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for Christmas Obstacles

1/25/2017 c1 11emeraldphan
Yes, I can certainly imagine that sitting around a table of strangers would be hell for Erik! I really did feel sorry for him at the start as I think we've all been in that position... It's not just his odd appearance that makes things difficult for him, it's his complete lack of social skills and interest in the world around him.
Having him locked up in a cell was a great twist, as he has no control over his situation - a big contrast to the power and authority he gains later on at the Opera House. And he is the last person who would accept a gift out of pity, given his pride and his self-sufficiency. Sending an expensive gift is perfectly in character but it's a pity he feels he has to convince himself he is shaming the policeman rather than returning his kindness.
I liked reading the story from Erik's perspective, with all his cynicism and self hatred, but you also get across how complex he is.
12/31/2016 c1 45Igenlode Wordsmith
The unusual thing about this story is that it features an entirely 'honest' Erik - at this period in his life, he has nothing (save his face...) to hide. He is working openly on a major project for the benefit of the general public, he is employed on a legitimate basis by a man who knows nothing of his past, and he is living on a salary earned by his daily labours like anyone else. He is still ugly, of course, but he has nothing to fear from authority - when he gets in trouble with the police, establishing his identity will release him rather than condemning him. Erik the building contractor is not yet the Phantom and has ceased to be the trap-door lover of Mazenderan; it's an odd sensation, after reading so many plots which feature Erik on the run!

Yes, Erik must have found cold weather very convenient, since he could muffle himself up to the eyes and no-one would notice anything unusual about it - outdoors at least!
Perhaps if construction has had to halt for the winter he will have the opportunity to incorporate some secret little modifications to the building himself ;-)

"If I had a choice I wouldn't want to be in the same room with myself" - ouch ;-D

Presumably the false beard is a large one in order to cover as much of his face as possible; ironically enough I'm getting a mental image of Erik costumed as Gaston Leroux at this point! I'm not clear why this prevents him from eating or drinking, but presumably it depends how the beard is attached.

The party guest has obviously picked the wrong man to boast to about Persia :-D I wonder if stories of Erik as a novelty at the Shah's court did spread back to Europe?

Having complained that he felt bored with nothing to do at the party, Erik now proceeds to complain that he feels bored when someone feels obliged to come and talk to him - 'out of the frying-pan into the fire' :-p
I'm amused at his private theory that Garnier insists on his attendance at public parties in the hopes that he will make enough people uncomfortable in order to discourage them from coming!

"I surely would marry her on spot before she has time to reconsider" - foreshadowing...

Having despised the rich, Erik now proceeds to demonstrate his sense of egalitarianism by expressing his disdain for the poor - he is an equal-opportunity misanthropist :-P
And I like his recipe for Irish coffee... without the coffee ;-P

There's an effective jolt in the switch between scenes here; we go directly from Erik at home, having not yet drunk anything, to an unknown location with no idea how Erik got there, leaving the reader as every bit as disoriented as the viewpoint character. Gradually we - and he - piece together what must have happened, but Erik simply doesn't know what may have happened in the missing hours or where he went.
It's unsurprising the police decided that he might have some horrible disease and put him into isolation when he arrived on their doorstep - he's lucky they didn't mistake him for a corpse instead, but presumably dead men don't vomit :-p

"obviously they did an investigation who I am" - one wonders exactly what they asked and of whom; presumably they traced him by appearance alone, which goodness knows is distinctive enough :-( Although few people can have known for certain what actually lay behind the false nose...

It's an interesting point that one needs a nose to keep a scarf up when it is fastened over the face - and Erik will have to hope that he never needs to perch spectacles on the end of his nose, either!

"I will never ever drink any drop of alcohol again"/"I know that I never keep my promises" - a neat juxtaposition of the typical promises of alcoholic remorse, seldom if ever kept, with the Phantom's boasts in Leroux to the Daroga...

"Somehow being here seems to be easier for it is astonishing quite" - is there something missing off the end of this sentence? (e.g. "astonishing quite how much I dislike Christmas")
Otherwise I don't understand what it is that Erik is describing as astonishing, or why it's easier for him to be in gaol :-(

Ah, so it's the cake that the guard's wife sent him when he had to be on duty at Christmas - that makes sense.
It's interesting that ordinary contractor Erik is regarded as a rich man here,well before he started drawing a large illicit income from the Opera's funds, and despite the fact that his address is in a poor quarter of Paris - I wonder exactly what the police learned when they started making enquiries into his identity? (Did he bring back a large store of expensive-looking belongings from the East?)
Or is it just that Erik's contract from Garnier brings in far more money than an ordinary policeman would ever earn? After all, he employs a book-keeper... and presumably pays a large number of workmen...

Again, we see Erik resenting 'charity' here; when someone made a point of talking to the guest who was left on his own at the party, he wasn't very appreciative of that either :-p
And we see how he needs to find excuses to explain away any softer side in himself; he cannot allow himself the weakness of showing gratitude, in particular not to someone who has dared to insult him with pity. So even to himself - especially to himself - he has to pretend that he is simply demonstrating superiority :-(

NB 'collier' is a French word - I'm not sure how many English-speakers would understand it, although the context here makes it clear that you *don't* mean a coal-miner :-D
My dictionary gives "das Kollier" as 'necklet or necklace', which is of course the meaning in the original French...
12/27/2016 c1 ElodieJane
Haha the thought of Erik wearing a fake nose always makes me laugh!
12/22/2016 c1 MyNina
Thanks a lot for this Christmas Story, I really enjoyed reading it!
A clever idea to force Erik to the celebrations with Garnier first because Erik' s comments on the social habits there are absolutely accurate :-) I really felt with him and understood why he decided to get drunk...
At least, he found some mercy from the cell guard although he never wanted to be pitied. But his gift to the policeman' s wife is nothing bad, on the contrary :-)
So I think deep in his lonely heart Erik was somehow touched by the friendliness the man showed to him...
As always you did a good Research work and created a unique story around our appreciated Opera Ghost!
Have a nice Holiday! Best regards, Nina
12/22/2016 c1 41AmadErik
A very clever idea of a drunk Erik and someone actually being kind to him. Erik's behavior is very much in character and the wording of his phrases are like in Susan Kay. I love this story thank you for it
12/22/2016 c1 10angelofnight
Definitely not what I was expecting. Different and simple and ALMOST nice. LOL.

Merry Christmas...
12/22/2016 c1 28Not A Ghost3
How sweet, I'm glad someone showed a bit of Christmas charity to Erik. (Even though he made it clear he needs no one's pity!) Great story!

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