VentureRealm Amusement Park -ch07

 

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Chapter 7 of
 
  VentureRealm
 Park
 

 

 

Chapter 7

 

Tessa gave a task to Nicole, find more cast members. For Andre, he went back down to New Orleans. He would be taking two weeks to pack up and set up the food delivery. Instead of flying back, he would drive. Tessa thought he sounded a little off about that. Nicole hesitantly informed her that Andre's car had seen better days and was probably worried that it wouldn't make the trip. She also told her that Andre was very proud and would be very reluctant to ask for help. Tessa understood that

"Andre help me back then. Now I pay back, get him with you." Nicole said proudly.

Tessa couldn't help smiling as she went out to look around. The young cajun was doing all she could to earn her way. Nicole was finding a lot of transgender performers, the problem was that they all lip-synced. Tessa had to put that from her mind for now. She was needed at the dorm and rode a security cart over.

Jerry met her at the doors. "Hey Queen Tessa. Come in and look around."

Tessa followed him inside. Her heels clicked on the tiled floor as she followed him.

"This looks good Jerry." Tessa commented then turned a corner into the cafeteria. "Oh wow!"

Jerry waved to the room. "This part is the dining hall. The tables will be here tomorrow and we'll set them up."

After following him past a sheet of hanging plastic he flipped on the light switches. "Here you go!"

A full commercial kitchen gleamed in the lights. Tessa looked around and nodded.

"Outstanding! I know the cook staff will be happy with this." Tessa said in satisfaction.

Jerry nodded. "Yes Ma'am. And this place will be easy for them to keep clean too. All gas appliances mean they can practically hose them down whenever. Just like you wanted."

"That's excellent Jerry. This is just how I wanted it. Thank you. I know Andre will be thrilled." Tessa smiled.

Jerry led the way upstairs to the third floor and down to one end. Some interior walls were up and she could see a door set.

Tessa took note of exactly where they were. "This is the room for Nicole."

"Yes Ma'am." Jerry nodded then opened the door. "Here you go."

Tessa walked inside. The tile had been laid and the walls painted. As it sat the corner of the wing, there were two sets of windows. The en-suite bathroom was a tub-shower combo and there was a full vanity for the sink.

"Now this, is very nice Jerry. She'll like this." Tessa remarked.

Jerry looked it over. "The crew all think, that even though it's a dorm room, it shouldn't look exactly like one for the Princesses. If Princess Nicole likes it, we'll do the other two just like it."

Tessa nodded. "That's going to be great. Is this ready for her to see?"

Jerry shook his head. "Day after tomorrow, please. There's some little things and a good cleaning to do."

"Give me a bottom line Jerry. When will the dorm be finished?" Tessa asked.

"Ahead of schedule. Schedule says two more months. I think we can get it done two weeks early or better. Five to six weeks unless we get a serious toad-floater." Jerry answered.

Tessa nodded as they turned to go back. "Ok. That being the case. Have a couple of the people go around an hour before shut down everyday and start to clean up the outside."

The project lead nodded back. "That'll start today."

"You and your crew are doing a great job. I'm very glad to hear that none of the crew have been hurt. Keep it that way Jerry." Tessa said.

Jerry nodded. "Yes Ma'am. I stay on them about that. We're all glad that it's your number one thing."

Tessa asked. "Other jobs haven't been like that?"

"I think it'd be better if I didn't answer that Queen Tessa." Jerry said. "Bill's a great boss, but sometimes he has to go with what the people that pay say. You're different. It's the people that are important to you. You been proving that every day. You take care of us. That's why we call you Queen Tessa."

Tessa laughed as they reached the door. "And here I thought it was because someone overheard a certain little girl. Or maybe Bill's habit of addressing me as 'Your Ladyship'?"

It was Jerry's turn to laugh. "How about I plead the Fifth?"

Tessa climbed into the cart. "Just this once."

Jerry laughed as Tessa rode away. As hard as the job was, he was loving working it.

 

~*~*~*~

 

Andre arrived three days later than he was expected. The reason was fairly obvious when his car stalled at the edge of town and had to be towed in. Whether it was good fortune or not, Dave Wells happened to be passing by the hotel and noticed the wrecker dropping the car at the back of the lot. Seeing Andre beside it, made him pull in.

"Hello Andre." Dave said through the open window. "How bad is it?"

The News Orleans chef shook his head. "Any other critter, I'd say 'get the rice, she done'."

Dave parked and got out. "That bad."

Dave went over to the wrecker driver and talked, then pulled his wallet, handed over some money and took the ticket. He then waved Andre over.

"Hop in. We can get you settled later." Dave said.

Andre got in and rode with Dave. They went to Tessa's office. Within minutes and two calls, Tessa had Andre checked into the hotel for the night and a rental car would be delivered. After that, Dave took Andre over to the dorm and showed him the finished cafeteria and dining hall.

Andre whistled and looked to Dave. "MAN! Ain't this something! WOOOO-WEEE! Now THIS is a kitchen!"

"You'll only be in it part-time Mister Babineaux." Tessa said from the doorway.

"Part-time?" Andre asked, confused.

Tessa nodded. "You'll be in charge of food service for Storm Bayou. That's where you'll be working. Once or twice a week you'll lead a meal here. That may fall on an off-day Mister Babineaux."

Andre nodded. "But I'll be livin' here, won't I?"

"That's right." Tessa confirmed. "Unless you take issue with it."

"Only if somebody takes issue with me. That gonna happen?" Andre asked.

Tessa stood casually. "It better not, I'll have their ass if it does."

Andre looked over to Dave. "Oh, I like that!"

"She means it too." Dave said.

Tessa leaned against a work counter. "It'll be a while longer before the dorm is finished."

"So I stay at the hotel for now?" Andre asked.

Tessa nodded. "For now. Nicole's room is finished. She hasn't seen it yet. I'm saving it for a surprise. As the first Princess I found, I'd like her to open the dorm. I believe that would be something very special for her. Would you agree?"

"Yeah. I would. We alone in here?" Andre lost all humor then continued at Dave's nod. "I'll be honest. Nicole had things rough. Her momma, died. She got bit by a water moccasin in the yard hangin' clothes up to dry. Nicole was ten. You know anything about them snakes?"

"No." Tessa admitted.

Andre sighed. "Meanest things. They don't just bite once. They stay on, til they get stuck or killed. Nicole's momma didn't even make it to the back porch. After that, her Daddy got worse. He already drank. After she died, he didn't have a reason not to anymore. He stayed drunk for two more years. One night he went out for beer, Sheriff came to tell Nicole he wasn't comin' home again."

"Did he go alone?" Dave asked.

Andre nodded. "Lucky, yeah. He was on his way back, drinkin', plowed right into a tree. Nicole go into foster care. It was fine at first. She stay with a family until fifteen. Then they have to move, job for the Daddy up north. Nicole gets put in another place. She was sneaky for a while. Just after she turn sixteen, somethin' went wrong. The man find out about Nicole. She went out to meet some friends on a Saturday. That evenin' she come back and he found the clothes and a couple of pictures. He beat her then he raped. Nicole manage to get away after he was done. Grabbed what she could and ran."

"She gave the abridged version." Tessa said. "I already have her seeing a therapist here. Her records were transferred. She's on track."

Andre chuckled. "Now I see why they all call you Queen Tessa. You're all over everything."

"Nicole says she owes you. She's thinking that If I bring you on, that'll square things." Tessa remarked.

Andre looked sad. "That girl. She tries so hard. She don't owe me. If that's why you going to all the trouble, forget it."

Tessa shook her head. "Nicole got you the invite. You earned your stay on your own. Fair to you?"

"More than fair. I'll talk to Nicole later." Andre replied then added. "First thing in the morning I need time with you."

Tessa frowned. "Monday. I have an appointment. I'll be in my office at ten-thirty. Good?"

Andre nodded. "That works."

 

~*~*~*~

 

The week was busy for Tessa. First was Tessa's appointment with Brad Waverly. Then the meeting with Andre. He had everything ready. All that was needed was a phone call from Andre and the first truckload of supplies would be on a truck. Then came other things. Tessa found a mascot suit maker and contacted him. There was good news and bad news. The bad news was, his health wasn't so good so he was retiring. The good news was, his niece was capable and willing to relocate.

Tessa found some time over the next couple of days to visit the local High Schools. In particular, the Home Economics classes. She was looking for the possible costume-makers for the cast. A donation to two schools for incentive provided motivation. Over the next three days, several resumes, with pictures of projects were dropped off at Tessa's office. Tessa pulled twenty of the best for interviews. Those led to another twenty referrals that were called in. A total of thirty-five were marked for hire.

A week later Nicole came rushing in.

"I find 'em!" Nicole gushed.

Tessa waved her down. "Slow down Nicole. Who did you find?"

Nicole came around and took over Tessa's computer. "I find two girls! They perfect! Just who you want!"

"Ok Nicole. Show me." Tessa said.

Nicole pulled up one video then another. After they were finished Tessa nodded.

"They looked good. Have you contacted them?" Tessa asked.

Nicole shook her head. "I get contact only. You don't tell me more than find."

Tessa nodded. "Thank you, Nicole. I'll take care of the rest."

 

~*~*~*~

 

Michelle Hamilton read the email one more time.
Ms. Hamilton,
Hello. My name is Tessa Frost. I've seen a video of your performance. You're quite the performer. It was unclear as to whether you actually sang or lip-synced. I'd like to discuss that with you.
Tessa Frost

A time and number was included so Michelle called.

"VentureRealm, how may I help you?" a voice greeted her.

"Hello. My name is Michelle Hamilton. Tessa Frost is expecting my call." Michelle stated.

The woman replied. "Just a moment, please."

The call went on hold then was answered. "Tessa Frost."

"Michelle Hamilton here. You wanted to talk with me?" Michelle asked.

Tessa confirmed. "Yes. As I said in the email, it wasn't clear as to whether you actually sang or lip-synced. I'd like to know if you can sing in feminine voice."

"Actually Miss Frost, I can. There's not a lot of call for that though." Michelle explained.

Tessa asked. "Do you specialize in a genre or does that not really matter?"

"I can handle some of the pop songs and some country, just as long as those aren't depressing. I took jazz and tap when I was younger, so I actually do choreography. Right now I waitress Wednesday through Friday and perform Saturday nights. Every now and then I bar-tend." Michelle explained.

That had Tessa's attention. "Choreography? That sounds good. I have an idea. Make a video. Perform two songs with a dance routine. Go with a saloon girl theme. Throw in a couple of jokes or stories if you have any."

"Ok. I think I can do that." Michelle said, thinking.

Tessa threw in. "Oh, and it has to be All-Ages appropriate. Email that to me when you have it."

Michelle was puzzled. "Ok. I'll have something in a few days."

"I look forward to it." Tessa said and took down Michelle's information.

 

~*~*~*~

 

Tessa's phone buzzed. "Miss Frost. There's a Danica Mullen on line three for you."

"Thank you." Tessa answered then picked up the line. "Miss Mullen, Tessa Frost here."

Danica greeted her. "Hello. I got your message, obviously. What's on your mind?"

"I'm looking for performers. I understand, according to your blog, that you are transitioning. You may have skills I'm interested in." Tessa said.

Danica wasn't sure. "I've done the occasional drag show for extra money. Mainly I give swimming lessons and so on, I help with the Red Cross to train Life Guards for pools."

"I read that. I also read that in middle school and high school, you swam competitively. Have you ever done any artistic swimming?" Tessa asked.

Danica was quick. "You mean water ballet?"

"I include that. There's other things that could apply. So have you?" Tessa asked.

Danica paused then answered. "Not really. I think I could though, but I'd really need to know what you have in mind."

"Some time ago, I saw a show on TV. In Florida they have a mermaid show. The costumes look like costumes of course. The show was decent. I think there could be better. Perhaps it could be you to do it?" Tessa proposed. "Maybe even more?"

"More?" Danica asked.

Tessa knew she had her. "Improvise a tail for swimming. Doesn't have to be perfect, just to help you move like a mermaid. Come up with a routine that goes for five minutes. You don't have to hold your breath that whole time, that would be ridiculous. Have your surfacing as part of it. Also, have a song. You sing it and play the song during the routine. Also I'd like you to perform a song out of water. So, two musical routines."

Danica asked. "You want me to do stuff from The Little Mermaid?"

"Whatever you like. Just be All-Ages appropriate." Tessa answered.

Danica agreed. "Ok. I can do that. You do want me to video that and send it to you, right?"

"That's right. Send it to the email I contacted you through. Let me have all your contact information now though." Tessa said.

"Ok. Might be a week or so. You're not in a big hurry are you?" Danica asked.

Tessa chuckled. "No. Just do the best you can. I look forward to seeing what you can do."

They both signed off. Tessa smiled to herself and went back to work.

 

~*~*~*~

 

Almost four weeks later, Tessa stood in front of the dorm. A ribbon stretched across the doorway.

"Ladies and gentlemen. It's with great pleasure that I say that the dorm is now complete and ready for you to occupy. As the first resident to be found, I ask you to officially open the dorm." Tessa said then handed a pair of scissors to Nicole.

The young cajun blushed and took the scissors then stood looking over her shoulder. "Appelez-nous des amis. Appelez nous la famille. Je dis juste, bienvenue à la maison à tous! WELCOME HOME!"

She cut the ribbon and waved them in. "Allons! C'mon!"

A cheer went out and fifty people followed her inside. Some had driven, others came by plane or bus. All were excited. They had their luggage and map. Quickly they went to find their rooms and explore. Those that were able to see into the three Princesses' rooms voiced their envy. Eventually they made their way back down and gathered in the dining hall. Not all the tables were full. Tessa and Dave stood at the front.

Dave addressed the group. "By now all of you know me. Just in case it slipped, I'm Dave Wells. Head of Security. Over there in the Black shirt, That's Zeke. He's head of the Security night shift. Beside him, in the red shirt, is Mark. He's the primary First Responder and day security."

Both turned around and waved to the group then sat back down. A group of men and women, totaling sixteen, stood up when Dave pointed to them.

"This group is Over-Watch. The eyes in the sky. They are the BEST. Two each, working two hour shifts, twenty-four hours per day. They can also operate drones. They work an Over-Watch shift then go to other duties until shift ends. Tessa." Dave said.

Tessa pointed to the two nurses. "These ladies are Registered Nurses. Both will be here in the dorm as well. Mrs. Davis, if you would."

A older woman stood up and smiled to everyone. "My name is Brenda Davis. Miss Frost hired me to look after you all. You could say, I'm a combination of a manager and a house-mother. I'm also a sort of receptionist. My office and room are right inside the front entry. Let me know when you go out and come back, I will take messages for you or connect the call to your room phone. I also handle the mail and deliveries."

Tessa called their attention. "Mrs. Davis may have years of experience dealing with certain levels of immaturity, but please remember, this is her idea of retirement from teaching kindergarten. Keep that in mind. Also, There will be a couple of people working in here to keep things neat. They will not be maids. You maintain your own rooms and laundry. There is an orientation packet in your rooms, I suggest you read them. There are four cooking crews. Three for the park and one for here. Until the park opens, the three cooking crews will alternate days here. Chef Andre leads off tonight. Any questions? I'm fairly certain any you have are answered in the packet."

Bill addressed the group. "I'm Bill, the contractor. We finish up the underground this week. Next week the rides already here will start going into place. Other rides are still on the way and will start assembly when they arrive. After that, the attractions and so on will start being built. I understand that's where most of you all come in. Her Ladyship wants those that work attractions to help the crew building them."

"Princesses. Up front." Tessa called out.

Nicole and two other young women came up and stood beside her.

"Princess Nicole of Storm Bayou. Princess Danica of SeaSide. Princess Michelle of Wild Forest. They will be working with the costumers and the feature cast for the shows. You won't see them running around the park much until we get closer to opening. It's going to be a long five months getting ready." Tessa informed them.

Each Princess smiled and curtsied as she was named.

Tessa continued to address the group. "Some of you may already have figured it out, others haven't. I'll go ahead and say this, many of you are LGBT. Some are looking at this as a rescue from whatever difficulties they were in. I'll say this, I'm the boss here. I won't put up with anybody being hassled for being quote-unquote different. Drama is going to come, that's a fact. Please don't actively create any. Be yourselves, by all means, but use discretion. For trips into town for shopping and so-on, get with Mrs. Davis and there will be a shuttle plan. That's all for now. See you after breakfast tomorrow morning, here."

Andre called for any cooks to join him in the kitchen for a meeting. Security members joined Dave Wells outside. The remaining began to get acquainted. After a few minutes Brenda and the two nurses began to get their attention. Brenda went into a quick rundown of what should be done when coming and going then told them a more thorough talk the next day but did ask that noise levels come down by ten at night. Many went up to their rooms and retrieved the packet mentioned. Dinner was served and after clean-up, the residents began filtering up to their rooms.

 

~*~*~*~

 

All three princesses were in Tessa's office first thing in the morning.

"How was your first night?" Tessa asked.

Nicole smiled. "Best I ever had!"

"It was definitely different. The rooms for us are quite nice." Danica said.

Michelle sighed. "I still can't believe how relaxed I was, being in a new place and surrounded by strangers."

Tessa nodded. "Good. I have good news and bad news. The good news is you have a rehearsal space to work in. The bad news is, a pool is not available for Danica yet. On Monday you each meet with the costumers. Danica, I've contacted the local high schools and the Red Cross. They are willing to meet with you and help you find some good swimmers for your show. Nicole, I hate to say it, but your show will be the hardest to cast. We may have to import some musicians and so on for it. Michelle, I have a meeting set up for you with the local theater group and high school drama clubs. You should be able to recruit through them. Get people who have graduated or will be graduating this school year."

"Yes Ma'am." The answered, almost in unison.

"There will be three shows for your area that last forty-five minutes. Musical numbers, comedy, skits. The biggest problems are coming up with them and casting. You need at least two months of rehearsals. We'll have ten months of operation, I suggest that you have one show you do for five months then change to another show. That will keep both the cast and the guests entertained." Tessa explained.

Michelle asked excitedly. "You mean real shows? Not drag-night revues? Shows like in Vegas and Branson?"

"Shows like you'd see in the big amusement and theme parks. That's what this is so that's what you do. Between shows, you wander your area and meet the guests." Tessa answered.

Nicole was smiling. "This gonna be big fun, yeah?"

Danica looked like she was about to cry. "I get to be a mermaid princess? Really? Do my own thing and not some rip-off?"

"Cha? Ca va? You ok?" Nicole patted her back.

"I wanted to do something like this for so long! When I was on the swim team, I heard girls talk about playing mermaid. I was so jealous. Now I can get to do it." Danica sniffed. "Thank you Tessa!"

Nicole shook her head. "No, not just Tessa. Queen Tessa! She look after us, yeah? Make us Princess in her kingdom! Dream come true for us! We happy everyday from now on, yeah? No more crying joli Danica. We sisters now, yeah?"

Michelle nodded then hugged the other two. "Yeah! Sisters, under Queen Tessa!"

Tessa walked around her desk and hugged each one. "Very good. Go see Leslie out there, you need to order some things to rehearse in."

All three curtsied and went out with smiles.

 
 
 
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