The Short Humour Site

Home : Writers' Showcase : Submission Guidelines : A Man of a Few More Words : Links

Writers' Showcase

Good Advice
by Israela Margalit

I had that agent, straight from the storybooks: salt-and-pepper hair, protective. He thought that he’d discovered me, which he did—that is, I knocked on his door and begged him to discover me until he obliged.

He gave me all kinds of advice. Never say you don’t know a piece of music. If they ask you to play a concerto that you hadn’t yet learned, say thank you for the opportunity, then practice around the clock. Another piece of advice was to always be cordial to the assistants: the assistant conductor, the assistant manager, the assistant elevator boy. You never know where they’ll end up. But his favorite advice was how to comport myself with the maestros: ”Whatever you do with the one, you’ll have to do with the others. Favored nations! Don’t sleep with a conductor unless you intend to marry him.”

So when I played with a cute and irresistible conductor who invited me to dinner after the last of three concerts, and we slept together, I married him. My agent advised me to no longer appear as my husband’s soloist because that would smack of nepotism and ruin my reputation. But soon we found out that other conductors had lost interest in me. They viewed me as fifth column, someone privy to their shortcomings and behind-the-scenes antics, and sure to report to the enemy during pillow talk. My agent said that my new inability to blindly idolize my conductors made me toxic, and that he had run out of good advice. But just as my career was being reduced to dust, an assistant elevator boy became a sensational maestro overnight, and—remembering my kindness to him while he was a nonentity—booked me as his soloist on a televised world tour.