Saturday, November 10, 2007

Duty Calls

The audience’s applause combined with the glare of the house lights helped to rouse Brad from his nap. In front of him, he could see Kevin helping Mrs. Fitzwater into her mink coat. To his left, Vanessa, who was applauding furiously, had a strangely confused look on her face.

"Why aren’t they coming out for their curtain calls?" she asked.

"Beats me," muttered Brad as he stood and stretched.

As Lally Fitzwater haughtily walked past Brad on her way out of the box, Kevin beckoned to the cop.

"I think you’d better go backstage. One of the singers collapsed during the final moments of the opera. Something’s very wrong," he whispered. "There might have been some foul play."

Mrs. Fitzwater re-appeared in the doorway; a mink-clad arm extended toward Kevin. "Are you coming with me, young man, or am I supposed to negotiate all these stairs by myself?" she asked.

As soon as the old woman and Kevin had disappeared from sight, Brad turned to his sister.

"I have to go backstage, Sis. The man who was sitting in front of us just told me there might have been a murder," he said. "Can you grab a taxi and get home by yourself?"

"Sure, I can find a cab," replied Vanessa. "I work on Wall Street, remember? We have cabs sitting by the curb in front of our building all day long."

As she adjusted her coat, Vanessa turned and gave Brad a withering look. "I really wish that just once in his life, my big brother could get as excited about escorting me to the opera as he does over the prospect of finding a dead body. Tell me something, Brad. Since when did you become so interested in going backstage at the opera? You, who falls asleep after hearing ten bars of classical music!"

"Don’t give me any grief tonight, Vanessa. Just tell me how to get backstage," insisted her brother.

"Oh, all right," sighed Vanessa. "After all these years on the police force you shouldn’t have too much trouble spotting a uniform. Grab the first usher you see and flash your badge at him. But whatever you do, Brad, do not let him see your gun. Most of the ushers at the Met are queer and whoever ends up taking you backstage will probably want to marry you."

"Thanks loads, Sis," groaned Brad. "I really needed to hear that tonight."

Next: Enquiring Minds Want To Know

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