Hello, my name is Cassie, and this is my story. My father, or as others like to call him, Papa Joe was the former owner of a theater in New York. It was nothing like Broadway but in the dance community it was like Broadway. My family was made up of me, Papa Joe, and Michelle, my sister. Back when I was three, there was another member, my mom, Leah. My dad and my mom met centuries ago at a…yep, you guessed it, at a dance recital. My mom was an amazing dancer, or at least that’s what dad used to say.
It was love at first sight. Leah was the main dancer, and my dad was a talent seeker. He worked for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (AAA) and was looking for a new member. After Papa Joe offered my mom a job, they started talking and talking, and soon they were dating. Leah continued as dancer of AAA until she had to retire. A few years later her retirement, my dad proposed. My mom wanted to be a lower case teacher and Papa Joe wanted to keep looking for talent, so they opened up their own theater and dance company. The years passed and Michelle came, two more and I, Cassie, was born.
When I was two, mom was diagnosed with lung cancer. Two weeks before my birthday, she was gone. Ever since, my dad has tried to forget that month ever existed. The theater became very popular and when AAA closed, dancers had nowhere to go, so they came to Leah’s theater. My dad decided to rename it after mom passed. Since I was born in an artistic family, my life revolved around dancing and dancing. God forbid I was interested in anything but dance, especially sports! Thankfully, that was never my problem. I always enjoyed dance, and it was what pleased Papa Joe the most. As I grew older all I wanted to do was please dad and be just like mom. Well, I didn’t really have much of an option. By the time I was seven, my dad had planed our lives. Michelle was going to attend Skidmore College while I helped Papa Joe with the theater. After I graduated high school I would attend the same college, while Michelle helped dad with theater. Once I was done with my studying me and Michelle would run the theater. I didn’t mind the plan as much as Michelle did. She had different ideas. She wanted to be bigger, dance for major companies, and go on tours. She thought she belonged in Hollywood.
A couple of years later. I was at home, still dancing, still helping Papa Joe, and one more year till I graduated. Michelle was then in college and, yes, she made it to Skidmore College. The problem was she didn’t want to follow the other half of the plan. She wanted to be famous and acted a bit spoiled. It almost summer, and dad was trying his hardest to convince Michelle to come back home. He believed that if he got her to come back for the summer, she would’ve come right after her graduation. Papa Joe had been planning and planning, leaving him with no time to do anything and me with too much on my plate. I was used to it. Growing up without a mom wasn’t easy. I had more chores than friends when by the time I was five.
After weeks of thinking, Papa had finally come up with a plan to bring Michelle back. Papa Joe would hire a dancer, pay him to date Michelle, make her believe they were meant to be together and would convince Michelle to stay after graduation. Michelle was then a junior in college, so if this guy became Michelle’s summer love she would want to stay and help Papa Joe with the theater. The guy Papa decided to pick was some dancer named Bob.
June finally came and Michelle was home. The first thing Papa made her do was work at the theater. Michelle HATED IT, and she made sure EVERYONE knew how she felt.
“Ughh I hate working here!! All my friends are traveling the world and enjoying life, and all I ever do is work for Dad!!” Michelle said, and I quickly snapped at her “Are you kidding me!?! I’ve been working here the ENTIRE year. You just here and you’re complaining. Brat” instantly she responded with, “Whatever.” I hate when people said “whatever,” and my sister new that. She was trying to get me mad. At that time I could not wait for Papa to present Bob to Michelle, but little did I know what was coming.
Two days later everything changed. Papa Joe organized a casting for incoming dancers. Dancers from all over New York, including Bob, came to our theater. At that time I didn’t know that. Dad knew that keeping secrets wasn’t my thing, so he thought it would be a good idea not to tell me. A few hours after auditions had started, a cute, handsome, tall AND muscular guy showed up. I remember Michelle’s face expression like it was yesterday. She quickly looked at me and , “let me take care of this one.” Like always, I said yes. The eye contact they were making was intense. As I was interviewing another girl I could feel the tension between them. Michelle’s heart was beating extremely fast. I could have sworn it was going to come out and the way this “mysterious guy” looked at her it was like love at first sight. Michelle looked at the guy and started asking him questions. “Why do you think you’re eligible for the Leah’s theater team?” The mysterious guy answered, “Well, I’ve been dancing since I was four, Dancing is my passion. I’ve been watching Leah’s dance recitals since I can remember.” Oh my god. His voice, no EVERYTHING about him was so perfect. I was dying of envy but there was nothing I could do. Michelle happily nodded her head at everything he was saying. She was practically drooling. Michelle wrapped up the audition, “Well, Bob I think you’re wonderful dancer, and you can definitely expect a call by the following week.” I started choking so hard I swear I saw my life flash before my eyes. Could this really be “the” Bob, as in the Bob dad had hired?!?! At that moment so many thoughts were flying through my head I didn’t even know what was going on anymore. Before I knew it, I was on the floor surrounded by Michelle, Bob and three other people who aren’t really relevant to the story. I just stood up and nodded every time someone asked me if I were okay. All I wanted to do was to run to Papa Joe’s office. He confirmed everything. That was “the” Bob. The miraculous Bob who was supposed to work his magic over Michelle, at least that’s what we thought he was going to do.
That summer Michelle and Bob were INSEPREBABLE. They did everything together. They ate together; they danced together; they worked together; they even shared some of the same clothes. I know, how disgusting? Since Michelle had left for college we started to grow apart. I wouldn’t have really minded if I had other friends but working at the theater and balancing friendships wasn’t easy. I didn’t really mind that she was spending so much time with Bob, because after all I knew they weren’t going to last. I remember watching Bob and Michele hangout. I could not believe Bob was pretending to like her, it seemed so surreal. They were known as the perfect couple. The summer was coming to an end, and I had no idea what Bob or Papa Joe had in mind.
One afternoon after work I found Papa crying. I quickly ran towards him, “Papa, what’s going on, are you okay!?” He tried to speak but nothing came out, yet he was sobbing so hard he was shaking. “ I.. I.. I don’t know what to..oo do.” I asked him to explain but for the following ten minutes all he did was sob. After a while he finally got himself together and said, “We’re done. Bob keeps asking for more money, and we’re in debt, and I don’t know what to do.” He was still trembling but no longer sobbing. “How much is Bob asking?” I asked, afraid of the answer. There was a pause. It felt like it an eternity. He answered “Too much, and I don’t have the money.” at that moment I was starting to get angry. I kept on wondering why he wouldn’t want to tell me sum. I practically managed everything at work. I guessed he read my mind because he said, “Eighty-five million, and he wants it by the end of the month.” All I could think of was what a douche Bob was. He no longer seemed miraculous-let alone handsome.
That afternoon during dinner, Michelle announced that she was finishing college here in New York and would still work for the theater. I just smiled at Michelle, said congratulations and hoped she wouldn’t read my mind. Papa Joe did pretty much the same thing.
A week later, on a Sunday morning I woke up. I remember feeling like something was wrong, but I couldn’t quite shake the feeling. I thought that I had maybe forgotten to turn the lights off from the theater, so I headed down to go check. Right as I was opening the door to leave, Michelle yelled, “Wait up!! Where are you going?” as I rolled my eyes, which of course she didn’t see. I said, “to the theater! I think I forgot to turn off the lights last night.” As she came out of her room, she said, “I’m coming with you, think I forgot my purse there, I can’t find it anywhere”. We both headed down together. As we opened up the back doors of the theater we realized only one light was on: Papa’s office. We both exchanged a look, and without saying a word we started to walk towards the office. The door wasn’t even closed. We opened the door and there was Papa. Lying on the floor. Everything paused. There was blood everywhere: Splashed all over the walls, floor, desk and papers. He was just there. I felt like I was just hit on the stomach, multiple times. I couldn’t breathe and every single part of me felt numb. “Oh my god!!!” I was suddenly back in reality. Michelle was screaming, shaking. She touched Papa’s face. I tried to speak, but nothing came out. She yelled “What are you doing? Call 911!” I took out my phone and started to dial, told the lady who picked up the phone what had happened and before I knew everything went black.
I woke up in a hospital bed. A nurse said “Hello sweetie, are you feeling better” my head was hurting so bad, so I just asked, “where’s my dad?” Her mood instantly changed, “He’s dead.” Everything around me was spinning and I felt like I was going to pass out again. But this time I didn’t. She held my hand and said “Everything is going to fine.” After I had calmed down I asked to see my sister. A girl that looked a year or two younger than me walked into the room. Her eyes were red and puffy. It took me a couple of seconds to recognize her, yet she was my sister. Michelle sat on the bed next to me and cried. We both cried for an hour straight. We had not yet exchanged a word but our eyes said everything. She explained everything to me. She said someone attacked dad. He was stabbed in the stomach multiple times and once in the heart. After Papa was stabbed a large quantity of money was stolen from the safe. The police had no suspects.
The months went by and nothing about Papa came up. Michelle and I took over the place. We never realized how much work Papa had. Every day felt emptier than the one before. Our mornings weren’t the same. Our afternoons felt empty and the nights made us feel nothing more than lonely. Bob helped us tremendously. He helped us run the place. During that time we needed a male figure in our lives. I had completely forgotten about the eighty-five million dollars, or at least I made myself forget. Until one day Bob came up to me, “Hey Cassie, I know you’re really busy and everything but I was wondering if you knew about the deal I had with your father?” My heart beat started to rise, but I managed to keep my cool and responded, “Umm, no. He never mentioned anything” He acted like nothing had happened and said, “Oh, alright no problem. It was nothing important,” we both said bye and walked away.
I wanted to tell someone, but I couldn’t. I had no close friends and my only semi-close friend was Michelle. That night it was my turn to close the theater. As I was turning off the lights I decided to stop off at Papa Joe’s office. It had been cleaned by the police and anything that had a drop of blood was taken to a laboratory. It no longer looked or smelled like his office, but it still felt like his. As I was looking at what was left of the room, I heard a noise. The noise was coming from Michelle’s office. I silently walked towards her office. It was a tall man, muscular man. He was dressed all in black. He looked familiar, but I couldn’t figure out who it was. As I began to search for my phone to call 911, something grabbed my wrist and before I knew it, I was flying across the room. I landed on the floor. I opened my eyes, and I saw the man was wearing a mask, I don’t know how I got the courage to say anything but I did “Who are you?” Nothing. “Who are you!?”I repeated. Nothing, “Who are you!!” I yelled. The man reached for his head, and slowly took of the mask. I gasped. It was Bob. “You know what your father owes me, so where’s my money!” There was no point on lying, especially when I thought I wasn’t going to make it out of that room alive. I answered calmly, “We have no money” His face expression got more and more angry “You’re lying!!” before I could protest he quickly walked over to me, until his face was less than five inches away from mine, and said, “Don’t provoke me or else you’ll go through what Papa Joe went through.” In that moment everything clicked. Bob was the man who had killed Papa. He stabbed him in the stomach and in the heart, yet he was the one who was there all these months pretending to care. I felt so angry with him, but mostly with myself. He had been right under my nose. How did I not know it was him!? I kept asking myself. Before I knew it, he had picked me up again. He swung me across the room, and once again I landed on the floor. Bob was filled with so much rage I thought he had rabies. I’m almost positive he did. Once again he picked me up, but this time he threw me towards the window. We were on the second floor, and I can remember looking around the theater as I was falling, thinking it was going to be my last. Me and shattered class hit the floor. I didn’t feel anything. My back was numb. Bob went down the stairs and took a glance at me. I pretend I was dead. Bob laughed, and walked out of the theater.
I woke up in a hospital bed. I could not feel my back. My sister had found me a couple hours after the incident. I saw a nurse walk in the room. It was the same nurse from last time, but I don’t think she remembered me. “Excuse me, why can’t I feel my back” She looked at me and gave me a look I didn’t quite understand, “Sweetie you’re spinal cord is broken” Before I could process what I had just been told, the nurse went on “You’re paralyzed for life” She walked out of the room. I couldn’t even comprehend what the nurse had told me. I kept on wondering if that meant I could never dance again, not be able to travel, get a job or got to college. My soul and mind were filled with rage. At that moment the police came and interviewed me, they asked me what had happened and if I recognized the man who did this to me. I said no. I believe Bob wouldn’t be able to be punished properly by the law so, I decided to take care of it myself.
After the cops left, Michele came into the room. I told her everything. Her heart shattered. I told her how it was Papa’s idea to hire him so she would stay, how Bob asked for eighty-five million, how he killed dad for not paying and how he hurt me. After hours of planning, we came with a plan of how to destroy Bob like he destroyed our family.
Michele would invite Bob for a romantic dinner in the theater. She would wait behind the doors and right when Bob would come into the room she would stab him multiple times before he could get up again and used his rabies strength on her. Once he was unconscious Michelle would take a larger knife and cut him into little tiny pieces. The pieces had to be tiny enough for them to fit in a blender. Michelle would blend everything up until it turned into red paint. That’s exactly what Michelle did. Everything went perfect. We just didn’t know what to do with the bloody, grinded up body parts. Michelle came up with the idea of buying white curtain for the theater and soaking them in the blood. She said it represented how pure our lives where before Bob, but after Bob came everything fell apart. I didn’t think of anything better to do with Bob’s blood, so we stuck with her plan. Either way we needed new curtains.
Fast forward to today. I now have a husband. He’s blind in one eye, but he’s a wonderful man. His name is James, and he and I run the theater. Michelle met another man, who also dances and is not paid to be with her, let alone a killer. She has been traveling the world with him on dance tours for the past two years. Michelle and I have never been this close, and yes, we still have the curtains.