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Writing Resources from Fifteen Minutes of Fiction

The following is a piece of writing submitted by Douglas on January 12, 2009

The Viola Is Such a Joke

Every time the viola section started playing, Hector cringed. It was the sort of cringe that started at his toes and worked its way up his legs, through his spine and shoulders and to his neck. It was the sort of cringe that was really more like a spasm than a cringe. It was a cringe of such melodramatic violence that people twenty rows away in the second balcony would take notice.

Nancy leaned close to him and whispered, "What's wrong, Hector?"

Hector shuddered, then said, "Nothin'."

"Well, something's bothering you. What is it?"

The violas rose in unison to a high tremolo, and Hector cringed again.

"Is it the violas?" Nancy asked. "You don't like the sound of the viola?"

"Oh, no," Hector said, "I like the sound of violas just fine."

"Then it's the music they're playing. You don't like Shostakovitch?"

Hector shrugged. "I don't understand Shostakovitch, but I like him okay."

"Well, what, then? Is your ex-girlfriend playing in the viola section?"

"Are you kidding? She hasn't got a musical bone in her body."

"Then I really don't see what the problem is."

"Hey, guys," Doug whispered, far too loudly, "What's the difference between a viola and an onion?"

Nancy stared. "I don't know."

"Nobody cries when you chop up a viola! Ha ha! HA! Oh, just wait - I've got a million more of those!"

Every time the viola section started playing, Nancy cringed.

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