THREE YEARS AGO…
St. Petersburg, Florida 2008
[Playbill Reads: Florida Pirates’ Requiem
Veronica Cervantes, mezzo-soprano
Accompanied by pianist Carl Werner
Guest appearance by violinist Grover Adams
Global premier of newly discovered Spanish Romantic composer Juan Salazar
Veronica receives notice of her father’s death, just following a music recital in St. Petersburg, Florida, featuring a world-premier of a newly discovered Romanic Era Spanish composer. Veronica’s father is a world-traveled treasure hunter and an accomplished artist/painter who was last living in Argentina.]
Veronica arrives at the Palladium theatre three hours before curtain. It’s
Friday night. No rehearsals with her accompanist nor with the world renowned
violinist Sir Grover Adams prior to this day, and she could not feel more
confident or excited about the performance they are going to deliver tonight.
The venue is sold out for three consecutive nights and one Saturday matinee,
performing a benefit requiem recital in honor of the many pirates who have come
upon Florida shores. The proceeds actually will benefit a local nonprofit
substance abuse service provider not pirates of course.
The Tampa Bay area is the only place Veronica would think to hold such
an event, and only during the weekend leading up to the area’s Gasparilla
festivities. Gasparilla is primarily celebrated in the City of Tampa on a
Saturday in the winter, and the nearby City of St. Petersburg always looks
forward to joining hands with their neighbors across the Bay for this event.
They all take part in the mock-pirate invasion of Ye Mystic Krewe, dressed in
full pirate regalia, celebrating the pirates’ conquest of Tampa, raising heaven
and hell from morning into the late-night. The City celebrates this annual time-honored
local tradition with parades, street-food, music, a brunch and other events
such as a formal ball and concerts, often sponsored by local merchant
capitalizing on mere opportunity. Why not capitalize on the fact that Tampa Bay
is already revved up and ready to celebrate—the same reason this charity
concert was conceived and this particular date was chosen. It’s almost time to
honor the fierce pirates, “Aaarrr!” Veronica growls softly walking up to the
backstage door and laughs a little at herself, with her costume draped over her
shoulder cloaked in a garment bag.
She makes a little small talk with a young chatty stage hand on her way
to her dressing room before skillfully slithering away. Politely yet quickly she
escapes into the small windowless room, shutting the door behind her, enjoying
the darkness and the silence for a moment. She smiles at herself, completely on
fire about this concert and flicks on the light. There, sitting on a small
stool is a short, fat Asian man in suspenders and a golden-orange dress shirt topped
by a shiny bald head adorned with warm friendly brown eyes emitting a
The man inhales sharply and exhales his words in a contagious little
giggle, “Veronica, it’s a delight to see you. I’m very much looking forward to
your performance this evening. I wanted to personally present you with a
sizable check from my benefactor, a donation to the cause. Oh, he would prefer
to remain anonymous for now.” The fat man pats a plain white envelope on the
table before him. He giggles more, flashing his bright happy eyes, then
squeezes out the door behind Veronica before she can get a word out. He’s gone.
She’s alone now, just as she thought she had been in the first place.
The envelope contained a check, drawn from the account of Cranius Int. Corp.
in the amount of two million dollars. However, instead of having the check
endorsed to the charity organization, its endorsement reads: Veronica
[The rest of the chapter describes the recital followed by Veronica receiving notice of her father’s death in