At the weekends I will be sharing some of the stories from my collections and also new stories that have not been published before… I hope you will enjoy.
Beatrix – Behind the Mask
Beatrix De Carlo took her final bow before the audience that filled the theatre to capacity. There had been four curtain calls, as those who had watched her last performance of this critically acclaimed production, showed their appreciation and adoration.
Beatrix remained in character, gently smiling and waving her arm regally at both cast members and audience in turn. Her silver hair shone in the stage lighting and the fake diamonds around her neck sparkled as if to deny their false nature.
Finally, the curtain came down for the last time and members of the cast rushed forward to clasp her hands and utter niceties to her. One after another they politely offered their thanks before heading off to embrace their fellow actors.
Beatrix could hear them making arrangements to meet up for drinks in the pub around the corner.
‘So privileged to have worked with you Miss De Carlo,’ whispered the leading man whose breath smelt of mints. She smiled graciously and disengaged herself from his sweaty hands.
‘You too Gerald and please give my regards to your lovely wife.’ Discouraged, the elderly actor turned and sauntered across the stage intent on joining the younger generation for last orders.
She glided away through the stage crew as they cleared the set, and made her way to her dressing room.
She closed the door behind her and looked at the cluttered space. Two costume changes lay untidily across the sofa and armchair, and instead of the usual welcoming tray of sparkling mineral water and chocolate digestive biscuits, there was a dirty coffee mug containing bitter dregs. She leaned back against the door and closed her eyes wearily. How she missed Mabel.
The theatre management had offered the services of one of their experienced dressers for this last performance, but that would have been unacceptable. Mabel was the only person who knew exactly what Beatrix needed, and had been by her side for the last fifteen years without missing a single performance. She moved towards the dressing table and sat on the worn velour stool and looked at herself in the mirror.
Removing her bouffant silver wig, she placed it carefully on the foam model head beside her. She then began the painstaking task of removing the make-up that had transformed her into a seventy year old dowager queen. Finally she was bare faced and viewed her reflection. Having removed one face she must now apply another.
As she slipped her arms into her leather coat and patted her platinum blonde hair into place there was a knock on the door.
‘Miss De Carlo, it’s Jack Smith, can I come in for a moment?’
Beatrix went across and opened the door for the theatre director and smiled at him.
‘Hello Jack,’ she laid a hand on his arm. ‘I hope you were happy with the final performance this evening?’
He stepped into the dressing room and took in its untidy appearance.
‘Sorry to hear about Mabel,’ he perched on the back of the armchair. ‘Spraining her ankle like that was a great shame, but I’m sure she will be back on her feet again very soon.’
Seeing that Beatrix was ready to leave, Jack escorted her to the stage door where she signed out for the last time. She slipped Tony the porter an envelope and he winked back at her in thanks. Leaving the two men behind she walked into the cold night air and slipped into the back seat of the waiting taxi.
For a moment Jack stood with his hands in his trouser pockets before turning to Tony. ‘She really is an amazing woman isn’t she,’ He paused for a moment and shook his head. ‘It is hard to believe that she has stayed at the top of her game for the last forty years.’ Tony nodded his head in silent agreement as he slipped the envelope into his pocket.
The taxi driver opened the back door of his cab and assisted the elegant middle aged woman onto the slick pavement. She paid the fare and tipped him generously with a gracious smile. She let herself into the luxury mews cottage where she had lived for the last seventeen years. Carefully she closed the door behind her and let out a sigh of relief.
She could see that there was a light still on in the living-room and she popped her head in and viewed the occupant.
Hi mum,’ she smiled at the woman with her foot up on a stool in front of her armchair. ‘Can I get you anything before I get out of this clobber?
‘No Brenda love, clean that muck off your face and get into your PJs,’ she smiled at her daughter mischievously. ‘I want to hear all about the last night, I was so gutted to have missed it.’
Ten minutes later her daughter sat on the sofa with her bare feet up on the coffee table… Her auburn hair in a short bob framed her youthful face and she held the cup of hot chocolate between her clasped fingers.
The two generations of the acting legend known as Beatrix De Carlo then shared the glory of their latest triumphant performance.
My latest short story collection is Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries: Sometimes Bitter, Sometimes Sweet.
About the collection
Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries: Sometimes Bitter, Sometimes Sweet is a collection of short stories with scattered poetry, reflecting the complexities of life, love and loss.
The stories in the collection dip into the lives of men and women who are faced with an ‘event’ that is challenging and in some cases life changing.
Even something as straightforward as grocery shopping online can be frustrating, and a DNA test produces surprise results, the past reaches out to embrace the present, and a gardening assistant is an unlikely grief counsellor. Romance is not always for the faint-hearted and you are never too old for love. Random acts of kindness have far reaching consequences and some people discover they are on a lucky streak. There are those watching over us who wish us well, and those in our lives who wish us harm.
One of the reviews for the collection
Sally Cronin’s Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries: Sometimes Bitter, Sometimes Sweet (2020) delivers exactly what the title promises–a lovely collection of real-life stories about ordinary people. They are heart warming and satisfying, showing the kind side of people despite dreary events or circumstances. There are no dark endings or dystopian themes–both I stay away from when reading because I get all the depressing circumstances in the world around me. I don’t need to read it in my fiction!
They are organized into categories–Technology, Connections, Winning Streak, Animal Magic, and Falling in and out of love. There’s one about an abused wide who’s finally had enough, another about the wife who loses a child and has the courage to try again. In one, a lonely woman finds family after her DNA reveals secrets. There’s Random Acts of Kindness, The Charity Shop, The Night Shift, and about a dozen more. All are a handful of pages that leave you feeling better than when you started. Sally’s voice is kind, empathetic, and respectful of the varied circumstances that surround people, and without fail, brings their dreams and passions to life. In fiction, there are writers and storytellers. One writes an interesting story and the other makes you feel they’re talking to you, like you can’t leave because you’ll miss something. I’ve read a lot of Sally’s books and I can tell you, she is the latter.
If you in love stories of normal people surviving life’s challenges with a positive attitude and a will to overcome, you’ll love this book.
You can find out about my other books and their most recent reviews: Sally’s books and reviews 2019/2021
Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you enjoyed the story.. .Sally.