Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Big Book of British Flashes


















Alright, England, you win -- this time, muahahahaha, etc.

His life would have been a lot simpler if he'd just said no.
Trois morceaux then the F minor waltz, ten mazurkas, vingt quatre préludes, promptly two impromptus, then two more. The notes and staves quickly transformed into swarming gnats and a bug-catcher's net, as familiar as impossibly late rent checks and an impeccably clean-shaven face to this entomologist seated before les noirs et les blancs bearing an expression that would make Walter Mitty blush. But who was he to argue with the half-mad Russian constantly appearing in his daydreams as if speaking directly to him from the other side? Wait, he thought, Hrabosky was the Mad Hungarian, though both did share an affinity for unorthodox soup strainers. Taking a short breath, he regained his bearings.

More than once the entomologist tried to stop these préludes presaging sonatas and poèmes, both tragique and satanique, but a cataract of acetylcholine always flowed, harmonic divinity soon leading to chromatic ecstasy and a lucky call to 911 by the old man in the apartment above who, despite his advancing age, managed to pluck out a plea for help amidst the eerily triumphant buzz, barely saving the amateur pianist after his heart had stopped midst the tumescent din.

"You should slow down, my ssssszzzzz."

"You were lucky thissssszzzzzz."

"Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz."

Despite cold, clinical warnings from the paramedics and a warm, hearty one from the old man that soon flitted away as apis mellifera does when finished arranging its floral visitation, he immediately went back to work, plunging deep within the profundity of Theosophical chords, searching for some Promethean pleroma, a state beyond the humming freshet of passing cars; the clop of soles on weary planks; the din of garbled, pointless transactions, always, always vers la flamme.

Voiced dissonance circled upon itself with haste, eating masses white and black, devouring any tonal or atonal notions, biting off screaming phalanges for the insects trés lent, contemplatif, to pick clean.

The inhuman wailing permeated the apartment complex, diffused shouts of 'murder! murder!' peeling the greasy wallpaper. The old man banged on the locked door, as much as his meager strength would permit.

"They come, hang on little bit more, please!"

When the police arrived after what had felt to be hours, they barged through the deafened crowd to batter down the portal, shocked to find the man softly lingering over a pastoral, welcoming F major. Sternly caterwauling a harsh warning to keep the noise to a small roar or face arrest, they exited, leaving the man at his piano, gently playing, a smile painted below the exaggerated twirls of an elongated moustache that undulated as his head bobbed up and down in joy.

25 comments:

David Barber said...

Nice one mate. I had to get the dictionary out again as you know far too many words. (Yes, I'm having a moan. ;-) )

Regards buddy, David.

Room Mom Helper said...

What David is too nice to say: "Quit being a pretentious gasbag."

Oh, look. My sign in changed again.

Too lazy to switch it back.

Beach Bum said...

Voiced dissonance circled upon itself with haste, eating masses white and black, devouring any tonal or atonal notions, biting off screaming phalanges for the insects trés lent, contemplatif, to pick clean.

How in the world do you know what goes on around my in-laws? This is damn spooky.

Holte Ender said...

While delving in many of the internets I have noticed there are many dictionaries, English to French; French to German; English to Mongolian etc. What would be helpful is one that translated Randal to English.

Randal Graves said...

david, thanks for the open-ended sentence. Could've gone in many directions, but Scriabin saved the day. ;-)

übermilf's 99 cent disguise, what I'm too jerkface to say: next time I'll sink to your level and eliminate any words with more than two syllables.

Is Room Mom Helper an offshoot of Hamburger Helper? Do you taste like chicken or soylent green?

BB, no wonder you want to set them on fire. You do want to set them on fire, right?

holte, I was clear as a liberty bell from the shining city on the hill. Too bad the one Chinese place around here closed, their Mongolian beef was fantastic.

Cormac Brown said...

Scriabin, Scriabin, can you do the fandango?

At some point, I must have heard Alexander and not even realized it. It takes KDFC about a million years to let you know who the composers were that they have played, and I'm too lazy too look them up on the Internet.

I'm confused, is our protag indulging in too much music, ala' Chicago's "25 or 6 to 4?" Or is he having a Syd Barrett moment?

Room Mom Helper said...

Two syllables is one syllable too fancy.

What's wrong with one syllable?

Room Mom Helper is a fetish site for really sick bastards.

David Barber said...

What? Am I just thick or are you lot too well educated. You should be in the WhiteHouse.

You lost me at Scriabin. And, what's an open-ended sentence. :-)

David Barber said...

Wikipedia is a great site, as I have just found out.

TomCat said...

Dang! And I expected a Super Bowl prognostication!! :-)

Randal Graves said...

cormac, such gallows humor.

Oh man, I hear you on that, WCLV does the same thing here. Though for me, their worst offense is their constant desire to play vast quantities of Mozart instead of the lesser known.

As for this, I think that's up to the reader. I was going for a less-frightening Music of Erich Zann/transmogrification kind of gig, but I don't think I succeeded.

übermilf's 99 cent disguise, good thing we don't know any sick fetish bastards. Jesus is just alright with me. I apologize for all the syllables.

david, no, we're all pretty dumb. We are Americans, after all. ;-)

Dude, check out Scriabin, awesome stuff. Unless you hate classical, then never mind.

Randal Graves said...

tomcat, that was yesterday!

susan said...

You've taken the idea of an artist giving birth to a new work in an entirely literal direction.

Tom Harper said...

I never knew what Scriabin looked like 'til I saw that picture.

I read somewhere that the reason his music isn't more widely known is that the piano parts are too hard to play; not many pianists have big enough hands to play it the way he wrote it.

Tengrain said...

Graves, you swine!

Was any of that in English? Or was it all in British?

Regards,

Tengrain

David Barber said...

Scriabin rocks! I do like some classical, but I couldn't tell you who was playing if it came on the radio etc. I need to educate myself on it. Cheers Randal.

Demeur said...

Graves you commie pinko next you'll have them reading Tolstoy and going to the ballet. Wer Mercans by god and cheer the right to remain stupid.

S.W. Anderson said...

I'm just glad George Gershwin, Hank Williams and Sammy Khan didn't have these problems.

Sounds as though your protagonist, after the "cataract of acetylcholine," had gas so bad he needed paramedics' help to get himself back to work.

Randal, your piece would've been more fun if you had worked Speedy Alka Seltzer in somewhere. ;)

okjimm said...

ya, what tengrain said. And didn't you give me the Saints and 5 for a couple of long K?

Anonymous said...

Easily I assent to but I contemplate the collection should prepare more info then it has.

Randal Graves said...

susan, I hope he took some painkillers.

tom, does that mean Wilt or Shaq or Dr. J or Andre the Giant would have been fantastic pianists?

tengrain, bloody 'ell, wanker, ask David!

Speak of the devil, believe me, I don't know everyone either, only the pieces I've listened to 79 billion times.

demeur, the ballet, isn't that with the bears in the little cars?

SWA, I told him to lay off the Taco Bell, but did he listen?

okjimm, Kosher hot dogs? Sure, my treat, next time I'm up in Wisconsinonianland.

magic robot, more information next time. Apologize I do.

MRMacrum said...

I am afraid I am either too much of an American to decipher this, or as I almost was able to keep up, it might be just that I have been away longer than I should have been. My ability to translate Randalese has suffered I guess.

All I can come up with is that in the end saying no would not have brought him that final pleasure.

And when the Hell did Ubermilf start a fetish site?

Non Je Ne Regrette Rien said...

how fitting that this slightly kafka-esque ditty is about a fellow russkie. there are bits of magic interwoven through the fabric of this jaunty fez, mate. "The notes and staves quickly transformed into swarming gnats and a bug-catcher's net," one could imagine that in all sorts of genres ... tom & jerry, a dream sequence of an indy, who knows.

and its good you put in lots of big words. those brits eat that shit up. makes em feel like the rule the world again. after all, poor dears, about all they've got left is the language. no wonder they're so prickly.

you've the geeft my leetle online fren.

Dr. Zaius said...

Why are you torturing Prometheus? Hasn't he suffered enough already?

CJT said...

Well first of all I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who had to pull out the dictionary here. Randall are you like an english teacher??? They're the only ones I know who use such big words in everyday ways.

The piece is interesting enough, but I think it too could have been a little better and felt tighter if you would have used less large words, not that you have to kill them all, just don't use quite so many.

Oh, and yes the music is fantastic.