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Chronicle of the NonPop Revolution

The Essay
Show #272
Radioing Headquarters
David Gunn

At the Repelican National Conviction in Philadelphia earlier in the week, a significant event occurred that nearly all television cameras failed utterly to capture. When Governor What's-his-name accepted his party's nomination for resident, 9,950 balloons were unleashed from the convention hall rafters as part of the programmed synchronized gaiety. Due to a typographical error on the purchase order, the balloons did not come from Loco Bob's Discount Party Mart in Opelousas, Louisiana, but rather from the Yungsung Munitions Factory of North Korea. Quality control must have suffered on the day of manufacture, because many of the balloons were defective. They were deformed, and resembled not so much the dirigible-shaped noggin of the potential nominee as they did numerous variations on the common nose. Most of the delegates didnít notice, but someone -- or, rather, something -- else did. An important stipulation in the purchase agreement for the balloons was that they arrive pre-inflated. Repelican nabobs declared it beneath the dignity of party faithful to have to spend valuable exhalations blowing up anything other than Communist spider camps when they could underpay others to do it. Which Yungsung Munitions agreed to do. Of the 10,000 balloons the contract required, all but 50 arrived inflated, an impressive achievement that any listener who is planning a gala event might want to consider. The balloons were airlifted from Pyongyang to Philadelphia with a stopover in Denver, but high winds coupled with blancmange-sized hail forced the Ford Tristar to land in Saskatoon. The pilot, unfamiliar with the Saskatchewanian inversion winds, misjudged her approach, clipped the airport laundromat with the landing gear, and wound up scraping the entire left wing off of the fuselage. While repairs were being made, the balloons were carted to an empty storage hangar.

Except that it wasn't totally empty. Lurking in a long-forgotten luggage locker far removed from the main concourse was a nosal scout. Save for a brief Mesopotamian holiday in 993 BC, it had been there continuously for 12,796 years, keeping a low profile, awaiting a special signal. And when what looked like 10,000 inflatable noses in huge, gelatinous vats were brought right to its doorstep, it assumed that that was the signal. Excitedly, it radioed headquarters with the news ... though both "radioed" and "headquarters" are feeble attempts to express the event in human terms. At any rate, soon noddies of noses roused themselves from the Monandnock Refuse Company dumpster, caught a cab -- which is a strange and horrific story unto itself -- and descended upon the Saskatoon Aerodrome. They tried their darndest to communicate with their rubbery brethren in the cisterns, but there was no response. "Headquarters" was "radioed" again for guidance, but internasaline communication was interrupted when the baggage handler suddenly showed up to retrieve his cargo. As the vats were secured to the shuttle truck, several nides of noses gave in to their nosy instincts and dived into the containers.

Four and a quarter hours later, as they were landing in Philadelphia, the noses had regrettably concluded that they had cast their lot with 10,000 impostors which, upon closer scrutiny, werenít even very good ones. Now that they were far out of communicable touch with their cartilaginous cousins, they felt lost, perplexed, unsure of their future.

And that's how they allowed themselves to be bundled up with their unresponsive nosular cargomates in acres of mylar netting, suspended from the ceiling of a cavernous assembly hall, and then, following a cacophonous hubbub from hundreds of herky-jerky bipeds on the floor far below, released.

While they could no longer solicit advice from their dumpster colleagues, the noddy of noses could at least levitate ... which is why no one in the convention hall could tell them apart from the sea of gas-filled latex bags on their downward journey. However, as they neared the floor, grubby fingers reached up to capture them. That may have been fine and large for the stupid balloons, but it was unacceptable for a sentient body part originally from the Crab Nebula. And so, just before they could be grasped, the noses subtly reversed direction and began to float back up to the ceiling. Thanks to the carefully scripted bedlam in the building, nearly no one noticed. But one television camera did capture the act of gravity rebuttal. And, in another extraordinary instance of serendipity, the entire viewer audience at the time consisted of (1) a former bunco operator currently living on the banks of the forgottenmost fork of the Gauley River deep in West Virginia's Monongahela Hills; (2) a teenager, whose parents he little suspected of being travel agents from the Crab Nebula; (3) one of his parents' clients; (4) a researcher from Eli Lily who could once count the whole of Western Europe as his backyard fiefdom; and (5) a nausea of noses in a Saskatchewanian dumpster who, having discovered the whereabouts of their missing ilk, were nodding in glee. After settling down, they put their nostrils together to figure out how to rescue them, and the two-word solution that kept coming up was this: harmonic convergence at the Damnocratic Conviction -- which, granted, is more than two words, but the noses were under a lot of stress at the time.

Stress is what today's 272nd episode of Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar features, from simple musical accents to body- deforming systems of physical forces, from mental states of irritability to an arcane language for solving structural analysis problems, any one of which might figure into a happy polemic by our own harmonica conundrum, Kalvos.