SmokeLong Quarterly

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The Cellist

Story by Antonios Maltezos (Read author interview) March 15, 2006

I love my den, my stacks of corporate law, my bottles of white Porto, my cigars. His mother knows that.

”Cello, bassoon, or piccolo?”

“Where’s your mother?” I ask.

”Choose one,” he says, “cello, bassoon, or piccolo?”

“I choose the piccolo.” What I don’t say is that I’ve chosen the piccolo for its small sound. “Well, isn’t the bassoon a kind of tuba?” I continue because he seems so disappointed with my choice. “How are you going to carry a tuba?” He won’t. It’s the cello he wants, and a special room where he can practice nights, weekends.

I’m about to stub my cigar because of the haze, clear the air of all the second-hand smoke.

“Don’t do that,” he says as he looks about the den, seemingly taking inventory of my things, making room for his own.

I wonder if he realizes there’s Porto mixed in with that amber tinge in the woodwork. He must. He does.

“I love this room,” he says finally, shutting his eyes because his fingers are already at the strings.

Quietly, I stub out the cigar.

He doesn’t seem to care that his mannerisms are girlish. I’m embarrassed, at first, and then weakened by the intensity of his performance, the lovely figure of that ghost cello he has to play standing up.

About the Author

Antonios Maltezos is currently working on a novel, A Train Runs Through Here.

This story appeared in Issue Twelve of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Twelve

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