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Phantom of the (HubNuggets) Opera

Updated on April 26, 2018
RedElf profile image

Elle Fredine (RedElf), photographer, published author, Elle loves seeking out new writers, and catching up with old friends

It all started one sultry, summer afternoon last week. We were relaxing in our HubNuggets Team secret Club-House, sipping delicious, home-made lemonade from Zsuzsy Bee's lemonade stand, reflecting on past adventures, and wondering where the tides of fortune would carry us next.

The "Mirror-Cracked" had been well-behaved since our last trip along the space/time continuum, but we were still nervous. We were seeking a brief diversion from the serious business of HubNugget Wannabe gathering, while Ensign Hank manned the lemonade stand - very brief, so he couldn't drink up all the profits while we were away.

"Gosh, Shirley," offered Patty, our resident Science whiz and all-round great gal, absent-mindedly stroking the newly-earned track and field letter on her nifty letter sweater. "With all the musical talent in this team, we should put on a show!"

"Oh, yes," piped up Zsuzsy Bee, fairly buzzing with excitement as she turned to our curly-haired team leader. "Shirley, your version of 'The Good Ship Lollipop' scored really well with the judges on Intergalactic Idol ."

Shirley brushed back a stray ringlet and scuffed the toe of her saddle shoe, gazing down modestly. "Golly, you guys," she said, adjusting the sweater-clasp at the neck of her twin-set. "Do you think we could, really?"

"Gee whizzikers, Shirley," wheedled B.T. (Mickey) Rooneypants "Sure we could! And I know lots of kids who'd help out for a chance to be in the show."

"Sure thing," agreed Ripplemaker, smoothing her shoulder-length bob, and glancing down to see if her poodle skirt was crushed. "Zsuzsy's mom could sew our costumes, and Uncle Jason can market the show and sell tickets for us."

"I'll help with the script and music," chimed in RedElf, "...and my family has an old barn we could convert to a theater. We'll have to catch all the mice, but..."

"Golly, Elfie, it's swell of you to offer your folks' barn," replied B.T. Rooneypants, "but I know of this really great haunted theater. I'll bet the owner's would be happy to let us use it for free!"

...and that's how it all started!

...a Little Mood Music...

The broken chandelier, in the middle of the stage - Image by RedElf - photos from,
The broken chandelier, in the middle of the stage - Image by RedElf - photos from,
Boy, the haunted theater sure needs work - photo from
Boy, the haunted theater sure needs work - photo from
Uncle Jason's construction crew at work - photo from
Uncle Jason's construction crew at work - photo from
The repaired chandelier - photo from
The repaired chandelier - photo from

An interesting start to our adventure...

The haunted theater turned out to be a cavernous building needing cleaning and repair. Fortunately, Uncle Jason is the Marketing guru for the HubP Construction Company, and his crew, under the able management of Maddie and Fawntia, did a wonderful job on the neglected theater.

Simone(the fixer)Smith, one of his best, repaired the broken chandelier, and it sure looked grand when we hoisted it high above center stage. I must admit the beautifully polished chandelier was awe-inspiring, but the sight of it hanging there made me uneasy - as if a mouse had skittered over my tail.

As we all pitched in to clean up, delving into the labyrinth of halls and long-disused store rooms, we found a locked chamber, deep in the bowels of the old building. Prying open the creaking, rusted door we discovered beautiful, antique props and costumes, laid out in the musty silence as if waiting for their owners to return.

"Ooh! Shirley, that lace dress would look stunning on you!" exclaimed Zsuzsy Bee. "...and those beaded chorus girl costumes! I'll bet my mom could re-work them for our show!"

"Cool half-mask," said B.T. (Mickey) Rooneypants, modeling it for us.

"Well, Uncle Jason did say we could use anything we found," announced Patty.

I wasn't so sure. My tail was tingling again from that mouse-skittering feeling. Whatever haunted the theater hadn't put in an appearance, yet, but after we opened the locked chamber, we didn't have long to wait.

At first, we thought we were just misplacing things, but when all our scripts went missing, and turned up the next day in a heap in the lobby, we started to feel uneasy.

Then, one morning, a message was waiting - a single red rose atop a plain white envelope, laying on the floor at center stage. Printed on the outside, the words "I am watching... " sent a chill up my spine. Inside the envelope, a sheet of paper contained a list of HubNugget Wannabes in the Pets & Animals category...

Which one of this week's Pets and Animals nominees is your favorite?

  • 33% Is a Rottweiler the Best Dog for Me?
  • 14% The Cat Tower and Your Kitty
  • 3% How to Administer Subcutaneous Fluids To A Cat
  • 17% Helpful Tips for Crate Training Your Dog
  • 25% Elderly Dog Care: What To Expect
  • 8% Yorkie Names for Happy Yorkies
36 people have voted in this poll.

This poll is now closed to voting.

Shirley and B.T. Rooneypants rehearsing - Image by RedElf - photo from
Shirley and B.T. Rooneypants rehearsing - Image by RedElf - photo from
Dress rehearsal - Patty, Zsusy, and Ripplemaker - Image by RedElf - photo from
Dress rehearsal - Patty, Zsusy, and Ripplemaker - Image by RedElf - photo from
Second Act finale - photo from
Second Act finale - photo from

Dress Rehearsal

In spite of our fears, nothing else happened except for several re-writes of the script going missing.

Shirley, ever the dedicated team leader, and B.T. Rooneypants were working hard, perfecting their special song and dance number for the show's finale.

The girls looked great in the chorus girl costumes Zsuzsy's mom revamped, especially Patty, Zsuzsy Bee, and Ripplemaker.

Everything was going along beautifully, and then, it happened.

The night of dress rehearsal, Shirley was warbling her heart out at center stage. Patty, our resident Science-Whiz-turned-chorus-girl, glanced up and gasped, horrified to see the giant chandelier swinging ponderously back and forth.

Before she could scream a warning, the chandelier's chains snapped, sending it crashing to the stage.

We rushed to the twisted heap of metal and glass, struggling to get to Shirley. It seemed to take forever, but we finally cleared away the debris only to stare in disbelief - Shirley was gone!

Where she had been standing moments before, lay another single red rose on a plain white envelope which bore the chilling message, "I am waiting... "

Fearing the worst we tore it open. A sheet of paper fell out with a list of HubNugget Wannabes for the Entertainment & Media category...

Which one of this week's Entertainment and Media nominees is your favorite?

  • 9% Ten of the best albums you'll ever listen to...
  • 8% Top 10 Cartoons from the 80s (with videos)
  • 6% 10 Best Reality TV Shows
  • 21% Another nail in the coffin of British horror?
  • 12% Trombone History: A Mischievous Trombonist in Renaissance Italy
66 people have voted in this poll.

This poll is now closed to voting.

RedElf and Ripplemaker follow the underground river - Image by RedElf - photo from
RedElf and Ripplemaker follow the underground river - Image by RedElf - photo from
The underground lair - Image by RedElf - photo from
The underground lair - Image by RedElf - photo from

The Search for Shirley...

After reading and voting, Patty and Zsuzsy raced for the stairs, shouting that they would check backstage. B.T. was already heading for the front of the theater, so Ripplemaker and I teamed up to search the lower rooms.

Somehow, we took a wrong turn in the basement corridors, and ended up poling an ornate skiff down an underground river that flowed beneath the theater. Well, Ripplemaker said it was an underground river - it smelled like a storm drain to me.

Following the faint sounds of music, we probed ever deeper into the maze of tunnels, calling Shirley's name.

Finally, we ran aground in a candle-lit grotto where an enormous pipe organ stood, surrounded by hundreds of lighted tapers. No-one was seated at the organ, yet music thundered from its pipes, echoing eerily about us.

As we walked towards the pipe organ, shouting for Shirley, the music abruptly ceased. There, on the organ bench, we found a single red rose on a plain white envelope. The envelope bore an inscription that made my fur stand on end - "I am here..." Inside the envelope was a third list of Business & Employment HubNugget Wannabes...

Which one of this week's Business and Employment nominees is your favorite?

  • 11% Working For Temporary Employment Agencies - Part I
  • 20% Job Interview Mistakes
  • 9% Taking a Career break
  • 13% Entrepreneurship is not for everyone
  • 16% Six Reasons to Start Your Own Business
  • 31% Career Hell
45 people have voted in this poll.

This poll is now closed to voting.

Ripplemaker and I couldn't get out of there fast enough. There was only one more place to look - Shirley's How-To Q & A hub on becoming eligible to be a HubNugget Wannabe. It was a long-shot, but we had to try.

On the way, we stopped by Patty's hub on how to promote your Hub Pages writing, and decided to check Shirley's dressing room one more time. The rest of the team must have had the same idea - they were there already.

"Uh-oh," whispered Ripplemaker. There, on the floor, in front of a full-length, ornate mirror, lay a single red rose.

"A message!" gasped Zsuzsy Bee, pointing at the mirror. We stared at the words scrawled across the mirror's cracked surface:

"HubNugget Nominees - promote your hubs! Digg, blog, twitter, about your nomination. Tell your family and friends to visit and vote for you! Post your nomination on Facebook!

If you are one of the lucky nine voted a HubNugget, your hub will be included in Hub Pages' weekly newsletter, sent out to more than 80,000 members.

Good marketing, and Good Luck!"

"That mirror looks awfully familiar," said Patty. I thought so too. My tail was tingling again, as if a whole nest of mice were stampeding across it.

Suddenly, the suspiciously familiar mirror burped, and we were once more hurtling through time and space.

"Goodnight, haunted theater - goodnight Broadway showgirl costumes!" called Zsuzsy, Patty, and Ripplemaker as they whirled past me.

"Goodnight, Secret Club-House!" mourned B.T. Rooneypants as he flew by. "I was really starting to like the '50s."

I had all four paws wrapped around my tail, trying to keep whoever was hanging onto the end of it from pulling it out - I couldn't see a face, just lots of curly ringlets. They were welcome to come along for the ride, and who knew where or when our next stop might be, but I intended to arrive with my tail intact. "Goodnight, Moon!"

* Historical photos from - construction of Stage 28, later renamed "The Phantom Stage". Built for the 1925 movie, The Phantom of the Opera, Stage 28 still houses some pieces of the original movie set.

© 2010 RedElf


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