Tales from Teraum #7 The Show Must Go On
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Tales from Teraum, #7: "The Show Must Go On"
Set about 40 years after [The Man With Light](themanwithlight.pan), this is a play on hardboiled detective stories from the 1930s. In fact, the first scene is pretty much a ripoff of the first half of some Sam Spade story. True facts. The goals of this story are mostly to mimic a tone, and expand the reader's conceptions of the Imperial-era TKT world. This is a story of minor characters.
Fenway Douglas said: "My name is Fenway Douglas. I'm here to see Mr. Boshpotter. Mr. Edward Boshpotter."
"I'm afraid Mr. Boshpotter is resting for the evening," the butler said.
"Well, would you please tell him it's urgent that I see him? There is urgent business we have to talk about," Boshpotter explained. In a way. [don't like this phrasing, but like the idea.]
"Very well. Mr. Douglas, was it?" the butler asked. Fenway nodded, and waited as the butler closed the door.
A short while later, a handsome man dressed as an Imperial naval officer came to the door.
"Hello, my name is Harold Hanks; I'm the lead in The Seagull's Plight. Mr. Boshpotter won't be able to see you this evening. However, maybe I can help? I assume this about the incident at the theater this evening?" Harold asked, stepping back and inviting Mr. Douglas inside.
The Seagull's Plight was the first play performed at Terg Theater in over 40 years. Renovated by Edward Boshpotter, the Terg was one of the oldest buildings in the city, and after the last city-wide fire, had been abandoned. Boshpotter, a fan of theater from his journeys around the [Something Islands], had used his family's fortune to re-establish the theater, and had commissioned The Seagull's Plight for the theater's reopening. Written by Goed de Geod, the play was expected to go down in history as one of the era's great dramas. The set and costumes had been designed by the Antonio Ferring, more known for his work in marble than paper mache. The music… well, the music had been written by the nephew of the Terg's janitor, but it was still quite good.
Despite all the work put into it, there were apprehensions about opening Terg Theater. The theater was rumored to be haunted by the former manager, who died in the fire that shut it down. But Edward Boshpotter was a logical man, who was not dissuaded by rumor. So when, two hours before the debut of the project he'd put several years and countless fortunes behind, Edward heard of a mysterious masked man roaming around backstage, he became worried. And, an hour before showtime, when he heard that one of the make-up artists was dead, Edward was distraught. However, the show went on, while police did their investigation.
Afterward, Investigator Fenway Douglas was sent to interview the employees of the theater. While his supervisor has suggested he start with the janitor, who had been married to the late beautician, Douglas had other ideas. He knew what the protagonist of his favorite detective stories would do: go straight to the mansion of the owner of the theater, where he was likely to find all of the most famous people.
His gamble paid off. Here he was, being let into one of the nicest houses in the city, by none other than Harold Hanks. The Harold Hanks, who was known across the Empire for his acting skills, and incredible chin.
"Can I get you anything to drink?" Harold asked, leading Fenway out of the foyer and into a small study.
"No thank you, Mr. Hanks. It's late, and I was hoping to get my beauty sleep," Fenway joked, taking a seat on an overstuffed wicker sofa.
"Indeed, I still haven't had a chance to make it out of this costume yet."
"So, Harold - can I call Harold - what do you know about the victim?"
"Mrs. Grenners? Well, not much - I never worked with her; the only times I saw her was when she was working with Juliet - she's one of the actors - or talking to her husband, the Terg's janitor."
"So you can't think of any particular reason why anyone, supernatural entities included, would want her dead?"
"Well, I always thought she was a bit heavy with Juliet's makeup; maybe the ghost was a real stickler?" Harold said, and smiled, enhancing the twinkle in his eye. As Fenway continued to stare at him, the twinkle faded. "That was a joke, Investigator. I would never kill someone over a little blush," he clarified.
"You'll never believe what that old fool - oh! We have company!"
"Juliet, this is Investigator Douglas. Investigator, this is Juliet."
"Pleased to meet you, Investigator. Excuse my appearance, it's been a rather long evening," Juliet pardoned herself, wiping mottled foundation away from her eyes. Juliet O'Snappe was playing the role of Lady Gillham in The Seagull's Plight.
"Yes, so I'll just continue my questioning. Juliet, if you have naything to add, feel free," Fenway stated, clearing his throat. Juliet took a seat on the couch with Harold. "My reports say there was a man in a mask backstage before the show?" Fenway asked.
"Yes, but that's hardly unusual," Harold said. "We work at a theater, so many people wear costumes."
"What costume in The Seagull's Plight uses a mask, Harold? Beside, I saw the masked man, and I'm telling you, he's none of ours," Juliet interrupted.
"Who do you think he was, then?" Fenway asked.
"Why, the Ghost of the Terg, of course!" Juliet stated, and Harold sighed.
"Come off it, Juliet! There's no reason it'd be a spirit over a real man. Beside, if it were a ghost, wouldn't he be able to fly or at least pass through walls or something?"
"There's no saying he can't!"
[insert more argument]
"Okay. So there was a masked person, who may or may not have been a spirit. This has been very helpful, but it's very late, and if Mr. Boshpotter isn't going to join us, I think I'd better turn in," Fenway said, sighing. Actors were not the most useful of people, he felt.
"Certainly. We should probably retire soon as well; we still have to perform tomorrow and today has been so hectic," Harold said, and led Fenway to the exit.
Fenway ran his tongue across the paper, and twisted a cigarette into existence. Lighting it, he looked at Terg Theater. In the early morning light, the Terg looked almost decent. Built in the early days of the city, as part of the University, Terg Theater had once been a massive circular stone building, constructed from rocks gathered out of the surrounding plains. However, years, fires, and theft had reduced the building in size, and indeed the majority of the walls were now wooden. In the daytime, the theater was an eyesore, but now, before the sun was fully up, Fenway could almost see what the old Terg would have looked like.
Halfway through smoking his third cigarette, now sitting on the stoop of the theater in the bright morning sun, he noticed an elderly gentleman making his way down the street, with the aid of a cane. Dressed in an ill-fitting suit, the man spotted Fenway and immediately shook his cane.
"'ey, you! Get off my property!" the old man said angrily, hobbling up to Fenway, who put out his cigarette and extended his hand.
"Hello, Mr. Boshpotter. My name is Fenway Douglas; I'm an Investigator. I was wondering if you would be able to talk to me about the attack last night in your theater?" Fenway said, waiting for the old man to shake his hand. Slowly, Mr. Boshpotter put his cane down, leaned into it, and gave Fenway a long stare.
"What?" Mr. Boshpotter asked, loudly. "You'll have to speak louder, Mr. Ferngrey. I can't hear a thing with all these damn birds chirping."
Fenway listened. While he did hear some soft cooing if he listened for it, Fenway was beginning to form some opinions about Mr. Boshpotter.
"My name is Fenway. I'm an Investigator. I'd like to talk about Mrs. Grenner's death*," he repeated.
"Oh yes, real tragedy that. I do hope you all have success in finding out who did such a thing," Mr. Boshpotter said, loudly.
"Well, I was hoping I could ask you some questions. First, Juliet O'Snappe said that the man was seen wearing a blank white mask. Does the theater own a mask like that?"
look through costumes, ask more questions gunshot wound, only gun around is wooden prop, better talk to Bruce the igor about the autopsy
Bruce the igor is comic relief. basically, nbullet hole, no bullet. also, the body is missing a finger. tunrs out Igor borrowed it. Don't explain for what.
The janitor's nephew, who composed the music for the show, is cleaning the organ-thing they use. witnesses juliet and harold making out. he's not seen, but because he makes noise, harold becomes highly suspicious they've been seen. Why's it matter that they're haivng an affair? uhhhhhhhhhhh because juliet is the niece of Boshpotter and if she stays unwed until her 20th she'll inherit Boshpotter's fortune. Let's go with that.
fenway goes to station to report to his CO and to get assigned a recruit to help with questioning, and to go to the performance that evening, for the next show still giant turnout cause who cares about murderers anyway, these fuckers live in industrial england 10x. every barber was a murderer and every burger was made of your neighbor, but by god if a nickel didn't by 8 pounds of the stuff. anyway recruit's name is oscar bevels. later, he saves a fair chunk of the world. but not in this story. so anyway
fenway and oscar go to the show, decked out in finest. tone should be extra dry here. lights die, another murder, it's the cello player. #showgoeson cello player was crushed by inflatable boulder
back at the station still no leads really letting me down, fenway.
third night, oh shit fenway & oscar are back at the show. if applicable, oscar shows up in exactly the same clothes, complete with blood from previous night. oscar's hardcore so again lights go out, ghost, etc. janitor's nephew is dead fenway confronts ghost, but #showgoeson so he does it with style, staying in character, or something. you know how it goes fenway stabs ghost, but plottwist it's a prop sword ghost dies anyway, #showgoeson Oscar is like "well shouldn't we check or see who he is under the mask" Fenway says someething hella cheezy, but is basically like lol nope we solved the crime he's dead
END OF STORY
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