Skill Focus: Inferencing
Episode #2: Backstage
After she reads the poem, Zolivia lifts her eyes to meet Arty’s, then Morgan’s.
“What is that supposed to mean?” They blurt in unison.
“Is there anything else? Maybe something on the back?” Arty tilts his head to glance at the underside of the heavyweight paper.
Morgan reaches out to take the page for a closer look. “Come on, that’s obviously someone’s homework that fell out …” Turning it over in their hands, Morgan pauses. “Actually … this paper looks super old. It’s all brown and crumbly on the edges.”
Arty begins to let his eyes wander, examining the shadows of backstage. He notices large, multilevel sets slumbering in the wings, old costumes draped over risers, and ropes and pullies everywhere to tether the black velvet curtain and row after row of stage lights.
“We should check back here,” he said, letting his voice trail off along with his footsteps. “When we did Shakespeare this year, that spot where the horse guy goes is where we had our castle turret. Ms. Andrews must have had the statue moved out to make room for it, right?”
Arty and Zolivia step right into action, peeking behind drapes and curtains. They make quick progress by splitting off into stage left and stage right.
Morgan lingers uncertainly at center stage and nibbles their cuticles while haphazardly glancing around.
“Y’all, this is stupid.”
Just as the words enter the atmosphere, Arty falls to the ground with a crash and a shout: “HEY!”
Zolivia races from stage left to see what’s happening. She turns back again just in time to see a dark figure escape out a side door hidden in the expansive, black cavern that is backstage. “There he goes!”
She pounces for the door in hot pursuit like a tigress after prey. Frantic, Arty spits out as many details as he can: “There was somebody back there. A guy. He was in this, like, old military jacket. The kind with those big things on the shoulders.”
“Epaulets,” Morgan interjects.
“Huh? Anyway … it was a …” BANG!
As they turn to follow Zolivia and the escaping shadow, a stage light smashes onto the floor at their feet. Shattering glass sprays across the stage as the body of the light crumples like wartime shrapnel. They both let out screams. Then, catching their breath, they lock eyes and run to catch up.