Saturday, August 8, 2009

Ninjas At The Opera

Dark cobalt-gray clouds swept past the bright yellow moon above the opera-house one warm summer night. A throng of theater junkies, and connoisseurs of great live performances lined up around the block like penguins in their tuxedos and black dresses. The usher showed my wife and I to our seats in the middle of a row towards the back on the ground floor. As soon as everyone was seated, the lights began to dim, and the orchestra began to play. The curtains lifted and the performers began to throw their strong powerful voices into the air like thunder. The couple in front of us leaned back, and the man put his arm around his date, and grabbed onto my wife's nee. My wife is a freakishly strong woman who studied martial arts ever since she was nee-high to a grasshopper. She had served in the Army, and had been transferred to a secret division of the US Government that cannot be named. She reached over with her hand, and pressed down on one of the veins on the top side of the man's hand. The man jumped a little, and pulled his hand away. He gave my wife a look, which was returned by a sinister glare of vengeance. The man whispered something to his partner, and they both stood up and left silently into the darkness of the theater. During the intermission we stretched in the isle. I never did like crowds. All those people rushing about at once made me fearful of being trampled to death in the event of a disaster, but I really had to use the bathroom. The pain in my side felt as though my insides had been lit on fire.
"Cecelia, I've got to use the bathroom."
She was well aware of my phobia of crowds, and she walked with me to find the Mens Room. When we found it I walked in cautiously. I had to maneuver around a blind corner to get to the urinals. Just as I approached the corner, a man dressed in all black robes with a sword strapped to his back rushed out at me. I swiftly glided back against the wall to dodge the shadowy figure, and he flung his leg around at me with a round house kick. I blocked his kick using moves my wife had taught me, and flung my hand out so fast my clothes made a rippling noise, breaking his neck on impact when the base of my palm impacted on the back of his head. The masked warrior collapsed in a heap on the carpet, and I stepped around to continue my quest to the urinal. The bathroom seemed unusually empty. I had anticipated at least twenty people lined up against the wall breathing over each others necks waiting to use the urinals. I hate public restrooms. They have got to me one of the most unsanitary places to be in public, but they are a necessity. Trying to put the incident of being attacked aside for the moment I forced my sphincter to relax, and relieved myself of the bottle of water I had drunk an hour before the show. But my adrenaline levels were pumping my heart like a fat kid on a trampoline. Who was the masked attacker? Is this part of the opera? Is this some sort of retaliation for my wife's aggression towards the man with the wondering hands? As these questions race through my mind, the light against the tile walls moves. My eyes focus on the reflections on the wall, and I see five masked human figures carrying various ninja weapons. They are stalking closer to me as I finish off. His sword is posed to decapitate me, and I strike with my foot as I zip up my zipper. The ninja is flown back, and passes out after smashing his body against a mirror behind him. The other ninjas side step to avoid being hit my their own. The remaining four are surrounding me. The one to my right is twirling nunchuks around, the taller one next to him has little stabbing weapons called sais. The next one over has a staff ready to strike, and the last one on the left is getting ready to fire a crossbow. Just then there is the screaming war cry of my wife. She comes down from a jump in the air, snapping the crossbowman's neck. The one with the staff strikes at her head, but she ducks, and moves in with an uppercut that breaks his jaw. She grabs his staff and pivots it under both of his arms. With a twist, I can hear both of the ninja's shoulders being dislocated. He drops to the ground in agony, as the one with the sais and the one with the nunchucks hide behind a stall.
"Are you okay honey?" She asks
"I'm alright, but what the hell is going on here?"
"I don't know but the intermission is almost over. If I miss a second of this opera, I'm going to be really pissed!"
I walked over to the exit, and she took the staff, and threw it so hard it went through the aluminum metal of the stalls, and knocked out the last of the ninjas that were in hiding. The two of the remaining ninjas collapsed into each other by the blow of the staff. One had fallen to a resting place on the toilet seat, while the other one hit the cold, urine-wet floor, knees first before falling face first into the other ones lap.
We had just made it back to our seats in time as the orchestra began to play. When the show ended everyone stood up, clapped, hollered and whistled out to the performers. My wife and I stood there with them clapping along, but all the time watchful for more ninjas.
There was a chandelier above us that neither of us noticed. The crowd began to move towards the exits. Just then, a shadowy figure swung down from a rope, picked up my wife and disappeared somewhere up and beyond the balcony.
I shouted my wife's name only for the chatter of the masses to swallow up my cry. I stood there in panic now, as there was nothing I could do, but I knew that she had a dangerous job, and that she was a highly skilled professional. I just hoped that she would be okay.
Then there was a call on my cell phone. It was on vibrate, and it buzzed like a pack of hornets. I grabbed it out of my jacket pocket. There was a text message.



  1. I'm liking this (perhaps you will make an animation of it.)

    I have two tips: One, watch tense. You changed from past tense (I hated, I had, She grabbed) to present tense (I ask, She says, I hope...) and then back again in your writing. It's hard when you're not allowed to edit, but it's something to be aware of.

    Second, watch the passive voice "Had hoped, is coming, would have been." Try to leave out the helping verbs unless you have no other choice.

    I cannot wait to see what happens next. Does our paranoid ninja fighter find his wife?

  2. Well, that was fun. I must admit I don't think I would be able to use the bathroom after having just killed a ninja.

  3. Thank you for your comments.
    I am fond of the idea of making this an animation.
    I hope to get better at writing from this experience.

  4. Hi Stan, again a delicious array of ideas and scenes just waiting for the first edit and tightening up. I wonder if this scene might be better set in an alter world/ super heros type setting - as Chris said - unless this sort of thing ( killing 4 ninja and stepping over them to get to the loo) was normal, your main character might be having some major psych issues focusing on something as mundane as watching the opera.
    The whole piece has that air of unreality - which is not a bad thing - but it needed to be defined in more detail.
    Your use of the narrators voice as 'continually present' helped the pacing along to reflect the tension in the scene.
    I enjoyed the thought of ninja coming to the opera - but again watch your research. Sai is singular and plural and are generally used to deflect swords - not as a stabbing weapon ( though anything with enough force can stab you of course).. and real ninjas tend to be sneaky little sods; I'd be doubtful if they would turn up in any force in the open like this.
    It was a fun trip into a parallel world and i'd be keen to see this developed with editing and research.

    I am utilizing FF to experiment with genres and styles with writing. This week I visit the world of Dr Suess and realised quickly why no-one else is able to emulate his wit and charm through prose.