Dear Andre and Firmin,
I know that you boys are new to this place and it’s your first time being managers of anything. So, I will do you two a biiig favor and let you know how things roll in this opera house.
You are the managers, but I am the one who’s really in charge. I will tell you who plays what role. I will tell you what chorus members need to be shipped away to Nebraska.
And you will pay me for my generous services. Twenty thousand francs every other week. It may seem like a lot, but I do have needs. I go through so many candles a month *sigh* and with the current honey bee population crises, the price of candles have increased dramatically. You try living in the bowels of an opera house without candles. I tried it once. It was not a good time.
Oh! And one last thing. This is such a small detail, but it is vastly important. You will leave Box 5 open for my use and my use alone. If I find anyone sitting in there, hahahaha. There will be a dreadful accident. I’m sure you don’t want that to happen, MY dear managers.
Sincerely and with deepest affection,
The Phantom read it over one more time to check for glaring grammar mistakes or improper comma usage. Satisfied with what he saw, he ran up to the managers’ office, walked through a secret panel, and set the note on their shared desk.
He positioned it just right so they couldn’t help but notice it.
Then, he left, glowing with satisfaction.
These managers will be pushovers. Just like that last one who ran away from my demands. Simpery coward.
“Salary? He wants a salary? Wot?”
“Wot indeed. He must take us for fools. And what’s this about Box 5? Leave it open for his use? Hardly likely.”
“Indeed! We don’t take orders.” Monsieur Andre pulled out his scissors and cut the Phantom’s note into a paper doily.
And he threw the doilied note into the trash.
Raoul entered the room. “Hey. I want to attend the opera tonight. Do you have any spare tickets?”
The two managers exchanged a look and smiled. “Why, yes.” Andre said.
“Yes, we do.” Firmin said.
“Christine is going to have her big debut in tonight’s opera.” The Phantom readjusted his mask. “Oh!” He flapped his hands. “I’m just so excited. She is going to rock everyone’s faces off and they will love her for it. Just not love her like that. Otherwise, I’d have to kill them all. Christine is MY Christine and no one else’s.”
He flung on his cape and ran up his secret staircase that led straight to Box 5.
“I’m going to see Christine sing in a real opera. It is going to be so awesome. MY Christine will be so awesome. Of course, she’ll be awesome. She is always awesome.” He slid the secret panel aside.
And he felt like all of his life had been sucked out of him.
Someone was already sitting in Box 5.
A young man with a shoulder length bob.
That was insult enough, but matters were worse.
He was eating popcorn.
Very greasy popcorn.
Every now and then, he’d wipe his hands on the armrests.
“no.” This. This cannot be!
He stepped boldly into the Box. “Excuse me. Sir. But you are sitting in MY seat.”
The young man popped a handful of popcorn in his mouth and looked up at him. “No, I’m not. The managers said I could sit here. And I can see why. It’s the perfect distance from the stage. Not too close. Not too—”
“YOU ARE IN MY SEAT!”
“Tough. I got here first. Deal with it.”
The curtain rose and the orchestra played the overture.
“Okay. Fine. I’ll deal with it. I deal with it RIGHT IN YOUR FACE!” And he punched Raoul.
“Oh-ho! So, it’s fisticuffs you want then? THEN TAKE THIS!”
Christine glided onto the stage surrounded by a flittering group of ballerinas.
“Ah!” Phantom gasped. “MYCHRISTINE!”
She looked towards Box 5 with a confused expression.
Raoul bristled. “She is NOT your Christine! SHE’S MINE!”
“In your dreams, you flouncy fop!”
“Flouncy fop? You called me a flouncy fop? Have at thee!” Raoul threw himself at the Phantom. “AHHHHHHHHHH!”
They punched and tossled and slapped and pulled hair and yelled and shouted and swore.
And they were both arrested for disorderly conduct at an opera house.
Raoul and the Phantom sat on opposite sides of the jail cell.
Raoul’s hair was all messed up.
The Phantom’s mask refused to sit right on his face. So, he had to hold it in place with his hand.
They refused to look at each other or say a single word to each other.
Christine showed up.
Both men jumped up and ran to the front of the cell.
The Phantom put his spare hand on Raoul’s face and shoved him back.
Raoul kicked his bottom.
Christine stood on the other side of the jail cell. She didn’t speak.
“Oh, Christine! You’ve come to set me free!” The Phantom struggled to keep his mask from falling.
“Ugly bozo man!” Raoul strode to the door. “My Christine has come for me not you.”
“She is NOT your Christine. SHE IS MY—”
“If you two don’t stop right now, I will enter that cell and clobber you both.” Her voice was like a steadily building thunderstorm.
Both men went silent.
“You two idiots ruined my big debut.”
The Phantom pointed at Raoul. “He was sitting in my spot and getting grease stains everywhere.”
She Medusa-glared him.
He shut up.
“I am too furious and upset to deal with either of you two right now. I will bail you out in the morning.” She smiled and both men shuddered. “Good night.”