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Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Music · #2181131
The show must go on, no matter what.
Seventeen men and women sat closely together in three of the eighteen rows of the huge, mostly empty, orchestra pit. They sat silently with their violins on their laps. They faced forward, their attention on Vladimir Chekov, the conductor. The Maestro was obviously unhappy and it was obvious why.

“Ver ees everybody?” Vladimir asked his assistant, Mr. Penny.

Mr. Penny was a tall, bone-thin, chinless man with ears that suck out sideways from his head. He stood a foot taller than the conductor and Waldo, who sat with the other violinists, thought the two of them looked like cartoon characters. They were both bone-thin, chinless men of different sizes. Waldo Sorensen, seat one, could see the sweat sliding down Mr. Penny’s face. The man’s beady little eyes seemed ready to pop out of his head.

Mr. Penny began waving his arms before he’d gotten the words to come out. “Maestro, there has been a mix up, we—"

“A meex-up? You call deese a meex-up?”

“It seems, we sent almost everybody the wrong dates, sir.”

“Deese is no meex-up. Deese is a screw-up! Deese is a fuck-up!”

Waldo laughed accidentally. In the empty auditorium, the sound carried easily to the stage below. Vladimir’s eyes shot up to the violin section. He scanned the faces there. They all looked back at him with faces of stone.

“Deese is no meex-up. Deese is a screw-up! Deese is a fuck-up!” Waldo mimicked under his breath.

“Who laugh?” Vladimir roared.

No one spoke. At least no one spoke aloud. Waldo whispered, “Who laugh?” without moving his lips.

The other violinists heard him. None of them could believe it. Well, they couldn’t but they could. They either knew Waldo personally or they’d heard about him. None the less, it was unbelievable! This was the great Vladimir Chekov. Some of them closed their eyes and kept them closed. Some of them tried to wet their lips though their tongues were Sahara Desert dry. Quite a few reminded themselves to keep breathing. Lisa Henderson, seat six, threw-up in her mouth.

Vladimir turned back to Mr. Penny. “When will the others show up?”

“On March 3rd.”

“March 3rd is the day of the performance!”

“Well, sir, you see, that’s just the thing, we got the dates mixed up.”

“Yes, you idiot! I know that! You said that!”

“The performance, it seems, was advertised for today.”

There was silence. Even Waldo was silent, though a smile grew on his face. This is going to be good, he thought to himself.

Vladimir was now walking toward Mr. Penny and Mr. Penny was walking backwards.

Waldo stood to his feet. “The show must go on,” he said.

Vladimir stopped walking and looked for the man who spoke. Mr. Penny continued to walk backwards until he reached the end of the stage. He then turned around and fled through a curtain.

“The show must go on,” Waldo said again. “We are seventeen professionals, some of the greatest violinists in the world. We know the arrangements inside and out. The show must go on, doesn't it?”

Again there was silence. Everybody looked at Waldo who remained on his feet.

“Yes,” agreed Vladimir. “The show must go on!”

And so it did, wonderfully and well.

537 words

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