Hair on the Cat’s Back Stood Up

20 September 2013

At 12, I played the violin. Perhaps ‘played’ is a stretch. I scraped the bow across the strings…A Concerto to a Tortured Cat. (The decibels of chalk-screech are soothing by comparison.) All within earshot ran…if they could…turned on their radios, sought out static and turned up the volume for relief from my playing.

Anguish gripped the neighbors…the police were called…must be domestic violence or medical experimentation, they were told…one or the other. Flents Ear Stopples sold out in pharmacies. Shrieking Cs and the cops showed up. They seemed like such nice people, they were told by the neighbors.

I practiced relentlessly…not one normal note. A blind squirrel finds an acorn. Why not me a normal C?

In emergency session the City Council passed an ordinance banning violin practice within city limits. Noise suppression statutes popped up around the country. Evidently there were others whose only talent was the relentless, and elusive, pursuit of a normal note.

The Defense Department in brainstorming sessions pondered recruiting battalions of no-talent twelve-year olds, scraping violins, then amping the noise and bringing vast populations to their knees. But the DOD abandoned the idea…it would breach international standards…water boarding and screeching violins…too cruel.

Pleading mounted and I was finally convinced to abandon my quest for a normal note. Dogs returned. Flents could again meet demand. And cops could enjoy donuts and coffee uninterrupted. And the neighbors settled back to the normal chalk-screech of city noise.