Sunday, December 21, 2008

A City of Brick, all Clean, Solid, and Uniform

Two teenagers leave a party, driving away through the clean, safe streets. They park in an alleyway three blocks away from the City's quiet center. The party left an aural emptiness behind the talk. Alone, in a parked car, the silence was golden.
We were enraptured by being with each-other. We held each-other and that was all there was.

Out of nowhere, a Pringles truck screamed by our alley, shattering the silence. We heard a dampened rhythmic thumping from the truck when it passed, but the truck covered it with a gigantic screech when the driver slammed on breaks, swung the back around, and began to tip over. Astoundingly it came to rest on its back door, wheels touching the brick building, and the thumping got stronger and faster as the truck settled. The rhythm hit an apex, the truck hissed and split down the center, and the music exploded out.

It was raw rhythm and tone and motion and power. It drew deeply on the two of us, pulling something out of each of us that we had been neglecting. The tempo began to drive everything: our arms, our legs, our torsos, our breathing, our heart-beats, our muscles, our marrow. We needed to move, keep time, be the music. We needed it. There was nothing else.

People from the truck were moving fast. Two were at control boxes on the side of the building, two on the deck with modified mounted guns, shooting glowing neon streamers and glowsticks on and over everything on the street. A DJ in the back was moving between his decks and the switches for foggers, hazers, and lazers. Finally, at least ten people ran out to be the start of the crowd. They knocked on every door, pulling anyone who answered onto the street. People multiflied—cars and buses, bikes and segways, pole-vaulters and traceurs. The girl and I walked around a corner to see people on rooftops setting off confetti cannons and throwing down glowing streamers. There were hundreds of people, everywhere, all a part of this grand experience.

The truck's people on the control boxes finish hacking the emergency systems. Yellow emergency lights flash everywhere and the music streams from every loud-speaker in the City. Within a minute, the entire city is engulfed in rhythmic rapture.

The music was alive and the people of the City made its body. And the body danced.

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