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I found myself in my student’s lodgings. At that time I was sharing them with my fellow student Valyo. With typical youthful enterprise we had decided to write a musical composition in a bold avant-gardist style. Classical models would be of no use to us. Moreover almost all states of the human soul had already been put into notation and turned into musical harmony. We sought a new arrangement of sounds, tried to invent new instruments and above all new means of expression.
Much as we tried we got nowhere. Whatever could have been transformed from noise into melody had already been done. Electronic hardware had also been winding cables and wires round music.
Our discovery resembled other great discoveries at least in that it happened unexpectedly.
During our composing adventures we took meals with such irregularity as to breach all biologicals rhythms and patterns and were living on next to nothing. At such moments the stomach registers a protest. It is the principal epicurean of the human body.
What happened indeed originated from that part of the anatomy Valyo was putting into a sequence meaningless musical phrases when he farted. Evidently subject to the perturbations of the spirit, his fart was very melodious at that. And here came genuine enlightenment! All the muses had come to pay us a visit. And if that was not the last word in art, what was?
Well, not exactly a word but a sound?
And what a sound at that…
Epicurus mounts the concert platform!…
Valyo and I stared serious work on the new musical piece. Now we could fart whenever we wished in the scale chosen by us!
Whether light or boisterous, we recorded every farting on a cassette. Then we would compose the new melody. We found also a four-track tape recorder so our work was progressing well. The time was not far away when people would go to the first farting concert. We were discussing the conducting, debating whether the bare bottoms of the members of the orchestra should shine before the audience. The question of smell was dealt with quickly: it was simply to harmonize with our basic idea. It was part of a synthesis of means of expression. Smells and sounds from all over the world, unite!
It was going to be a bit tough on music critics. From that moment on there would be music of the heart and music of the stomach! Which was more direct, coming not via certain instruments but straight from the source.
Not long afterwards we naturally abandoned our great discovery and sought fresh paths in other spheres of the arts. Because the chance fart of my fellow lodger could not rid us of all idées fixes.
We again grew fond of classical music or enjoyed rock’n’roll cherishing the lyrics and melodies of the poets with guitars.
We put away somewhere the cassette with recorded farts as a souvenir. Very seldom, when we were alone, we played it again to have a hearty laugh.
One evening, however, the cassette sprung us a surprise.
We even saved them from the harassment of some drunken types of middle age. Whereas Valyo and I far from being insolent, could also entertain well in a restaurant or in somebody’s lodgings.
The action should suit the word.
We sat down at the table and the students in linguistics got interested.
We talked of this and that, clinked glasses and again continued our conversation on quite high-brow topics.
So it came to our knowledge that apart from anything else, the girls had a liking for classical music.
Valyo had a really rich collection of music and when mine was thrown into the bargain our invitation was reasonable and respectable.
We harbored no disreputable designs. But we chanced on disreputable means of expression.
The girls, pretty, intelligent and quite charming in every respect, came to visit our lodgings.
In order to listen to music!
And to enjoy its magic sounds. I, Valyo, Nelly, Tanya and Aphidite. The names, too, were magic.
We bought several bottles of champagne, each of us carrying their share, and went to listen to Wagner. But in the box containing Wagner there was no Wagner but the sound of orchestral farting.
Music thundered in our ears!
But the means of expression were not at all Wagnerian, as the reader is already aware.
The girls frowned and thought we were mocking them. But in the end we agreed that whole thing had been a joke. Another time we would seek aesthetic pleasure.
Nonetheless, the irrepressible Valyo couldn’t but deliver an ode to the fart. But the girls had already recovered their sense of humor and were not annoyed.
“Do you think that in that there is a sinister symbol, too?” I asked her.
Of course not… That was a rather instructive experience.”
“Yes! And for Nelly above all,” I laughed because it was Nelly who had reproachfully asked us where was the aesthetic pleasure.
We remained good friends with her. After seven or eight years after “premiere” of the farting cassette we met in Sofia. I went there frequently on business while she was now a Sofia resident and worked as a barrister. One evening I took her to the theater. Nelly was out of sorts, she said she had a cold but the tickets had already been bought. I waited for her to dress for the evening and we were on our way to the theater. “The Man-eater” was on and as soon as Toshko Kolev appeared on stage Nelly gave out an unnatural shriek and then she slapped me in the face. Her anger turned into hysterics which attracted the attention of the others. What they saw was excrement running down her legs from under her evening skirt.
And we never saw each other any more. The revenge of the farting orchestra couldn’t have been more cruel.
“But when the girl meets you she’ll remember that scene wont she?”. Death said.
She at any rate had surfeit of scenes like that.
“But I was in no way to blame for what happened!” I said in self-justification.
“Well, accepting blame for everything is not all that gallant”.
“You overdo your irony sometimes”, I told Death.
“And don’t you think that people overdo their stupidity?” she slyly smiled.
“Is it possible that irony will care them?” I asked.
“But is stupidity amenable to treatment?” she in turn asked.
Or while talking to Death maybe I was conversing with myself in an endless monologue. Death was only the echo of my questions and answers — the Echo of Life. The new gallery attendant now accompanying me would perhaps make me wiser. But she, too, was melancholy. And she heaved a sigh.
“I am tired… My only wish is to be Death in one picture and to be hung on the wall of your gallery”.
She reminded me of the girl from Gregoriash’s painting. I laid a friendly hand on her shoulder and said:
“Once I am out of the Gallery of Memories I shall know that I have not been delivering a monologue but have indeed talked to Death. As soon as we reach the end of the Gallery we shall have got to the end of all those fears. This will happen, will happen, will happen, WILL HAPPEN!”.
I marched forward. I had to walk on not to be overtaken by fears…
On that weekend I, my bodyguards and a few marry girls went fishing. The car was rather dirty and as Alek and Valyo received quite handsome fees I though they could at least have washed it a bit.
The picture of that memory was now alive before me.
Alek and Vitya insisted on their right to a holiday and later when they supposedly went to have the vehicle washed they came back and reported that it was bogged down in mud. They made out to be so worried that I took it upon myself to console them.
I laid the fishing rods aside and went off to help them retrieve the vehicle. It had really sunk deep in mud so no matter how hard we tried we could do nothing. Then, as in the fairy tale about the turnip, we were joined by the girls. Vitya remained behind the steering wheel and only shouted instructions at us. He was a veritable overseer at a plantation. And we did resembles negroes, soiled with mud as we were.
All of sudden the car pulled off. Vitya gave a triumphant cry and we dropped into the mud. “Into the water” would have been rather far from the truth. Then I went round to my bodyguard, took him by the collar and pushed him in the bog with the others.
Vitya gave me a ferocious look but in the end took it out on Alek so that the two of them became well bathed in mud.
The girls shouted their support for Alek but Vitya had already pushed his head into the puddle. Everything seemed to point to a serious fight ahead so I made a dash to the eye of the storm in order to splash with mud everyone equally.
The girls took aim at me and began pelting me with mud balls. The fight between my two bodyguards was discontinued because they, too, joined in the mud-slinging party. On that weekend I saw that pigs have their own aesthetically standards and emotional outbursts.
“Did you love Alek and Vitya?” Death asked.
“Oh yes, and I find it hard to believe they are no longer my friends. Before I found myself in This Medium I often saw them in my dreams. But later, things got really confused”.
“The laws of the mafia are ironclad!” she said
“But why should it have happened to me?…”
“Why don’t you ask yourself this question when touching a piece of wood, a painting, a naked girl… The gray color is rather complex. Being a painter, you know that. And I as a lover of art can add that in it there is always both Good and Evil”, Death laughed. “And not always in equal measure…”
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