The things a raccoon disguised as a toucan’ll surprise Bombalurina by making her for a drink, vol. PERFECTLY BITTER ESPRESSO

The things a raccoon disguised as a toucan’ll surprise Bombalurina by making her for a drink, vol. PERFECTLY BITTER ESPRESSO
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In the style of “The Rabbit of Seville” when Bugs and Elmer keep running off the screen to return with a bigger gun than the other has, Piglet and Quasimodo are both trying to earn enough from busking as living statues of the pope to attend a performance of Rigoletto at the Met and are stationed at opposing compass points around the fountain in the middle of the Lincoln Center courtyard with an empty can of spam and alphabet soup respectively placed in front of each to collect the change tossed their way. They frequently try and sneak a peek at one another’s can to see who is faring better but can only move their eyes lest they break character and can never actually tell how much change the other has in their can, but every time they see someone throw a coin in the other’s can, they take some money out of their own can and race offscreen in a rage, returning instantly with a slightly more elaborate costume in an attempt to outdo the other, spray painting themselves completely silver and gold, respectively, then adding buttons, streamers, plants, live animals, columns of smoke, giant mirrors, etc. As people start heading into the theatre for the performance, the mayhem goes too far and both cans get knocked over, revealing that each has only three pennies left in their can. When Quasimodo notices someone nearby reading a copy of the New York Times with a headline about Notre Dame burning down on it, he cries out, “Sacre coeur, ma cathédrale!”, throws off his costume and collapses weeping. Piglet stands on the edge of the fountain still dressed as a silver pope gloating over him but when Lao Tzu with his face painted like the cover of “Aladdin Sane” storms out of the theatre part way through the first act cursing the director’s choice to change the setting to Las Vegas instead of Mantua, he stops to watch as another busker sets up beside the fountain with an accordion and begins to accompany the scene with appropriately bittersweet irony. After a big flourish on the final resolution from the dominant at the end of his tune, Lao Tzu applauds cheerfully, pulls out a jar full of carrots and throws a few into the accordion player’s hat, then takes one for himself and, taking a bite and sidling up to piglet, asks him, “Ehhh, what’s up, doc? Cosa pensi Papa, questa tonica è mezza piena, o mezza vuota? Già so quale credo, ma ieri non hai detto niente!”

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newyorker

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