For Opera Queens Who Have Considered Suicide: When a Phone Call is Enough – by Chuck Teixeira

 (c) Chuck Teixeira, 2014


This is Terence.  May I help you?

Wow, Tavis! Thanks for calling. Sorry about static on the line. What can I do for you?

Appear on your show again?  Never expected to be invited back. At least not this quickly.

I feel like a celebrity when you put it that way.

Yes, I’ll cull non-essentials from my calendar.

Come now!  What do you mean by urgent?

I’m glad to hear ratings went through the roof. But producers were in no danger of cancelling, were they? I must be careful about where I appear. I can’t risk my inchoate crossover appeal.

Like the Jessye Norman-Justin Timberlake duet?  I may have missed that one.

A show about opera trivia?  Sweet Cheeks, there is nothing trivial about opera.

Irreverent or irrelevant – which one?  Are you sure there’s an audience for either.

Did you say thinnest edge of interpretive ice?  I hope you didn’t say bitchiest.

Maybe start with Mimi in Boheme.  What can you expect when you fall for a tenor?

And why does she take so long to die?  Only a heart of stone could watch the death of Mimi without laughing.

No, not really mine, not really original.

Musetta’s prayer?  Comes down to “I’m garbage; Mimi’s a saint.” Even in her prayer, Musetta’s trash.  Lying to the Madonna about Mimi’s being a saint.  What was Mimi doing with the Viscount?  Did she leave voluntarily to freeze in the street?  Or did he toss out the ungrateful tart?

Yes, I know you also like dishing oligarchs and speaking truth to power, blah, blah, blah.  But getting back to Boheme, while Mimi slips away, so does the hall – decked as it is with ragged reprises.  And does anyone think for a moment that the doctor will arrive on time?  Doctors don’t do well in opera.  Or in most other places. Mentioning the profession is like telegraphing “TRAGEDY.” One shows up near the end of Traviata. Says he can’t help then hangs around to fatten his fee . . .

Madame Butterfly!  There’s a woman who knows how to exit!

No, she didn’t need a doctor in the versions I’ve seen; but, just between us, Baby Cakes, the last Met production could have used some help.

I’m not sure why it offends you.  I can promise it won’t happen again.  As long you keep your distance, Magnet Man!

Consult on a new series re-working Verdi heroines?  Off the top of my head, I’d suggest an episode merging Violetta and Gilda.  Consumption from a C-major curse. Paris courtesan found sacked in the Seine. Done in by own Dad instead of her boyfriend’s.  Who’s behind the series?

God, not Tyler.  I mean is he a eunuch or just a bottom?

Oops! The two of you an item?

Yes, probably, the only one who didn’t know.

Didn’t know that either.

Desdemona?  What’s his thing?  Will he cast you as the Moor?

I am not flattering you. I’ve heard you in the shower many wonderful mornings.

All right.  I know it’s over.

All right.  It never was.

Color-blind casting?  Jerry Hadley could have been great.

Star power?  Yes, very famous. Three Grammys – Susannah, Jenufa and some other famous cunt.

Not sure how to describe his sidelining.  Unhappy marriage? Unhappy divorce? Two plugs of the same rancid snuff.

No, Hon, he’s not available.

No, I don’t even know his agent.  But I know he’s not available.  He fired a bullet into his brains.  In his garage north of New York City.

Several years ago. Wasn’t it news in Los Angeles?

Yes, of course.  Pushed out of print by bigger items that day. Like a steam pipe blowing in Manhattan’s Diamond District. Or the plane wreck in Sao Paulo that left 200 dead.

A rumor that he had spent the previous night with me?  First I’ve heard it.  We weren’t that kind of close, alas.  Things might have been better.  For him and for all of opera.

But I made the news now, right?  Or at least got a few social media posts.  And you want me to do it again?  Down to specifics.

Sorry, those dates don’t work.

I can name the date?  Any date that’s good for me?  I’ll get back to you.  Right after I corner the future. Shouldn’t take too long in light of my recent television success.   I’m glad to share that with you.  Wish I could share other things too, Mr. Bun Mountain, Mr. Great Gobs of Glute.

Sorry. I promise it won’t happen again.


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Chuck Teixeira

Chuck Teixeira, a tax attorney in San Francisco, has published Sierra Showdown and Against Slander, two collections of short stories that have appeared in various magazines.  He has also collected his published poems under the title, High Summer in Endurance.  All three books are available on   Chuck’s nonfiction has appeared in  professional publications of the Bureau of National Affairs, Thomson, Matthew Bender and the San Francisco and Los Angeles Daily Journals.


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Author: gayflashfic

Manager of Gay Flash Fiction

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