Opera student disappears after last week’s performance, note left by phantom of Chism.

Carmel Stephan, at this point just a mop of dry, brittle hair

Now some of you may not know, but in the rafters of the music building lurks the Phantom of Chism. An ageless man of about 6 and a half feet, he wears a cape of heavy wool and gold lamè lining and smells of baby powder and slim jims. His hands muscled and callused, fingers long and protruding make him the perfect specimen for tickling the ivories. When not composing concertos, his  usual activities include flickering lights, meddling with the light system, stopping livestream recordings eight minutes in and flushing toilets under the shroud of twilight. 

My first (and only) interaction with the Phantom of Chism was one magical and arousing Tuesday night. I had just emerged from five hours of violently screaming in a practice room when I was submerged in his all-consuming shadow. His face was half covered by a mask of plaster and through it his chimera eyes shone like precious gemstones, one an alexandrite, the other a chocolate opal. Our gazes locked and I was completely entranced by his beauty, his mystery, his musk. Then, with a whip of his gold lamè cape, he left without saying goodbye.

I have dreamed of that man everyday since our little impromptu rendezvous. If only I had caught his name, then I would’ve looked him up on MyWhitman.  

Illustration by Kai Bowen.

A few weeks ago, the Whitman Opera Workshop performed the Engelbert Humperdinck opera Hansel and Gretel. After the show, one opera student disappeared and still has not been seen. They were taken while leaving the stage after bows and a single note was left by the phantom himself:


I have decided to take a pupil. 


Uuuuuuhhhh…. What the actual fuck!? I was in that opera, why the hell didn’t you take me?? I thought we had something going on, we made solid eye contact for like five minutes. I inhaled your musk– does that not mean anything to you? Also, you heard me screeching in the practice room, if anyone needs to learn how to fucking sing it’s me. Literally unbelievable.