Sunday, November 2, 2014

Incident in a Pixie Band

A pixie marching band took their show on the road. 17 tiny horn players and a drummer with a button for a snare. Across the water they walked, regimented in three lines, playing "Has The Day So Quickly Ended" to the rhythm of water splashing on their finely cobbled pixie shoes. Tireless they moved forward across an entire ocean seeking the comfort and solitude of Icelandic shores. Unnoticed by the many captains of the many ships they slipped by, their music nothing more than crickets chirping or the ringing in their ears.

It was a long journey and they never stopped playing once. Seven hundred and seventy-six songs they had in their repertoire and they played each one at least twice as days turned to night and the cycle would need to be repeated for several days until they reached their destination. Every pixie musician in the band had every one of those songs memorized and you could call the tune at any time day or night and he or she would pick up his pixie instrument and play it note perfect. Not a single mistake.

Legendary songs of pixie lore, like "Call The Wild Dogs to Anglicize", "Too Many Curtains" and "Fill Your Cup With Salty Seltzer". Popular pixie songs all pixies knew, like "Bertha You're a Hard Act to Follow", "Dropped My Horn in the Bay of Pigs", "Livestock", "Ain't No One Answerin' the Phone" and "Drop Yer Pillow, Samuel". Sacred pixie songs celebrated their common faith in the one true God, like "God, There Ain't No Other God", "Our God Sails the Seven Seas" and "God Help the Fool Who Fools His God". Pixie drinking songs, "Bottoms Up", "Can You Hear the Weeping Warm Beer?", "1-2-3 Let's All Get Drunk", "Pixie Drinking Song" and "Hustle That Swill".

A lot of songs. A lot of moods. A lot of reasons to go  home to Iceland, as if they needed any besides the food.

The pixie band was pushing three-quarters of the marching journey across the ocean when Big Jim Pixie turned around and scolded Billy Joe the trombone player.

"Bill, you clumsy bastard!" barked Big Jim. "You just about hit me in the back of the head with that goddamn trombone slide! Do I have to tell you what I'm going to do to you if you actually graze me with that spit-drippin' thang?"

Billy Joe, typically soft spoken, was not having any of this.

"It was a flying fish that whisked up 'gainst the side of yer noggin, not my slide. If I was of a mind to bean you with this here slide you'd be rubbing the back of your head right now and you'd be so shook up you wouldn't even know it was me that done it."

"You sure do talk tough now, don't ye?" asked Big Jim, reluctantly realizing that it could well have been a flying fish but not yet willing to let the trombone player off the hook. "Don't make me turn around cuz if I do you are going to be in the market for a new trombone."

"That's a well may be, Jim-Jim, but the hand that holds the pen that signs the check that pays for it is going to be yours. Let that stand as a natural fact."

If there's one thing in the world Big Jim didn't like being called it was Jim-Jim. Billy Joe was always calling him Jim-Jim because he knew it bugged him. The pixies in the company had all used variations on his name when referring to him in the past - Jimbo Johnson, Johnny Jimson, Little Jim Big Jim, Jimmy Jolson, George Jimson, Son James the Ham Chef, Carl Jim Has Been, King James Version Abridged, James Wainright Teller, Jim the Traitor, Jim the Christ Killer, Jim the Destroyer of the World, Jim the Enemy of the Known Universe - each one of these appellations rankled him but none so thoroughly as the simple Jim Jim that Billy Joe would call him.

"I ain't payin' a goddamn cent, trombone player."

"Then you ain't breakin' my trombone, Jimmy Jack Jehosaphath."

"Don't test me, you may have to arrest me."

"I'll bring you a file so you can get out of jail, Jim Jim".

"Well that's mighty white of you, pixie. Now what are you gonna do if that spit valve was leakin' and you got some of your nasty ebola saliva on the back of m'neck? You gonna come visit me in the hospital?"

"I might. But then again I might just wait and come visit your grave when they put you down."

"Joe, if we weren't still marchin' I swear to almighty God I would turn around and beat you so bad they'll be countin' a man short when we finally get home."

"Jim Jim, them's fightin' words but you ain't never fought nothing no tougher than the urge to fart in public. You ain't gonna do no permanent damage to me nor my trombone here. So why don't you put your money where your mouth is or keep that mouth shut?"

Big Jim turned around and hit Little Joe hard square between the eyes. He heard and felt bone crack. Joe looked stunned. He'd never call that mean son-of-a-bitch Jim Jim again. No, never again because he hit the water hard and sank down as the band marched right over him, most not even noticing.

Jim looked for as long as he could then turned around and proceeded to march the rest of the way to Iceland.

"Don't call me Jim Jim," he said, speaking only to himself.

Then he heard a voice in the back of his head. It was loud enough to be heard over the music and the waves and the ocean breeze. It was HIS voice, but he had no control over it whatsoever.

"Jim Jim."

"Jim Jim."

"Jim Jim."

...and so it was Big Jim, whose trumpet playing had practically defined the style of this particular pixie band, lost his mind, eventually taking up residence in a Reykjavik sanitarium screaming every night, keeping up the attendants and making things worse.

"Little Joe Jangly Hops! Come here you bastard I got a lollipop for ya."

"Joe Joe Deathgrip Toenail! I'm gonna light your mama on fire!"

"Little Joe Clamfry, somebody took a shit in your bed!"

On and on he went until the people in the kitchen stopped giving him bananas. Then he stopped for awhile.

But only for awhile.