Tara (stepping up to the microphone): Ladies and gentlemen... Patrons and honored guests... On behalf of Simpson/Lynch Studios and the Kewl Beanz! coffeesh... errr... restaurant and night club, I'd like to thank you all for making this experience a once in a lifetime event! (applause) And now, Gretchen and I have a special treat for all of you, and that includes the Skipster and the Foxster as well! Gretchen and I -- with the assistance of our more musically-inclined guests, sequestered backstage with microphones -- have put together a little tribute of sorts to "our guys." And to put the frosting on the cake, we have flown a surprise guest here for the occasion. Standing behind me, on my left and your right, is none other than Mary Weiss, the lead singer of the Skipster's favorite female vocal group of the 1960s and early 1970s, the Shangri-Las! (applause)
Tara: We've flown Ms. Weiss here at great personal expense...
Foxster (yelling from his seat) : My poor, besieged debit card! (scattered laughter)
Tara (smiling) : Exactly! Anyway, between our hand-held microphones and the overhead mikes, we ought to get a pretty good sound, I hope! (gesturing to Kato, at the piano) And now, Kato...?
The Foxster says: After their incredible number, Gretchen and Tara thanked the guests (especially those who'd sung in their offstage back-up chorus), and the incomparable Mary Weiss, of course, from the stage. Tara spent a few minutes mingling with the crowd. (It just occurred to me that the Pleasantview citizens has a relatively small turn-out. Maybe because so many of them work for us here!)
Tara finally sat down next to me. "So," she said, "what did you think? Did you like it?"
Over my sunglasses, my eyebrows rose in amazement. "You're kidding, right? That was a mind-blower! Didn't you see me on my feet, dancing?"
"Oh, is that what you called it? Dancing?" she teased. "What were you doing?"
"I think it was the Monkey... or maybe the Mashed Potato..."
"Looked more like you were mashing some poor monkey."
"I didn't know you could sing like that," I said, ignoring her wise-cracks.
"Oh, come on! You've heard me sing before. Remember 'Silent Night,' for the Christmas post?"
I smiled and shook my head. "Not like that. Not quite. That was in-freaking-credible!"
"So," she said, with deliberate understatement, "You did like it."
"I loved it. And that reminds me..."
I fiddled with my bow tie. "Umm... well... during the song, you and Gretchen kept singing 'I love him, I love him, I love him,' and... uhh..." What I wanted to ask her was not coming out well. We'd grown so close in the past few months, I had to know if she really... I mean, I wanted to ask her if she...
Oh, Lord, I can't even say it to you, fellow babies! The "famous writer," stuck for words. Crap!
"Those are the lyrics, you know... Mr. Foxster." She called me "Foxster." She only does that when she's mocking me, albeit playfully.
But joking or not, she wasn't saying what I'd hoped she'd say, so I merely replied, "Oh. Right. Of course." Damn!
"My gods!" Tara said aloud, looking upward, "Is this guy really that blind, or just that insecure?"
"Tara, what are you..? I mean..."
"Finish a friggin' sentence, willya?" she said, laughing.
"Sorry! Tara, this probably isn't the place to discuss this... but there are some people who aren't as afraid to say what they feel as much as..." Oh, Lord, I was floundering again!
She reached out with her left hand and touched my cheek gently. Then -- only after looking around to make sure nobody was watching us -- she raised my sunglasses slightly, looked me straight in the eyes...
And finished my sentence for me, matching almost word-for-word what was in my mind! "Lemme guess, handsome. There are some people who aren't as afraid to say what they feel as much as they're afraid to say it first!" I blinked; she lowered my sunglasses. "Well, am I right?"
"Yeah. Yes. Sometimes you're afraid to say... something... because you don't know what the other person's reaction will be. If there were any way you could be sure beforehand, of course, then it would be..."
"David, you talk too [expletive deleted] much! We're evidently both the kind of person who doesn't want to say 'it' first!" Then Tara impulsively grabbed my bearded face in her hands, and pulled me to her for a long kiss.
"David," she said, after a long -- but very comfortable -- silence, "what about the Skipster? What was his reaction?"
"Didn't you see him on his feet, too, mashing yet another monkey, as you so quaintly put it?"
"Yeah, but... Did he say anything?"
I thought for a second. "Hmm. Now that you ask... not really, even when I said 'Damn, Skip, we're the main hosts here! How the hell are we going to compete with an act like that?' And the Skipster just grinned, got up, and walked away from me without a word!"
Ah, what the hell, now I just want to relax and watch everybody else have a good time on the dance floor.
To Be Concluded...