An Unexpected Meeting

A fanfiction/alternate ending of HeRInteractive’s PC game adaption of the Nancy Drew mystery story, Stay Tuned for Danger.  Be forewarned, this story contains many esoteric references to HeRInteractive’s other Nancy Drew games, so if you haven’t played them, chances are, you’ll have no idea what I’m writing about.  For the most part, though, I’m just making the world’s greatest female teenage sleuth look a bit … off.

An Unexpected Meeting

(by Allison Rose)


1:Chapter One

Nancy Drew, a slim, attractive teenage girl with titian/strawberry blonde/blonde/red/green/black/pink/rainbow/whatever colored hair, had gotten out of the taxi cab parked at the curb of Lexington Avenue and broken into a run for the front steps of Mattie Jensen’s house, giggling like … well, a teenage girl.

She’d just spent the last six hours prank-calling Hess Grumbly’s intercom system, making the poor guy think that she was the pizza delivery boy who was long overdue to deliver his pizza. And the crazy thing was, he’d fallen for it every time!!

Now do you see why she was laughing so hard?

Well, anyway, she had been doing that before, but at the very moment that this story begins, however, Nancy was standing in the front hall of Mattie’s house, wondering why whenever she tried to go up Mattie’s stairs, she bumped into a funny blue sign with a funny rhyme that didn’t begin with “Listen my child to a story of dreams,” and two buttons that said “Day” and “Night,” when the phone rang.

Thinking it must be her handsome, athletic boyfriend Ned Nickerson, who was a student at Emerson College, Nancy rushed to the phone. But first, she checked the chair to make sure that it wasn’t that stupid alarm clock she’d ordered. (Heck, they even accidentally switched her order receipt with some random note written on what looked like a roof shingle!) Yup, the ringing sound was coming from the phone, not the chair.

Silly me, Nancy thought as she picked up the receiver and exclaimed, “Hey, dear! How’s it going? Did your hair grow back in yet? And what about that tooth?”

There was a cough at the other side of the line, an awkward pause, and then someone who wasn’t who Nancy thought she was talking to said, “Do I sound like a boyfriend?! If it’s any consolation, I’m not who you think you’re talking to.”

“Oh, hi, Lillian,” Nancy said, blushing. To herself, the teenage sleuth wondered why that old grouch was calling her so late in the evening. After all, she’d gotten so angry when Nancy confronted her about sending Rick those tainted chocolates.

“Don’t ‘oh, hi, Lillian’ me, Miss Drew!” the infuriated voice on the other end, who was obviously Lillian, exclaimed. Then, she sighed. And then, to Nancy’s surprise, started screaming as though someone was trying to kidnap her for five seconds, laughing for exactly fifteen seconds, sobbed for another ten, and sighed most contentedly.

“Um, Lillian?” Nancy asked uncertainly.

“Oh, yes, Miss Drew. Well, I was calling to say that… OH NO! I’M HAVING ANOTHER PANIC ATTACK! *more screaming, laughing and sobbing* Um, where was I? Yes.” In a very serious voice, she continued, “Nancy, I have something important to tell you. I can’t say over the phone, so meet me at the studio. You know how to get in.”

The line disconnected before Nancy would object. She waited for a few seconds to see if she’d hear a message like, “This phone will self-destruct in five seconds,” but all she heard was, “If you’d like to make a call, please hang up and try again.” Nancy hung up the phone, and considered calling one of her chums for advice, but the urgency in Lillian’s voice made her think she’d better just hurry before it was too late.

Back outside again, the girl detective hailed another taxi cab. “Where to, lady?” the driver said for maybe the millionth time.

Nancy began rattling off the WorldWide Broadcasting Studio’s address, but the driver, who’d heard her say it enough, interrupted her and said, “Yeah, yeah, I know, lady. I’m on my way!”

When Nancy arrived at the studio some time later, she eyed the big building and wondered what new dangers lay in wait behind its locked doors!


2:Chapter Two

“I see our Miss Snoop has shown up!” Lillian exclaimed when Nancy finally managed to unlock the door to the set. (A little voice inside her head kept saying “I need something to make this work” every time her card missed the slider by a millimeter.)

“Lillian,” said Nancy, putting on some bravado, “You ought to leave unlocking the set to professionals! Why, I had to fumble with that door for a whole thirty seconds before I finally got in!”

Nancy, an ever-so-observant sleuth, noted that Lillian had been wearing the same navy suit for the last five days. She’d also noted that Rick had been wearing the same ugly sweatshirt, and that–

“Dwayne Powers?” a voice rang out over the studio intercom as the lights suddenly went out.

“Dwayne!” the girl detective cried, looking up at the lit-up control room window. Standing behind the window was none other than the man Nancy was just about to say looked just like–

“A super spy extraordinaire?” Dwayne shouted into the mic again, causing a loud screech. Then, the lights flickered on and off, and a thunder crash sounded, resonating off the studio walls. Then, Nancy heard the familiar squeak of a rubber duck. Obviously, he was having a lot of fun with the sound effects system.

“Alright, cut!” A voice cut in from off to the side of the room. A large man with a clipboard marched onto the set, frantically waving his hands in the direction of the sound room. “Dwayne, you said your line too soon! Nancy was supposed to confront Lillian and make a big fuss before you speak!”

In the darkness of the room, Nancy could just barely discern that Dwayne Powers, that big scary man in the ugly brown coat, was blushing. “Sorry, Bill,” he stammered. “Should we re-shoot that part?”

“No, no, Dwayne. You’ve already messed up enough today, sending that stupid alarm clock to Miss Drew and all–”

“So that wasn’t the clock I’d ordered last week?!” Nancy exclaimed. Then, she beamed up at Dwayne. “How did you know Togo chewed up my old one? You know, you are just so awesome!” Nancy let out a little squeal and did a victory dance all around the set.

Bill Pappas a facepalm and went back to his director’s chair, where he announced, “Alright, now that Nancy’s here and dancing away, we’ll just continue from where she first arrived and confronted Lillian.”

Nancy danced back to the doorway. Lillian said, “I see our Miss Snoop has shown up!”

“Lillian,” said Nancy for the second time, putting on some more bravado, “You ought to leave unlocking the set to professionals! Why, I had to fumble with that door for a whole thirty seconds before I finally got in! Anyway, what are you doing here?”

Lillian lowered her voice conspiratorially, which means that she wanted to let Nancy in on a big secret without anyone else – like a certain character who was hiding in the sound room until further notice – to hear her. “You see, I’ve been doing some snooping of my own–”

“Haha! You are so busted!” exclaimed Nancy, who was just about to start another victory dance, when Bill Pappas gave her an extremely nasty look.

“–until,” Lillian continued, “I found this.” In the faint light, Lillian held up….

…Wait for it…..

…A DOORKNOB!

“A doorknob?” Nancy repeated, although she wasn’t quite sure who she was repeating after, seeing as the narrator isn’t really an active character in this story.

(Or am I?)

“Yes, Nancy,” Lillian replied earnestly. “A doorknob. I found it on the sidewalk near the talent entrance this afternoon–”

“Don’t believe her lies!” a screeching voice suddenly called out from the catwalk above. It was Millie, and Nancy could determine this because in Millie’s grizzled hand was a flashlight. The other hand was pointing a finely manicured finger at Lillian. “She stole it herself! She stole my doorknob!”


3:Chapter Three

“She what?!” Nancy exclaimed, just as Dwayne cleared his throat into his mic, which caused yet another loud screech to resonate all around the studio, and said, “Hey, what about me?”

Millie Strathorn, the feisty old prop keeper for WorldWide Broadcasting Studios, paid the man no heed. “Believe you me, young lady, I’d know if she did.” Before Nancy could interrupt, Millie continued, “I’ve got as many doorknobs as I have cats! Believe me, I count ’em too. And when the cat count and the doorknob count aren’t the same, I know something’s wrong!”

As Millie climbed down the ladder, Nancy pursed her lips and thought about this for a moment. “Um, what if one of your cats just got lost or something? Then it would make sense that you wouldn’t have the same amount of cats as you have doorknobs.”

“Nope! Trust me, one of my doorknobs was stolen, and I intend to prove that it was Lillian who did it!”

Lillian paled visibly in the beam of Millie’s flashlight. “I wouldn’t steal your stupid doorknob! I hate doorknobs! I’m afraid they’ll shatter into a million pieces if I touch them! Why, in my apartment, I only have security card sliders! Ugh, I dread coming to this madhouse every day and using a doorknob to enter my office!”

“She lies! She lies!” Millie screeched, only to sneeze quite unceremoniously, as she’d neglected to unpowder her nose before making her dramatic appearance on the scene.

“Uh, guys?” Nancy stammered, fiddling with her hands and wishing she had a magic ring with which she could become invisible and run away. “I’ve got a confession to make. A big one.”

All eyes turned to the titian/strawberry blonde/blonde/red/green/black/pink/rainbow/whatever haired sleuth.

Just as Nancy was about to explain in a most roundabout fashion, filled with lots of “likes,” “ums,” and “y’knows,” that it was she who had taken Millie’s precious doorknob and neglected to return it, the lights came back on.

“Dwayne?” Nancy glared at the sound room while everyone else blinked as their eyes adjusted to the light.

“It wasn’t me,” moaned Nancy’s former agent.

Just then, a gawky fellow with shoulder-length brown hair and big glasses that made him look slightly owlish entered the room from a side door. “Um, sorry if I’m interrupting anything, but has anyone seen my ID card?”

Lillian was the first to speak. “No, I haven’t seen your ID card,” she mocked. “Owen, Ralph can’t keep letting you in like this without your card. You find it, or you lose your job with it.”

“But I’m looking for it! That’s why I’m here, boss!”

“Where was the last place you saw it, dear?” Millie asked, suddenly acting like a sweet old lady again.

“Well,” Owen began, “the day I saw it, I donated this ratty old shirt to the used clothing drive. I’d been wearing the shirt before I donated it, and it was so crummy, I didn’t want to get caught bringing it to the laundromat again, so I just got rid of it as soon as I could. Um, I think I might have forgotten to take my ID card out of the pocket.”

“Wait– Owen? As in Owen W. Spayder?!” Nancy exclaimed. When Owen nodded eagerly, she continued, “I know where your ID card is!”

Owen’s eyes, which looked considerably large through his thick glasses, became even larger. “Really? Where?”

Nancy’s eyes narrowed and she pointed at Millie. “She took it! And she took the shirt, too!”


4:Chapter Four

Now, Millie was in the center of attention. “Me, deary?” she frowned. “Well, if I never saw a more impudent young lady in all my years…”

“You took Owen’s shirt with his ID card inside the front pocket and hid it in your prop room so that you could hack into all the secret files on Lillian’s computer!” Nancy reasoned, checking off everything with her fingers and admiring her manicure while she was at it.

“But I don’t need to do that, dear,” said Millie. “I’ve got my own account.”

“I know that!” retorted Nancy.

“How?”

“And how did you know about the secret files on my computer?!” Lillian demanded.

Nancy chose to ignore those questions.

“Um, miss?” Owen stammered, adjusting his glasses. “But I donated the shirt. She couldn’t have stolen it.”

“Well, that must be because Millie secretly digs around in clothing donation bins when nobody’s looking and takes stuff,” Nancy decided. “Imagine, an old woman preying on the poor and helpless people who need those clothes more than she does!”

“I would never do such a thing!” Millie retorted indignantly. “I will have you know, I purchased that shirt from the used clothing store, and I put it in my prop room so that I could repair all the rips and tears.” She turned to Owen, who was shifting nervously from one foot to the other. “Young man, I’d be more than happy to return your ID card to you, just as long as you solve one of my riddles…”

“Just a minute,” Nancy interrupted, eyeing Owen suspiciously. “How do I know you’re who you say you are? Isn’t Owen W. Spayder supposed to be, like, an anagram for Dwayne Powers?”

Owen blinked, confused. “Dwayne Powers? How do you know him?”

“He’s my agent,” Nancy replied. “Former agent, that is,” she added, giving the near-opaque window to the sound room a dirty look. “How about you?”

Owen looked down at his feet and fiddled with his hands. “He’s … my agent too.” It seemed like he had more to say, but was hesitant to admit it.

“It seems like you have more to say, but are hesitant to admit it,” Nancy said, voicing her thoughts aloud.

Owen’s hand fiddling became more nervous. “You’re right,” he said quietly, looking sadly up at the window of the sound room. “I didn’t tell you the full truth about Dwayne Powers. I’ve been working in theaters since I was a little boy, and I came to New York looking to get a job in show biz…. I was also looking for my father.” Owen pointed up at the sound room window. “That man. He’s–” a tear slid down the young man’s cheek– “my father.”


5:Chapter Five

The room was completely silent. Even Bill stopped shouting into his cell phone. And the sound room was completely silent.

Lillian was the first to break the silence. “Dwayne Powers is your what?

Owen nodded earnestly. “Yes, Ms. Weiss – he’s my father.”

“Awww, you look so much like him!” Millie cooed, even though she barely knew Dwayne, and probably never ever saw the failed talent agent with anything but a trim haircut and contact lenses. To Nancy, the two did not look the least bit alike.

“Now hold it just one minute!” Dwayne called from the sound room. “What are you talking about, Spayder? I thought you joined my agency to find work!”

Owen nodded. “Yes, sir. I came to your agency out of all the nicer, well-reputed agencies in New York City because I had to see you for myself. I never told you why I’d really come.”

“You’ve told me enough,” Dwayne said, his voice rising. “You told me you wanted to be a gopher!” (Next to Rentaro’s deer face, now that would be just priceless, but that’s another story.)

“No, Father,” Owen said, “My mother may have never told you, but it’s true. I am your son.”

“NOOOOOOOOO!”

Inside the sound room, Dwayne was throwing a huge temper tantrum, yelling and hammering his fists on everything and anything in sight on the control panel – including the button that put the studio into emergency lockdown mode. They were locked in.

When everyone figured it was probably safe to unplug their ears, Owen looked up at the sound room and said meekly, “Father?”

There was no response. From the loudspeaker, though, Nancy could hear the sounds of sobbing, and — was that the sound of raindrops?

“Dwayne, stop crying on the microphone!” Lillian cried, shaking her fist at the sound room.

“It’s locked,” Nancy moaned uncomfortably, trying the door to the hallway.

“What do we do?” Millie snapped.

“Think, Nancy, think,” Nancy said aloud. It was a pity mobile phones had not existed when Stay Tuned for Danger was released, because Nancy would have otherwise called her chums, Bess Marvin, a pretty blonde with a taste for ice cream and good fashion, and her cousin, George Fayne, a dark-haired, athletic girl whose parents had given her a boyish name. But alas, the infamous Hint Hotline did not exist yet either, so she could only think about what do do.

While the other occupants – with the exception of ever-devoted son Owen W. Spayder – proceeded to yell at Dwayne from down below his hiding place, Nancy ambled over to the studio door to examine a panel next to it. There was a fire alarm.

Nancy didn’t like pulling fire alarms unless it involved a good laugh at the expense of others, (which the WWB security guard, Ralph, just couldn’t seem to understand,) but the teenage sleuth realized that she’d really have to use the alarm for a real, life-threatening emergency.

Okay, so being locked in a room full of soap opera executives and employees wasn’t exactly a life-threatening emergency, but, knowing that they do tend to be temperamental, Nancy figured it could become that way if she didn’t get out of there soon.

And so, she pulled the alarm.

* * * *
Back on Lexington Avenue, Mattie Jensen got out of a taxi cab and went up the front steps to her apartment.

The soap opera star reached into her pocket book and poked through its contents for her house keys. As usual, they had disappeared into the murky abyss of lostness.

“Darn!” Mattie muttered under her breath in annoyance. “You’d think those keys were sub-quantum!”

Fortunately, Mattie was always losing her keys, so she had plenty of copies – inside the house. And to get to them, she’d have to unlock the door, which just wasn’t going to happen all too easily.

With a sigh of resignation, Mattie hailed another cab to go back to the studio. With any luck, she’d dropped her key on her way out the talent exit.


6:Chapter Six

The soap opera star punched in the recently reprogrammed code to the talent entrance, and entered the brightly lit hallway. She passed by Ralph Guardino, the security guard, who was doing a routine check of the building.

“Hello, Ms. Jensen,” said Ralph, waving with the hand that held the coffee. He always had a doughnut in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other. How he managed to wave without spilling his drink was a skill that Mattie aspired to achieve.

“Good evening, Ralph,” Mattie replied, eyeing his cup of coffee quizzically. “I’m just looking for my house keys.”

“Thank you, you may proceed,” he replied, as he always did whenever they spoke. With that, the portly security guard made his way down the other side of the hall.

That was when the alarm went off.

“Oh, no!” Mattie exclaimed with typical soap opera star emotion. “Is there a fire?”

“It’s probably that gofer, Miss Drew, that Lillian hired,” Ralph grumbled. “Always showing up after hours and pulling the alarm just to see the look on my face.” He gestured with the doughnut-grasping hand at the studio door. “We’d best just ignore it. She’ll find her way out.”

Mattie, however, was doubtful. “I don’t know, Ralph. My women’s intuition is telling me that something is really wrong. I say we check it out.”

Ralph couldn’t argue with that. He followed Mattie to the back entrance to the studio, because the door in the front was locked for the night.

* * * *
While Lillian and Millie continued to hurl insults at the sobbing and weeping talent agent in the sound room, Nancy was occupying herself pushing the pretty brown buttons on the panel by the studio door, wondering why they stopped lighting up when she pressed them in a certain order, when another door off to the side opened.

In the doorway, Nancy could make out the figures of Ralph the party-pooping stick-in-the-mud who called himself a security guard, and her friend, Mattie Jensen.

“Alright, what’s going on here?!” Ralph called warily.

Everyone snapped to attention. Nobody wanted to be caught doing something they shouldn’t in front of Ralph the security guard.

“Hey, what’s up, Ralph?” Bill called from the director’s chair. It was common knowledge among the WWB executives that Ralph Guardino was the only employee whom Bill Pappas did not yell at.

“She did it!” Lillian and Millie crowed, pointing accusatory fingers at Nancy.

“Did what?” Mattie demanded worriedly. “Has it been you all this time who’s been sending these threatening notes to Rick?!”

“Is she?” Ralph growled menacingly. “‘Cause if she is….”

“No, silly,” Nancy exclaimed somewhat nervously. “I just pulled the fire alarm–”

“YOU WHAT?!”

Nancy continued, “–because we were locked in here by Dwayne – by accident, of course – and I needed to get your attention somehow so that you could get us out of here, so, well, I did it.”

“Ever hear of banging on the door, Miss Drew?” Ralph said dryly.

“And wreck my manicure? No way!”

“I would’ve done it if you’d asked,” Owen offered meekly.

“Thanks,” Nancy replied, smiling sweetly like a good detective should.

“Um, I hate to interrupt this,” interrupted Mattie, “but have you found anything out yet? You know, about who’s been sending Rick these threatening notes, the broken watch, poisoned chocolates, and that whole thing about the teleprompter?”

“Actually,” replied Nancy, “while you two were squabbling–” she gave Millie and Lillian a dirty look “–I started thinking about who could possibly be smart enough to put together such a brilliant plan.”

Not wanting to be called not smart, Lillian unwittingly cut in, “It could’ve been any of us, Nancy.”

“That’s true!” Millie nodded. Suddenly, it seemed like everyone wanted to be the culprit, because the culprit was so smart.

“No,” Nancy replied coolly, “it isn’t any of you. In fact, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s–”

“Rick Arlen?” a suave voice announced from behind the doorway that Ralph and Mattie had just come through.

As the name suggested, sure enough, the blond actor strutted into the room, an evil grin upon his leering face!

While everyone else gasped in horror, Nancy began to wonder if the culprit was really so smart after all.


7:Chapter Seven

Everyone continued to be silent as Rick Arlen made his grand entrance. Either they were so overwhelmed by his superficial handsomeness, or they were actually surprised and horrified that he was the culprit. But it could’ve been both.

“So it was all just a publicity stunt!” Mattie exclaimed.

“Yes it was, Mattie dear,” Rick replied smoothly. “I did it all, and look where it’s gotten me! I’m back in the public eye, and everyone feels bad for me.”

“Rick, that’s ridiculous,” Lillian snapped. “I always knew you were crazy from our first date! And don’t you call her Mattie dear!”

“He can call me anything he wants,” Mattie exclaimed, her eyes brimming with tears. “It’s common knowledge he only dated you so he could meet your friends from Los Angeles!”

“At your expense, Mattie,” Lillian retorted. “Don’t tell me he hasn’t taken advantage of you too, getting set up with your agent and all that so he could get a role here at WWB.”

“That’s– Not– True!” Mattie gasped, tears running down her cheeks.

“It sure is, Mattie Jensen,” Lillian replied sardonically, crossing her arms. “Just think about it. It sure is.”

“Rick,” Nancy interrupted, “you just wait until the public learns what you did. Then you’ll be back at the bottom of the ladder, a hoax and a fraud, a failed actor!”

Rick did not even bat an eyelash. “Oh, do you really think that, Miss Drew? Because no one will ever believe you if you try to say that.” He jerked a thumb in the direction of the sound room, where Dwayne now kneeling on the control board and had his face pressed right up against the glass, a worried expression on his face. “All the evidence points to him.”

“It’s true, Miss Drew,” Dwayne replied. “He made me do everything. He told me to disguise myself and, using an ID card he’d found in the dressing room, sneak into the studio and place the bomb in his dressing room while he was out getting his hair done.”

“And the notes? Who sent the notes?” Mattie asked worriedly.

“Rick made those himself from magazines in the front lobby,” Nancy explained. She looked to Dwayne for confirmation.

“B.T. Kaisuur was an anagram for his given last name,” Dwayne added. “It’s Arbutuski.”

“I even sneaked into Millie’s proproom by the underground lift system to make use of her typewriter so that it would look like she was the one writing them,” Rick added proudly.

“Why!” Millie exclaimed. “You should’ve been cast for Yuri Danner, not his angelic brother!”

Rick just admired his nails.

“And what about those poisoned chocolates?”

“Oh please, they were only tainted! They might’ve tasted awful, but they wouldn’t harm anyone!” Lillian cut in. When everyone was staring at her, she added, “Alright, alright. I did that.”

“But the bomb, an actual attempt on my ever-so-gorgeous life,” Rick said, “was Dwayne’s fault – or so I’ll say to the press.”

“But Father,” Owen asked, meeting the eyes of his father for the first time, “why did you do it for him? You could’ve just said no!”

“I couldn’t, son,” Dwayne replied sadly. “If I didn’t, he’d reveal my real last name.”

“What’s that?” Owen pressed.

“Casper. Dwayne Casper.”

“CASPER?!” Lillian chortled loudly. “Like the friendly ghost? You’ve gotta be kidding me, man!”

“See what I mean?” moaned Dwayne.

“Oh, boy, Dad!” Owen suddenly exclaimed, clapping his hands with excitement. “You’ve just made my day!”

“How?”

“I always thought Powers was a lame name, and if I ever found you, I’d have to change my name to Owen W. Powers. Now, I don’t have to! My real name is Owen W. Casper, after my favorite cartoon character when I was a kid!”

“Well,” said Dwayne softly, “I’m glad you like it.”

“Enough with this sappy small talk!” Rick’s suddenly loud voice echoed throughout the studio. Everyone looked to see that he was standing by Bill Pappas’ director’s chair, holding a megaphone in one hand, and Ralph’s steaming hot cup of coffee in the other.

“Before I make my announcement declaring my innocence and Dwayne’s crimes in the press release tomorrow,” he said, “I’d like to make a deal with all of you.”

He took a moment to let his words sink in and wait for everyone to start whispering among themselves, “Oh my gosh! What’s the deal? What’re we gonna do? Is there ice cream involved?” etc., etc, ad infinitum. When that didn’t happen, he continued:

“Of course, my proposed terms are quite simple to follow. If you choose not to, of course,” he said, eyeing the cup of coffee in his hand, “there may be consequences, such as the very hot contents of this coffee cup spilling all over a certain WWB executive.”


8:Chapter Eight

“The terms are,” Rick announced in an evil-sounding voice, “that if everyone here keeps quiet about what really went on behind the scenes, I won’t disparage any of you to Lillian’s friends in L.A. After Light of Our Love is canceled so that I can get a full time role on Detective Beach, you might just have a chance to move onto other projects if I instead put in good words for all of you.”

Light of Our Love, CANCELLED?!” Lillian exclaimed in horror. “You can’t be serious!”

“Oh, but I am, Lillian,” Rick replied, wagging a finger in mock-disappointment. “I plan to leave anyhow. But think about it for a moment, Lillian. What’s Light of Our Love without the handsome Rory Danner? The show wouldn’t stand a chance without me.”

“But this can’t all be at Dwayne’s expense! You know I was the one who sent you the–”

“No, Lillian, Dwayne will be held responsible for it all, because he is such a rotten agent. Now stop trying to make me look bad, or this coffee is going to spill!

It was a no-win situation. If Ralph tried to take action, Rick would have the coffee dribbled all over Bill’s brand new H. McKay suit and Sinclair Designs tie before Ralph could reach him. In short, Bill Pappas was a sitting duck.

“But that isn’t fair!” Owen cried. “Listen, you stuck up actor with a real last name that makes me think of elephant tusks, I don’t care what you say. I’ll defend my father if it’s the last thing I do!”

Well, saying that was a mistake, because it definitely bothered Rick that somebody wasn’t going to do as he said.

“You know what, Spayder?” Rick said, his voice rising in annoyance. “If there’s one thing I absolutely hate, it’s not being listened to.” He began to wave the arm with the megaphone around expressively.

“Day in day out, I’m given scripts I don’t like, and told to read them, memorize them, rehearse them, and act them out on camera. Why? So you can all follow the pathetic little lives of pathetic individuals like Rory Danner and Serena Livingston! And do I get any say about what my character does or does not do? NO! I can’t take it anymore! Now it’s my turn to be the boss, the director, the screenwriter, and you – all of you! – will follow my script and my directions!

“And if you don’t,” Rick added menacingly, “I’ll spill this coffee on you!

The door to the sound room swung open abruptly. “That’s it, Rick Arlen,” Dwayne called as he flew down the stairs. “You can threaten me all you want, and you can say I’m a rotten agent too, because I am! But don’t you dare threaten my little boy!”

As the talent agent charged at his former client, Nancy used this opportunity of Rick being momentarily distracted to practice some of the judo moves that George had taught her back in River Heights. With flawless agility, she kicked the cup out of Rick’s hand and it spilled all over Rick!

“Aaarrrgh!” Rick exclaimed, not because he was in pain, (the coffee had by this time gotten quite cold) but because it had made a huge, coffee-colored stain on his flawless white sweatshirt. “This will never come out in the wash!”

Now that Rick was disarmed and Bill was no longer in danger of having his ensemble ruined, Ralph Guardino, who now proved himself to be more than just your average party-pooping stick in the mud, clicked a pair of handcuffs around Rick’s wrists.

“Alright, you’re comin’ with me,” the security guard said gruffly. Now, he was a heroic party-pooping stick in the mud!

As the protesting soap opera star was escorted off the premises by Ralph, the titian/strawberry blonde/blonde/red/green/black/pink/rainbow/whatever colored haired teenage detective called, “Way to go, Ralph!”

“Hey!” Lillian exclaimed. “That’s my line, not yours!”


9:Epilogue

Dear Ned,

Rick Arlen was quietly fired from the cast of Light of Our Love, and at first, the decision sparked much public outrage. But after Lillian announced on a daytime talk show special that Rick would be replaced by an up-and-coming actor named Dwayne Casper at the request and enthusiastic endorsement of supporting actress Mattie Jensen, fans of the show have had a change of heart, and the fanbase for Rick Arlen is rapidly decreasing in favor of the man whom critics call “the next Rory Danner!”

What’s even better is that Dwayne and Mattie have decided to get married! Owen – that’s Dwayne’s son, but I’ll tell you more about that later – happens to be a huge fan of Mattie, and is positively thrilled at the prospect of having his favorite actress become his stepmom.

As for what will happen to Rick’s acting career after what he did on the set of the Worldwide Broadcasting studio, as he would say, only his hairdresser knows for sure.

As for Lillian, she’s moved on to L.A., where she’s directing a feature film that’s scheduled for release on February 31st of next year! After being asked for directions in the studio for so long, Lillian says the movie she’s directing will be all about the life of a tour guide working for a museum in Washington. There will even be a subplot about an ancient Mayan treasure and a ring of thieves out to rob the museum blind! Sounds like a case I’d love to unravel….

I’d love to write more, but I’m about to get on a plane headed to San Francisco, California, right now to visit a friend of Hannah’s who’s trying to open her own bed and breakfast in a mansion that she’s renovating. Hannah didn’t give me all the details, but it sounds like strange things are happening in that mansion. Could it be a mischievous ghost playing tricks for the fun of it, or is someone trying to halt the renovations for good?

Well, I’m off to find out for myself!

Love,
Nancy

PS. When I speak to you next, remind me to tell you all about this guy and his pizza!


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