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Altercation on Ballet Boulevard

On the fifth Daze of Christmas, 

John Weagly highlights the beauty of a Christmas classic.

Altercation on Ballet Boulevard by John Weagly


 “Two! I got two!” Bobby called to passersby. “Who needs two?”  

He couldn’t believe he was standing outside in the nineteen-degree wind and snow trying to scalp tickets for The Nutcracker. At one hundred and six dollars each, he needed to recoup his losses.

“Two!  Tchaikovsky’s Christmas classic!  Mid-level mezzanine!  Great seats!  I got two!”

Fucking Janice. All she talked about since Halloween was how much she loved going to see The Nutcracker for the holidays when she was a kid. Bobby wasn’t all that into seeing dancers on stage unless they were taking off their clothes, but he thought he’d surprise her. Then Janice goes and breaks up with him. You cheat on a woman a couple of times and they lose their holiday spirit.

“Two!  Who wants ‘em?  Sold out show!  Two seats for the sugar plum fairy, the chocolate pudding prince, and whatever the Hell else is dancing around the stage!”

“I need two tickets.”  A middle-aged man in a puffy blue winter coat and black knit gloves walked toward him. “How much do you want for them?”

“I spent two hundred and twelve, plus another thirty in fees,” Bobby said. “I’ll let you have ‘em for two hundred.”

“I haven’t got that much,” the ballet enthusiast said. “Can you give me a break?”

Cars rolled through grey slush. The crowd had thinned now that it was almost curtain time. This guy was probably Bobby’s last chance. But Bobby was also probably his last chance, and he really wanted that money. “Two-hundred.”

“I can’t do it.”

“Sorry,” Bobby said, with an unaffected smirk.

“I’ll give you one fifty.”

“Don’t be an asshole,” Bobby said. “I want two hundred.”

“Come on, man!” the guy said, trying to be reasonable. “My date really loves the ‘Waltz of the Snowflakes.’”

“Here’s your ‘Waltz of the Snowflakes,’” Bobby said, spinning around in a street corner pirouette and ending with two elaborate middle fingers. Unfortunately, he didn’t see the patch of ice next to his foot and slipped on his grand finale. Bobby’s back hit the sidewalk with a thumpity-thump-thump.

Before Bobby could catch his breath, the arts patron’s hands flew over his body like two coked-up dormice, dodging in and out of pockets. The improvised mugger found the theater tickets inside Bobby’s coat.

“Sorry,” the man said. “But this is going to make for a great first date.”

Bobby groaned his displeasure.

“Did you get them?” a familiar female voice asked.

“I got them!”

Janice stepped out from under the theater’s marquee. “Wonderful!” she said. She looked at Bobby on the ground and took on an elfish grin. “Kick him in the balls.”

“What?”

“We’re seeing The Nutcracker. Crack his nuts.”

Bobby tried to curl up, but had trouble making his body obey his commands.

“That seems a little… excessive,” the man said.

“I’ll do it.”  Janice stepped between Bobby’s legs. “Thanks for the tickets, loser.”

Janice drew her foot back and let it go.

Bobby’s bells rang with the agony of the angels. Boiling eggnog flowed through his veins. Noises sounded like someone was writing his name on an aluminum cookie sheet with a rusty nail. A taste like old fruitcake mixed with expired frankincense rose in his mouth. Bobby couldn’t, and didn’t, want to move. He didn’t even want to be alive.

“Do you know that guy?” the man asked, a little confused.

“No,” Janice said. “I’m just looking forward to the show.”

Janice and her date walked into the theater.

When the lobby door opened, Bobby could faintly hear strains of The Nutcracker’s overture playing. “I fucking hate Tchaikovsky,” he wheezed into the cement.



JOHN WEAGLY’s short fiction has been nominated for a Derringer Award 6 times, winning one in 2008, and has been nominated for a Spinetingler Award. As a playwright, his first play was produced in 1992. Since then, his scripts have received over 130 productions by theaters around the world. www.johnweagly.com