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Chronicle of the NonPop Revolution

The Essay
Show #502
David Gunn

In ancient times in the land of Kültepe there lived a mystic of great power, and he was called Quantoo. He was second in authority only to the king, Bengazagath, whose story already hast been once recounted. Quantoo's days were filled with the doing of mysterious deeds that added to the betterment of the kingdom--the rising of the sun in the morning and its setting at night concurrent with the evening news, the effervescing and bottling of the Royal Well's water source, an aromatherapy massage and exfoliating body buffing for the king's daughter, Zeeno, who rebuffed him for attempting to know her in the Biblical sense--whilst more sorcerous activities didst his nights pervade. Many of the mystic's powers were innate, which Quantoo didst readily seize from Nate one night whilst innocently he slept. Other supernatural talents camest from a magic partridge that he had swiped from the great god Zamtonk's burning bush. The bird was impervious to fire, much as Quantoo was not, so when the latter filched the former, he as well acquired two arms' worth of roseate scar tissue.

Special requests from Bengazagath were many and diverse, and their inherent capriciousness often stretched the limits of the mystic's magical powers. "Quantoo, turn gold into water," once commanded the king. But in the next breath sayeth he "I mean, turn left at the next intersection," which was indeed odd, for Kültepe hath only traffic circles. Another time, the king asked for "a chamber pot that maketh musicke whilst I maketh feculence." Ingeniously--though not without generous assistance from the partridge--Quantoo designeth the "toot d'loo," which so impressed Bengazagath that straightaway didst the ruler instruct the mystic to "make a musicke of much distinction, that willst mine own greatness faithfully reflect." For three days consecutive, the sun had at daybreak failed to rise, no matter it continued to set each evening, and Quantoo hath in the king's disfavor been. Not coincidentally, thought he, had his arms begun to peel and itch like crazy. Thus was Quantoo keen to attend promptly to this especial request.

He journeyed to the Cave of Calamaria, wherein on occasion repaired he to think. Thought he there in great contentment, for was the cave home to the Royal Espresso Machine. As well was it suffused with a restful susurrus that, directly after Quantoo savors a cappuccino, shall be explained.

In the deepest recesses of the cave there radiated a luminescence most queer, for grow lamps were in those days not yet fashionable. Quantoo drained and put down his demitasse, hunched over so as not to brain himself on the stalactites as he had the last time done, and advanced into the cave's innermost chamber.

Here the susurrus was louder, and had it also the character of respiration. Quantoo flicked on the upper spectrum lights, and at once the murmurous sound grew into a peaceful squawkage. For the entire cave floor was covered with bassoons, thousands of them. Not the low-pitched double reed instruments known to twenty-first century musical aficionados, but rather the sentient aphyllous plants that, thought Quantoo, tasted a little like chicken. In the front of the chamber lived the bassoons most ripe, and thus most ready for harvesting. However their pleasant squawkage so soothed Quantoo that unable was he to do the job himself. That task assigned he to his partridge.

On this day--Quantoo thought it was still day, though the trickster sun had given no indication if it had already set--he looked in on the adjacent nursery, wherein a hundred infants were each swaddled in felt and nestled in a long and narrow bassoonet. The one nearest sensed his presence and began to wheeze tootlingly, so he flicked off the light and retreated to the front of the cave. There, over a second cappuccino, the mystic conjured the magical presence of Nate, and thought.

As the room was now thick with squawkage, the solution was quick to reveal itself. Verily were the bassoonical noises "a musicke of much distinction!" Just add a drum track, a little reverb and a few breathy ululations from Zeeno and he wouldst a suitably regal composition have! Excitedly, Quantoo stopped the partridge from cleaning and dressing its harvest. Instead he bade it gather the bassoon nurslings and take them to his workshop that adjoined the Royal Ablution Chamber. Then he raced ahead to announce to the king the imminent concert that would his "own greatness faithfully reflect."

But as the partridge was obediently shepherding the bassoonfants towards Kültepe Manor didst the great god Zamtonk suddenly materialize. With rage didst he recognize his purloined game bird and with puissance didst he plot revenge. After first securing the safety of the partridge and its squawking charges, he then didst cause the other bassoons--those of most ripeness and rancor--to rise up in a vengeful bassoonami that overswept the kingdom. Thenceforth granted Zamtonk administration of Kültepe to the bassoons. However, managerial skills had they few, save for the upkeep of the Royal Espresso Machine, and the kingdom, even with the partridge supervising the Exchequer, soon fell onto hard times. To be sure, Kültepe eventually recovered--yea, even the bush of Zamtonk was afforded several new branches to burn--but that part of the tale must another, wiser chapter await.

The chapter of this Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar numbers 502, a perfectly good number, and one that mysteriously matches the effervescently exfoliated sounds of Kalvos.