The Victorian-era playroom was adorned with wallpapered walls of pink and gold swirls. A large window hovered over a cushiony toy chest. Standing guard on one side was a grandfather clock and a pink chaise lounge on the other. Elaborately decorated gift boxes of all shapes and sizes stood between them. Cherished music played as couples in elaborate gowns and vested tuxedos executed a promenade at the Stahlbaum’s holiday party. Little boys in knickers galloped with their toy horses, and sweet girls in frilly party dresses danced with their dolls. A small, thin, elderly man entered in a puff of smoke, causing a hush in the room. Uncle Drosselmeyer, in a maroon suit, motioned for pretty young Clara, dressed in white, to join him next to the Christmas tree adorned with gold balls, candles, and garland. Clara’s younger brother, Fritz, joined her with mischief in his eyes. The adults and children left the playroom, except for Drosselmeyer, Clara, and Fritz. The lights in the room flickered as the bald man waved his tiny arms and magically produced—a garlic crusher.
“What happened to the nutcracker?” I asked from the front row center orchestra, resting the notepad and pen on my lap.
Ruben Markinson entered the stage from the wings. “I couldn’t fit a nutcracker up Martin’s sleeve.”
Martin Anderson dropped his Uncle Drosselmeyer persona and sneered at his husband. “So you expected Clara to dance with a garlic crusher?”
Ruben replied, “It’s less absurd than you dancing on stage at your advanced age, Martin.”
Martin glared at his longtime companion. “My body is a temple.”
“And it’s in ruins!” Ruben replied.
We’re back! For you Nicky and Noah mystery virgins, let me explain. I’m Nicky Abbondanza, Professor of Play Directing at Treemeadow College, a quaint college in picturesque Vermont. Treemeadow was named after the quaint gay couple who founded it: Harold Tree and Jacob Meadow. They are immortalized together in bronze at the quaint college entrance—to the delight of every pigeon in the county.
I had taken a sabbatical from teaching to direct and star in a Broadway play and direct two movies. But when producers responded to my calls with, “Don’t call us—ever again,” I realized that “those who can, do; those who did, teach.” So, missing my college more than a hooker misses a john with a fat wallet and narcolepsy, it was back to Treemeadow for me, where I was recently promoted from Associate Professor to Professor. For you non-academics, that means I make more money now. But I don’t teach and direct shows for the monetary rewards. I do it for the ulcers and heart attacks. This semester, after teaching my theatre classes at accelerated hours, I finished my classes mid-semester; and my department head and best friend, Professor of Theatre Management Martin Anderson, loaned me out to the Dance Department to direct their December production of The Nutcracker ballet. Since I have gotten myself out of many traps, I also agreed to understudy the cheesy role of the Mouse King.
For the carnally conscious, I’m tall, with dark hair, a cleft in my chin, emerald eyes, a Roman nose, and long sideburns. I have a muscular body, thanks to the gym on campus—and to my fear of giving into gravity now that I hit the big four zero.
My husband of five years, recently promoted Associate Professor of Acting Noah Oliver, as usual joined me as the production’s acting coach. Noah’s dance training in college made him a perfect understudy for the Sugar Plum Fairy’s Cavalier. By the way, Noah is seven years younger than me. But it doesn’t bother me. At all!
Noah is gorgeous with golden blond hair, sea-blue eyes, milk-and-honey skin, and a tight little body. We both always wear dress shirts, dress slacks, and blazers, except to bed. Speaking of clothing, to my tailor’s horror and Noah’s delight, I have a nearly foot-long penis when erect. Had I been a caveman, I wouldn’t have needed a club. A gay porn star would hang his head (both of them) next to me. Why am I telling you this? I tell you everything.
As for the rest of the cast and crew, elderly Martin is playing Clara’s elderly Uncle Drosselmeyer. Martin’s equally elderly husband, Ruben, agreed to be our props master. Dance faculty members took on the roles of the Sugar Plum Fairy, Cavalier, the Mouse King, and choreographer. The star dance students were cast in the roles of Clara, Clara’s understudy, the Nutcracker, and the Nutcracker’s understudy. In the ensemble, the remaining senior dance students filled the roles of the parents, and the freshmen were cast as the children. I brought my theatre student, Nate Owens, along as stage manager. Other theatre students are doing the set, lights, sound, and costumes.
Finally, due to his vast talents, and my nepotism, Noah’s and my eleven-year-old adopted son, Taavi Oliver Abbondanza Kapule, was cast as Clara’s brother, Fritz.
Now back to the action.