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Chronicle of the NonPop Revolution


 
The Essay
Show #194
Holey Moses Lutoslawski
David Gunn

Moses Lutoslawski, private eye, clomped up the stairs, jammed his key into the lock, and opened the door to his office. The stench of week-old sweet-and-sour coelacanth nearly overcame him, and he stumbled over to the window, opened it, and stuck his head out to breathe the cool, night air. Eight stories below him, a lone pedestrian was screaming at a caravan of Airstream trailers as they inched their way through the foggy streets. In the distance, the Topaz Lantern Tearoom was still ablaze after the walk-in cooler malfunctioned during a defrosting cycle and blew up, sending hundreds of cases of Panama Patties sky-high and defoliating the nearby plankton copses. Moses had been called there to investigate the suspicious nature of the incident, but all he could find out of the ordinary was a pair of porcelain zen dogs tied tail to tail stashed under the crumpled awning. A whiff of the fetid fish tickled his nosal passages, and he momentarily swooned. Heíd had his share of seven-oyster headaches before, but that smell was something else again! Holding his breath, Moses pulled his head back in, grabbed the gamey coelacanth from atop his desk, and flung it out the window. It took 18 seconds to reach the ground, due to a bubble in the local gravitational field, but when the fish hit the pavement it exploded, propelling the pedestrian high up into the air. As the man reached the level of the eighth floor, Moses saw that he had gills, compound eyes and a rudimentary tail, and he thought it was no wonder the Airstreams upset him so. But then the man reached the apogee of his flight and reversed direction. Eighteen seconds later, a second explosion marked the end of this new life form. The office soon returned to its familiar duck beak and shoehorn aroma, and Moses closed the window, sashayed back to the desk and glanced at his mail. It was a mélange of freon bills, transitory colander adverts, false mustache samplers, lists of random protonics, and a letter from his twin brother, Witold, the famous Polish composer and whiskers six-draw adjudicator. Moses opened the letter first. The envelope was filled with hundreds of paper hole-punch dots on which note values had been written. A 3x5 card provided an explanation of its purpose in Ostyak, a Siberian dialect Moses hadnít spoken in 29 years. As he slouched into his chair, a whoopee cushion blatted its surprise at his failed Weight Watchers regimen. Before Moses could get comfortable, the entire seating assembly collapsed under the heavy stress. And it exploded, shooting shards of flocked upholstery all over the office. One piece lodged in a ceiling tile whose chemical composition had been clandestinely altered by a former disgruntled client of Lutoslawski Investigative Enterprises. The tile began to waver between two argumentative realities before acceding to Rudolph's Third Law and also exploding, causing a tiny vibration to reverberate throughout the very architectural infrastructure of the building. And then, as if the office building had a very bad allergy, it sneezed, spewing ten storiesí worth of walls, floors, iron maidens and hundreds of paper note-dots up into the neighborhood sky. Mosesí floor shifted, buckled and gave way, sending him tumbling down to the seventh floor, which still had some semblance of structural continuity. But all around him, box girders and load-bearing I-beams were bending and twisting and looking very much the worse for wear. And then each of them began to explode individually, poom! poom! poom!, and the resulting shock waves knocked out all of the east-facing exterior windows. The seventh floor caved in, and Moses rode debris accumulated from the eighth and seventh floors down to the atrium on the sixth floor. By now, distant sirens could be heard Doppler-shifting their way to the out of kilter office alcazar. Moses had fallen onto a speaker grate for the piped-in music to the atrium, and he was amazed to hear snippets of his brotherís Chain 2 music wafting from the speaker. But the music abruptly shifted to John Cageís 4:33 transcribed for orchestra and military chorus by Claudio Arrau, and the anxiety implicit in the recording caused a tectonic fracture of the second through sixth stories. Again, the floorboards gave way, and Moses gave ground with them. An explosion of stormy petrels vacating the first floor lavatory swept past him, sky-bound for freedom, and he caught the singular odor of sweet-and-sour coelacanth, but fresh, not foul. Outside, the emergency vehicles had flocked to the building like costive pigeons to a war heroís statue, their sirensí wailing ceasing one by one as each detonated like a wine glass in a Memorex commercial. Moses clambered out of the rubble just as the entire building collapsed into a giant pile of wallboard and electrical conduit. Shrugging off a passel of forms the paramedics handed him before offering medicinal succor, he high-tailed it to his DeSoto roadster, which fortunately had not exploded, and continued to not explode as he turned on the ignition and sped away. The air, meanwhile, filled ominously with an anionic charge, turning the atmosphere around the ex-building into an immense electrolysis conductor. Someone nearby, before the laws of reactionary chemistry could be properly explained to him, lit a match.

A member of the Topaz Lanternís waitstaff who had missed the fireworks at her employerís facility said the Airstream Business Park explosion was the biggest she had ever seen, bigger even than the Ponzu Volcano eruption of 1986, which sank the Tuktoyatungi Atoll formerly 160 miles northeast of Papua New Guinea. As the anionic field recharged, individual molecules within a kilo-mileís radius of the event began to querulously swap countermatter for matter, and they, too, blew up. It was real-time empirical data for scientists studying the Big Bang theory. But it was too dangerous to observe up close, even for researchers on a grant-funded deadline. It took six days for the area to stop exploding, and another week after that before anybody could sneak in to take stock of the remains. About the only recognizable objects that hadnít detonated was a pair of porcelain zen dogs. No one had any theory about that. Nor could anybody ever explain why Moses drove pell-mell into a vacillating electrodynamic field where supercharged W- rays vaporized the DeSoto and sucked out 40% of his body mass in neat, 1½ inch round cavities, leaving a cadaver that bore well the name, Holey Moses.

While the mystery of Mosesí actions remains unresolved, this 194th episode of Kalvos & Damianís New Music Bazaar is ready and eager to resolve to a nice, friendly flambeau mode a la pie, song and Kalvos.