Patrick Evans

Hump Song

Every night I turned off the electrical currents crackling in my castle laboratory and traded my lab coat for a tuxedo. I sat in my box at the opera house and worshiped her down there on the stage, worshiped the sublime beauty of her face, her form, and above all, her voice—a voice that would make a choir of angels throw down their harps in an envious rage.

Vissi d’arte, vissi d’amore,” she sang. She lived for art, she lived for love. Like me! As artists we were preeminent in our fields. Her voice had made her the toast of Europe. My inventions, which tended to run amok, cutting swaths of destruction across the continent, had made me the toast of mad scientists. We had so much in common, she and I.

I could no longer bear just watching her from a distance. She had to be mine. I summoned Igor, my hunchbacked lab assistant, and ordered him to seize her, to bring her to my castle.

Igor covered himself with lard so his hump might better slide down the chimney into her dressing room. The abduction went without a hitch. But when that fool was carrying my beloved over the castle drawbridge he was so greasy she squeaked out of his arms like a wet bar of soap. She fell into the moat where her magnificent body was ravaged by a pair of giant carnivorous goldfish I had created with a diet of secret elixir and pork tenderloin.

And yet there remained a spark of life in her! Her body was ruined, but if I acted fast enough I might still preserve her sublime voice. I carried her down the winding stone steps to my laboratory. I needed living tissue for a transplant. In desperation I placed her brain, mouth, and vocal cords into Igor’s hump.

I bade the hump to sing—and the voice was perfection.

Vissi d’arte, vissi d’amore….

But there was a problem. Igor was accompanying her.

“Vishy darty! Vishy dumry! Ha-HO!”

I told him to shut up. He wouldn’t. He couldn’t! Tests revealed the problem was organic. Their nervous systems had merged. When she sang, he sang too.

In disgust I banished them to the scullery. But the castle walls are thin and every day I hear their cacophonous duet.

It is unbearable. I would have thrown myself from the castle turret months ago were it not for the student intern who replaced Igor in the lab. She can’t carry a tune, but those long legs and short skirts of hers are slowly restoring my tormented soul.