From Less Than a Treason, the twenty-first Kate Shugak novel:
Tuesday, November 1
Ernie Ivanoff held forth in fine voice. “Opera is not some goddamn mystical redemptive force. It’s fat people singing really loud in French or Italian or Russian or some other language that ain’t English. It might help Nicholas Cage or Richard Gere get laid but that’s only in the movies.”
“It’s like Old Sam came back from the dead,” Bobby said. He raised his beer in a silent toast to the group of old farts collected around the big round table, the one with the best view of the eighty-five inch Samsung mounted flat to the wall. On that thing you could count the pores on Stephen Curry’s nose from twenty feet away.
“In fact, I have heard opera, and I have loved it,” said Bert Topkok, Sr., puffing out his chest and attempting to look down the pug nose that marked all the sons of long gone Park rat Amalia Mercado.
“Right,” said Ernie with vast suspicion. “Sung by who?”
Bert drank beer and belched, both with style. “Roy Orbison. And he sang in English. And told real stories. And with feeling, instead of just trying to blast the ears offa your head.”
Ernie, crushed, retired from the lists, and the half dozen other old farts thumped the table to applaud his rout. Bert accepted it as his due with pretend modesty.