Challenge #01580-D119: Alto-nate TalentsteemCreated with Sketch.

in fiction •  2 years ago


Alto. Never to sing those high intricate vocal solos beloved of Opera fans. Altos get stuck in the choir. -- Knitnan

Keep the tune. Keep the rhythm. Let the sopranos, the tenors and the basso profundos drown you out. That's all the Altos are good for, they say. That and pop music, which is famously lacking in melody[1], and famously full of atonal yelling down the microphones. Which was all too bad, because Gail loved to sing, and she was an Alto.

She had thought Choir, and Glee Club, and singing lessons would help her with her love. What she got for each was: put in the back row, put in the rhythm section, and put up with by numerous bored singing coaches once they realised that they could never get her up to the heights that people valued.

Gail could never understand why everyone wanted sopranos. The high-register trilling always hurt her ears and made her wince. But high notes, apparently, were key. And sometimes her coach at the time would chuckle at that. A joke she heard too often to be funny any more. In the end, she gave up on all of it. Got back to saving up for some other dream that may not ever come true. Got back to work.

One of her jobs was Dead Shift at the mall. Liminal space and warping time and dim lighting. And, on movie marathon nights, people in pyjamas carrying pillows towards their respective parking lots. And, because management was cheap, playing double duty as security and cleaning staff on a single paycheque.

It was also empty and echo-y and the perfect place for her to sing the songs in her earphones as she felt they should have been sung. No extended warbling up and down the scales. Just melody and her voice. And, she had to confess, occasional percussion from the stacked chairs in the food court.

Just her and her true love. Often, with her eyes closed.

She had no idea that she'd been recorded on one movie night. She had no idea that she was a YouTube hit. She had even less of an idea that people were starting to come to her workplace just to catch her singing. Not until the day her boss called her in, one afternoon, and showed her the videos.

It was her one rendition of a very popular hit song that got the most comments, and thumb's-ups.

Gail cringed in her seat, watching herself perform. Feeling the blood fill her face. She expected a dismissal, after she heard a lecture about professional conduct and her reflection on the mall at large.

Instead, she got, "So. When are you going on America's Got Talent?"

Gail had no idea how to handle it.

[1]: Except for the Electric Light Orchestra, Queen, and Steam Powered Giraffe. [You're welcome for the last one btw]

[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / stokkete]

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