(Inspired by the well-known story of the origins of Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll.)
COSIMA WAGNER IS IN BED ON CHRISTMAS DAY. ENTER THE GREAT WAGNER.
WAGNER: My wife, I wish you a very happy birthday.
COSIMA: That was yesterday.
WAGNER: Was it? Ah, what do days matter? Yesterday, today, tomorrow, they are all the same in the great mythic scheme of things.
WAGNER: I have today a delightful surprise for you. You will be enchanted by it.
COSIMA: Is it chocolates?
WAGNER: It is a gift of surpassing beauty and loveliness.
COSIMA: Because you know how I like those pink truffles with the booze in them.
WAGNER: My sweetness, I have not brought you chocolates.
COSIMA: Okay, so not chocolates. Flowers?
WAGNER: Nor have I brought you flowers.
COSIMA: No chocolates, no flowers? Flipping heck, is it too much to ask for you to remember my birthday just this once in your life?
WAGNER: What I have to give is more enchanting than chocolates or flowers.
COSIMA: Want to bet?
WAGNER: What I have brought to you on this Christmas morn is… the gift of music. (CALLS OUT OF WINDOW) Hit it, boys!
A BAND OUTSIDE THE WINDOW STARTS PLAYING WAGNER’S SIEGFRIED IDYLL. THIS GOES ON FOR SOME TIME.
COSIMA (AFTER FIVE MINUTES): Well, that was very nice, thank you….
WAGNER: They have not finished.
THE BAND CONTINUES PARPING AWAY. PAUSE.
COSIMA: How long does this go on?
WAGNER: It is a very short piece.
COSIMA: When you say short….
WAGNER: It is less than twenty-five minutes long.
COSIMA: Okay, wake me up when they’re done.
TWENTY MINUTES LATER. COSIMA IS SNORING GENTLY. THE MUSIC ENDS.
WAGNER NUDGES HER. SHE SNORTS AND WAKES UP.
COSIMA (SLEEPILY): What a delightful birthday present.
WAGNER: It is, isn’t it? It is called….
COSIMA: “Happy Birthday, Cosima”?
COSIMA: “Merry Christmas, Cosima”?
COSIMA: “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”?
WAGNER: Now you are guessing. It is called “Triebschen Idyll with Fidi’s Birdsong and the Orange Sunrise”.
COSIMA: Of course it is. It was very nice. Now, where’s breakfast? I’m proper in the mood for a full English, you know, with sausages, bacon, eggs, beans, mushrooms, the full works.
WAGNER: We have muesli.
COSIMA IS BEYOND WORDS.