SALLY hadn’t finished. Having upset Tommy Martin and his musicians, she called for Cyril Broom, who was sitting in the front row of the stalls.
“Cyril? Could I have a word?”
“Of course, Sally.” He stood up and went on stage.
“Cyril, just there by the garden wall.” Sally pointed. “I’d like a little archway, and a swing I can sit on while I sing my opening number.”
Cyril considered for a moment. Sally was one of his best acts.
“Yes, that sounds like a good idea.” He looked towards the wings where Will Griffiths was standing watching Sally’s act.
Will was the company’s stage-hand and general handy-man, approaching his mid-thirties. Kate had found him quietly assured, well spoken with a warm smile. She had instantly liked him and she knew that Nesbo held him in high regard.
“Did you hear that, Will?” Cyril called. “Do you think you can knock up the kind of thing Sally wants?”
Will walked towards the centre of the stage. Kate noticed that he dragged his left foot slightly, more noticeable now perhaps with everyone looking at him.
“That shouldn’t be a problem,” he said. “It will have to be quite sturdy, but it can be covered in garlands. I can paint the ropes for the swing.” Will gave Sally a little smile. “It won’t be ready tonight, I’m afraid, but I’ll have everything finished for Wednesday. And I promise there’ll be no splinters on the seat.”
There was a ripple of laughter from the orchestra pit and Kate suddenly realised that this gentle joke was made at the wrong time. Perhaps Sally thought the members of the orchestra were laughing at her, getting their own back, perhaps.
Sally’s face flushed.
“Why Wednesday?” she snapped. “It’s a simple enough thing to do, surely.”
“Well, it’s a little more complicated than you think, Sally,” Will said quietly, “but if I can do it sooner I will. As soon as I’ve finished a job for Mr Nesbo.”
“Oh, it’s for Mr Nesbo, is it?” Sally flared. “Well, you’d better go and get on with it. We mustn’t keep Mr Nesbo waiting.”
Will Griffiths looked at her for a moment then turned and limped off stage. Kate whispered fiercely to Delia, “I know you’re very fond of her, Delia, but she really does deserve to have her legs slapped.”
Delia was probably about to agree with Kate, but it was quickly evident that Sally hadn’t finished. It was almost as if she couldn’t help herself. She turned on Cyril Broom.
“Perhaps we could get things done quicker around here, Cyril, if you hadn’t hired a cripple.”
There was a dreadful silence. Sally put her hand to her mouth. Cyril had a horrified look on his face. He was looking past Sally. She glanced over her shoulder. Will Griffiths apparently had turned back to say something. Now he turned away and disappeared into the wings.
Sally held her hands to her face and burst into tears. She turned and ran off in the opposite direction.
Delia looked at Kate almost apologetically.
“I’d better go to her. Oh, Sally, what a silly girl you are.” Delia got up and went in search of the distraught Sally.
Sally’s upset, Kate thought. What about the poor man? She didn’t know what she’d say to him, but at least she could go and see how he was. She stood up just as her name was called.
“Kate.” It was Lennie Douglas. “You’re taking Nesbo’s band call, aren’t you?”
She’d forgotten! She hurried forward with her folder of sheet music and handed it to Tommy Martin.
“I’m Kate Flynn, Mr Nesbo’s assistant.”
“Pleased to meet you, Miss Flynn.” Mr Martin flipped through the folder. “All as usual. If you want to walk through the act while we play we can do, but really . . .”
“No, that’s fine.” She discussed the possibility of having some haunting violin music when the mentalist part of the act began, an idea of her own that she hoped Nesbo would like, then band call was over and she was free to go backstage and find Will Griffiths. Sally, as far as Kate was concerned, could stew.