All Stories, Fantasy

Tabitha and the Tintintinabulator: A Feeble Fable of the Fantasmagorical by Leila Allison

But First, A Word From “That” Noted Supernaturalist, Miss Renfield Stoker-Belle

Unlike you “real” guys, I, as a Fictional Character, am able to speak directly to my “Creator” (aka, the nom de plume called “Leila Allison”). There ain’t no praying involved, nor are there a bunch of “mysterious ways” to incorrectly interpret. No, my Creator isn’t the type of deity whose image might be gleaned from the strewn innards of a calzone. To put it plainly, we meet and I tell her how it’s going to be whenever she wants something from me. Such happened when Allison came around and muttered something about having me take over the Feeble Fable of the Fantasmagorical introductions on account of my having actually written a Feeble Fable and appearing as a “Supernaturalist” in past stories.

At long last Stardom! Right?

Although this was the big break I‘d been looking for, I played it cool and told her that would be a fine idea as long as two conditions were met: 1.) Stop making me say variations on the non-word “awesomenicity.” Frankly, that little jest has long since been bled dry and picked clean to the point that not even the maggots or vultures will have anything to do with it. 2.) Even though I am married, please introduce me as Miss Renfield Stoker-Belle. I’m all for equal rights, but I find something about “Ms.” that’s as charmless as an unshaved armpit, while Mrs. sounds both dowdy and owned. There’s a great freedom in Miss that I adore. Besides, I recently YouTubed game shows from the fifties in which even the seven-hundred-year-old actresses were presented as Misses. I find Miss hell classy.

As things usually go between us, Allison scowled until she somehow converted my suggestions into being her own ideas. A little cartoon light bulb flickered above her head, then she “informed” me that awsomenicity was out and that I should get used to being called Miss Stoker-Belle. This, of course, was the result that I had desired all along. Still, it really wasn’t all that tough a trick to turn on a person who is easily mentally dominated by cats and has the impulse control of Homer Simpson.

As a Supernaturalist, I am familiar with the musical phantom named the Tintintinanabulator (“Tin-tin-TUH-Nab-U-later”). In some places they are known as the Choralghost, but around here they go by the most annoyingly difficult name possible. “Tins” are composed of composers and classically trained musicians. And most of them are tempermental little bastards and divas. Personalities aside, your basic Tintintinabulator has the ability to make piano strings vibrate. Oddly, they refuse to play other stringed instruments–only the piano. This specificity in their nature also causesTins to haunt only one particular piano–usually an heirloom, which had been in the Tin’s family during his or her life.

Still, it’s “the pain in the assedness”  these guys convey that I can’t get over. Why do geniuses and artistic types go out of their way to be douchenozzles? Right? I mean how come we can’t have a supergenius TV sleuth who remembers to lower the lid on the throne after he’s used the can? Jesus H…

Goddam Allison has informed me that my brief introduction is getting longer than the Feeble Fable, and there’s no room for mindless ranting.

All right. Fine. Whatever.

Although I fear that there will soon be a dramatic downtick in the quality of the prose after I sign off, I do believe that my explanation of the Tintintinabulator will shine like a guiding light in the deepest bowels of the nonsense yet to come.

I leave you in the hands of my “Creator” because you do not know how to control the god that wrote you. Right?

Awesomenistically (oh, what the hell) Yours,

Miss Renfield Stoker-Belle


Tabitha and the Tintintinabulator

Although technology has all but abolished the “executive secretarial pool,” back in the brave year of 1983 that noble institution was still working at a relatively error free ninety words a minute. The main function of a pool member was the production of documents for an executive.

Although society gave lip service (nasty pun intended) to sexism during that era, it is important to note that your basic exec was a man while any given member in the pool was a young woman who looked good in a skirt.

At twenty-four, Tabitha looked good in a skirt. But that was all any “wolf” in a three-piece suit would ever get from her. She had joined the company straight out of college with her MBA in hand, but had to cool her high heels in the pool until more people got fired at the top. It was that way at every corporation she had interviewed at. And she quickly learned that the reason why some stereotypes persist is due to their truth. Plenty of bosses chased the girls around the desk, or the equivalent thereof.

However, as luck would have it, Tabitha’s “hobby” effectively shot down early passes; and word got around the water cooler:

Middle-aged, Potbelly in a Power Tie: “That new trick in the pool is a member of the NRA.”

Asshole of a Similar Cut: “Thanks for the tip. I guess I won’t be doing her the favor.

Together: A bray of donkeyish laughter.

Yes, Tabitha was a gun enthusiast. Had been ever since she was a little girl growing up in the wilds of eastern Washington, and had remained so as a reserve member of the National Guard. She wasn’t into killing stuff, but she enjoyed target shooting. And if certain male faces flickered onto the target silhouettes, then so be it.

Tabitha was into old things (office wolves excluded) and was a classical music fan. And among her most cherished antiques was her great grandmother’s piano–an upright model of no special value other than it always aided her in the renting of first floor apartments. Although it wasn’t rare as an object, it was special since it was home to a Tintintinabulator ghost named Oskar, who, in life, had been a member of the Prague Symphony Orchestra. He often played the classics for Tabitha in notes that only she could hear, as long as she remembered to shower his genius with gushy nouns and adjectives.

Tabitha loathed the syrupy AM radio ballads that were aimed at her sex and age demographics. Oskar knew this and whenever the neighbor who loved such played her radio too loud he was able to memorize such slop as Weekend in New England and Sometimes When We Touch. Oskar would “perform” these musical hemorrhoids whenever he didn’t believe that Tabitha’s appreciation for his talent was up to snuff.

Tabitha had a temper. And it wasn’t in a good place one Thursday night after one of the wolves asked her to type up a handwritten “memo” about the size of Moby Dick and “Have it on my desk in the morning, sweetheart.” Tabitha knew that there’d be moments in early professional life when she’d have to endure a person who was her inferior in every way because (by the luck of the draw) he was an older male and in a position to give the orders. The last thing she wanted to do was stay late and try to derive from a pile of illegible notes something that nobody would ever read. She just stared at the mess until she hit on the idea of doing it at home while drinking wine and listening to Oskar play the classics. That would be the less shitty way to go.

“Oskar!” Tabitha said upon arriving at her apartment with nearly five pounds of gibberish she needed to convert into typed nonsense, on her own machine, “Beloved rogue, please play Chopin’s nocturnes.” You, sir, are bellissimo, magnifique, brillante. Oskar did not differentiate between honest praise and butt kissing. It was all the same to his sizable ego.

Oskar did perform the nocturnes until he got it in mind that his audience wasn’t as enamored with his genius as it should be. For Oskar flattery was the bread of afterlife, without it he would become  “difficult.”

Tabitha knew this but she had become so involved in trying to decipher something that looked like a Dr’s script written in Sanskrit that she had forgotten to throw a few bravos and the occasional “magnifico” in the Tintintinabulator’s direction. 

Something evil crept into Tabitha’s already sore mood when Oskar quit Chopin and began to play You Light Up My Life.

“Oskar,” Tabitha said with a sing-song warning in her voice , “I’m not in the mood for your bullshit tonight.”

Oskar ignored her and began playing the worst songs  (In Tabitha’s opinion) ever recorded. She had a particular thing against the “teen body-bag” tunes of her childhood, but it was nothing compared to the special hate she had for Honey, by Bobby Goldsboro.

And Honey I miss you

And I’m being good

And I’d love to be with you

If only I could… 

The only thing Tabitha despised even more than Honey was a brief flash in the mid-seventies cesspool named David Geddes. He was the cynical wussie responsible for Run Joey Run and The Last Game of the Season. Only persons with bulletproof pancreases may listen to those songs and survive.

As though he could read her mind (and Oskar could to a small degree) he played a medley of Geddes’ contribution to sentimentality for profit.

There’s only so much hell that a working girl can take. And nobody should ever have to take Honey and David Geddes and the wolves without being forgiven for showing an emotional response out of proportion with the situation (although Tabitha would disagree with that part). This sometimes happened with Oskar. And everytime it did Tabitha remedied the situation the same way. She’d go to the gun cabinet, unlock it, select one of her four pieces and aim it at the haunted piano until an understanding was arrived at. Which is precisely what happened on that Thursday night back in 1983.

In the past the Remington shotgun was the best way of gaining Oskar’s attention. But tonight her brand new Glock, freshly arrived from Australia, seemed the way to go. In Run Joey Run, the girl whom Joey had (apparently) knocked up, “Julie,” was accidentally blown away by her father when she got between an unnamed gun and Joey. There would be no such bad luck here.

“Oh, Oskar, my dear sweet genius, I have a bullet aimed at the heart of your piano,” Tabitha said. “This means you have a choice: regale me with Bach and I will drown you with platitudes and applause, or pinch off something like MacArthur Park and I’ll reduce your home into kindling.”

Although the gun wasn’t loaded, Tabitha knew that Oskar always believed what women told him. And he immediately took up Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D-minor.

Maestro!” Tabitha said as she returned the Glock to the cabinet. “Mein Engel.”

Moral: Bach Out When the Glock’s Out.


Leila Allison

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay


3 thoughts on “Tabitha and the Tintintinabulator: A Feeble Fable of the Fantasmagorical by Leila Allison”

  1. Hi Leila,
    Your inventiveness astounds me.
    I’ve mentioned Tom Shehan and him finding inspiration from all that he sees and what he knows. I think you use what you hear and what you have experienced to not so much relate but to evolve.
    I have to admit, I have ‘Honey’ on my playlist. The line: ‘My life is just an empty stage where Honey danced and Honey played’ gets me every time. Does tears of inappropriate laughter say anything about my emotional maturity??

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Now that’s how to get rid of musical hemorrhoids! A word to Miss Renfield Stoker-Belle: You needn’t have worried about the quality of prose after you signed off. Excellent through and through.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Indeed, Eastern Washington was the Old West and Western Washington the New West with Leavenworth the Bavarian in the middle, especially in the eighties. I recall the secretarial pools, typing was the only thing I learned in high school. I wish I had an Oskar in my piano, because the more I insulted him the more he’d play my favourite hits….Bobby Goldsboro… I’m a big fan. His song “The Straight Life” is a classic! That being said, I need to Google “Run Joey Run.” I likely don’t know what I’m missing. Miss Renfield Stoker-Belle sounds vaguely Germanic…. then there’s that Bach at the end. Funny offbeat musings and tales.

    Liked by 1 person

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