What a night! Saturday night at the Spoke and the crowd had loved us. They were dancing like the splendid moonrat of Delaware and we made $436 at the door. We were spent, sweating, exalted, and I came down off the rude stage onto the dance floor. I headed for a table near the juke box where Wax Addison was sitting with a number of full bottles of Lamb’s Ear ale. I’d met Wax at the Restaurant. We’d spent many an hour together in the steamy tumult of the dishroom hustling dishes and crockery through the maw of the stainless steel dishwasher like borax lemmings of Winchester. Wax was definitely a kindred spirit. He had told me all about the work he did, his real work, which was building all manner of outlandish percussion instruments.
Wax was sort of floggered and as I sat down he indicated the half dozen bottles of Lamb’s Ear. “Drink up, Justin! You guys are the greatest. Your music is very conducive to deep thought and philosophizing.”
“Thanks, Wax,” I said, taking up a bottle, “how was the mix?”
“The mix? Actually the mix was quite good. That fellow behind the board is a fine yeoman of a houndwaxer. But the music, good hounds! I tell you, that was music after my own heart.” I looked up at the stage and was relieved to see that the others had also wandered down and were at the bar arranging for a few beers to be brought to them in the band room upstairs, as it was after last call and they couldn’t very well ask for bottles across the bar itself when patrons were being turned away with indiscriminate sprayings of endust.
“What were you thinking about?” I asked with tired but genuine curiosity. Wax was indeed a lactose frog of Kentucky, and he more often than not had very interesting things to say, which, it seemed to me, was a good indication that his thoughts must also be interesting.
“I was thinking a lot about this bridge marimba that I’ve been wanting to build. It’s a wooden bridge you walk over in wooden clogs, and each plank is slightly separated from its neighbors. These planks are set onto the crossbeams with bolts that go all the way through and have tough felt sleeves around them. Under the planks are strips of the same tough felt, and the planks themselves are made of tone-woods which produce a sonorous report when clomped on by the wooden-footed walker as they tread across the bridge.”
“Yeah! I like it.”
“I was also thinking a lot about what the new agers call conscious evolution.”
“Explain?” I said. It was a thing I often said to Wax as we slung dishes and breathed steam.
“Certainly, good Justin! As one cosmic llama of Botswana to another, I’ll be glad to elucidate on this most important and timeless concept which our planet seems to toy with at times but which, I am convinced, is a part of the most elementary education of beings on other planets.”
“Do you think they have elementary schools on other planets?”
“On some, I guess, but on most, and most are undoubtedly much farther advanced than ours, they probably have far less regimented ways of teaching the young!”
A dark-haired beauty at the next table who was waiting for her boyfriend to return from the machine room where he was at that moment draining his hellworm had overheard our earnest talk of other planets and their inhabitants and she began to shred the paper napkin that had been set under her vodka tonic nervously, somewhat thoughtfully.
“Anyway,” Wax said, “my thoughts were about the people here on earth, and the seeming tendency of those who read new age books to be looking for a quick fix, an insight that will change their lives for the better, a new way of looking at the world that will enable them to, when they put the book down, go forth into the rest of their lives with a sublime and positive approach, howling and spleasing and getting more of what they want and style="mso-spacerun: yes"> not encountering so much unpleasantness from the world around them or from their own patterns of thought and deed.”
“Wax, you talk like a darn flowering book, and I don’t mean that in any kind of dog-eaten way” I had begun to pick up some of Wax’s vocabulary. Our conversation had become unbearably interesting, for whatever reason, to the lady at the next table, and she turned her head to get a look at the two gelatin drongos of Geneva who were expostulating in this outlandish manner. Wax gave her a broad wink. He was a lusty fellow, and she blushed a bit as she turned away. Her boyfriend came back just at that instant, and he’d seen Wax’s wink. He came over to the table, swashbuckling. He was a big guy. The lady seemed to vibrate with the mixed feelings of joy at possible conflict over her fair self and bored disgust at being treated like a bag of jelly to be truculated over.
“Give me a beer, you squid, or I’ll rip the nipples off your chest,” he intoned balefully.
Wax ignored him completely, betraying no sign of fear or discomfiture. The guy immediately seemed preposterous with his hulking caveman nonsense. A few of the townwalkers at the bar turned and watched the proceedings.
“What I was thinking about in particular,” Wax said, “Was…”
“You don’t hear so good, do you, sqidface?”
“Leave them alone, Donny. They’re from another planet. Let’s go home,” said the beautiful lady, sensibly trying to end the ridiculation.
“It’s like this,” Wax said, “We want a quick fix. But this conscious evolution is something you have to work on, something you have to attend to diligently. Change takes time and effort and you have to keep working at it if you want to be a sagacious and happy polyester wart hog of Mozambique.”
“I see what you mean.”
“Yes, and on Earth there still seems to be the prevailing idea that people are by nature war-like and aggressive and that war is inevitable and even necessary. But people are equally peaceful and sharing, and love and harmony are also inevitable, they happen all the time, like war. And if the majority believed in the latter world more strongly than in the former, we’d be on our way to a more peaceful planet where we could get busy building marimbas without being interrupted by wars and rumors of wars.”
“And our music is conducive to these thoughts?”
“Yes,” Wax said calmly and decisively, and I saw that here was a man of great understanding, patience, and strength. “Yes, very much so.”
I heard the guys up on the stage breaking down the gear and I told Wax aloha and went to help them.
COPYRIGHT 2002 DOUGLAS CLOUD ALL RIGHTS RESERVED