Red and blue lights cycled in and out, changing the lighting of the darkened room with every turn. A large, stern-faced man with a bush mustache stood next to a short woman with her hair pulled back in a ponytail. The red and blue lights danced across the notepad of the stern-faced man.
“How many times we been here, O’Hare?” the stern-faced man said.
“Too many times,” O’Hare replied, pulling on blue rubber gloves and gently adjusting her long blonde ponytail.
“What’s your take?” the stern-faced man asked. He clicked on the cap on his pen and prepared to take notes.
“Two Caucasian males, mid-to-late 30’s,” O’Hare studied the bodies that lay within the white chalk outlines on the linoleum floor. “No signs of forced entry. No signs of struggle. Wounds indicate close proximity, meaning they probably knew each other. Looks like the taller male struck first and his husky friend got in a retaliatory blow before they both succumb to their wounds.”
“Motive?” he asked.
“Who knows,” O’Hare replied. “Crime of passion, crime of convenience, crime of curiosity, crime of wheat. This is a twisted world. Nobody knows that better than we do.”
O’Hare and her stern-faced partner knelt down next to the bodies. With her blue rubber gloves, she reached into the front pocket of the victim’s cargo shorts and pulled out his wallet.
“Cut!” the director yelled from the corner of the room. A bell rang overhead and there was a collective groan from the cast and crew. Woodruff and Bob sat up from the chalk outlines around their bodies.
“Did we get the shot?” Woodruff asked.
“No,” the director replied. “Your friend was smiling, again.”
“Those gloves tickle,” Bob said.
“Bob, you can’t smile,” Woodruff said. “We’re supposed to be dead.”
“I know, but it tickled,” Bob replied. “I think she’s doing it on purpose.”
“I’m not tickling you,” the indignant actor replied.
“Well then you’re just naturally tickly then,” Bob argued.
“Steve, this is ridiculous,” she pled to the director.
“It’s not my call,” the director replied.
“He’s right,” Woodruff said. “Judge Goodman sentenced us to community service here on the lot.”
“Turns out if you kick in a door dressed as superheroes, grab hold of a woman, jump out a window, and run from security, it’s a crime,” Bob added.
“I won’t work with a couple of amateurs,” the actor replied.
“Katee, please,” Steve said.
“No, either they go, or I go.”
“Well, we are here at the mandate of the courts,” Woodruff began, with an awkward pause. “So, if one of us are leaving, it’s probably gonna be you.”
“It’s been a pleasure working with you,” Bob said. “I’m a big fan.”
The actor threw her head back, rolled her eyes, and stormed off in a huff.
“Katee, come on,” Steve pled. The door slammed shut behind her.
“Steve, if I may, I’ve got a few notes,” Woodruff said. “The script says two Caucasian males, well I’m of European descent for sure, but Bob here is 1/32nd Cherokee and 2/92nd Choctaw.”
“My baby, she’s a Chippewa,” Bob added.
“She’s a one of a kind,” Woodruff said. “So, I don’t know that your description gives full sway to the nuanced background of the bodies we’re portraying.”
The director stood with his back to Woodruff and Bob, still facing the recently slammed door.
“Also,” Woodruff continued. “No one’s gonna believe that these sweet shrines to humanity are in their mid-to-late 30’s.”
“And while we’re on the subject,” Bob said. “Which one of us is the tall one and which one is the husky one?”
“Bob, I mean, clearly I’m the tall one,” Woodruff said.
“So that makes me the husky one?”
“How dare you, sir!”
“Enough!” Steve shouted. He turned around to face Woodruff and Bob. “You two have completely ruined this entire shoot.”
“I think the descriptive inaccuracies of our physical traits were already doing that,” Bob said.
“Not too mention the casting,” Woodruff said. “I mean Office Angry Brow over here would be more convincing as a disgruntled bus driver than a detective.”
“I want you two out,” Steve said.
“Knocked out or passed out,” Woodruff said. “Because I was thinking if we just fell down on the floor and then you chalked our outline it would look more natural than trying to contort our bodies in a pre-drawn form.”
“Especially a husky pre-drawn form,” Bob said. “Which is clearly too big for my non-husky form.”
“Get out!” the director ordered.
“But the court,” Woodruff said. He pulled the court order from his pocket and held it up in front of the director. “We’ve got to return this to the judge with your signature after we’ve completed a hundred hours. It’s only been four.”
“Give me that,” Steve grabbed the paper from his hand. “Pen!”
An intern ran over from the craft services table and handed the director a pen. Steve took Bob by the arm and turned him around. He placed the court order on Bob’s back and signed it.
“There,” Steve said, handing the paper back to Woodruff. “You’re all done. Now leave this set, immediately.”
“Thanks, Steve,” Bob said. “You’re all right.”
“Do you want the rest of our notes before we go?” Woodruff asked. “I’ve got some thoughts on our backstories that could really spice things up.”
“Security!” Steve called.
Two muscular men in black t-shirts stepped out from behind a façade.
“See that these two are thrown off the lot and banned for life,” Steve said.
The burly security duo nodded and took Woodruff and Bob by the arms.
“Benny, Leon,” Woodruff greeted them. “How are the kids?”
“They’re good,” Leon said. “Molly just made first chair in orchestra.”
“Greg took fourth at state,” Benny said.
“That’s terrific,” Bob said. “Top five.”
Benny and Leon escorted Woodruff and Bob to the main gate.
“Sorry about this,” Benny said. “But you guys are banned from the premises.”
“No worries,” Woodruff said. “We’ve got what we came for.”
“We’ll see you guys at canasta on Friday?” Bob asked.
“Wouldn’t miss it,” Leon said.
Leon pushed Woodruff and Bob out onto the street and Benny closed the gate.
“Great guys,” Bob said.
“The best,” Woodruff agreed.
“Should we go drop that off with the judge?”
“We should probably at least wait until its been a hundred hours.”
“Good point,” Bob said. “I don’t know why judges keep giving us community service. It always ends the same way.”
“It’s a mystery,” Woodruff said. “You hungry?”
“I could eat.”
“What sounds good?”
“I don’t know why, but I’m craving cream of wheat.”