“Isn’t it adorable Nancy? Why keep renting at that expensive hotel when we — I mean I — can have a place of my own. Want to take a look inside?”

“Maybe later Bettie,” replies Nancy. “I have a date!”

“With whom?” Bettie could hardly conceal the venom.

“Danny, that’s who. Daniel. The guy in the play.”

“I know who Danny is. What do you expect to happen?”

“I don’t know,” states a puzzled Nancy, wondering about Bettie’s concern. “The usual. Dinner, dancing, maybe a couple of drinks mixed in. Then…”

“Then *what*?”

“I don’t know. He’s *cute.*” Nancy smiles and tries to nudge Bettie in the ribs. Bettie skillfully avoids the jab.

“This is not good. Remember the curse attached to that book, that play? You must always keep that foremost in your mind. The play’s the thing. Any extracurricular activity connected with it could spell trouble. Look at the protesters. This towne is like a ticking bomb.”

“Ridiculous,” responds Nancy. “It’s just a harmless date.”

But Bettie was right. The events of the play were repeating in real life, just reversed or inverted from before. Concealed in a way. The pattern remains, though. Now Bettie doesn’t have a gun but she has other weapons at her disposal. Poison, just like with the joke back at the hotel. Because, deep down in the depths of her soul, she was only half joking anyway.

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