A Phantom of the Opera Comic Parody

Catherine van der Goes

The Phantom's Lair || The Carriage Ride || The Graveyard Scene || Prequel || A Picnic

The Phantom's Lair

(Thoughts and impressions going through Christine's mind after she wakes up in the Phantom's Lair.)

Chapter 1

You wake up on a strange bed and are puzzled. Your mind is clouded and filled with dim memories.

Something to do with a man, a boat ride, water, mist and someone singing to you ­ and (to your embarrassment), you singing back to them!!

You have a horrible headache and don't remember if you had too much to drink, in celebration, after the premiere of your Aria, "Think of Me" in Act three of the Opera "Hannibal" at the Opera Populaire last night.

Things in the room are now becoming a little clearer and you see that there is a black sheer curtain around the bed you are in. (How the hell did you end up in a strange bed?) A pull rope is close by and you tug on it.

The curtain rises and your eyes are suddenly assailed with the light of hundreds of candles in a huge cave. You shield your eyes from the light. All this candlelight is not helping your headache one bit!

You look around the room some more and see that there is a musical box with a monkey on top of it near the bed. (Ugly thing. How did it get there?). It is playing a tune you are not familiar with and this further annoys your headache. Then a squeaky noise gets your attention. You see something moving in the shadows next to the music box. You peer at it more closely.

To your horror you see that it is a rat! A fat, fuzzy brown and white rat, looking at you on its hind legs and twitching its nose and whiskers with curiosity.

You jump back in shock and practically go into a swoon. You take several deep breaths to keep from screaming your head off, but this only makes you dizzy, so you stop.

Quickly you get up and take a running leap off the bed, jumping over the rat and music box and tear down some stone steps near the bed at top speed. At the bottom of the stairs you stop to catch your breath,

You now, in addition to the headache, have a lovely stitch in your side. You bend over to ease it. As you are bent over you notice a couple of things.

You are wearing only your basic full undergarments, including your stockings and garters and also a sheer matching dressing gown over them. (Whatever possessed you to wear this odd getup for a boat ride with someone, you can't begin to guess, nor do you want to!). You also notice that there is a lake in front of you with a small boat on it.

So, there had been someone who brought you to this small island after the Opera's champagne party last night.

Had you really sung to this person with you as you traveled on the lake, and what had you sung?

"Row, Row, Row Your Boat, Gently Down the Stream ­ Merrily, Merrily, Merrily, Life is but a Dream" and "Down by the Old Mill Stream, Where I First Met You." do not seem in keeping or appropriate for the current atmosphere, but if you were both drunk, God knows what you sang or did after you got here! (The bed brings embarrassing thoughts to mind that make you blush a bright scarlet.)

Your mind dimly remembers something about an "Angel of Music" and "Music of the Night", but beyond that you draw a complete blank.

When the stitch in your side is gone and you are finally able to stand up and breath normally again, you realize that someone is looking at you.

It is a man sitting at an organ, surrounded by candles, with sheets of music on the organ, a pen in his hand. His mouth is open in astonishment and he is looking at you in a curious manner.

He is tall, dark (his hair is coal black) he has green eyes and is very well dressed. His white silk shirt is open slightly at the top and his jacket and pants are black as midnight. You also notice that there is a white mask covering half of his face.

You are suddenly more aware than ever of your state of undress standing before this strange man, and you wish you could get swallowed up by a hole in the ground, right about now. You blush from the roots of your hair to the tips of your toes. You grab at your sheer dressing gown and try to cover yourself from this man's penetrating gaze.

"Are you alright, Christine?" he asks. "You shot off that bed like a bat out of hell."

"I'm just fine and dandy now, thank you, except for the rat up by the bed I was in!" and you would like to add, "And speaking of hell, just where am I? This place has nothing on Dante's Inferno!!" but you don't.

His look is now one of anger and he stands up and starts to come toward you. "What rat? I don't have rats in my lair!"

You back up quickly and point silently up toward the bed. He walks past you in swift strides and goes up the stone steps to the bed and looks all around it.

"I don't see any rat up here Christine. You must have imagined it." He comes back down the stairs and stands close to you, his green eyes searching your face.

As he is looking at you, you can see that this gentleman is a good many years older than you are ­ at least twenty years older, and is very well built.

You realize that your state of undress and silence while looking at him may be taken for ardor, so you straighten your spine, say "Ahem" and add brightly, "Well, here we are!"

The man looks slightly taken aback at your statement, but spreads out his arms, smiles gently at you and says, "Yes, here we are, Christine!"

"And just where the hell are we and how do you know my name?" doesn't seem the right thing to say to a strange man at this moment, so you temper it with a weak, "Excuse me, but who are you and how do you know me? Have we ever met before?"

He laughs gently. "No, we have never met before. I am Erik, your 'Angel of Music.' This is my home where I compose all of my music. I am also your music tutor. I am the one who has been teaching you to sing over the past ten years, ever since you came to the Opera Populaire as an orphan. I also help to run the Opera Populaire as well, where you sang so beautifully last night."

At this statement you recoil with shock and recognition. The man standing before you with the mask on his face, is none other than the Phantom of the Opera!! He must have also been the one who brought you here to this island in his boat last night!

Your headache now becomes much worse and you wish you had a headache powder. To cover your confusion and fear, you smile bravely at him and blurt out, "My music teacher you say! How very nice to finally meet you after all these years, Erik! So you have been teaching me to sing! Ten years! My, my, that certainly is a long time, isn't it? You are a very good teacher, so devoted. I mean, you have taught me very well...!" You realize that you babbling and falter here as you have run out of things to say.

At this point you are suddenly conscious that you have an urgent need to use what is politely known as "the ladies room". You are completely mortified, but you must ask the inevitable question of this tall, dark stranger. You gulp and croak out, "Erik?"

"Yes, Christine?" He looks hopefully at you.

"Hmm, I hate to ask this, but where is your bathroom?" All you can see around you is a sea of candles and rocks.

Erik is completely thunderstruck. His mouth opens and closes several times, but no sound comes out. He looks around frantically as if a bathroom might magically appear, but none does. He puts his hands on his dark, silky hair and starts to pull on it. "A bathroom?" He looks at you as if you have just spoken in Russian or grown two heads.

"Yes, a bathroom." you repeat patiently.

"I don't have one," he stammers.

"What?" you shriek. You try to remain calm. "Do you have a chamber pot I could use?"

"A what??"

"A chamber pot, the loo, the hopper, the W.C., the john, the crapper, an outhouse. Somewhere to relieve myself!" You are now doing a little dance, shifting from one foot to the other, trying to control yourself. This situation, you fume, lends new meaning to the phrase, "not having a pot to piss in."

With each description of a "bathroom" Erik's eyes grow wider and he looks like he may even go into shock.

"Where do you relieve yourself around here?" you ask in desperation, hoping to jog his memory as to what a bathroom or an outhouse is used for.

At this final question his mouth drops open, his eyes nearly come out of his head and he seems to have an even harder time breathing. Shuddering delicately he gulps hard and points vaguely in the direction of the back of the cave, behind the organ and toward the water.

"Oh, and do you have any paper or something I could use after I am done?" you ask meekly.

"Oh, la, la." He moans. He is now very pale and looks like he might slide onto the floor in a complete faint.

"Oh, never mind," you huff, "I'll think of something to use."

You go past him and up a short staircase in the direction he has pointed out to you. On your way you frantically look for something, anything, to use as toilet paper after you are through. A few pieces of paper are scattered on the ground around you and you pick those up and start to tear them up to use. The papers seem to have some (what look like) musical notes scribbled on them. You hope it is nothing important.

Ten minutes later you are done and you feel immensely better, except now you find that you are ravenous and you realize that you have not eaten for hours.

The Phantom is once again at his organ and writing music when you approach him, but his hands are trembling badly now as he writes.

As he is writing, you speak to him. "Erik?"

"Yes, Christine?" He looks up at you as you stand close to the organ.

"I'm sorry to bother you once more, but I haven't eaten any food in quite some time. Do you have anything to eat in your kitchen? I have a very bad headache and some food would probably help to get rid of it."

At the word "kitchen" Erik's eyes glaze over and he seems to go into a trance-like state. He replies in a faint, far away voice, "I don't have a 'kitchen,' Christine or any food on hand. I will go out and get something for you in a little while. Right now I am busy trying to write up my new Opera."

You reply that that will be just dandy and silence once more settles over the cave. To fill the void, you speak once more to him ­ "It is nice to see where you live, Erik. Interesting, with all these candles around; kind or romantic. Hmm, you said earlier that you help to run the Opera Populaire. Does that job pay well?"

Erik turns back to you once more and looks at you with astonishment and nearly chokes. "Yes," he replies. "The job at the Opera Populaire pays me twenty thousand francs a month."

"My, my, that certainly is a lot of money!"

"Are you married, Erik?" As soon as these last words are out of your mouth, you realize how forward this sounds coming from a young lady of tender years, speaking to an older man, not to mention he may think you want to marry him and are a 'gold digger' also, as the phrase goes. You hastily try to correct this impression. "Forgive me for being rude, Erik. I didn't mean to be personal. It is just that I know so little about you, my music teacher, and I just want to fill in the gaps."

Erik's lips are pressed together very hard, his breathing is labored and a few short squeaks pass through his lips. He passes a hand over his mouth and then rubs his temples as if he has a headache coming on.

"No," he replies with difficulty, "I am not married yet, but I hope to be married soon. I have already picked out my bride." At this last statement his eyes become very tender with longing as he looks directly at you.

It is then that you realize he has mistaken your friendly inquiry for passion and to dampen his affection for you, you say quickly, "How wonderful! I'm so happy for you Erik! I too am in love.

"I am in love with a fine gentleman by the name of Raoul. Perhaps you know of him as the Vicomte De Chagny. We were once childhood sweethearts. He is now the patron for the Opera Populaire."

At the mention of Raoul's name, Erik's head snaps up, his eyes blaze with anger and hatred and his nostrils flare. From his expression, you get the distinct impression that what he would like to do to Raoul doesn't bear mentioning. "How nice for you." he gets through clenched teeth.

"Yes," you say, "it is. We are deeply in love."

Actually, you are not in love with Raoul at all. You have only recently (after last night's Opera) met the man again after years of not seeing him, you barely remember him from your childhood and you wouldn't marry him on a bet. But your pretend "love affair" is a good defense against the affections from an older man who has been living underground like a mole for a good many years and is perhaps, to put it politely, starved for some affection.

You have to make sure that Raoul does not hear about this so-called "love" between you. It would throw him for a loop and might even encourage him in the wrong way! God forbid!!

And then an idea comes to you as to how you can help this lonely man who is very interested in music and the Opera. "Erik, do you know of Madame Giry, the ballet mistress at the Opera Populaire?"

"Yes. Why?" he asks cautiously.

"Well, she is a very nice woman, she has a lovely personality, is a widow, and is truly beautiful. I believe she is quite wealthy and is about your own age."

Erik's eyebrows are raised as he stares at you incredulously. He sucks air down his nose so violently that he begins to cough and sputter. None the less, you bravely go on, "You should, hmm..., think about taking her out for a carriage ride or to dinner and a show sometime. You would make a great looking couple!!

When you are finally through, he exclaims, "My God!!" He abruptly stands up, leaves the organ where he has been sitting and walks back toward the candles at the back of the cave. There you hear the sounds of what might be laughing, crying and perhaps even a muffled scream, you are not sure.

A few minutes later he returns and his hands are clenched tightly by his sides, his hair is standing up in places like he has been pulling on it and his eyes are smoldering.

"I am not" he chokes out, "interested in meeting or courting Madame Giry, Christine!!"

"I'm sorry, Erik. I was only trying to be helpful."

"Thank you Christine, but I don't need your 'help'." He is gnashing his teeth by now and his eyes have developed a spasmodic twitch.

Seeing how upset and angry he is, you stammer awkwardly, "Oh my gosh. I've been here for hours, Erik! I have taken up far too much of your valuable time! I'm sure you have a lot of work to do on your Opera, and I have to get back to the Opera Populaire. Madame Giry will be having a fit, and I am sure the others will have missed me as well. They may even think I have been kidnapped or worse!! I must really go, Erik! It was nice meeting you finally and I enjoyed talking with you, but if you would please take me back in your boat now, I would really appreciate it."

Erik is silent at this plea from you and a kind of sadness comes into his eyes. "Yes," he says with heaviness, "perhaps it would be best if you went back now." He comes down by you and holds out his hand to guide you into the boat sitting not far away in the water.

As your hands touch, what feels like an electric shock seems to go through you, from the top of your head to the soles of your feet and you tremble. Once again you look at the Phantom and see with fresh insight that he is very handsome and attractive, including his mask. You wish for a moment that you were at least ten years older so you would have more in common.

As he is helping you into the boat, he speaks, "Christine?"

"Yes, Erik?" you whisper.

"I was writing a new Opera recently and I was looking around for some of the pages that are in it, and they seem to be missing. You wouldn't happen to know what happened...?"

A look of horror and realization comes over your face. You squeeze your eyes shut and bite your lip.

"Hmm, ah, well, I may have accidentally used some papers to, hmm..." you don't get to finish the sentence because Erik has his hand clenched up by his mouth and is gripping the top finger with his teeth.

"You didn't...!"

You can only nod, numbly. "It was an emergency, Erik. I was in a hurry, and I had to use something!" you protest weakly.

"Mon dieu!" and "Sacre bleu!" explode from him and he is goggle eyed. He looks like he might scream. "I am too old for this!" he mutters finally. He grips your hand harder and practically throws you into the boat.

As he pushes the boat away from the landing, there is a stony silence and you feel a chill wash over you.

You take one more look back at the small island and know that you will miss it, along with all the candles on it and seeing Erik seated at the organ, playing his music and writing it down. You then realize that your headache is now gone, but that is of small comfort.

A tear falls down your face and you brush it away angrily. This is utter nonsense! You are only seventeen years old and you have your whole opera career ahead of you. Feeling sentimental over some strange, older man has no place in it!

The rest of the ride back to the Opera Populaire is done in complete silence and soon you are back. The Phantom helps you out of the boat. He turns to go, but then speaks, his back to you.


"Yes, Erik?"

"Perhaps it would be best if you found a new music tutor." He clears his throat with difficulty, and then continues. "You would probably be better off with another singing teacher. I'm sure Madame Giry can help you to find someone to train you."

With that the Phantom gets back in his boat and in a few minutes he is swallowed up by the fog and is gone.

You stare after him with sadness and heartbreak.


Several days later you are seated in your dressing room at your mirror getting ready for your part in the new opera, "Il Muto."

Madame Giry is helping you to dress for your part and when she is finished, she then hands you a single red rose with a black ribbon tied around it and walks out to let you be alone.

You know that this is a gift from the Phantom and you stroke the rose lovingly and then kiss it. A tear falls down your face and splashes quietly and gently on the rose, and then other tears follow. You whisper as you start to cry harder,

"Oh, Erik, Erik. I love you so much!! Why can't our ages be closer, our lives different! Why can't I...", and you completely fall apart, your head resting on your folded arms. You continue to cry, weeping and clutching that single red rose with its black ribbon tied around it.

||Continued in The Carriage Ride ||
||Return to the beginning of The Phantom's Lair ||
|| Prequel: A Politically Correct Opera Populaire ||