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Chuckie Finn

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Roll Over Beethoven
By Chuckie Finn
Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Rated "G" by the Author.

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A New Way to Get Rid of Unwanted Visitors

As I sat with a few of my associate stagehands enjoying the final sips of my morning coffee and casual conversation before the start of the work day, George’s booming voice thundered throughout the room. His hooded, searching eyes scanned the periphery of the room deliberately coming to rest on our small table. He pointed a finger in our general direction.

“Chuckie, John, and you too Ron," he bellowed. "When you finish up your coffee, meet me downstairs in wardrobe.” George rubbed the bearded stubble along his cheeks, and at first impression, appeared to be in deep thought. He sharply pivoted and exited the room

"Ewww. I don't like this at all. Something is bothering him. See the look on his face? I bet this is going to be one of those jobs where he requires someone else to blame for his shortcomings,” whispered John leaning over on one elbow.

“Yeah, right. Another adventure in the life of a stagehand. Whenever there is a problem or something distasteful to do, he has to call on one of us to straighten it out for him,” Ron added after a brief silence ensuring our boss was well out of hearing range.

“Well, whatever it is, it can’t be any worse than the time he got confused and had the outdoor marquee labeled with two different shows for the same night!” I said rising from my chair. I finished my coffee and crumbled the Styrofoam cup in my hand. “Let’s go downstairs and see what the heck he wants us to do this time.”

As we descended the stairs to the lower level of the theatre, George was leaning against the wrought iron railing at the bottom of the stairwell. He turned toward us and impatiently motioned us with his hands to be quiet. He pointed toward the wardrobe door just down the corridor from the stairwell landing.

"What's up, Boss?" Ron asked.

“Shhhhhhush! Will you guys be quiet!" George said through gritted teeth. "Chuckie, walk down the corridor and take a peek in the room.” He pointed emphatically with his index finger. “Don’t flip the light switch on whatever you do! Just look and tell me what you see.”

Pressing my back along the wall, I made my way to the room. As I tilted my head around the doorjamb and peeked into the darkened room, eight red eyes stared back at me. I jumped back and pressed hard my back against the wall. I felt a sheen of sweat immediately form along my forehead and my heart must have accelerated another twenty beats a minute.

“Oh my god! What the heck is it in there?” I shouted. "It stared back at me!"

“Shhhhhhsh!” George said motioning with both his hands looking in both directions. "For crying out loud Chuckie! Be quiet! Get back over here."

I hurried back to the stairwell. “Sorry, Boss. What the heck is in there staring back at me? Nearly scared the pants right off of me," I whispered cowering in a corner of the stairwell.”

George looked around me toward the open door. “Someone must have left the stage exit door open during the last evenings performance and a family of skunks moved in when it was quiet and no one was around. Judy, the make up artist, discovered them this morning just a short while ago. When she came to see me and tell me about it, her face turned white and it looked like she was going to faint. For a moment, I thought I was going to have to call 9-1-1 for her.”

“I hope you have a lot of tomato juice if they decide to spray!” Ron said with a sarcastic snicker. "My dog got sprayed last year by one and it seemed like it took an eternity to get the smell off her. We tried everything!"

“Well, we have got to get rid of them before they do any damage to the clothes before tonights performance. So have any of you guys got any ideas?” George asked expectantly looking to each of our faces.

John sighed heavily and shook his head. “Maybe if we call the Animal Control Officer from the Police Department, they will come out and get rid of them for us.”

“No Good. I already tried calling them. Either they can't be bothered or they are to busy with other things,” said George furrowing his forehead. “Their excuse is that if the skunks spray the expensive wardrobe and we have to cancel the play, they don’t want to be blamed. Anyone else got an idea?”

“Well, I know a few guys that worked for Environmental Management a while back," I chimed in. "Maybe one of them can suggest something to get rid of these critters. It’s worth a telephone call anyway.” I said shrugging my shoulders.

Fumbling through some slips of paper I had in my wallet, I called a friend of mine who was employed for Parks and Recreation. He was only too pleased to offer me a possible “alternative” solution. Although he had a reputation of being somewhat of a prankster, we didn’t have much of a choice but to employ his suggestion.

After finishing the conversation with him by telephone, I approached George reluctantly. After explaining the DEM officer's recommended path to take to rectify the problem, I finally asked him the burning question.

"George do you have any music from the early 70’s. In particular, any Tony Orlando & Dawn songs." I sheepishly turned away from his disbelieving stare.

“Who?” he asked removing the unlit cigar from his mouth. “What the heck are you talking about?”

“Tony Orlando and Dawn. They were a musical act. Don't you remember them? They had a TV show back in the 70’s and were very popular with the “older” generation at the time. He was a tall dude with a mustache. All the publicity pictures show him smiling in the middle with a tux flanked by two stylishly dressed pretty ladies. They had a couple of really irritating monotonous songs. You know the ones they play so often you just get so sick of hearing them over and over again.” I searched George's face for a signal of recognition.

He nodded and snapped his fingers. “Yes, I think I know who you’re talking about. My wife Belma use to like that guy. But to answer your question, No. I don’t have any records by them. Why can’t it be someone else like Dean Martin or Perry Como. I always liked those guys. How about something classical instead?”

“George, Please." I said closing my eyes tightly. "My friend from the Barrington Parks Department was quite clear, it must be a song recording by our main man Tony and his lady friends and played on full volume. He said to put the taped recording as close to the wardrobe door as possible and play one of their songs on full blast. He states to leave the area mmediately and within fifteen to thirty minutes, those skunks will exit the building and out of our hair for good and will never be back. He said if they could talk, they would tell all their woodland friends not to venture back here!”

George pursed his lips and scoffed at the proposal. "How the hell does he know this will work anyway? It sounds ridiculous."

"George, all I can tell you is that he states that playing Tony Orlando and Dawn records is how he gets the small animals out of rest rooms in the state parks," I countered with a smile. "He says it even works on some of the young amorous couples who wish to remain in their cars after the park closes for the night."

George shook his head and mumbled something about being a fool but finally stated we didn't have much of a choice.

After a plea and search among everyone connected with the theater, for a muscial recording by the group, we were able to procure a copy of Vaya Con Dios. Although there were some chuckles at our musical folly, after implementing the solution, the family of skunks were gone before the evening performance. However, not everyone was in such a state of welcomed relief. It seems the family of skunks moved into a furniture store a few doors down from our building and settled in their bedding department.

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Reviewed by Shirley Cheng 8/24/2004
LOL! Very funny...and cute. :)
Reviewed by La Belle Rouge 8/18/2004
Glad to see your short stories posted here, you know how I enjoy them. This is wonderful.
Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 8/17/2004
Fun romp, Chuckster! LOL Thanks for the smiles! LOL

(((HUGS))) and much love, your Tx. friend, Karen Lynn. :D
Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner 8/17/2004

LOL--whatever works! :) enjoyed this fun foray :)

(((HUGS))) and love, karla. :)
Reviewed by Cynthia Borris 8/17/2004

Cute! Whatever works, works, right?


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