Ted (merovingian) wrote,


Out east along the freeway, away from my city, there is a wide open plain, gently rolling hills, short dead brown grass, and the occasional wild oak writhing majestic and lonely. This afternoon those same plains and hills were thick with musicians.

They had chairs and suits and dresses, jewelry and music stands and scores and formal hair. Oboes and violins and grand pianos and drums the size of Volkswagons. Symphony after symphony, spread out over the miles, with one single conductor. Her image was broadcast to all the musicians through a series of simulcast flatscreen televisions, showing her every subtle movement. She was conducting for what must have been at least fifty thousand musicians.

Or, at least, she was getting ready to do so. Everyone was still getting settled. Expensive sound equipment was everywhere, for recording and rebroadcasting the whole thing.

Then I recognized the main conductor. Turns out we went to high school together! I drove through the fields of orchestras, parked (they had well-organized parking, of course), and tracked her down to ask what she was doing.

She was nice enough to take a few minutes before her big performance to tell me what she was doing.

"Have you listened to the sound of ghosts? That oooOOOOooOooOOooo noise?" she asked me, her tone rising and falling with a haunting lilt, "It's the same as a police siren, isn't it? Or perhaps an ambulance? That same mournful sound, ever-changing in pitch and volume. What about the days before they had cars and sirens? There must have been some other noise instead, for the ghosts to make. Maybe an owl's hoot, or the wailing of mourners. An ambulance is the sound of tragedy now."

She looked out to her city of orchestras. "Tonight, I'm going to give the ghosts a new sound instead. One that's more elegant and beautiful. One that's more awestriking. A mournful sound to inspire the next century, just as the siren-sound of ghosts inspired the last one."

Then she gave me a shy little smile, completely the opposite of a mad scientist's laugh after telling you his megalomaniac plan.

It's so nice to see old friends again, and to find that they're doing well.

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