by Eadweard Festerwinde-Waugh


Nora, Horace and Norbert, a violin trio, attempted to learn a score at a recent rehearsal. It was an informal afternoon affair. Sheet music was spread out and they tuned their instruments. Perhaps it was a little too informal, for it was soon evident they could not conduct themselves properly. It wasn't long before Norbert nonchalantly nuzzled the nape of Nora's neck. Her violin sighed under her now quivering bow. Horace, however, also adored Nora and abhorred Norbert's extraordinarily forward advances. Horace hautily hoisted his violin and tucked it up under his chin. Nora's aura cycled uncertainly as she became aware of Norberts teasing tongue and Horace's horrified stare. Nudging Norbert, she shifted in her chair and threw back her hair. Horace stood straight up now and without a word, savagely sawed a malicious arpeggio while shooting Norbert a piercing, icy stare. Norbert smirked and swiftly shouldered his loud little fiddle. He answered with a furious flurry of audible arrows, finished with a flourish. Horace, gesticulating wildly, countered with a major scaled measure. Outside, flocks of birds took flight. Nora smiled like a child and joined in with her violin, taunting and teasing them both. Forth and back it went, arpeggio after cadenza. Staccato, after picciccato. Allegro fortissimo! Horace poured sweat as he unleashed, with his bow, swarms of little black notes. Then, with a composed demeanor and a competitive glee, Norbert retorted a sharp rejoinder. Dogs began to howl. Horace, now huffing sent back a rapid attack of sonic spears. Norbert ducked and deflected Horace's choruses. No words were uttered as they bowed bodaciously back and forth in an impossible improvisation. The musical call-and-answer reached a fevered pitch and Nora giggled gaily, ducking and weaving her melodies in between the screeching violin volleys thrown by her rival suitors. They no longer took turns. It was a musical free-for-all. A crowd of music. A towering vortex of sound had formed about these three musicians. It was about to burst the room.
It was at this precise moment the parlor door swung open and Boris, their conductor, appeared. The cacophony ceased at once. Nora turned toward the door. Her eyes widened and she smiled. She quietly rose from her chair, placed her violin and bow in their case and nodded in turn to a panting Norbert and a wheezing Horace. She then turned and left the room with Boris' arm around her waist. Horace and Norbert, perspiring and out of breath, gazed at each other in stunned disbelief. Slack-jawed and blinking, they turned to each other, shrugged their shoulders and, raising their bows in unison, picked up where they left off.


Way Out West © 1993 Martin Scherer. Venus & Mars © 1995 Martin Scherer. E-mail: