From: (Rimrunner)
Newsgroups: talk.bizarre
Subject: Queen Drum
Date: 2 Dec 1997 22:17:46 -0800
Organization: paid to be polite to paranoiacs
Lines: 84
Message-ID: <662tia$qgf$>
Summary: so it's a day late. so my newsreader barfed. so big deal.

Newsgroups: talk.bizarre
Subject: Queen Drum
Summary: future perfect
Organization: paid to be polite to paranoiacs

Sometimes I lose track of my collection. At first I was quite meticulous
about it. This was the Egyptian frame drum with the goatskin head (not to
be confused with those that use the skin of fish instead), that was the
djembe I bought on sale after a fifteen-minute jam with the store clerk
that brought curious passersby off the street and into the store, and that
over there was a wooden box drum purchased from a harp maker at a con.

But after awhile, the wheres and hows of procuring these instruments no
longer interested me. Once I became rich and famous I had a room where all
my drums lived. I would go in there, and walk among them, and pick one up,
and play. Sometimes I took the drum outside. Sometimes not.

I was the reclusive sort of celebrity, the one that feeds rumors by her
silence and by occasionally showing up at the grocery store and buying
only a quart of ice cream and a box of coffee filters. But every so often,
I'd throw parties.

On those nights I would open the drum room, and whoever wanted to could
take a drum out and play. Sometimes we got enough people playing that the
sound disturbed the neighbors, but that didn't happen very often. I had
only two rules: respect what you borrowed, and never, ever play the Queen.

Not all of my drums have names, even though each has a voice. Some just
have more personality than others. The ones that stick in my memory tend
to attract names to themselves.

The Queen looked like a queen, hourglass shaped and tall. I don't remember
what kind of drum she was, which is odd. I remember her voice, though. It
was a voice that demanded respect and care. If you didn't give them, why,
she'd just ignore you. If you were lucky.

So one night I had a party. It was one of those keep-my-handlers-happy
affairs, the sort of do where you have to invite your publicist and your
analyst and all the other ists that keep your little world spinning
'round. And sooner or later we get out the drums.

And sooner or later, this guy -- can't even remember his name, which isn't
that surprising given how many people were there that I'd laid eyes on a
handful of times -- decides he wants to play the Queen.

That was his prerogative, though I tried to recommend a small Indonesian
frame drum that seemed more his speed. To put it bluntly, he couldn't
carry a rhythm in a bucket, and that drum didn't have much resonance, so
he wouldn't be throwing everyone else off. But no, he insisted.

Oh, he made a mess of it of course, and because he was playing the Queen,
it was a worse mess than it would have been otherwise. I never should have
let him play it. Because the Queen's voice dominates any gathering, and
others will hush to listen to her. My embarrassment must have paled next
to hers. But she had her revenge.

The guest never made it home that night. The police found his car wrapped
around a tree the next morning. It was on a straight stretch of road. The
guest hadn't been drinking. The night had been clear, without rain or fog
or even clouds.

And the Queen is gone. Her place still sits empty in my drum room, because
shortly after the incident occurred, a man came to me. He spoke gently,
but gentle words could not disguise the fact that I had failed. A
musician's hands bring things to life. If we dare do it, we have to be
careful about what we set loose.

Now that the Queen is gone, I wonder what will take her place?

future perfect
Murder of Crows official web site:
"Science is a way of talking about the universe in words that bind it 
to a common reality. Magic is a method of talking to the universe in
words that it cannot ignore. The two are rarely compatible." -- _The
	Books of Magic_, Neil Gaiman