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A routine like no other...
Every Tuesday night, Sal warmed up for choir practice during the 20-minute ride to the rehearsal hall. Like clockwork, he stopped at the bank to make weekly cash deposits for his company. Since the rehearsal hall was on the way, he’d stop off at the bank where a friendly teller would wait a few extra minutes past closing time to deposit his money.
His warmup routine was to go easy on his voice the first five minutes and then be loud and proud those last 15. Sal was slowly extending his range, but it came at a cost to anyone within earshot.
The process required him to sing slightly out of his comfort zone, which would undoubtedly be out of tune. He didn’t dare do it in front of anyone at home because it sounded horrible, but in the end, it began to stretch the vocal cords.
For three years he had gotten used to the bad tone as he sang alone in the car, careful to sing softly as he stopped at red lights on the way.
Tonight was unusually loud and out of tune, but he pressed on because there was a passage in music that required him go even higher than he had ever gone before – while still staying in tune. Most of the warmup noise he made was nonsense as he tried to extend the range. It was all part of the goal.
His longest sustained hold of that note was better than 20 seconds but it came with warbles and two cracks of the voice.
“Will you shut…up…already?” a man voice yelled from the back seat.
Startled, Sal looked in the rear view mirror and saw a man with glasses wearing a white medical mask over his nose and mouth.
They were at the last red light before the rehearsal hall…and the bank.
“What? What? How’d you get here?” said Sal. “When’d you get…”
“You heard me. I said ‘shut…up.’ Your singing’s atrocious. It’s driving me up a wall. Just give me your wallet and keep your big trap shut.”
Sal unbuckled his seat belt, fudged around his pocket, and handed his wallet to the man. The man rummaged through the wallet, took out the money, tossed the wallet on the back seat, and opened the door before the light turned green.
Before closing the door, the thief said, “Be thankful I didn’t make you go to the nearest ATM. You’d probably pierce my eardrums with that vocal nonsense before I got there. Good riddance is what I say. They should have you arrested for impersonating a singer.”
The thief slammed the door, and the light turned green. Sal stepped on the pedal before he even had a chance to get a better look at the robber.
Sal glanced over at the forest green money pouch on the passenger seat. He was headed to the bank to deposit several thousand dollars in cash.
Yes, he was thankful he only lost $30 today.
One question remained and he asked it out loud, “Do I really sound that bad?”