Concise Prose. Enough Said.
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The Recital

By Laet Oliveira

The string quartet enters the stage. We hear an elegant, subtle round of applause.

They sit. From left to right, a man with a violin, a second man with a violin, the only woman with a viola, and a redheaded guy with a cello. He has a large moustache.

They tune their instruments then look at the audience, and we hear the last few coughs before the performance begins.

At this very moment...

What bizarre thing could happen in such a moment? Maybe two-dozen buffalo could appear out of nowhere and run over the musicians.

No, too absurd.

But something odd does happen. An obese and unshaven man, wearing jeans, a T-shirt, and sandals enters the stage. He is carrying a chair and a tuba.

He places the chair next to the first violinist, sits down, and positions the tuba on his lap. After wetting the lips with his tongue, he bows to the audience, repeats the gesture toward the musicians, and waits.

The redheaded mustachioed cellist takes a deep breath. "Sir, excuse me, but..."

"But what?"

"What are you doing here?"

"I'm here to play my tuba, of course."

Some people in the audience laugh; the tuba man smiles. His very first fans!

He wets his lips again and adds, "go on, just begin and I'll catch you."

The first violinist is at a loss. Once a fly got into his left nostril, and he was able to keep his composure. It is easy to ignore an insect while playing Vivaldi, but how can one survive a tuba in a Mozart chamber concert?

He tells the tuba man, “Sir, this is a Mozart piece for a string quartet. It does not include a tuba."

"That's all right, you go on and I'll improvise. It's just oom-pah-pah, anyway."

Big laughter from the audience. The T-shirt is more visible now, and everyone can see the angry Smiley with a text confirming the proverbial matter really happens.

The woman is about to faint, the first violinist is in shock, the second violinist is wondering whether he should run and hide in the dressing room. The cellist looks to someone backstage, begging for help. The tuba man reacts.

"If anyone touches me, I'll play a pooofff!"

Tension is mounting. The perspective of a pooofff during an allegro assai is just unthinkable. He turns to the audience. "Mozart was wrong. He should've included a part for tuba in this piece!"

Hostile sounds. The audience is beginning to turn against him.

"You damn elitists! Where do you think you are? The 18th century? There have been many popular revolutions since Mozart! I'm arresting these music sheets in the name of the proletariat! You will all be indicted, one by one, one-pah-pah, oom-pah-pah!"

He turns again to the musicians. "Please, I just want to play one nice song. I'm a simple person. I never had the chance to study a string instrument. I've made this tuba myself, with the bumpers from my Uncle Ned's 67 VW Beetle. Please, let me play, please."

He stares at the woman with the viola. "I represent your most intimate Freudian desires. As you play Mozart you think of me and my phallic tuba. You wanna be seduced during the andante, right?"

He turns to the redheaded cellist. "I recognize that moustache! It's the one I had in 1971! Give it back to me!"

He drops his vintage Beetluba, emits a Valkyrie-like shriek, and jumps on the cellist, right hand aimed at the beautiful moustache.

The cellist throws his instrument at the attacker. The pitch is way off the plate, and the cello hits the first violinist, who screams while his precious Strad flies backstage.

The second violinist jumps at Mr. Oom-pah-pah, but he steps on the woman's right toe, and she screams. The audience is standing by now.

Nobody can see what's going on, as the tuba guy is lying on top of the cellist, and the second violinist is trying unsuccessfully to pull the huge body off his mate. The woman rotates her arm twice and attacks with her viola, hitting the second violinist.

The first violinist is kneeling in front of his broken Strad and crying, “My baby, my only son."

The woman turns to him. "Oh, shut up and come help me!"

She jumps on top of the 3-man pile, maybe trying to defend the honor of the phallic tuba's owner, we're not really sure. She hits the second violinist again.

The fans are going wild now:

"Pull the moustache!"

"Kill him!"

"The balls, kick his balls!"

Not even the elitists hope to hear Mozart's piece tonight. Up on the third mezzanine, music students have organized a cheer: "Rah-rah-rah! Oom-pah-pah!"

The second violinist's nose is bleeding. The fat guy pulls one last time with all his strength, and the moustache comes off. But inertia makes his hand hit the woman's face, and she falls off the pile.

She stumbles, gets on her knees and stands up. A roar comes from the audience, followed by a big round of applause. She's wearing the moustache now, and everyone agrees it looks a lot sexier on her.

The cellist pushes Mr. Tuba, who loses his balance and grabs at the only thing lying close, the hem of the viola player's long gown. With incredible agility, he pulls hard, turns on the floor, and gets up. Now the gown of his only true ally is in his hand.

Her panties are red, just like the moustache on her face.

Mr. Tuba looks at her bra-less chest, opens his arms wide and shouts, “Mommy!"

She covers her breasts with her arms, and is instantly booed. The cellist, minus moustache, now holds her viola, which he raises in the air to strike her. She moves her arms up to block the attack.

The nice pair is in full view again. New round of applause. No silicone there.

Mr. Tuba tells the cellist, “You touch my mommy, I'll kill you."

Three feet away the second violinist is now holding the tuba, and shouts, “I've always wanted to do this!" He blows hard, and the concert hall is overtaken by an irresistible pooofff.

Mr. Tuba runs to save his beloved instrument, now harassed by a mere violinist.

In a High-Noon-like stance, Ms. Viola and Mr. Cello are facing each other. The audience gasps and freezes. She is a lot quicker on the draw, and the tip of her right shoe hits bull's eye. The cellist has just become a soprano coloratura.

She totally ignores her nude state and turns to attack both the second violinist and Mr. Tuba. A karate chop and a blow with her 22-caliber shoe are enough.

The first violinist finally forgets his Strad and approaches the woman to raise her right arm, declaring her the new viola-weight champion of the world.

We hear a rumble. It is slowly getting louder, going from Dvorak to Holst, until it finally reaches a decent Wagnerian level.

They are all run over by two dozen Tibetan yaks.


Laet Oliveira was born in Brazil too damn long ago. He lived for 2 years in Europe, 11 years in Noo Yawk. Now back in Brazil, he misses his Yank friends a lot. He is self employed and says his aim in life is to "torture people with my prose."

Photo courtesy of Per Hardestam, Karlstad, Sweden.

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