Our “interactive” story continues with two sets of “things” from amazing friend, Provincial Lady. But that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook — be sure to send me your three things!
I’m trying to control my editor-brain with this story, partly because the intention is to quickly write whatever comes to me the moment I get your “three things.” That said… I promise not to back-track to change things ever again, after this… Pip’s (aka Paisley) line of work is no longer private eye — palmistry adds a lot more elasticity to this exercise, which has to be very flexible. Also, “Mindy the Movie Star” is now Mona. That name suits her much better, don’t you think?
As always, the full serial (to date) lives on the Three Things Serial page.
Three Things Serial, Continued
4: Gelato, Aerobic, Thunderstorm
Clouds gathered ominously, so twilight came early. I worried that Frankie might be early too – and I wasn’t ready yet. However, the face in the mirror winked at me, or I winked at it, whichever. I smiled and applied some rose colored rouge to my cheeks, and “helped” my lips into a Cupid’s Bow with careful use of some plum colored lipstick.
I had run into Boris a few minutes earlier as he was finishing what he called his aerobic exercise. He was limping some as he came up the stairs. A bad knee injury caused him to give up his career with the Ballets Russes. Before the sky had even clouded, Boris insisted that I take an umbrella with me to the movies. He was sure there would be a thunderstorm. “The knee,” he said, “it never lies.”
Just as I put my lipstick away I heard a man’s shoes pounding up the stairs. Then came three quick knocks to my door, tap tap-tap. I practically skipped across the room, and when I opened my “office” door I saw Frankie’s smiling mug. He looked at the frosted glass inset on the door for a minute, at the new sign I was so proud of, “P.I. Peabody, Palmistry.” The only other time he’d seen my door he was there as a fireman, because of a small fire in Mona’s kitchen down the hall.
“Hey, maybe you can read my palm some time. My grandma reads tea leaves,” he said by way of a greeting.
“Hello to you too,” I said dryly.
Frankie looked abashed enough that I let him off the hook for his lack of manners. Then he held out a brown paper bag that was damp with condensation, finally looking at me. “Wow!” he said with quite a gratifying drop of his jaw. “You look swell, Pip.”
“Why, you’re dudding up pretty well yourself, Frankie. Come on in for a sec.”
When I looked at the bag he exclaimed, “Gosh, I almost forgot! I brought you some of my grandmother’s gelato, but you’ll have to eat it now. I mean if you want. Uh, I mean…”
It was good to know that I could make him stutter. I stepped into my little kitchenette and got two spoons. “Only if you help me,” I said, digging my spoon into the softly frozen treat. “Oh, holy Hannah, this stuff is delicious!”
5: Slate, Waterfall, Devious
Everybody piled into Andy’s jalopy. He deviously made a big deal of helping Boris, whose limp had become more pronounced, into the backseat. Then he made over Frankie, being as he was our newcomer, seating him as well. Naturally I’d be expected to sit with the fireman, since I’d brought him into the group. So that left Mona to share the front seat with the little Astronaute-man, as he obviously intended.
Poor Andy, he was so transparent. Mona the Movie Star rolled her eyes at me in an exaggerated way, but she was a good sport about it as he handed her up to the Studebaker’s running board and then the seat. Andy tucked a slate-blue plaid blanket carefully around Mona’s lap. She protested that the night was too warm for the blanket, but she didn’t remove it. Then he carelessly tossed a matching blanket back to the rest of us, and nearly knocked off my hat.
As the Studebaker puttered up in front of the Nickelodeon Theatre the bright lights reflected off the waterfall in the fountain. The star billing for Fatty Arbunckle was mirrored in squiggly letters in the water. Boris the Ballerina looked at the theatre entrance with a sharp intake of breath.
“You okay, Buddy?” Frankie the Fireman asked, having been told about the Russian’s bad knee.
Boris muttered that he was fine. But that little gasp didn’t sound like pain to me. It sounded more like shock laced with fear. Boris looked intently at the people going inside and murmured in his accent, “I thought I saw someone. But is not important.”