(Scene is Underground lair, Erik sits on a overstuffed arm chair, as members of the opera populace sit in a semi-circle on the

Disclaimer: I don't own Phantom of the Opera.

Notes: Yes, it's in script format. Deal with it. You won't be disappointed. ;)

A Small Measure of Joy

(Scene is Underground lair, Erik sits on a overstuffed arm chair, as members of the opera populace sit in a semi-circle on the floor at his feet. Among the crowd is Christine, Raoul, Philippe and Sorelli, Carlotta and the managers. And the urn holding Piangi's ashes. All are in various states of mourning, Christine has a hanky with the phantom logo on the corner held to her face.)

Erik: Yes, my life was filled with many hardships. As a child I was never loved, left to raise myself and learn the ways of the world alone. Even in my genius I was unloved, and my mother forced me to wear a mask made of the scraps of her old gowns. She kept me in a bedroom with the windows boarded so no light could come through, and my birthday was uncelebrated. I ran away from home at nine years of age, and was kidnapped into a circus, made to regale crowds with my many musical and magical talents only to then be forced to remove my mask and show all the horrors that lay beneath. I escaped only after killing the man who captured me, and fled the country, learning to build with stone from a kind old man who's daughter fell in love with me, forced me to remove my mask, then became frightened and plunged to her death... I built a palace for the Persian Shah, only to be chased down to be killed... I helped build the Opera Gariner, then built myself a home in the fifth cellar to avoid all humanity and their cruelties, only to fall in love with a beautiful woman who tore away my mask, became frightened of me, and betrayed my trust...

Crowd of People: (all crying)

Christine: That's so horrible, Erik! I feel so awful!

Raoul: had I known all this, I would have only told them to lock you up instead of trying to kill you!

Firmin and Andre: How were we to know we had such a sad and tortured soul beneath our opera? I feel so horribly cruel!

Erik: (wipes his own tears from his cheek and mask) However, there is a good side...

Christine: (grasps Erik's arm) What is it? What has brought a measure of happiness to your sad and lonesome life?

Erik: (gives dazzling white smile) I just saved a ton of money on my car insurance by switching to Gieco!

(Crowd cheers as balloons and confetti fall)