Cabaret: A Roman Riddle by Lily Prior

By Lily Prior

struggling mortician in working-class Rome, Freda merely married her repulsive ventriloquist husband, Alberto, since it was once prophesied that she'd accomplish that. Now that he is vanished mysteriously with his both abhorrent dummy (who Freda suspects is admittedly a midget), she'd like them either to stick lacking -- although she's devastated by way of the simultaneous disappearance of her soul mate, Pierino, her loved conversing parrot. whereas the police examine this sequence of attainable crimes, Freda will proceed embalming by way of day, unleashing her caged passions at evening in a seedy cabaret (until a sad hearth leaves the owner with a tuba caught on his head), attempting to make do with a speaking hamster in lieu of pricey Pierino . . . and recalling the vagaries of existence that led her to this unlucky juncture.

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And Mamma was still screaming. Screaming. Screaming. Screaming. All the time I was watching in slow motion. I had been damaged, I felt vaguely, but I had been wearing the seat belt. Mamma reached the height of her arc, and inevitably began to descend toward the earth. There was a slightly different note now in her scream. The force of gravity, perhaps, pulling it down a semitone. Her eyes were open wide, staring. Trailing the washing she had ripped from a clothesline in passing, she was eventually brought to a halt by an enormous palm tree, into which she crashed, and into the rough hairy trunk of which her fine white front teeth sank.

At the far end, on a dais in front of the high altar, was the coffin of shiny wood, surrounded by arrangements of white flowers: lilies, roses, and dahlias. I felt sick seeing it there, knowing Mamma was shut up inside it. Sitting with Aunt Ninfa in the front row was Fiamma. Although she had been pretending to be tough ever since the tragedy, sitting there she looked dwarfed and haunted, like a little frightened girl. Uncle Birillo parked me in the aisle, and I reached out to her. She fell into my arms and instantaneously we were wracked by sobs.

Uncle Birillo parked me in the aisle, and I reached out to her. She fell into my arms and instantaneously we were wracked by sobs. Our aunt Ninfa joined in. She is truly the loudest woman I have ever known, and her trumpets of grief throughout the service were sometimes sufficient to 43 cabaret drown out the words of the priest, and at times even the choir of matrons hired by Uncle Birillo at great expense. With a defiant gleam in her wet eyes she sobbed all the louder. Trapped inside my brace and my plaster cast, I felt captive in a nightmare from which there was no waking.

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