Joan's Debut at The Met
by Catherine Vibert
“Sing it again,” the master instructed. “Control your vibrato.”
Joan put her hand on the Steinway and tightened the muscles in her back.
“Ah ah ah ah aaaah,” her voice rang up the scale. Sustaining the high note, the tone vibrated her head.
A crack chimed. Her goblet shattered. Wine spilled into the silver tray beneath.
“You are ready for the stage, Diva,” the master grinned.
Walking toward the subway, Joan dreamed an aria as she passed the Lincoln Center.
“Brava!” the Chagalls applauded from behind the glass, luminous in the empty night.
Joan curtsied to the murals. Raising her head, she found herself staring down the barrel of a gun.
“Your money and your jewelry,” the thief demanded.
Her heart pounded. She tried to scream but no sound came.
The thief rammed the gun into Joan’s ribs. Her back muscles tightened. She opened her mouth, emitting a high note. The thief stepped back in surprise. The note grew stronger, Joan’s body vibrating with the pitch. The thief dropped his gun and fell to his knees, clawing his head. Her voice rose to a crescendo. Windows shattered throughout the center, shards dropping to the courtyard below. She gasped abruptly. Alarms sounded. The thief lay unconscious. Blood dripped from his ears.
Joan’s muscles were taut piano strings. Hearing footsteps approach, she whirled toward the sound. A policeman. Her shoulders dropped in relief.
“Are you alright ma’am?” the officer inquired.
“I could use a glass of wine,” she whispered.