Friday Fictioneers – Bel Canto


Beyond the footlights, the audience is an unseen expectant mass. Zeina El Hefny commands the stage, her coloratura notes easily ascending the runs and trills of Handel’s score to hit a high F.  She has made it, all the way from Cairo to the heart of Europe. But how she missed her own civilised bathroom and its bidet!

A house light sparks off a tiara in the Royal box.

A stray thought sparks off Zeina’s mind as she regards the opera-goers. “All these people smear their shit around their arses with bits of paper.”


Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here

74 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers – Bel Canto

  1. Irrespective of culture or judgment, great that talent is recognized and respected all over the world.
    Glad there’s a good audience that has good taste to make Zeina’s event a grand success.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s amazing what we miss when we travel overseas. Our perspectives are often skewed. The story made me laugh, remembering my own thoughts at times when traveling. Hit a personal “note.” Great read as always!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s good, but there is so much in this, I don’t even know where to start. What a great idea to have the diva let her thoughts wander while she sings… but the path they take… LOL.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Haha! I love how her thoughts are able to wander whilst she is performing – proof of her professional abilities. Where her thoughts wandered is proof that we all have these out-of-box thoughts at the oddest times. Great take.

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  4. when i went to france for the first time, i found myself totally uncivilized. when confronted by a bidet, i didn’t know what it was for and how to use it. such cultural shock. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A good story, Neil. I wondered about the Hindu habit of never eating with the left hand until I asked about it. It’s also impolite to handle a serving spoon with the left hand. they don’t have bidets. 🙂 — Suzanne

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  6. Wonderfully set up before the rapid spiral at the end. I love how you link the light reflecting off a tiara to an idea sparked in Zeina’s mind. I’ll never feel the same about opera or tiaras again. And I do agree – cultural practices become so much a part of us, especially in the realm of the very personal – that having to cope with differences can be agony.

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  7. Nope – didn’t see that coming. I had to read it again to see if I somehow misread it. Not implausible, by any means, just unexpected. I’m shaking my head, wondering how on earth that idea came to you, but you don’t have to tell.

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  8. I wonder if Zeina cringed when the thought went through her mind. This reminded me of the time I was in Indonesia and visited someone’s home. When I went to the bathroom, my socks got wet from the water on the floor… it was water from buckets that served as a form of bidet.

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  9. Toilets are one of those comforts that make traveling bearable. It’s like, we can travel anywhere, so long as there’s a toilet of a familiar kind. The automatic flushing toilets in Singapore were quite amusing and frustrating, as they would sometimes flush while one was still sitting on them.

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