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The Essay
Show #265
"The Gulls Are Very Graceful ..."
David Gunn

At 7:15 last Wednesday morning, a man woke up in the map room of the Thor Heyerdahl Plaza near exit 2 of the New Jersey Turnpike with his arms wrapped around a French horn. Until that moment, he had been an optician in Binghamton, New York whose only connection to a brass instrument of any kind was carrying his girlfriend's tuba home from Hilliard High School in May of 1967, and accidentally dropping it off of the Appleby Skyway Bridge, after which she promptly dropped him like a hot tweezer. Simultaneously, the second-from-the-bottom member of a Reykjavík parliamentary concubine won the Most Unusual Costume prize in the All Icelandic Floozy Symposium with her witty French horn-sarong, a skirt that was hemmed by 20 fully functional, funnel-shaped mouthpieces that she had carefully raised and nurtured from birth. By slowly turning around in the Corcoran Wind Tunnel at the University of West Hekla, her dress could play the Scandinavian folk song, Likkurnar eru ógvuliga smidligar men ternan er ógvuliga snotislig ("The gulls are very graceful but the tern is very nice"). At the same time, a bus full of recently embezzled arts council membership coordinators en route to testify before the Montana State Senate Committee on Bilking in Butte missed the Billings cut-off and wound up on a seldom traveled service road in Yellowstone National Park, when a huge cleft in the earth abruptly opened right in front of them. The driver slammed on the brakes to avoid plunging into the fiery column of steam and mud that rapidly became a new, previously uncharted geyser, one that, following a few minutes of sedimentary calcification, evolved into the spitvalving image of a French horn. Exactly twelve hours later, the first hurricane of the season, ahead of schedule by a good two and a half months, came ashore south of Galveston, made a meteorologically singular beeline for Arizona, and stranded a motorist on Interstate 17 near Cornville. The driver remarked that, as the gale force winds pummeled his Datsun B-210's fuel line into submission, it sounded not unlike 400 French horns attempting to outwit a giant badger in the rain. Four remarkably disparate events interrelated only by the perceived incidence of a long, narrow brass tube that is coiled like an out of kilter Möbius strip before ending in a flared bell. Wait. Did I say four? Why, I'm forgetting the most peculiar circumstance! Deep in the Heraclitean Forest on the island of Corfu sits an ancient laboratory where clandestine experiments on organs of respiration, vision and equilibrium have been conducted since prehistoric times. While most of the trial-and- errorisms typically went very awry, a few resulted in the organs achieving the powers of locomotion, levitation, communication and even rudimentary mass hypnoses (sic). The testmongers were culled from a guild of mystics, enigmaticians and occulturists who lived in the interstices of a sentence fragment that were briefly created when it, the fragment, unsuccessfully tried to usurp the pluperfect tense before spontaneously combusting like a Saint Elmo's cow. The experiments, which, under the cover of governmental arts grants, continue to this day, now focus on the more commercial benefits of converting simple cartilaginous organisms into lip-vibrated aerophonic entities, and have nothing to do with the seemingly irrelevant paragraph that follows.

Irrelevant paragraph: which word in the sentence "My dog has fleece" is misspelled? The answer, at least on this 265th episode of Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar, is the second word, "sheep" -- ergo the sheepish feeling I have about the ending of this essay. See, a prolonged power outage left the really good ending buried deep in the computer, an ending that may yet be resurrected on an upcoming show, just to mollify the perplexed-even-more-than-usual audient presently occupying the Kalv-o-seat.