Summoned by email, I attended. Tim the Tinker's studio had that smell one finds in anterooms of hell. The sulfurous vapors, the sweaty stench of smelted metal, the pungent smoke of undying coals, the doorbell that chimed the Anvil Chorus and the phone that rang the Descent to Nibelheim from Das Rheingold. I should have demanded trumpets announcing the path to Valhalla, the Rainbow bridge that leads into the skies above.
The big man stood at the anvil, back to me, bare to the waist except for his leather apron, his muscled back and heavy triceps flexing with each stroke of the hammer.
"Don't look. You'll spoil the surprise." He spoke over his shoulder and returned the metal to the fire, waited a few seconds and struck it again. I picked up a longsword with a fine double fuller blade and gave it a few swings. I always tested Tim's swords.
"It's not like I haven't seen you beating off before," I said, annoyed at his back.
He opened his mouth, but all I heard was "Jawohl, Herr Hauptmann!" from Wozzeck. It was his cell phone this time, with a ringtone that stunk even worse than Das Rheingold.
After listening a moment he cried, "What? Your tiny hand is frozen?" Covering the phone with his hand he whispered to me, "A single secret tear from her eye did spring." Back to his caller he went on, "Sweet name, you who made my heart... yes, yes, sweet daughter of love... one fine day we will see... now farewell, without resentment." He closed the phone and grinned at me. "Women are fickle!"
I swung the sword and lopped off his head. He should have known by now that if there's anything I can't stand, it's opera in English.
Opening: Dave F......Continuation: Paul Penna