conductor drops his baton and the music tapers away. He looks at the
soloist. “Once more. With feeling.”
soloist lowers his violin slowly. “Technically, that was perfect.”
the conductor says. “But there was no passion in your playing.
I'm passionless.” He gives a small shrug. Lifts his eyebrows.
lead trombonist rolls his eyes at the trumpet section. Violinists get
all the attention.
conductor grabs his score. “You must...Look.” He gestures to the
notes scattered across the page. “When I look at this rising line
here, I see possibilities. I see love. I see the future.” He looks
at the soloist. “What do you see?”
see the spaces in between.”
beg your pardon?” The conductor looks around the orchestra as if to
ask the rest of them what this strange man means to say.
those gaps between notes. That fifth there. C to G. There's too much
the sharps and flats,” the conductor says. “They minimize that
half-steps. Meaningless.” He glares at the conductor. “You want
to know what I see when I see that music?”
Yes, I do.” The conductor beams.
see restrictions and rules.”
yes,” the conductor says. “Music must have rules. Every form of
it's within those rules that you must find creativity. Within the
boundaries and the structure of those notes you find your freedom.”
cannot be bound by rules.”
dude,” the Eloise Jacoby mutters from behind her bassoon.
husband sends a text from the percussion section. “Who hired this
turns to smile at him.
Oasis, the new piccolo player, leans back and crosses her legs. Two
of the trumpet players head out for water bottles. The lead
trombonist removes his mouthpiece and upends it on the stand. “Waste
of time,” he mutters.
conductor gestures. “May I?”
is a million dollar instrument.”
be careful.” The conductor takes the violin, cradles it tenderly.
He lifts the bow and draws it across the string, closing his eyes and
sinking into the music. He imagines his newborn daughter; imagines
the expanse of the ocean. He imagines all of the tomorrows yet to be
lived. He smiles.
lead trombonist replaces his mouthpiece. Beverly Oasis uncrosses her
legs. The trumpet players rush back to their seats and take up their
instruments. Eloise Jacoby puts away her cell phone and sits up
straight behind her bassoon.
conductor plays the pasts and the presents and the futures; he plays
the snow and the summer heat and the wind. He plays the nears and the
fars; plays what he knows and what he will never understand.
when he finally finishes, he removes the violin from beneath his chin
and hands it back to the soloist.
the soloist says, looking around the orchestra for confirmation. And
he sees Eloise Jacoby dabbing at her eyes with a crumpled tissue;
sees the look of awe on the face of the lead trombonist. And as the
rest of the orchestra breaks into applause, he stands and leaves the
it is time for another career.
For the Scriptic.org prompt this week, Eric Storch at Sinistral Scribbings
gave me this prompt: Once more. With feeling.
I gave SAM at My Write Side
this prompt: A diet of peanut butter and Ritz crackers.
Labels: flash fiction, scriptic.org