A typically mundane day of delegating responsibility for Kristi Johnson gets turned upside down when the emergency flash message reaches her that there had been a suspected terrorist bombing in St. Louis, Mo. while hovering above the scene, through the news copter traffic below, her worst fears are realized, she makes the call to the Department of Homeland Security recommending raising the national terror threat level to RED for the first time in history. What follows is a hair raising rollercoaster ride through the heretofore unimagined world of a nationwide National Emergency. The characters in L.C. Beys debut novel come from all walks of life, but they must navigate this locked down society of curfews, check points tracked movements and fear . Kristi and her FBI tactical team have very little time to decipher the cryptic clues left behind at the crime scene taunting them into recognizing that the terror spree was far from over, the hubris of the terrorist indicating that he was much smarter than their best and brightest... Volume one sets up the landscape of this pre Marshall law America, showcasing the strain inflicted on relationships of all kinds, the high tech investigations and the way human nature makes for strange bed fellows when said humans are stretched to the limit. Join us for the ride as we trailblaze the country in the midst of Threat Level RED !!!
Mr Corbin-Bey is the author of From The Inside, a book of poetry previously published, he is an Ohio Native that currently resides in Atlanta, Ga, USA. his use of strong female protagonists is most likely the product of his growing up the youngest of six with five older sisters and a very industrious mother and father
For all my theater loving Thespians, this is a glimpse into the time honored aspect of the art. From table reads to first blocking, we all remember the steps leading up to opening night. The first actual realization that all the sometimes confusing, out of order, late night rehearsals and struggles to get off book were really worth it and an audience was gong to be filling those seats soon...
This excerpt showcases some of the normal folks that are living life, just like you, totally unaware that just around the corner is a reality no amount of rehearsals or script memorization can prepare them for - Threat Level RED ... Read on Dear Reader...
Threat Level Red
Wilbert looked at his vibrating phone, usually he would not answer during rehearsal but this was the call he had been waiting for. He said, “Ok, ok hold what you got right there, everybody gather round.” They had been back from their break for about forty minutes when he got his call. “Ok, update: rehearsal is going to end early today, something has come up”, he continued. “So we’re over, right in the middle of Act II”, inquired someone as an ensemble of about four or five people from the taped up stage? “That’s right, rehearsal is over but you are not released. Take five, gather up all of your things and let’s meet in the parking lot in your cars in ten minutes”, instructed Wilbert.
The announcement generated quizzical looks and the associated murmuring buzz throughout the cast. “That’s all”, he continued. And Wilbert turned and strode off walking towards the rear of the practice facility where two Production Assistants were going over some paperwork. Thony (with an h) and Suzan had shared a ride in so they met at his car both sipping raspberry iced teas from the vending machine; by the time they’d arrived the rest of the cast was waiting. They all turned to them as if they knew something that nobody else did, they shrugged their shoulders indicating that they were in the dark as well.
From behind the church they all saw the PA’s in the production van pulling out turning right and riding out. Just then Wilbert came out of the church basement door with a pronounced sour look on his face; he passed by everybody without a word and got into his car. Wilbert’s window slid down and his arm made the follow-me gesture as he pulled off; as he hit the street he turned on his hazard lights. The lights ensured that all the people following each other knew who they were following; this wasn’t so necessary in the city, but it became a stroke of genius once they got onto the freeway. They rode for about twenty minutes and got off at the exit. After three turns they pulled into the lot of a large venue and rode around to the back stage access area. Curiosity was building all along the route.
Wilbert parked in the Director Only spot next to the door and hopped out. Gone was the sourpuss face, replaced by the neutral look. He waited for the cast to assemble around him. Then without a word, he turned on his heels and walked away assuming they would follow…and they did. They entered through a side access entrance to the proscenium space. If they could have seen Wilbert’s face in the dark, they would have recognized the ear-to-ear grin he kept for Really, Really good news. As the cast filed into the dark space they couldn’t see anything before them as their pupils had not yet adjusted to the lack of light. “The last person in, close the door please”, he said in that same affected monotone. As the door closed he yelled, “Lights!”
The stage lit up brilliantly – the set was finished and it was BEAUTIFUL! All the days of imagining reality through the taped out walls and doors were over; and now the next phase could begin. First things first, they took the tour from the lobby to the main audience space, from the balcony to the orchestra pit. That done, they went downstairs to see their newly assigned dressing rooms, the wardrobe room, make-up and hair departments. Now, for the first time the cast could feel destiny calling.
The tour was not designed by accident, Wilbert wanted them to feel the force of the audience before they even had asses in seats, to know where exactly the back of the house was, to know who they were performing for. Most of all the tour was designed to show them exactly what sold out, standing room only actually meant – since their first three weekends were already sold. This put even more weight to that statistic that the basement rehearsal hall could not even hint at.
The balance of the rehearsal time was taken by the technicians explaining emergency procedures, fire extinguisher locations, etc. The sound guy was demonstrating the Lavaliere styled wireless microphones and the sound equipment built into the set walls, floors and the overhanging booms. Wardrobe would be there the next day.
Their measurements had been taken by the designer weeks ago, and now all the costumage was completed and hanging in the appropriate rooms. Everyone would get a final fitting to ensure a perfect fit. Rehearsal time was over, but the cast wanted to do a quick run through of Act I. Wilbert convinced the necessary crew to stay a little while longer, and they readily agreed because they were just as anxious to get started and on schedule as the rest of the cast.
Act I felt good everybody agreed, although it was similar to the giraffe walking on one day old legs; by the intermission they were in full swing in three dimensions. As the cast was officially filing out of the backstage door, they received maps to the venue from all points of the compass. Whichever direction they were coming from the venue was dead center.
Thony (with an h) and Suzan were enroute to her house in the Center City Lofts when they ran into horrible traffic. They hadn’t been listening to the radio, they were actually running their lines, practicing on the way home; seeing all those seats made the fact that this was a job and not just an adventure hit home for the entire cast. Every spare minute was spent in character. But this was something else, all four lanes of the interstate were backed up, it was a parking lot and he needed gas. He turned on the local radio station; the news reported that there was a big rally going on smack dab in the middle of the city. Mitchell Johansen, a Swedish Pacifist Party activist was convening a rally for both sides of the Middle Eastern situation; those who were for leaving the entire Arab world alone to their own devices, and those who felt that their record of human rights abuses called for permanent occupation. They wanted to ensure everybody’s rights were adhered to, and that those that abused others paid the price in U.S dollars.
Thespians were apolitical; it was all about the art, whatever the part called for…that was who you became.