Word Count 488
Finding Your Voice
By Mike Cecconi
She always called it a curse, even though it was all caused by a small benign tumor in her brain. She wondered aloud if she’d run afoul of Romani travelers or Vodou practitioners enough times to learn how you’re not supposed to call Romani “gypsies” and how “voodoo” is just a syncretic mix of Catholic and African faiths. Had she ever figured out a way to blame the Inuit, she would have discovered that “Eskimo” is an offensive term as well.
Maybe she hadn’t believed in any magic before the curse, maybe just blaming magic was easier than a battery of claustrophobic magnetic resonance scans then having her skull ventilated by a medical-grade rotary saw. We all make decisions like that, sometimes we admit them to others, sometimes we even admit them to ourselves.
Regardless of how or why, one day she woke up unable to speak without singing. “Yes, I’d like to pay my Spectrum bill” was the very first thing she sang, to the tune of the old children’s song “The Wheels On The Bus” without even realizing it.
“Would you… please repeat that?” asked the operator. “Yes, I’d like to pay my…” and stopped, noticing what she’d done. “Spectrum bill, Spectrum bill, Spectrum bill” the operator finished up then asked, “are messing with me?” She hung up immediately, of course, horrified and confused.
The first days were the worst, everything to the tune of “The Wheels On The Bus”. Eventually she learned to add other songs to her repertoire, such as the theme to the Ninja Turtles cartoon, “Ace Ventura Pet Detective” “Single-Payer Health Insurance” and “Woman Science Fiction Authors” and so on. Soon the entire discographies of Poison and Tupac were in there, all of Rodgers and Hammerstein too. It was hard to get people to take her seriously when she could only sing but as she learned more of them, she could at least pick out a tune that worked in the context, so that they laughed with her instead of just at her. It was something, at least.
She had never worked to sing well before her condition but once she had to, she developed a beautiful voice. She even ended up taking second place on one of those horrible music reality shows, her backstory was such a hook, she didn’t have to be the best, she just had to be good. And she eventually was. In time, she got very good.
Once she was famous, she had the money for less terrifying forms of medical intervention, but she still demurred. Sometimes life gives you exactly what you need even if it gives you it in the most annoying way possible. A golden goose took a crap in her mind, she wasn’t killing it now. Not only did she end up famous, she’d also learned how to be sensitive to every minority group that is associated with magic and that’s something quite worthwhile as well.