Friday, November 11, 2005

Ambuscado: Part 1

It's Friday morning, Phutatorius. Shouldn't you be down the mountain at the Pachados' house?

Well, if you'd give me a minute, Brother/Sister, I would explain. I was ambushed on Wednesday night.

I had finished a long eleven-hour day of home improvement efforts, under Flora's close and (dare I say it?) approving supervision, and I was about ten minutes into my running climb back to the Secret Mountain Redoubt for the night. The sun had set behind the mountains in the west, and the light was dimming. I had the Beatles on my iPod and was gearing up to tackle the steep six-mile incline.

Suddenly, from nowhere, three men were on top of me, blocking my path up the hill. I spun around, and there were two more of them, behind me. I snapped off my headphones, and I heard the haunting sounds of pipes, played from a rocky promontory, ten or fifteen feet above me. The three men in front of me ran at me — they were Elite Incan Dance-Fighters, that was obvious. More pipes tuned in from other points overhead. In an instant I had sized up the situation and concluded that I was looking at a five-on-one gang fight, and my opponents looked to be at least Intermediate-Level EIDF.

This much I knew because of the multiple Pipers, each of whom was piping sound independently of the others. The five (presumably five, as the Pipers weren't visible to count) different strains, taken together, were nothing but noise. The resulting cacophony was not danceable, but the men surrounding me were moving with a kind of rhythmic menace I had not seen, except in my Master Trainer's demonstrations. Each of these men was dancing to the music of his own Piper, showing a sound-filtration skill that can only result from extensive Intermediate-Level training in the Ancient and Very, Very Lethal Art of Incan Dance-Fighting. The Master Trainer does not even attempt to teach multiple-Piper dance-fighting techniques until the second year.

The five men closed in around me. There was a possible lane of escape to my left, but it would have brought me onto the backside of the Pachado property. I didn't want these men turning their hostile attentions to my adopted family. I decided to stand and fight. I pulled the headphones back on, cranked up the volume on my iPod, to drown out the enemy Pipers as best I could. John, Paul, George, and Ringo started right up with "Birthday," and I came out fighting.

The next thirty-five minutes, forty-two minutes were a blur. I can say with confidence that I handily dispatched two of my attackers during this time, knocking them unconscious during "Helter Skelter." But the other three were relentless. They just kept coming and coming. The four of us were a flurry of arms and legs, of kick-steps and do-si-dos. I pulled out every stop, drew on everything I had ever known about dancing. At one point I ran entirely out of ideas and resorted to the Mashed Potato. They clearly had never seen that posture before, and I managed to biff one of them hard under the chin, before I shifted gears into the more defense-oriented Twist. Although I made no headway against these last three, I kept up the fight all the way through the first eleven tracks of the White Album, Disc Two.

And then, in its turn, right after "Cry Baby Cry" wound out, came "Revolution 9." At this point, I about shat myself.

Now I know that there's a pretty sharp divide among Beatles fans on the question of "Revolution 9." I recognize that this is a sensitive wedge issue, one that has been known to cause the breakup of marriages, business partnerships, and small nation-states. As someone who regards himself as diplomatic (often to a fault), I've therefore made it a point in my life not to take a position either way on "Revolution 9," and I think that philosophy has inured to my benefit over these thirty-two years. Therefore, let not the following suggest that I am either for or against "Revolution 9,"

but I about shat myself when it came on my iPod, as the three remaining Intermediate-Level Elite Incan Dance Fighters bore down on me, bloodied and angry, in menacing shuffle steps.

I about shat myself because — think what you want about "Revolution 9" — you can't dance to it. And where I had thought I would be able to gut out this dance-fight up to the limits of my iPod's battery life, I was facing a premature ending here. That is, if the three advancing men were able to get hold of me before I could dig out my iPod and queue up some honest-to-eephus danceable music to play through my headphones, I would be entirely at their mercy. They would be free to tear me limb from limb while I struggled, against all hope, to dance-fight to one of the impossibly tangled strands of music emanating from the Pipers above me.

I reached in my pocket and pulled out my iPod. I slipped it free of its case, pressed the "Menu" button, whirled the wheel back to the beginning of the double-album. But before I could press "Play," the nearest of the three attackers kicked the iPod free of my hand.

Then I was on the ground, and the three men were brutally kicking me, each to a different beat. I tried parsing out the music of the Pipers on the cliffside above me, but it was all hopelessly swirled together, and the each successive blow to my head made it harder to concentrate. At some point, I blacked out. The last notion to pass through my mind, before it closed up shop, was that this predicament — this scenario wherein I am knocked to the ground and kicked, relentlessly, by several other men — rather neatly reprised the Wedding-Party Incident at the end of September. That beating started me on my Quest for world domination, and I wondered if that Quest would come to a close, prematurely, poetically, with just another bookend eating.

I think I should stop here. I don't need to tell you, Brother/Sister, that during this ordeal I suffered multiple concussions. The nature of my injuries requires that I only sit up for a short time. When I grow tired, or agitated (and right now I think it's fair to say I'm both), the room begins to turn, a repressive ache descends on my head, and I succumb to the most violent and dehydrating sort of nausea. The Master Trainer has been kind enough to run an Ethernet line from his office down to the Redoubt Infirmary, where I am resting now. He said I could avail myself of Internet access, but not at the expense of my convalescence.

I hope you will excuse me, Brother/Sister for putting aside the keyboard so that I can throw up, have a glass of water, and take a nap. More shortly.

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