Friday, August 3, 2007

Symphony of Agony

[Note: Inspired by the brave example of Private Scott Thomas Beauchamp, I’ve decided to pen my own fictional memoirs. I’m hoping that I can be the next James Frey.]

I didn’t used to get an almost erotic joy out of the way that a horsehair bow cuts a furrow in new rosin. But that was before I joined the World Orchestra for Peace. After two years serving with them, I’m less human in almost every way.

For example, now I find my mind wandering back to the source of this hair, which I use to create an orgy of musical delight. How many trees did the horse it came from defecate on in its life, the feces choking the green saplings as they struggled to break free from the soil into the warm sunlight of this overheated world? Again and again its equine S&M slaughtered the arboreal innocents, whose only crime was their desire to provide oxygen and shade on this lonely orb. Not to mention how it mouth-raped the parents of the poor saplings, leaving their elders shivering naked through the long, cold winter. How loud did the horse shriek when its tail was pulled out in order to serve my needs?

Sometimes I think of the cats whose guts are the only proper strings in this orchestra of the damned. You see, it isn’t function that matters here, but rather the amount of cruelty used to fabricate our tools. It’s from these strings that we draw our nickname, the Gut Pluckers. We hearken from all over the world, a sort of musical French Foreign Legion, but depravity is now our common bond.

Weep for us, for we can no longer weep for ourselves.

Our humanity is gone, drowned like the Exxon Valdez from the drug cocktails they feed us that heighten our sense of pitch while dulling the inhibitions that keep others from violating social taboos so old that they’re carved into the moral system of every decent society. The perversions that we indulge in are so heinous that, in most languages, they scarcely have a name. We call them normal.

I’m a second violinist; you can call me Champ Handsome. It’ll do for a pseudonym, because if I use my real name then they’ll fry me faster than an egg on a Phoenix sidewalk. Once one of the trumpeters played through a rest, and as punishment they cut his lips off with a rusty hacksaw. The conductor wore the lips as a lapel piece for three days, until one of the oboe players tore them off and ate them. We all laughed, even me, may God have mercy on my soul for it.

Between concerts I spend my time wallowing in orgiastic decadence with the crappiest musicians in the orchestra, the violists. Their only redeeming values are that they work cheap, they’re all easy, and since nobody knows what the hell a viola is you can put it in whatever case you want and haul all kinds of illegal stuff past the border. Including midgets, if you’re clever, which we’ve done on more than one occasion.

Every day I wake up less an idealist. I seethe as pop starlets rake in heaps of cash and stay in penthouse suites, while I have to share a room with four cellists who play euchre and drink all the booze in the minibar before refilling the bottles with urine and putting them back in the fridge.

It’s a kind of hell doing this, the kind those who clean pizza ovens by hand can understand. My fellow orchestra performers are all that I love. I hold the masses of retirees and students who come to our concerts to listen in contempt: what do they know? What can they possibly know of peace and the healing power of music?

We, all of us from horns to woodwinds to strings, are helping to bring peace to troubled places in this benighted world, working our magic in Paris and London and Geneva and a dozen other struggling hellholes of despair around the globe. Do we fear for our lives? Do we fear God? No, not any more.

We fear nothing but the silence of the music, our conductor, and a return of the genital rash that rotted off the balls of our best flautist.

But as we sit, suffused by the pulse of the drums echoing in our hearts like two lovers in a car trying to dress before the policeman knocks on the window outside, we can’t help but feel a sudden shiver of life that is alien to those outside of the Pluckers.

So we weep for you, who know not what it means to be truly alive.