketing and promoting your work, how to build your online platform, how to get reviews and how to self-publish.”