The auditorium of the Fort Theatre was in complete darkness except for the red lights of two fire exits. Dana’s final job before locking the building up was to vacuum the lobby. It was only her third show working there but she enjoyed it – the pay was low but so was the demand.

The motor of the vacuum roared as she neared the staircase to the second level boxes. The vacuum sounded different. There was music and singing with it. Dana clicked off the vacuum – a woman’s voice faded away. She turned the vacuum on again and again there was singing. This time she could hear the words as if she was at the show.

“He only had himself to blame,” sang out from the empty theater.

Dana stepped into the dark auditorium. It was silent again. “Hello?” She muttered.

The fire alarm system blared out. Dana jolted then ran to the lobby exit. Before the fire department arrived, her manager was there.

“During our adaptation of ‘Chicago’, during the song ‘Cell Block Tango’, there was a fire. Some of the cast didn’t make it out. I was fortunate. But since then, this replay happens. And because of it, we can’t keep custodians.”

Dana smiled and handed him her keys.

This was my story that was submitted to Flash! Friday’s weekly 210 word writing challenge. This weeks two prompts that had to be included somewhere in the story was: theater and prisoners. The theater wasn’t a problem but I tried to find a different way to add the prisoner approach. Maybe it was a stretch. I liked it though. I had a few didn’t versions going but this was the only one that fit in the 210-word limit. I did a search for prison theater musicals and CHICAGO came up. There was the song, CELL BLOCK TANGO, that seemed to fit what I was looking for and it all fell into place after that.

Copyright © 2015 E.F. Olsson. All rights reserved.

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