Finally I can tell you: Nora did it. She switched guns in her purse. She had a real gun loaded with bullets in her purse all along, a gun that she thought would match the prop gun, and it almost did, except Jean Louis gave her a gun with a brown handle and this gun is solid black, and a little bit bigger.
And as Jean Louis can tell you, size makes a difference.
Tonight was the last time I will tell you about the guns. After seven months of running this production with Capital City Mystery Players, six months of doing this show last year, and three months of it two years before, I have sung my final This Is Your Birthday Song and gasped in horror my final, “He’s dead!”
Gary hired me almost four years ago at one of the lowest points in my life. Timmie had died, I’d spent a month wandering Colorado and raging at the world, and returned to Texas to figure out what to do next. I had no job. I had no plan. I had lots of friends, but limited capacity to interact with anyone.
My first job for Gary’s Capital City Murder Mystery company was playing a butler. (I did it.) Then I was a rich guy on a cruise ship. (I did it.) Then I was a jealous husband of a entrepreneurial philandering wife. (I did it.) I was a movie director, and game show host, a TV host for PBS. I’ve crashed parties, pretended to be papparrazi at restaurants, performed in train stations, museums, restaurants and mansions. I’ve been applauded, praised, asked for autographs and photographs, and been told to leave by the easily offended pious.
It’s been a great ride.
I remember shortly after I was hired thinking that as an actor I had hit rock bottom. I was doing dinner theater. The epitome of career catastrophe. I plugged on through the shows for several months, but couldn’t escape the nagging feeling that I was nothing better than a hack.
Then during one show in particular, while the audience was laughing so hard they were snotting beer and knocking plates to the floor, I looked around and actually saw what was happening. These people were having a great time. They were loving it. They were mesmerized, engaged, entranced, and totally committed to what we were doing. They probably hadn’t laughed this hard since, well, since maybe a really long time.
It was at that show I realized I loved what I was doing. It wasn’t just for the money. I really loved doing the shows, and the audience really loved us for doing them.
My prideful attitude about high brow theatre and artistic merit took notice. People want to laugh, have fun, be silly, be playful. We hardly ever do it in our daily lives, at least I rarely did after Timmie died. Here was my chance.
From that experience sprang the script for THEFT (OF THE DRAG QUEEN’S WIG), which had been a stodgy boring political drama until I breathed some blatantly silly shit into it. And the silliness continued into AARON…ALBEIT A SEX HERO. The murder mysteries brought inane absurdity into my life. And brought me back to the world of the living.
To Gary, and Lisa, Jane, Jimmie, Heath, Matt, Cynthia, Freddie, Caitlin, Joeleen, Jennifer, Mary, and many many more, thank you. These four years were wonderful.
“This was my farewell song, it wasn’t very long.”
The plane for New York leaves in six hours.