Consequences Part 2

September 2nd, 2011 by Wordsman

Though some people don’t like to admit it, there are actually a lot of problems in life that can be solved by ignoring them.  If your car gets buried in snow, you don’t need to spend hours digging it out; just wait until spring and you can drive again, as long as you don’t mind having severely rusted brakes and a steering wheel so sluggish you could kill it with salt.  The dumpster outside your house doesn’t have to be emptied every week; eventually one of your neighbors, unable to stand the sight and the smell, will do it for you.  As you can probably imagine, these solutions tend to lead to a whole new set of problems, but the point is that the original undesirable situation was fixed simply by not thinking about it.

Peter’s dilemma was not this kind of dilemma.

Bum ba da da dee ba buuum

Despite Peter’s trying to focus all his thoughts on baseball, wheat, or anticipatory repudiation, the mystery tune remained stuck in his head for the entire seven-minute, forty-two-second duration of the subway ride (staring at his watch was yet another way in which he had tried to distract himself).  All the while, it kept getting louder.  It also seemed to be getting lazier, for around the four-minute mark it stopped repeating the whole six-second sequence and started “skipping,” playing only the first seven notes over and over again.

Bum ba da da dee ba buuum

It was a good thing that the few available spaces left in his mind were crammed full of numbers and times, because that was the only way he could have known when to get off the train.  The blaring music made it impossible to make any sense of the stop announcement—not that it would have made any sense on a normal day, either: “MFYXT (static): MREEPARONI PFAZZZZZZ.”  (NEXT STOP: DIPAOLI PLAZA).

The tune was not entirely without its advantages.  It came in very handy when he stepped off the elevator, which he only did because the person next to him nudged him sharply and said something that might have been, “This is your floor, right?”  Or it could have been, “Have you seen my frog suit?”  As a life-long debater, he had always been better at speaking than listening, but that morning his comprehension skills were so sub-par that he was ready to chuck his putter, his driver, and the whole rest of his bag of clubs into the water.  This childish but satisfying mental image tantrum—along with everything else that had gone wrong since he entered the subway—distracted him from the Par-4, 500-yard, double dogleg 18th hole ahead: an outraged Mr. Abrahamson.

Bum ba da da dee ba buuum

It wasn’t as bad as he thought it would be.  Or, to put it another way, Peter had no idea how bad it was.  Mr. Abrahamson did not shout, scream, snarl, spit or flail his arms around like he was boxing an invisible kangaroo.  That was not his style.  He could take apart a mind much more subtly, like a safecracker.  A seemingly gentle phrase here, a possibly meaningless question there, and before you knew it you would be bawling like a baby and agreeing with anything he said, admitting that you killed Jimmy Hoffa, that you were Jack the Ripper, that you murdered Julius Caesar.

Of course, that was all dependent on you being able to hear a single word he was saying.  To Peter it just looked like he was being calmly lectured by a man with a vaguely disappointed look on his face, every once in a while taking a step to the left or the right, now and again fixing him with a piercing stare that was rather unsettling even though he had no idea what he was talking about.

Bum ba da da dee ba buuum

“I’m sorry, Mr. Abrahamson.  It won’t happen again.”

Mr. Abrahamson, nodding in mild satisfaction tinged with regret, said, “See that it doesn’t.” (Or possibly, “Word to your mother.”)  After the old man had retreated to the elevator, Peter’s coworkers, who had watched the entire thing from various unsuccessful hiding positions, approached with looks of wonder.

“Dude, that was . . . brutal.”

“I’m surprised you’re still standing.”

“You sure you’re feeling okay?”

“You need a shot of something?  I’ve got a bottle of the good stuff in my cube.”

“It’s no big deal,” Peter said modestly.  “You just have to think of yourself as a rock on the beach and let the waves wash over you.”

That is, that’s what he would have said if he had been able to hear them.  Instead he nodded and smiled, looking like a person with a mild concussion trying to convince everyone that he’s fine.  He said his Hellos and his Good Mornings and quickly worked his way to his cubicle.

Bum ba da da dee ba buuum

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

2 Responses

  1. Dragon Says:

    I know it doesn’t quite fit the given pattern and is almost certainly not what you’re going for, but every time I see the little tune written out, I think of the Katamari Damacy theme.

  2. Wordsman Says:

    If that’s a song that would drive you nuts if it was stuck in your head, then that’s good enough.

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