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What’s Funny?

Irena Pasvinter | Alankrita Amaya

“How many times have we watched this?”

“If you’re so bored, don’t keep me company. Nobody forces you.”

“Don’t make this hurt face. I’m not bored. It’s too funny.”

“Funny? What do you mean?”

“Oh, you know, funny, comical. Especially when you start strangling this shrieking bug-eyed prima donna, it’s absolutely hilarious.”

“Comical? So you think I look ridiculous?”

“It’s not just you, the whole thing’s ridiculous.”

“For everybody else it’s classics, an immortal tragedy, and for you it’s what – a comedy? A farce?”

“Bingo, farce is the perfect word.”

“So I’m what, a clown? A jester? A buffoon?”

“Calm down. You’re an opera singer, a fine opera singer, but don’t expect me to burst into tears when you squeeze your partner to death. That’s too much to ask.”

“And why is that too much? The audience cried.”

“From laughter perhaps.”

“If you bothered to come to the performance, you’d have seen how sensitive, emotional people react to great art, to Shakespearean tragedy, to Verdi’s opera.”

“Sorry, dear, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to watch you without giggling.”

“Am I really so ridiculous in your eyes?”

“Usually not, but white-faced Otello, dressed in a suit and tie, strangling mini-skirted Ophelia – it’s a bit too much for me to stay serious.”

“It’s not Ophelia I’m strangling. It’s Desdemona. Des-de-mo-na.”

“All right, all right, no need to kill me for mixing two Shakespearean females.”

“To kill you? I wonder if that would finally convince you I could do tragedy.”


“I’d put my hands on your neck, like that, like I did with Desdemona.”

“Very convincing. You know what, I give up – you can play tragedy. No need to prove this to me.”

“I’d squeeze hard, really hard, like I always longed to do with Desdemona, but could never afford to.”


“Oh, it feels so good.”

“Ghhhhh… Stop this! It’s not funny.”

“Sorry, my fingers slipped for a second. Oh, I love it. I love your color – this lovely shade of blue. It’s such a heavenly pleasure. Your neck is so gracious. Do you want me to sing to you? Your last aria? You see, I can do both, tragedy and singing. You should have come to the premiere. You should have come to the final performance. You should have come. Now it’s too late. But I still can do tragedy. Sleep well, my Desdemona. Sleep well.”

About Irena Pasvinter

Irena Pasvinter divides her time between software engineering, endless family duties and writing poetry and fiction. Her poem Psalm 3.14159… has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Visit Irena at

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