I watched the marching band form patterns and spell out words during halftime.
Oh, I wanted to be in the marching band so much, but I couldn’t play a musical instrument. Nor could I twirl a baton worth a damn.
“Play the triangle,” suggested my mother.
So, I did. And I tried out for band.
Along with every other kid who couldn’t play an instrument worth a damn. Which was every other kid.
We were a marching band that consisted solely of triangles.
By the end of the football season, everyone was either deaf or had severe ringing in their ears.

The Mozart Effect

Some scientists say that if you expose a baby to Mozart, it will boost their IQ.
Other scientists say that this has no effect on a baby’s IQ.
No matter what the scientists say, everyone agrees that exposing Mozart to babies really pissed him off.
“Vat’s mit all zees kinders!” he’d shout, sticking his fingers in his ears and scowling at the room full of babies. “Vere ist mein harpsichord?”
Then the babies would scream louder, and Mozart became even more irritable and outraged.
Further research is necessary on The Mozart Effect. And self-changing diapers to stop babies from screaming.

Musical Cats

Most people’s pets like music.
For instance, my cat loves opera music.
However, she’s no longer satisfied with opera on the radio. Or on DVD or CD.
It has to be a live performance now.
At first, I had to smuggle her into the opera house. And I had to pay for one of those private boxes, because someone might have seen her in my backpack in a floor seat.
Then, an usher caught me, but he saw how much she loves opera now.
Ballet, on the other hand, is a no-no, after she attacked The Mouse King in Nutcracker.

Last Great American Whore

Lou Reed watched his wife’s Laurie’s face rot away, revealing a grinning skull.
“Get up,” said The Grim Reaper, yanking the withered musician from his bed. “I want you to meet someone.”
From the shadows, a teenager in jeans and a leather jacket walked in, a guitar slung on his back.
“They tell me I had a promising future,” said the teen. “But I died while waiting on the liver transplant list.”
The kid strummed his guitar and sung a few lines, and Lou wept at its perfection.
Slowly, his face rotted away, revealing Death’s wicked grin.
“Murderer,” he said.


Today is Flu Shot Day at work. Free flu shots for everyone, paid for by the company’s health plan.
I always get sick with the flu for a day after getting the shot.
That’s better than getting sick for a week or two with the flu, I guess.
But does it have to be today? There’s a big concert tomorrow, and I’ve really been looking forward to it for months.
I don’t want to get sick tomorrow, damn it.
So, I’ll skip the shot. I’ll get one after the concert.
I just hope that nobody coughs or sneezes on me.


Sesquicentennial is a silly-looking word, but we here in Ocean Falls take everything serious.
Miss Liza has been teaching the schoolkids to count to 150.
That counting came in handy for the whipping of Fred Murks, the town drunk. The kids counted out loud with every crack of the whip.
Except for Little Fred Junior. He screamed in horror at the sight of his father covered with gashes and blood.
Fred only took seventeen lashes before dying.
“There there, Little Fred,” we said.
And then gave him a bottle of gin.
You know. So he can practice. For the Bicentennial.

My only sunshine

“You are my sunshine,” sang Carlos to The Sun. “My only sunshine.”
But The Sun knew better.
This morning, as she rose with the dawn, she saw how sad Carlos was after the stars had all vanished one by one when the night was over.
This time, she’d caught him whispering: “Goodbye, my loves!”
Stars are nothing more than far-distant suns.
Suns. Just like her.
Carlos’ only sunshine?
The Sun vomited with molten fury, spitting a massive flare at Carlos.
It incinerated him and the entire planet he’d been standing on.
“Who’s your sunshine now, bitch?” thought The Sun.

Music on the brain

There’s physical differences in the brain between professional musicians and ordinary people.
Over time, portions of the corpus collosum and right hemisphere change.
So much so, neuroscientists can spot a professional musician by inspecting an image of their brain.
Which is very helpful as the regime tries to enforce the ban on unauthorized music production.
“Let me see your brains,” orders a state neuroscientist to a group of teenagers sitting in a garage.
The teenagers claimed to be playing a Rock Band video game with controllers that look like musical instruments, but you can never tell.
Hail to the state!

Cole Porter

Cole Porter suffered a horrible horse riding accident in his thirties, and the doctors recommended that his leg be amputated.
Cole refused, and he lived in agonizing pain for years, unable to match his songwriting success from before the accident.
He eventually had his leg amputated, but Cole never wrote another song again.
The amputated leg, however, was now on its own. No longer shackled to a pill-popping sex-crazed songwriter, it went on to write many amazing songs.
The problem is, nobody could read the damn sheet music, no matter how steady the leg kept the pen between its toes.



Unlike ice cream trucks and their melodic chimes playing Turkey In The Straw or Pop Goes The Weasel, Ted’s Tattoo Truck announces its presence with Metallica’s Enter Sandman.
He usually parks it outside of schools and offers up a wide range of temporary tattoos, from snarling demons to Hello Kitty. But every now and then, a company will hire him to print up their logo or latest marketing buzzword for a corporate picnic.
His original plan was to offer real tattoos, but those take too long to create.
Temporary tattoos allow repeat business, and don’t piss off parents as much.


Do you hear that?
That’s not Pop Goes The Weasel, or Turkey in the Straw.
That’s Metallica’s Enter Sandman on the jangly jinglechimes of Ted’s Temporary Tattoo Truck!
It’s been a while since he was last at our school.
Our moms and dads were so angry. But Ted’s lawyer was angrier, and now Ted’s back! Hoorah!
What will you get?
A unicorn? A demon? A Hello Kitty?
A Harry Potter forehead lightning bolt scar?
I’m going to get Mom on a heart for my arm. Maybe get a whole sheet of them.
Because who knows when he’ll be back again.