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Short stories

QUADRATURA

    A marmoreal sparkle and hush of velvet. A disciplined fidgeting in the line-up, attentive, linen-stiff, lustrous. Distant diaphony from the pit.

    Three pairs of approaching footsteps, a slight shuffle on the left step of one, to which the others’ are synchronized.

    -Herr Direktor Müdd, Excellency.     -Excellency.

    -Herr Kapellmeister Stugel, Excellency.   -Excellency.

    -Fräulein Flüss, soprano.            -Excellency.

    -Herr Moll, baritone.                -Excellency.

    -And, Excellency, Herr Doktor Ranke, architect.  -Excellency.

    A slow progress, unsynchronized at first but steadily more stately, through vestibule, concourse,auditorium, remarking on the flooring, seating, cantilevered boxes; the coffering, the vine-leaf moulding, the fretwork panels; the proportions, the spaciousness, the co-ordinated colour schemes; the revealed ducting, the concealed cupboards. The en-suite humidors. The provision for wooden legs.

    A word to the aide, murmured, anticipated, relayed.

    -Herr Doktor, His Excellency wishes to wash his hands.

    -But everything here is new, dusted, polished to impeccability. Besides, his gloves…

    The murmur becomes sibilant.

    -His Excellency wishes to   spend a pfennig.

    The whisper lies stranded in the silence.

    –Gott in Himmel.

    In the auditorium, above the tuning from the pit, the shot rings clear, bounces off the baffles, dies to the rear stalls with a three-second decay.

    The acoustics, at least, were perfect.

David Rose

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