by Alexis Kypridemos
Stuart Thrasher sat perched on his stool, waiting, as he had been for the previous ninety minutes. A bead of sweat dripped from his forehead, down his cheek, onto the rim of his tuxedo collar, tickling him. But he dared not release the vice-like grips he held on his cymbals to reach for his collar. Instead he used all his will power to ignore the tickling sensation. After all, he had spent his entire adult life preparing for this sort of thing.
He listened attetinvely. Yes, there was the swell in the volume from the strings, the subtle underpinning from the clarinet... There it was! There was his cue!
On the next down beat, Thrasher stood up and crashed his cymbals together triumphantly, giving him a rush that vindicated the previous ninety minutes of inactivity.
A great noise covered the delicate sound of the symphony orchestra, as a section of the audience errupted in applause. "Yeeeeah! Way to go Stuie!" some shouted as they clapped, while others whistled. Confused, the conductor stopped conducting. The orchestra stopped playing.
Thrasher felt a little embarrassed at the overwhelming response from his loyal fans, but equally felt that he should express his gratitude, so he stood up and gave a short bow.
The conductor followed the audience's gaze to the top of the orchestra pit. He got off his podium to get a better look at the percussion section.
"Right," he said. "Who's Stuie? You?" He pointed a finger at Thrasher. The cymbalist nodded sheepishly.
"Get the fuck out!" Thrasher left his stool and walked off the stage red-faced, like a reprimanded schoolboy.
Author Notes: "Crescendo" is part of "Fiction Fix," a collection of 46 short, funny stories, plus 196 bonus micro fiction budget stories, available at http://www.fiction-fix.com.