I was young and sitting on a tram when a man walked up and asked to see my Cello.
He was very polite and I could not think of a good reason to say no.
He had two young boys with him and he didn’t look crazy, so I said yes.
The boys were impressed by the Cello but when it came to their request to play, I chickened out. I regret that, but back then my confidence was ‘less than zero’.
Now, I can see myself serenading a tram full of curious passengers but this is now and that was then.
I don’t often think about that day but it is definitely on a list of things that I would like to do over again.
I was on that tram heading to an audition for the Symphony Orchestra. I didn’t get in that year but three years later I did and since then I have traveled all over the world. I hung onto that Cello for many years, until that incident with the boy scout troupe.
I’ve never seen a Cello in so many pieces.
Becoming a solo performer was a difficult journey, but having an affair with the resident conductor certainly helped. He was a lot older than I was but I didn’t mind, I couldn’t sleep after a performance, so a performance of a more intimate nature was okay by me.
After becoming a soloist I needed an instrument befitting my status.
The Zoidberg Foundation came to my rescue.
They managed to lease a $2 million dollar Giovanni Paolo Maggini. The sound it makes would make an angel weep. Sadly, Maggini died of the plague when he was a young man. He didn’t come from Cremona as Stradavari did but a Stradavari is worth more than a small city and the sound from a Maggini is just as good.
The Zoidberg Foundation paid for the lease on the instrument but I was up for the insurance premium, so you can see why I fought so hard when those two dead-beats tried to steal my cello.
To be accurate, they were trying to steal my car and they probably didn’t know what was in the boot but that is beside the point. I have no idea how they got my car started but occasionally I forget to trip the kill switch. I don’t trust electronic immobilisers. The damn things have a habit of freezing up when the transmitter battery gets low, leaving you stuck in the middle of nowhere. I prefer analogue solutions partly because they are unexpected.
I must have forgotten.
In case you are wondering, I had four brothers and they were all ‘into’ cars.
I hit the first bloke with part of a brick I found lying in the gutter, just as he stuck his head out of the passenger door. I was a first string pitcher for my university softball team, back in the day.
He never knew what hit him.
The half-wit behind the wheel was momentarily frozen.
I could see him summing up the situation. He could see a girl and he was wondering how I’d managed to knock his partner out from several metres away.
He had a bunch of options to work his way through. He could try to get the car out of the tight parking space or he could get out of the car and thump me. He could grab his friend and leg it or finally, he could just leave his friend there and head for the hills on.
Whatever course he chose I just wanted him out of my car.
The look on his face said that his courage was returning. He’d decided to get out and give me ‘what for’. I don’t think he noticed the smile on my face as he started to alight from my vehicle. The next face he saw was the ambulance driver, or possibly the handsome young police officer. The other half of the brick, that I was hiding behind my back, hit him right between the eyes. It probably left the makers mark on his forehead; a kind of souvenir of the occasion.
Mine wasn’t the first car they had broken into so they got a couple of years each and pled guilty at their trial. The handsome young police officer who had mumbled something about excessive force on the day, came to see me to let me know the outcome, which was very friendly of him. I’d been overseas for about a year but he tracked me down on my return. He asked me out to dinner, but before he did that he told me that my potential car thieves had pled guilty because they didn’t want everyone to know that they had been caught by a Cello player; and a female one at that.