Let’s take a break from the poetry and have a story, shall we? Welcome to Sucky Story Sunday, where my goal is to prove Ray Bradbury wrong and write 52 bad stories.
Prompt: A composer of elevator music must cooperate with the one person she hates. Prop: a pocket calendar.
We were getting nowhere. I wanted to grab the tiny pocket calendar and turn the pages for him myself – anything but watch as he licked his shaky finger before turning each page.
“Problem dear?” He looked at me over his reading glasses.
First, I am not your dear. “I am just surprised that a major orchestra rehearsal schedule isn’t online.” It’s 2022, damn it.
“I’m sure some of my musicians have a calendar in the ether, but I don’t trust anything I cannot touch and hold.” He shut the calendar and waved it in front of my face. He sighed and opened it again. “We are looking at late August, or possibly mid-September, yes?”
“The studio is booked for the third week of July.” I had no say in the date, or I would do it next week, just to get it over with and not work with this dinosaur.
“Oh, that will not do at all. We have a difficult Fourth of July program and will need to be rehearsing that all June. We won’t have time to work on anything else.”
“The Fourth of July program is the same one you do every year, right? On the stage on the lake, an hour of God Bless America and then the 1812 Overture?”
“Just because it’s a tradition doesn’t mean we can slack off on rehearsal. Our Timpanist is new and must have the chance to learn his parts.” He pointed to a day in October. “How about this?”
“You have very talented musicians, surely they can work on two things at once.” I wasn’t sure about the conductor, though. He had been with the orchestra since it’s founding in the 80s.
“I make the programming and rehearsal decisions for this symphony.” He put the calendar in his suit jacket pocket. “Not some studio lackey and certainly not some fourth rate song writer who fancies herself a composter.”
I am sure that was supposed to hurt my feelings, but I made a good living doing what I do. This old conductor couldn’t say that. I did have the upper hand here, though. “If you don’t deliver this recording by the end of July, the agency will find another orchestra. I guess you don’t need the money.”
He growled. “There is not another symphony in this state that would lower itself to play the garbage you write. I told the board that we ourselves should not sink to this level.”
“But the board knows you need funding. Covid did not help the arts financially.”
He scowled but said nothing.
I scribbled some dates on a piece of scrab paper and handed it to him. He stuffed it in the same pocket as the calendar.
My whole body relaxed with my victory. Finally, the latest French Montana rap would be enjoyed in elevators across the country.