The Ed Waller Stories: Book One - Algeria Here I Come

Chapter Thirty-Four: Another Opening

As we were finishing breakfast, Mrs. Dawkins stopped by the table.  She pointed at Brahim, Allie and all of his friends.  "I'll meet you all in the theatre at nine o'clock.  Don't be late or I'll send the blood hounds after you.  The rest of you stay out of our way.  The guys will have some free time between three and five and I'll make sure that they are adequately fed."

Tran challenged Mrs. Dawkins, "Why do Kim and I need to be there?  We just got here.  Besides we can't sing."

"Nonsense, young man, Allie needs all the help he can get."

That caused Allie to react, "Mrs. Dawkins, are you saying that I'm that bad that I need help?"

"Nope, what I was saying was that we need your four friends to help you steal the show.  Don't dally guys."

After Mrs. Dawkins left, Allie asked, "Dad, do we gotta do this?"

I didn't have a chance to answer before there was a resounding chorus of yeses from the people at the table and the staff.

Allie stood, "Come on, guys, everyone hates us.  We'll probably have to swim home."

Brahim and the five pre-teens departed for the theatre and I felt abandoned. 

I went to our suite and was sitting on the veranda when Amir and Khalid appeared through the wall.  Khalid asked, "Feeling a little sorry for yourself, are you, Ed?"

"As a matter of fact, I am.  Guys, I have no idea what lays in store for us when we get to Houston.  What if I don't have a job?  How am I going to be able to support Brahim and Allie.  I know they haven't had much of a life recently, and I want them to have the best."

Khalid shook his head, "Ed, you're thinking negatively.  Think positively.  Trust us, everything will be fine.  You're lucky you found the two guys before we did, or you would be dead meat."

"Guys, I don't understand what you're saying.  Are you saying that you would have allowed me to be killed?"

Amir answered, "Ed, Allie stole my heart when I was directed to protect you.  We had been ordered by Khaly's Dad to make sure that nothing happened to any of you.  Allie is a special person, as is Brahim.  Allie is just more outgoing and therefore is going to draw more attention.  I don't know who Mrs. Dawkins is, but I'm guessing that she has had some experience in show business.  The guys will call you if they need you.  Now let's go meet the others for lunch.  The guys are fine."

When we got to the dining room, the five young guys were eating.  Allie looked up, "It's so nice of you to join us.  The Wicked Witch Dawkins gave us time to come get something to eat.  Brahim will be released as soon as we get back."

The five guys were watching the clock.  They finished their food and Allie announced, "We'll see you at three o'clock.  Thank goodness Dr. Roberts' presentation made it possible to have some free time."

Allie looked at Darryl, "Grandpa Darryl, I'll see you at your presentation.  Uncle Tom don't let him fall overboard before then.  Reverend Hobbs, I decided to become an atheist so I won't be going to the next church service.  By the way, Generals, I had a report that you were AWOL.  I called your President and told him where you were, and he is sending his mounted police to come get you."

Tom asked, "What does AWOL mean?

Allie laughed, "That means they ran away from home without asking General Khalid's father's permission.  Come on, guys, we gotta go.  Dad, Bra should be here shortly.  We'll see the rest of you at three o'clock."

It was approximately ten minutes later when Brahim arrived in the dining room.  "That woman is a monster.  She wants us to be professionals in one easy lesson.  The six of us will never make it through the night.  She ordered a snack and was eating it as I left.  I don't have to be back until two o'clock.  I think she has decided that I'm beyond help."

After lunch, Brahim and I went to our suite and it seemed so quiet.  We went to the veranda and were just sitting in the double lounge chair.  Brahim had his head on my shoulder.  I kept expecting him to talk about the show but he never said one word about what was happening. 

We fell asleep, because we were awakened by Allie when he came bursting onto the veranda.  "Why didn't you people answer the phone?  Bra, it's after two o'clock and Mrs. Dawkins wants you in the theatre, so we can practice the finale one last time."

The guys left so I was alone again.  I made my way to the theatre just before three o'clock.  When I entered, Allie and Brahim were sitting so there was a seat saved between them.  The theatre was almost full by three o'clock.  "Allie, where are the other guys?"

"Dad, they were going to the game arcade.  They're going to meet us at the pool after Grandpa Darryl's presentation.  They decided they needed to do something fun."

"Why didn't you go with them?  Don't you think it's time for you to have some fun too?"

"Dad, this is more fun than playing video games."

After the presentation which was stopped by Alan because of time, we started toward the cabin to change into our swim suits.  We were passing the Shore Excursion Desk when a voice called, "Mr. Waller, I just called and left a message on your phone.  What are your plans for tomorrow?  I have been directed to make the arrangements for your party while we're in Reykjavik."

I looked at Allie, "What would you like to do, son?"

Allie shrugged, "I think it would be nice to visit the Austurvollur so we get a flavor of the heart of Reykjavik and we can explore around that area around the square and then I think it would be fun to visit Arbaejarsafn to see how the Icelandic people lived in the past.  We'll need to find someplace to eat, probably.  I would like to try some authentic Icelandic foods."

The young man behind the desk smiled.  "I can arrange for all that.  How many people will be in the party?"

I watched as Allie mentally calculated how many people there might be.  He looked at the young man, "Sir, I would guess that there will probably twenty of us."

The young man smiled, "I'll make sure that your transportation can accommodate twenty-four people, just in case.  Your circle of friends seems to keep growing."

When we arrived at the pool, "Khalid and Amir were already there and Khalid started to give Allie a difficult time, "It's been so boring, not having you around all day.  We didn't know what to do with ourselves."

Allie giggled, "So you spent most of the day in bed playing big boy games.  I hope you didn't wear yourselves out."

Brahim reacted to Allie's comment, "Allie, that comment was totally inappropriate."

"Bra, what did I say that was so bad?  All I said was that you were playing big boy games.  That could mean that they were playing poker.  Of course, it was probably strip poker."

Amir was laughing, "Brahim, we weren't offended by Allie's comments at all.  We recognize that you both have been under a lot of pressure to get ready for tonight's show.  Just relax."

Allie got into the pool and had been swimming a very short time when he crawled out, "Dad, I'm not feeling very well.  Call everyone and tell them that tonight's show has to be cancelled."

Khalid stood, "I'll go inform everyone that you have volunteered to do three more shows after you're feeling better, instead of doing tonight's show."

"Never mind, General Kalid.  I'll fumble my way through tonight's show.  Where is everyone else?"

Fortunately four other ten year old boys arrived and Allie's mind was distracted by them.  They swam for a short time and Allie came to where we were seated, "Dad, we're going to the cabin and play a game until it's time to get ready for dinner.  Dad, you need to alert Jacob and Carlos that we need fast service tonight so we can get ready for the show."

"Allie, why don't you guys go tell them what you and Brahim would like and it can be ready so you don't have to wait.  No one will mind if the six of you eat and run."

Allie looked at Bra, "What do you want me to order for you?"

Brahim shrugged his shoulders, "Since I don't know what's on the menu, why don't you order whatever the chef recommends for me?"

"Okay.  We'll see you in the suite.  I'll tell Jacob and Carlos that we will be there as soon as the dining room opens."

When Brahim and I arrived at the suite, Allie looked up at us.  "Those of us who are going to be in the show are to go the dining room fifteen minutes early tonight.  That way we will be able to be served before the masses descend on the dining room.  We will be one or two courses ahead of everyone else.  Dad, you can go with us if you want.  I have already called Mrs. Dawkins and she will be joining us."

The three of us got dressed in our tuxedos and met the other four boys and Mrs. Dawkins in the foyer at the entrance to the dining room.  Philippe directed us to the private alcove and the eight of us were seated at a round table.  We were almost finished with our salads when the others started to arrive.

When everyone was seated, Keith Hobbs complained, "How come you people get preferential treatment?"

Allie answered, "Because the ship is trying to make sure that we have the strength to service the rest of you demanding passengers.  Besides, Mrs. Dawkins worked our butts off today.  We are going to have a private tour tomorrow so be here at breakfast to find out the details.  We need to finish our dinner before Mrs. Dawkins drags us to the theatre to get ready.  I'm not feeling good.  I think I have ptomaine poisoning."

Mrs. Dawkins looked up from her salad, "We'll worry about that after the show."

Carlos was bringing our main courses as Josef was taking everyone else's orders.  When the eight of us had eaten, or I should say, some of us finished while others picked at our main courses, the other seven left and I moved so I could talk to the rest of the people since I was not invited to the theatre.

Darryl looked up from what he was eating, "Ed, do you have any idea what the guys are going to be singing tonight?"

"Believe it or not, I haven't the foggiest idea.  It's as if it's a national secret."

When we arrived at the theatre, Lars ushered us to a row of reserved seats that was in the second row, which I thought was odd.  For some reason, he informed me that I was to sit in the next to last seat on the left side of the stage.  He told me that the end seat was reserved for someone.  It was about two minutes before the show was to start when Mrs. Dawkins came and sat down beside me, "Ed, we need to talk about your guys' future."

Captain Brower appeared, "Ladies and gentleman, we here on the Paradise are pleased and proud to present tonight's show to you.  You are going to be witnessing a world premier.  Ladies and gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to introduce The Brothers Safi and their friends."

As the Captain was leaving the stage, a small spotlight focused on the center of the stage.  The curtain went up and the light was focused on Allie's face.  "Ladies and gentlemen, we are proud to have the King of Siam and Miss Anna here to entertain you tonight, so sit back and relax."

Allie disappeared and the stage lights went up.  Brahim was standing there in a costume similar to what Yul Brunner had worn in The King and I  with Liv dressed in an elegant gown.  "Miss Anna, shall we dance?"

They started to dance while Brahim was singing Shall We Dance.  As the song was ending, Allie led his four friends onto the stage doing exaggerated movements and  singing We Are Siamese If You Please.  Brahim went and stood in front of them with his hands on his hips.  "Look, you young people, that song doesn't have anything to do with me and Miss Anna.  That's from another era and doesn't fit!"

Allie retorted, "You're the King of Siam, and we're your children so how can it not fit, Father?  Now get out of our way so we can finish your silly dance."

The five guys exited the stage singing 'We are Siamese if you don't please.'  The audience was enjoying the guys' antics.  Mrs. Dawkins leaned over to me, "Ed, they're doing things that we didn't even rehearse."

That was the start of a ninety minute show that spotlighted the talents of my two guys.  I'm not going to bore you with what happened in between, because you wouldn't believe me anyway.  The five young guys were even wearing tiny yellow polka dot bikinis at on one point.  I do need to tell about the finale.  Brahim was singing the drinking song Drink!  Drink!  Drink! from the Student Prince with the five young guys and the entertainment staff.  As Brahim was finishing, Allie jumped into his arms and Brahim put him on to his shoulder and the two of them raised the mugs they were holding and sang, "Let's drink!"

The curtain went down and the jam packed audience was standing, applauding, and Brahim and Allie and the other four boys were standing with their glasses that they had been holding in the air.  Brahim spoke, "Ladies and gentlemen, we hope you enjoyed our show.  I can truthfully say that none of the six of us ever dared dream that something like this might ever happen to us.  Thank you for coming."

The audience kept applauding and the curtain went up again. This time Allie did the talking, "Ladies and gentlemen, we truly do appreciate your applause, but we're getting hungry.  It's been a long time since we've eaten.  The person who made this show possible was the Wicked Witch Dawkins.  Mrs. Dawkins, please join us on the stage, so that the people can see how mean you are."

Mrs. Dawkins went to the stage.  Someone had handed her a microphone as she was going up the steps. "Ladies and gentlemen, you can't imagine what a wonderful experience it has been to work with these young people today.  I think we practiced a total of five hours for tonight's show.  I've been working for this cruise line for more ten years and it usually takes us at least two months to put a show together."

Mrs. Dawkins took a deep breath, "The Safi Brothers are very, very talented.  Jim, John, Tran and Kim, I'm not saying you're not good, because you are, but you need some lessons to catch up with Allie and his brother.  I have some ideas for two more shows for the two brothers to do, if our illustrious Cruise Director Alan, the nasty old Captain Brower, and the mean President Michaels can be coerced into properly compensating you."

Allie interrupted, "Mrs. Dawkins, I thought you knew.  Me and Bra are going swimming. We are going to be to the first persons to ever swim from Reykjavik to Houston.  We can't take Mr. Waller with us because he can't swim and besides he needs to stay and take care of our friends."

The curtain went down and the audience was still applauding.  Captain Brower came out, "Ladies and gentlemen didn't I tell you that you were in for a treat.  We'll track Allie and Brahim as they are swimming to Houston and pull them out of the water and feed them so they can perform for you again."

The audience continued to applaud and the curtain went up again.  This time, the guys were holding their stomachs as if they were starving.  Allie spoke for the group, "Ladies and gentlemen, we want to thank you but we need to eat and we're mentally and physically exhausted; have a good night and enjoy your day tomorrow in Reykjavik."

When I got to the suite, Brahim and Allie were sitting on the sofa talking.  That was fine, but why were they wearing only their briefs?  When I entered the suite, Allie stood, "Dad, look at how skinny I'm getting from being overworked." 

He pushed his briefs down.  "See, I can't even keep my briefs on anymore.  We had to take a pair of your briefs for Brahim to wear because his kept falling off.  We're to meet the other guys in the Lido restaurant in ten minutes.  So get dressed appropriately."

I thought to myself, 'I've lost control.'

Editor's Notes:

The first thing that comes to mind after that last comment would be, "When did you ever have control?"

That was a very sweet chapter, and no one even tried to shoot anyone.  I suspect tomorrow will be quite an interesting day.  I can hardly wait.

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher