Sundays With Ingrid
There were two stools onstage. Ingrid sat on one. Mr. Santos sat on the other, the script in his huge hand, oil stains under the fingernails.
“Anytime,” said Jill Monteiro, from somewhere in the darkened seats.
“Me?” said Mr. Santos.
“From the top,” said Jill.
Mr. Santos frowned at the script. “I’m at the top,” he said. He shook himself, as though discarding the character of Mr. Santos and allowing the inner Mad Hatter to emerge, then cleared his throat, forcefully enough to cause bleeding, Ingrid thought, and spoke through gritted teeth: “Okay, paisan, time’s up on that freakin’ riddle.”
Out in the darkness, something dropped on the floor. Ingrid opened her mouth, closed it, began again: “I give up.” Her instinct was to be breezy in the tea-party scene, but following Mr. Santos’s lead, she tried nervous instead, flashing him an anxious glance. “What’s the answer?”
Mr. Santos laughed suddenly, startling her—a loud, cruel, triumphant laugh, but more Daffy Duck than Joe Pesci. For such a big guy, Mr. Santos had a surprisingly high voice. “How the hell would I—” he began, before a cell phone rang in the pocket of his overalls. “Geez.” He fished it out and said, “Santos,” listened for a moment, then rose and peered past the footlights, shading his eyes. “Hey. Screwup down at the station. Be back as soon as I can, okay?”
Jill’s voice came out of the darkness. “No hurry,” she said.
“Thanks,” said Mr. Santos. He turned to Ingrid and in a stage whisper said, “That scared look you did—wow. Just like Diane Keaton in Godfather Two.”
Mr. Santos left. Jill called out, “Send another Mad Hatter.” Then to Ingrid: “This will probably be a little more conventional.” And to herself, so quietly Ingrid almost didn’t hear: “Please God.”
From Down the Rabbit Hole.
Tags: Echo Falls Series
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