Thursday, October 26, 2017


Last week’s And God Connived… didn’t get many hits, but it provoked some comments to both Facebook and my email. Glad some of you enjoyed it, at any rate. I have to admit, it was a strange way to write a story.

Please remember that my fellow Oklahoma author, Mark Wildyr’s Cut Hand is being released by DSP Publications on the 31st of this month—Halloween. I know he would appreciate your buying a copy, or at least taking a look at the novel. It’s available through Amazon and DSP Pubs and the other usual sources.

With that out of the way, let’s get to this week’s offering, a flash fiction story that follows below. Enjoy.

Courtesy of Wikipedia

Swamped by overwhelming emotions—awe at the beauty of the symphony and a fierce hatred that threatened to get the upper hand—I sat enthralled. I’d spent more than I could afford for front row mezzanine for this world premiere of Imbroglio in B-flat Minor. My seat was odd numbered, so I sat to the left. Not ideal, but on the other hand stage left is where the composer would appear when the accolades came. We would be virtually face-to-face.
The opening Allegro put me in the mind of a Baroque work typified by Bach and Handel. Breathtaking. The second movement, the Adagio, was more classical, ala Mozart or Haydn. The work was difficult to categorize but undoubtedly masterful. Upon the triumphant close of the fourth movement or Rondo, I was on my feet with everyone else in the house, shouting huzzahs at the top of my voice.
But as cries for the composer grew, hatred triumphed over music appreciation. The sight of Josef Wilhelm Streit led center stage by the conductor and concertmaster, was more than I could stand. My face flushed, leaving me overheated. Acid ate at the lining of my stomach. My breath deserted me. I stood like a dolt among the cheering patrons. The tumult dimmed as my hearing started to go. But I still clearly discerned the nauseating stink of the perfume the woman to my left apparently bathed in.
My knees gave way, dumping me back in the seat where I leaned on my ebony cane, glowering at the preening idiot who had stolen my life’s work… my symphony. Imbroglio. I loved that name. So expressive, and after all, what serious work of art is not an intricate and complicated situation.
Eventually, the din subsided and Josef… what an affectation! He was born Joseph William Streit in Brooklyn. Josef made a smirking, simpering speech about how he had labored over his masterpiece. Labored? My brain suffered the mental blisters and callouses earned by writing this magnificent work.
After the mindless adulation abated, members of the audience collected their things and moved to the exits. I reached the stairway quickly, thanks to other patrons making way for the old man relying heavily on his cane for balance and mobility.
Normally, traffic backstage was tightly controlled, but a premiere like this one undoubtedly swamped the gatekeepers. I limped through with a party of others to behold a scene that nearly sent my heart bursting from its confines. That faker…that charlatan Josef Wilhelm Streit rendered pale by the bright lights of television cameras, stood against a cream-colored curtain mouthing words. Words which should have been mine. I came near to barging up and bludgeoning him with my cane, but reason reestablished itself. I turned to leave and noticed the edge of the curtain. Curious, I shuffled down the reverse side of the muslin to where the interview was taking place, Josef’s slender body, clearly haloed by strong camera lights, pressed against the thin curtain. No more than twelve inches behind him, I knew exactly what to do.
Twisting the handle to my cane, I withdrew the thin, needle-like stiletto attached to it. Frantic that the thief would escape my reach, I thrust the slender blade through the curtain and felt it penetrate solid flesh.
Joseph William Streit—he was no longer the exotic Josef to me—fell abruptly silent. Not even a gasp from him. The stage went quiet with only background noises lending reality to the scene. He had not yet fallen to the floor before I restored my cane handle and moved quickly toward an obscure exit. Excited cries of alarm and dismay followed me. My step was no longer that of an octogenarian. In the darkness of the hallway, I tore off my gray wig and the fake beard, hiding them beneath my coat.
Moments later, as my true self, a thirty-five-year-old undiscovered composer keeping body and soul together by masquerading as a university janitor, I joined the throngs of people making their departure from Symphony Hall. The first of the sirens—police or ambulance? —reached my ears as I turned down an alley and walked in near total darkness, contemplating the possibility of being apprehended.
I couldn’t be caught. Not yet. Sherilynn Amagato introduced her latest sonata at this same hall next week. The sonata she had stolen from me. And then there was Peter Henry Niger to be dealt with. He was to play his latest creation, a cello concerto, the following month. Or should I say my latest creation. After all, he’d purloined it from me.
How were these poseurs plucking masterworks from my mind and achieving fame and fortune while I slaved away mopping and waxing floors for scores of self-centered juveniles who had no idea that genius labored among them?
Tapping my cane on the concrete, I hummed a tune, one of my new musical show numbers, as I tripped up the steps to the dorm where I surreptitiously lived in a basement storeroom.

Is it possible this guy is off his rocker? Most likely. I hope you liked the story.

The following information provides my contact information and DSP Publications links:

Don Travis Email:
Facebook: Don Travis
Twitter: @dontravis3

As always, thank for being a reader.


New blogs are posted at 6:00 a.m. each Thursday.

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