On a Monday night, the interior of the Majestic Theatre was brightly lit, as though a grand event were about to happen. The behind-the-scenes tour had been the perfect chance for me to get to the bottom of this.
But as I stood there with a bottle of water, listening to the tour guide go through the history and architecture of the place, I was swept away into the romance of long ago. Had my parents or grandparents gone on dates here back when Elm Street was the “Broadway of the Southwest?” Had they walked down the grand marble staircase or traced their fingers along the gold leaf bits implanted in the wall?
So many famous people had passed through these doors like Bob Hope and John Wayne. Duke Ellington had his band here, playing. And with the renovations, so many remarkable actors and singers performed where once had been a cinema screen.
The romance of it all washed over me. But what was I doing here? This was ridiculous. People don’t just hop in their vans and drive a half hour to see a building on a whim. Well, most people don’t. But I have to confess, the message that came with my grocery delivery had me totally intrigued!
I happened to see the gal walk up to the door from my office window. And to be honest, I tend to watch for her since we’ve gotten groceries that belonged to someone else several times. That’s what I thought this was, too. Mistaken location syndrome. And, trying to be a good neighbor, I rushed to the front door to redirect the delivery girl to the correct house.
“Are you Marji?” She stumbled over the name a little. I hear that a lot. Folks don’t know whether to treat the j as a j or an h sound.
“I didn’t order any groceries.” I put my hands out.
“Oh, no. Thees for next door.” She nodded toward the wagon full of grocery bags. “Thees for you.” She handed me a note.
A note that had me dashing to my car and racing a half-hour drive through rush hour to get here. And what did I expect to find anyway?
It had struck me that maybe sweet hubby had planned a surprise for me, but it wasn’t my birthday. It was close to Mother’s Day, but this didn’t seem his speed. Besides, I’m not sure my farm boy had ever been to The Majestic Theatre.
I pulled out the note again as the tour guide went through his discussion of the Corinthian columns and Roman balustrades. It was in print in dark letters, like a Sharpie. The address of the theatre and the words, “What’s behind the curtain?”
Finally, the guide led us through the house and down to the stage area. A thick burgundy curtain closed off the stage to the rest of the house. He began sharing some of the anecdotes that went on backstage with several famous people, but I was only half listening.
I drifted upstage center where the curtains pulled together. With every step, I felt more foolish. I was going to peek behind the curtain and find nothing but dust and darkness. Maybe pieces of the set they would be using for the concert next weekend.
I kept my eyes on the tour guide. He wasn’t paying any attention to me. Slipping the curtain aside, I stepped through the gap and paused to let my eyes grow used to the darkness.
As I grew used to the shadows, I noticed a man near the tormentors watching me. But there wasn’t anything else. Not grand balloon-filled “Surprise” or even twinkle lights.
“You Marji?” The man sounded like a bear with indigestion.
“Yes, sir. Were you expecting me?” That was more than a little odd.
He shrugged and held out a large envelope. “Guess this is yours.”
I took it. Sure enough, my name was on it. I stepped back into the stage lights and found my tour guide frowning at me.
“You will please refrain from wandering off.” He’d used a kind voice, but a thundercloud had taken over his face.
“Sorry.” I hated being a problem child, but at least I’d found what was behind the curtain. I strolled out to the lobby where there was more light and threw away the empty water bottle. Then I settled into opening my package.
Inside the envelope was a simple card with the words “GOOD JOB” printed on it in neat letters. Next to it was a pre-addressed and pre-stamped sealed envelope to Tabitha Bouldin. Wait a minute. She was one of the Ever After Mysteries authors.
Maybe there was more to this than I originally thought.
Read all of the posts from our little blog hop mystery, celebrating the release of A VANISHING ACT, the latest Ever After Mystery!
Edwina Kiernan: May 2
Denise Lauren Barela: May 3
Rebekah Jones: May 4
Marji Laine Clubine: May 5
Tabitha Bouldin: May 6
Chautona Havig: May 7
We’re doing a special giveaway to celebrate the release of this book.
Here’s a little about A VANISHING ACT:
On screen they’re a darling duo, but it’s a whole different story backstage.
Hollywood legend Kent Selwood isn’t happy sharing the limelight with rising star Stella Sanders. Tired of her diva drama, Kent makes it clear—he wants Stella gone.
Seamstress Bonnie Roseland is practically invisible to everyone at the studio, except for slick actor, Jerry Jackson — the one man she wishes would leave her alone. Her deep-rooted faith helps her see beyond the glitz and glamor to the broken realities and dysfunctional atmosphere at the studio. She sometimes wonders if God has a purpose for her there or if she should just move on.
When the studio receives blackmail letters, Kent’s attitude makes him the prime suspect, and he’s swiftly banished from the lot, despite insisting that he’s been framed. Only Bonnie believes him — and she’s confident she knows who the real culprit is.
But when a ransom note arrives after Stella goes missing and evidence is discovered that clearly implicates Kent, will Bonnie help him uncover the truth in time to save his career… and Stella’s life?