Well, everybody, finally it's all taken care of. I finally got the software reinstalled that I needed along with some compatibility software that was required in order to post the final part to my short story. I know many of you waited for this for a long time, and I apologise for the long delay. But since I'm back on track pretty much, I'll have a new blog entry here each Wednesday again, occasionally others on additional days of the week. You may want to skim through the two earlier parts of the story, Parts I and II, so you can fit this final installment into context better and more easily. As I said, it's been a long time.
Until next week . . .
The Puppet Show (Part III)
by Steven Rose, Jr.
The wind never came back. There was no moon nor any stars that night. None of the lights in Woodvale ever came on. While Manuel wandered blindly throughout the blackness of the town hoping to run into a relative or acquaintance (but never even running into a stranger), he slightly remembered seeing something very familiar in the old man’s workshop. There had been a group of puppets resembling several members of Manuel’s family–his parents, brothers and sisters, grandparents, etc.–hanging up on one of the walls. He lied down on some itchy, hard grass somewhere (he could not see where). The grass felt like plastic, like the artificial lawns in the house displays at the hardware stores.
He would fall asleep and wait till morning to find out what the cause of this total black-out was. However, he was very restless; it seemed like it was taking forever for the sun to rise.
Although he woke up that morning somewhat stiff, as though he had not moved his limbs in years, Manuel rose out of bed feeling strangely renewed. His room seemed like that of a stranger’s, even though he had been living in that house ever since birth. The sun shined brightly through the frosty white curtains. The hands of the Japanese movie memorabellic prehistoric bird clock pointed to about 10:37. He had just enough time to shower, change and get to the theatre for his shift. The strange dream about Marianne and the puppet of her was very difficult to banish from his mind. He recalled her having a Spanish name in the dream and Mexican features. No, Asian features. Or were they Black features? Perhaps it was none of those or all of them; he could not recall. He wondered if it was last night’s Lon Chaney movie that caused him to have the weird nightmare. Even if so, he would never give up watching classic horror. Classic horror films, especially Lon Chaney ones, were his life next to live theatre.
As he rode his bike through the town, even though the buildings and houses looked as they always had, they yet looked so unknown to him. It was as though he had just arrived in a town he never even knew existed. Even when he arrived at the live theatre, he felt as though he were seeing it for the very first time. As long as it’s not another flat, he thought to himself jokingly.
Nobody was in the darkened lobby. Neither was there anybody in the auditorium or on the stage. He walked over to the flat depicting a live theatre of a town, much like his own town, that the play of the last two weeks had been set in. Suddenly from around the other side of the flat, Marianne appeared, crowbar gripped in hand. She delightedly said, “Oh, hi Manuel! You’re just in time to help us tear down the set for the next play.” Her skin was very fair, almost pale in contrast to the backstage blackness, but her cheeks and tip of her nose were brightly rose colored; it was almost as though the rose colors were painted on her face. Also her hair was so bright of a blonde against the black background it looked like yellow paint.
Manuel said, without expression, “What do I do?”
Marianne said, enthusiastically, “Just get a crowbar and I’ll show you.”
He grabbed a crowbar out of the tool box. He said very little at the time because he was still shaken up from Marianne’s (Mariana’s) cold attitude in last night’s dream. Yet, he was glad to know that he was working with the real Marianne.
The painted theatre entrance to the flat beared a bright yellow sign above it, that read in archaic calligraphic lettering, “Woodvale Opera House.” The two young people started pumping their crowbars facing each other from each end of the flat. Manuel asked, “Where’s everybody else?”
After several heaving breaths of exhaustion, Marianne said, “I don’t know. But I hope they get over here soon. Al wants this all torn down by this afternoon because he wants to move on to the next show.”
He remembered the old man in the dream. All too vividly. He confirmed, “You’re in the next show too, aren’t you?” As he asked this, he suddenly noticed, as he had several times before, how pronounced and ideal Marianne’s features were: such a curved nose, such thick lips especially for an Anglo girl, and such wide eyes with the brightest blue in them. Nobody could exist with such features. This is why Manuel found her so attractive.
After gaining her breath from the pumping, she answered, invitingly, “We’re all in the next show; we always are.” Then Manuel understood last night’s “dream”. He suddenly felt more comfortable than ever with Marianne, in fact, with the entire theatre. He felt as though he had just arrived home from a journey that had lasted most of his life up to this point, perhaps even longer. He knew there would be many more journeys after that.
There was a loud cracking sound of wood, then the fall with the thundering “CRASH!”