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Chronicle of the NonPop Revolution


 
The Essay
Show #183
Pheasant Feathers
David Gunn

Beano Bengaze tooled down the locust-coated avenue astride his supercharged Harley Wingback. It was not the sleek black Tropical Topeka coupe with the oversized fenders on which basso-relievo nymphs with timpani danced the fandango, but rather the '66 Potash Pummelator, whose exhaust pipes were embroidered with flying antimacassars, and out of which seeped an aroma of cedar, rust, a sizable tax refund, and tincture of Anbesol. Three long strands of luminous hair escaped from the hole in Beano's helmet, resembling an out of kilter caduceus caught in the backwash of the Big Bang blast. His great sequined robe billowed behind him, occasionally lifting him and his spirits off of the motorcycle.

While not initially intent upon any motoring objective, he gradually became aware that for the past hour and a half he had been following a pickup truck that seemed to drift into and out of focus. The tailgate was down, and Beano clearly could see a pile of pheasant feathers therein which entirely failed to be blown out of the truck's bed. Instead, they slowly followed each other around in a herky-jerky spiral pattern that approximated an inebriated Möbius strip.

Abruptly, the two vehicles entered a cavern not noted on the map and were suddenly swallowed up in shadows. A kennel of fogdogs emerged from the mist, keening in parallel fifths and snapping at the tires. The pickup truck slowed and stopped in the adumbration of what could only be a limpet clinging to the State Seal of Ambrosia. Beano stopped, too, and parked just out of focus of the truck. As he turned off the ignition, the engine coughed loudly, and he felt about as conspicuous as a locomotive trying to stalk a leopard.

The door to the truck opened, and out clambered Trowler the Trencherman, Beano's client from the time-space continuum that embraced his Saskatoon hotel office. Although the truck had ceased moving -- in this universe, at least -- the pheasant feathers continued to twist and turn in the bed, kaleidoscoping their way to a destiny best given a wide berth by anyone with any sense in his pockets. This apparently did not include Trowler, who clodhoppered his way to the back of the truck, shoved his hand into the floating mass of feathers, and pulled out a chihuahua fur wig as unlike the one affixed to his pate as were industrial art songs to ancient whale doggerel. The interruption of the meanders in which they were engaged seemed to discombobulate the feathers, and a contingent of them split off and followed Trowler as he lumbered back to the canopy of two-by-fours which served as cab for the truck. Some of the more sentient feathers, eager to explore the cavernous new environment, drifted towards the shadow of the limpet, giving the attendant canine sylphs plenty more to yowl about.

The cave shadows deepened, and wispy grotesqueries not of fogdogian provenance began to infiltrate the murky subterrarium. They, too, tended to keen in parallel fifths, but in long forgotten keys far outside the boundaries of musical good taste. An unease pervaded the spelunky environs, and Beano was momentarily transfixed ... until a subliminal nudge from Weasel Slayer, his ancestral warrior spirit, shivered his timbers, goading him to action. While the Trencherman swatted ineffectively at the cloud of feathers that now filled his cab, punctuating his swings with alphabetic outbursts of the state capitals, Beano Bengaze kick-started his Potash Pummelator and roared away. He didn't look back until he was again back on the tool-lined, locust-encrusted avenue which abutted the Algonquin Highway and led to the safety of his office mesa.

"Safe," of course, is a relative term, as are auntie, conduct, and deposit. And nowhere is safety given more of a run for its money than on this special 183rd edition of Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar, where "the danger you know is le oriange flambeau." Yes, today, potential musical disaster lurks behind every aleatoric cliche known to radio, and by extension, to Kalvos.