As I sat in the theatre I heard a mobile ‘phone ringing in the empty seat next to me. I slowly looked around. Everyone else was engrossed in the play. It rang again, the light from the screen lighting up most of the balcony section and showing the scowling faces turning towards me. I quickly picked it up and pressed the answer button.
'We have him,' a faint crackly voice whispered. 'If you want him back bring the formula to the warehouse at midnight. Come alone, or else!'
The phone went dead and I slowly looked around me, as I placed it back on the chair. I couldn't concentrate on the rest of the performance. This would show those bastards who had chosen not to come out for my birthday. Apparently a production of Frankenstein starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Johnny Lee Miller was not their idea of the way someone should spend their fortieth birthday. Well who’s bored now?
Whilst I kept an eye out for the occupant of the seat to return I tried to remember what he looked like. There had definitely been someone there when I arrived. He must have been a big man as he had sat with his legs splayed so far apart I had needed to exert a little pressure with my high heels on his foot to get the leg room that came with my seat. Apart from that I couldn't remember anything else about him. I couldn't even remember him leaving but as he was on the end of the row he wouldn't have disturbed anyone
I waited until there was no one else left in the balcony and picked up the 'phone. Maybe the box office could help. Once I was out in the foyer I realised the box office would be closed, so I headed over to a large uniformed gentleman standing by the door. He was wearing an ear piece so must have been some kind of security.
'Hi. Can you help me?'
'What seems to be the problem madam?'
I found this 'phone on the chair next to me and I was wondering if you could help me trace the owner.'
'Don't worry madam. I'll take it and see the owner gets it back.' He took the 'phone, almost snatching it from me and turned to walk away.
'There was a call. I have a message.'
He swung round, grabbed me under the elbow and propelled me to a door marked private. It was then I realised that ear piece seemed very high security for a theatre doorman.
I was left sitting in an office, I assumed the theatre manager's for about twenty minutes when finally the large guy came back. He was followed by a small man in a three piece suit.
'Now miss what is this all about?'
'Do you know the time?' I asked realising it was getting late and the deadline would be fast approaching.
'I am not sure what that has to do with anything.'
'They said they would hurt him if we didn't take the formula to the warehouse by midnight. The person who owns the 'phone is supposed to go alone. We need to find him. Or call the police. Someone's life could be in danger.'
The man stood and left the room leaving the doorman to stand guard. He stood there tall and straight, almost to attention. Not moving an inch. Not making a sound.
'Don't you realise we need to do something. You can't leave me in here. We need to get help.'
The door opened and the smaller man re-entered. ‘I need you to come with me.'
'If you want to save time just do as you’re told.'
I followed him out of the theatre and was pushed into a limousine parked right outside. We drove out of the centre of London, towards Canary Wharf and the old docks. The car pulled up alongside an old warehouse and the driver got out and opened the door for me.
'Where are we? What's going on?'
He grabbed hold of me and dragged me towards the door. I pulled and scrapped my heels against the cobble stones but he was just too strong. He pulled opened the door, pushed me inside and slammed the door behind me. The warehouse was pitch black, no sign of light anywhere. I turned and started beating on the door.
Suddenly I was blinded by the lights as they were all switched on at once.
'Surprise,' loads of voices called at once. 'Happy Birthday!'
I was handed a glass of champagne as all the friends who had been too busy for the theatre rushed round to say hello.
'Bastards,' I smiled raising my glass to salute them.