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Final Act


Dianne Yetman




For Gary, love always





Cover image:  Author


Poisons, poisons!  Venomous thoughts and words!  In hearts and minds!  That’s poisons! 

Maggie the Cat


Cat on a Hot Tin Roof


10:45 am, November 3, 2010

The last actor to leave the theatre by the side stage door ran out of the alley way and caught up with the group heading for the bar.  He tagged a little behind the noisy merrymakers not bothering to join as there was no room to jump into the five different conversations so busied himself with looking at the darkened quiet downtown street.  A few taxis, their drivers standing in a tight knot - praying for passengers, no doubt.  A lone, obviously stoned couple, arms wrapped around each other in an effort to stay upright, tired to make their way across the street.

Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out a package of smokes, turned so the wind was at his back, and flashed his lighter.  Lifting his head, he saw a dark, solitary figure crossing the street, head bent, as if searching for a lost coin.   A shout distracted his attention.

“Come on; get a move on before we lose you.”

He ran. They had turned the corner and if they ducked into one of the bars lining both sides of the street before he caught up to him, he’d waste prized drinking time trying to find them.  He never gave the dark figure crossing the street another thought.

Head still bent, the dark figure paused and waited a few moments to see if anyone from the group circled back.  No one came.  No one was on the street except for a group of taxi drivers who were busy talking, not paying the slightest attention to anyone else.  Time to move.  Had one of the drivers turned his head to look, all he would have seen was a swift dark blur.  But no one turned.

Head bent low, the shadowy figure stepped into the alleyway leading to the backstage entrance to the theatre. The mastermind behind the planned kill forced down the adrenaline rush.  Too much excitement and mistakes could be made.  Standing behind the cluster of trees adjacent to the theatre, the killer, eyes on the stage door, waited for Ed, the janitor, to lock up and leave.

It was well past midnight when the dark figure emerged from the trees and walked briskly towards the stage store entrance.  Slipping a key into the door, the intruder stepped into the hallway, eyes adjusting to darkness with the help of the faint light of the dust covered exit sign.  The killer followed the twisting corridor past Ed’s, around the corner and down the hallway to the dressing and prop room.

There was no fear the intruder would be confused and not be able to find the way to centre stage for no one was more intimately acquainted with every nook and cranny of the entire building.

Moonlight shone through the small window in the large common dressing room into the hallway, lengthening the intruder’s shadow; a few moments later, a whispered curse at the stumble on the torn carpet, followed by a quick run up the three steps to centre stage.

Despite the darkness of the stage, the intruder was able to avoid colliding with the double bed and made straight for the huge console combination of radio-phonograph (hi-fi with three speakers) TV set and liquor cabinet bearing many glasses and bottles.

Standing in front of the monumental monstrosity, the killer retrieved the thin, white surgical gloves from the inside pocket of the oversize, dark coat and pulled them over the trembling hands.  Opening the console door and reaching into the back recess of the cabinet, the killer reached for the half empty bottle of bourbon, then removed a vial from the outside pocket of the coat.   The amber coloured liquid flowed into the bottle, swirling against the sides, and settled into the body of the whiskey without a trace.

The empty vial returned to the pocket, the killer made a quick exit, heart pounding in perfect time with the thud of the rubber soles hitting the red linoleum until the exit was reached.  The killer waited until the heart rate subsided before opening the door and crossing the street to the empty cab parked at the curb.

George Symes, watched the dark figure crossing the street and heading straight for his cab.  Just my shit house luck, he thought, forty minutes left on my shift, and I get this creep.  All he wanted to do was go home to a cold beer and watch David Letterman.  Who knows what the weirdo is carrying in that oversized coat. George had good instincts and would bet his last cigar that someone dressed like that is up to no good or has already done damage.

He didn’t need this agro at his age but he had opted out of the safer day shift when his wife of 40 years had died.  He found the silence of his home more comfortable in the wee hours of the morning. He reached for the mike, gave the code word for suspicious passenger to the dispatcher.  Once he called the fare in, Helen would calculate the amount of time it would take to reach his destination and if he was more than five minutes late, there’d be hell to pay.  He started the engine and waited for the creep to open the back door to the cab.

9:30am, November 4, 2010

Kate pulled back the curtains and looked out across the divided boulevard.  The morning sun high enough to shine directly in her eyes.  She didn’t see the man standing beside the oak tree at the south side entrance to the Public Gardens staring up at her window.  So, she thought, he’s given up.  She was sure he would be there and she was ready for him.  He’d been tracking her all week.  She shrugged her shoulders – one less worry. Maybe the bastard found out she was a homicide cop and decided

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