Fandango’s one-word challenge yesterday was PREPOSTEROUS. I wrote this response in my head but didn’t get around to making it into a file. So here I am, a day late in posting my effort.
As Ludwig’s his three cousins filed into his tiny study and circled around him, the grimness in their faces made him apprehensive. “Take chairs, my dear cousins. This is a rare treat for me, having all three of you come like this. I suppose you must have some family business on your mind?”
“We need not sit. This won’t take long.” Karl faced him and spoke clearly, as Ludwig was getting quite hard of hearing. “The family business we have on our mind is YOU, Ludwig.”
Franz nodded in agreement. “We’ve talked among ourselves and decided to speak with you about your problem. We’ve decided to call this little meeting an intervention, as we wish to intervene in your affairs — purely for your own good.”
“To save you from certain poverty,” Karl added.
Franz shuffled his feet. “Your hearing, cousin Ludwig. You know it’s getting quite poor.”
“Ah.” Ludwig’s eyebrows arched. “And so? What do you propose to do on my behalf? Send me to yet another doctor? The ones I’ve seen all say nothing can be done.”
The third man held up his hand and spoke loudly, “Exactly! We realize that nothing will change your fate. If your hearing loss continues at this rate, in ten years you will be deaf as a stone.”
“You don’t need to shout, Leonhardt. I can still hear, if only you speak clearly.”
“I’ve talked with my wife’s brother, Walt Shnedden,” Leonhardt explained. “As you may know, he’s a successful meat-cutter, and he’s willing to take you on as an apprentice, even though you’re…older… He’ll teach you the trade so you will be able to earn an income that’s not dependent on your hearing.”
“Meat-cutter? But my hands are made for the piano. For writing music!”
“You’re still a young man. Ludwig,” said Karl. “And we’ll admit, you’ve done very well at composing. People love your sonatas. But that day will come to an end, once your precious musical ear has fallen silent.”
“I think it’s very generous of Walt.” Leonhardt sounded impatient. “Only a fool would try to carry on writing music when he was deaf. And you’re no fool, Beethoven. I hope.”
Franz, always the amicable one, chose an encouraging tone. “We believe you could become a skillful and moderately prosperous meat-cutter if you started now.”
“That’s preposterous,” Ludwig shouted. “Music is my life. How can I ever accept such a crazy suggestion?”
Leonhardt turned to the others. “Well, cousins, I doubted we’d be successful in our endeavor. He will not listen to common sense. Ludwig will scribble his sonatas all the way to the poor house. We may as well carry on to our second intervention. I’m sure my nephew Felix will listen to reason if Ludwig will not.”
Ludwig started. “Felix? Do you mean Felix Haustelraed — the boy who dreams of being a sculptor?”
“Just the one.” Karl shook his head sadly. “He imagines he can earn a living chipping away at stone, but we all know that’s impossible in this day and age. A man needs a real job.”
“But his work is brilliant! If he keeps on, he could be a famous man someday.”
“He’d make a good meat-cutter, too,” said Leonhardt. “And be able to support a wife and family, as every young man dreams of. So hopefully he will show more sense than you, Ludwig. Good day.”
Karl nodded curly as he left the room. Franz, the last to go, gave a quick smile. “Good day and good luck, Ludwig.”
Beethoven waved, then turned back to his desk where his latest sonata awaited its final crescendo.
The three cousins had more success at making young Felix see reason. He went on to become a moderately successful meat-cutter, while Ludwig van Beethoven stuck with his music, deaf or not.
And now, who’s to say…?