Ain’t Broke –
“Honestly, it wasn’t the worst convention I’ve attended.” said Nicholas.
“Really?” replied the local news lady.
“No. It WAS the worst.”
The news lady was confused.
“The panel was supposed to be a celebration of the show, it ended with multiple arrests.”
“So you’d say, it was the worst you’ve ever been a part of?” asked the news lady.
“No I mean, would you actually say it… so we can use it for the promo.”
Nicholas unclipped his mic and handed it to the producer guy.
“It’s been a hectic day, I think I’m done.” said Nicholas.
“Can’t we just get a plug from you, real quick. A simple, ‘You’re watching News 8 on WBPN’.”
“Another time maybe.”
He’d planned on being in the air by now, back to LA, but the police had asked for a statement and Doug had practically begged him to hold off heading back. He’d said there was something cooking, a meeting with the network he needed Nicholas and Susan to attend.
“I love you Nick.” shouted a girl wearing barely anything.
“Thanks for watching.”
He took out his phone and rang up his assistant, Todd.
“Mr. Tombs are you on the ground? I’m sorry, I wasn’t expecting you this soon.”
“No Todd, I’m still in NY.”
“Do you need a different flight or a room at the usual place?” asked Todd.
Todd was amazing.
“A room, if you could. I’m gonna jump in a cab and head that way.” said Nicholas.
“Everything will be set by the time you arrive and let me know what you end up needing for your flight back. I’ll get that taken care of as well.”
“Not a problem. Just give me a call if you need anything else tonight.”
Nicholas hung up and flagged a cab.
“Dutchy!” shouted a dude dressed as a tiger.
“Thanks for watching.”
He heard her before he saw her.
– – –
Susan sat as still as possible while the makeup lady touched her up. The thing with Dan was still fresh and she wondered if it might not be a good idea to have a little something. Something to sooth the nerves.
“Ms. Emerson.” said the makeup lady.
The lady seemed ready to say something, but didn’t. Instead patting away at Susan’s cheeks.
“Did you need something dear?” asked Susan.
“No. It’s nothing.”
“It’s not a problem. What did you need? Do I need to sit up or lean back or something?”
The lady bite her lip. She was thinking hard about whatever it was she was about to ask.
“I’m not supposed to do this, but…”
“You’d like an autograph.” said Susan.
“Would you mind?”
This happened a lot. 99 out of 100 it was for Captain Terrigay, but every once in awhile it was for one of the hundreds of other characters she’d played during her decades long career.
“Not at all dear.”
“My daughter is a Terrigay fanatic.”
More and more the requests were for children, sometimes even grandchildren. The show had spread to a new audience and Susan should’ve been proud or at least happy, but she wasn’t. The show was great, but the show was over. She was done with Terrigay.
“Last year, for Halloween, she was Captain Terrigay and I was Triton.”
“Triton, really?” said Susan.
“He’s the best. I mean, I love Captain Terrigay, but Triton is the best character.”
“We all loved working with Dan.”
The name put a chill in the room. Susan thought about it and, even though the day felt like it’d lasted a hundred years… the unfortunate event was only a couple of hours past. Dan was probably still at the police station.
“He seems great.” said the makeup lady.
“He is great. Troubled, but great. An incredible man.”
The makeup lady stepped away for a moment, no doubt to retrieve some picture or piece of memorabilia, and Susan took out her phone. She scrolled through the contacts to Dan. She thought about calling him, but didn’t
“Ms. Emerson are you about ready?” asked one of the production assistants.
“Whenever you are.” said Susan.
The makeup lady came back, Susan autographed a picture of herself that was over twenty years old… a publicity shot taken just two weeks after the Pilot was filmed and a full five months before the show aired. The production assistant walked her out into the studio.
“You’re gonna be on remote with Barb. Dave there will give you a five count to when your live and you’ll have this earpiece to give you your audio. Any questions?”
Susan had done this before, she knew the procedure.
“Does Barb know about the thing with Dan, at the Con?” she asked.
“I’m pretty sure she does.”
“Will she be asking about it?”
“Not if you’d rather she didn’t.”
Susan thought about it.
“It’s out there. Everyones gonna expect me to have a take, I’d might as well give ‘em one.”
“I’ll let Barb know.”
The production assistant helped her into her chair, tucked under a humongous flood light, and held up his light meter beside her cheek. He gave her a professional smile and walked away. A different lady came over and touched up her hair and poked at the collar on her blouse.
“We’ll be about five or six minutes, Barb went to commercial.” said the production assitant.
“Not a problem.”
Susan wished she’d taken something for her nerves. A belt wouldn’t have been an issue. She’d have been fine. It would’ve steadied her, but it was too late now. Now she was sitting, alone in the light, a green screen behind her, a camera in front, her hair and makeup perfect.
“Here we go again.” she said to herself.
The woman had the weirdest eyes he’d ever seen. Nicholas had been to thousands of Cons, seen millions of cosplays, but he’d never seen anything quite like this.
“You haven’t much time.” said the woman.
“Much time for what?” asked Nicholas.
“The bridge between will surely fail.”
She was wearing a deep purple robe with gold trim and a luminescent belt. She held a staff with a working egg-like-light at the end. She almost seemed to glow. It was an incredible costume, but Nicholas didn’t recognize the character.
“I’m sorry, what bridge?”
“The bridge between will surely fail. You dare not linger.”
“What character are you supposed to be? Your cosplay is amazing.” said Nicholas.
The woman stepped closer and he felt his stomach turn. A tingling sensation from his groan to the base of his neck, hot waves of something… something near to pain, but much less painful.
“What the hell?”
“Your world will not survive.” she said.
“What the hell? Who are you? What the hell is going on?’
The woman stared at him. Behind her was a sea of humanity flowing out of the convention center. None of them paid her any mind, she didn’t seem to notice them either. She stared straight at Nicholas, straight through him.
“You have to reach out to the others.” she said.
“Miss, I don’t know what’s going on here… but I will call the police.” said Nicholas.
“Yes, reach out to the policeman. The policeman can help.”
She stepped another step closer. She continued to stare. The light around her grew brighter, the night around her grew blacker.
“The bridge between will surely fail. You dare not linger.”
Then the crowd washed over her and she was gone from sight. Nicholas stood trembling.
“Can I get a picture with you Dutch?” asked a nerd.
“Alright, we’re live in 5, 4, 3…”
The production assistant held up two fingers, took one away, waved a hand at her. Susan could hear the voice of her friend Barb, but saw nothing.
“Susan hello. You’re still in New York, right?” asked Barb.
“Still here.” said Susan.
“And just a regular, usual, normal old day for you, am I right?”
The earpiece didn’t pipe in the audience’s laughter, if they’d laughed, but Susan paused a moment before responding.
“Things can get crazy at Con.” said Susan.
“People too, apparently.”
Again Susan waited for the laughter she couldn’t hear.
“I’m just glad everyone’s weapons were on stun.”
Must be she’d gotten a chuckle of her own, cause Barb paused as well.
“I’m just glad you’re alright. You are alright, aren’t you? You didn’t get Polted?”
A clever callback from the show.
“Still fully functional… for an old broad.”
Which was the proper, in world, reply.
The banter went on from there, all free and easy. In time Barb turned the topic to Susan’s show opening, which was why they’d planned this interview to begin with. Before Dan had become an instant meme.
“You’re gonna be on Broadway again. This is the first time in what… fifty years?” asked Barb.
“Not quite fifty, but it’s been awhile.” said Susan.
“You worried? You scared? Should I mention the Scottish play? I feel like I should mention the Scottish play.”
Susan had to laugh at that. It was nice to be talking with Barb, one of her oldest friends. They’d come up together, fought the good fight, shoveled the s**t and now here they were… both of them smelling of roses.
“No, you never mention the Scottish play.”
“Cause it’s bad luck right?” said Barb.
“Yes, very bad.”
“Like the ‘break a leg’ thing, right?”
“No, the ‘break a leg’ thing is actually good luck.”
“What’s that? I’m not sure I’d recognize good luck if it hit me on the head.”
Just then the flood light tipped and slammed into Susan’s head.
“S**t!” said the production assitant.
– The End
Not where I saw that going. Now I have to get another drawing going because I want to know what happens next!
Keeping you on your toes… good
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *