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Jury Selection

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Madame began to play the piano. Her fingers sped over the black and white keys. Monsieur was sitting next to her and listening in amazement to the sweet cadences emanating from the grand piano. The music was sublime, it was original, it was perfectly balanced between the low notes and the high notes. Without creating a pause in the music the windows were opened.

The people crowded onto their balconies and closed their eyes so as to miss nothing of this unique piece. The melody the woman was playing produced in everyone a feeling of serenity and happiness, sometimes slowing, sometimes accelerating. One had the impression that the angels and the Gods were listening, that the world had stopped, as if it could also hear that distant sound, as magic as it was real, that the dead had come back to life and were tiptoeing around so as not to deprive the universe of this pleasure.

Then the music stopped. Madame was out of breath. The people were out of breath, the world was out of breath from this performance...and a thunderclap rang out. You would have thought it was the end of the world. You would have thought the Gods had not liked it, you would have thought the living were dying, you would have thought your eardrums were exploding...But it was a thunder of applause which resounded, a thunder of applause from the people, from the world, from the universe, from Monsieur. A thunder of discordant applause. And Madame waved. And Monsieur applauded.

Translated by Wendy Cross


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