Thoughts of a Man Who Cannot Sing Who Is Stuck In A Musical
Dave Bennett

I went into the bakery today. Same old shit as yesterday. He started bobbing along behind the counter to the tune that only he could hear. Before I could even pay him for the whole wheat loaf, he jumped on the counter, started high-kicking into the air, and launched into some song about sourdough and barley. I tuned most of it out, really. I've gotten so used to being the only one who doesn't hear the music.

The first time I noticed I was stuck in a musical was last Wednesday. I had spent most of the day inside, no TV playing, not even the radio. I was cleaning the bathroom, because it was Wednesday, when I decided to take a walk to the convenience store to grab a sports drink. Also, the fumes were making me dizzy.

On my way there, I passed a family in the driveway of their house. They had formed a line from the trunk of their parked car to the front door, like an old fashioned chain of firemen tossing buckets of water onto a burning house, and they were putting grocery bags away and smiling while they did it. They were singing about it, too. Not a chart-topper or anything, just a grocery list with a tune. "Dishwashing soap and frozen peas/hamburger buns and cheddar cheese."

Also, I'm pretty sure the convenience store guy asked me about marmalade because I was buying Gatorade and he wanted to try some rhyming couplets. I can barely bust out an A-B-C-B stanza. I got out of there before he could dance, but the guy cleaning up a spill down aisle three was spinning his mop like it was Ginger freaking Rogers. I wish I could just go back to sleep and wake up in the real world where nobody has a spring in their step and a song in their heart. I don't sing. I don't dance either. Can't, really. I don't like any of that shit.

Everyone does at least one pirouette when they cross the street now. I just keep my head down. They all sing along to the radio in their cars, too. It seemed like they were happy, but who knows, really? This even happened in the bank a few days ago. Tellers tangoed with the Business Accounts line, the ATM started shooting twenties up into the air, and the manager started popping and locking in the safe deposit box vault. It took me twenty minutes to pay my phone bill after the horn solo.

Last week I was in the park when about fifty dogwalkers showed up and started an honest-to-God hootenanny of a dance number with an audience of me and a cluster of scotch pine trees. Even the dogs were hitting their marks. I sat on the grass and wondered how much training those dogs had to go through to jump through those hoops like it was nothing. It must take a lot of effort to make it look like that much fun. Smart dogs.

All this music and movement will drive me crazy. I gotta get back to the real world of the miserable and lethargic. I wish I could just jump in with them, want to learn the choreography so desperately, but I fear my two left feet will send me flat on my ass by the bridge. The music is everywhere and I can't escape it.

Published in Out/Words #1 (view contents)
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