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Dec 31, 2011


in and also a :toxx: for bailing out last time around


Dec 31, 2011


Restraint - 1199 words

Cor riffed Eastern through the rhythm section’s blues shuffle, playing strange semitones in enigmatic syncopations. His American opponent had followed neatly with a jazz solo, making sure to sound just as weird.

Now it’s your turn, thought Pieter in his gallery seat, watching his pupil on the stage. We made it, don’t let go.

The American started adding simultaneous notes to his lead, soon turning them into whole chords, going rhythm. As he did so, Cor became less rhythmic, more dynamic and phrasal, a lead – his notes became a sad story that sang over the compass, which was still the blues.

He’s doing it – easy to play, hard to master blues, the way we practiced. Pieter could see the strain on Cor’s face; he was entranced, in a direct connection with his guitar, but also holding shut a dam in his mind. C’mon. I told you. We can endure.

Cor made his guitar gently weep, Clapton-like. Lamentations turned into a slow walk, hinting of an energy to be released – then, a silent second. It wailed.

Rhythm guitar and drums and bass followed suit, casting raging waves to Cor’s siren. He played the blues of Syrena, for the country and the streets he left to represent under cold American eyes.

He faced the stadium’s crowd with pained, closed eyes – but his guitar leaned toward them. He expressed himself to them, cast notes like poetry, each one going exactly where it should, like chapters reaching for a heartfelt conclusion –

He won.


“Looks like this’s gonna be it. We’re only at silver yet, but we’ll surely, as they say, ‘strike gold’. Bring it home, make it the country’s first – our first”, said Pieter from the window of the hotel room.

“They really liked you, kid. Other guy had the fast fingers and even some charisma, but you could sync better. Better than any 128th-note jackass. It’s a heart thing.”

Cor sat on an unplugged amp, strumming an unplugged guitar. “Yeah, I know.”

“Come on. It’s 9 asses you already kicked. The last – you’ll save it for him, won’t you? The Syrena Typhoon? Just don’t wind up overusing it.”

“Dunno. Maybe. He’s known for being keen. Don’t think my scale’s gonna surprise him much but, um, we’ll see”.

“We’ll do it, just you wait. I know I’m asking this a lot, but do you want to talk? Take a load off? You weren’t this quiet with me in a while. You know there’s nothing I’ll judge – I’m from the streets too, you know.”

“Nah, I’m fine. Just tired. I think I need to relax. Sleep isn’t doing that great with me lately, so I’m gonna zip for a little while. See you next morning. Old man,” Cor smiled.

Pieter smiled back, weakly. He then thought to protest, but Cor was already facing the door, turning the key. At least it’s three days before the duel, Pieter thought. Gotta stay optimistic.


The chauffeur led his black car through the riverside of Little Rock, Arkansas; it was all lit up by the colorful lights that commemorated that year’s surprisingly eventful Fall Olympics. People came and went everywhere in the city, despite the drab weather.

“Just drive,” Cor had told the chauffeur from the back seats. It wasn’t the first time they went around, so the driver already knew where the passenger would like to go.

They eventually reached Little Rock’s smallish party strip, where one could score small, but guaranteed hits. They stepped out of the parked car to disappear inside one bustling bar. When they returned, Cor’s face was the same as when they came in – blank.

The next phase of the night had them parking by corners with beautiful women. But whatever familiar face they’d pick from the usual sidewalk looked sideways, afraid – their routine broke as what Cor sought to dampen came back with the yells of a well-dressed man, who tripped one of the women and kicked her, merciless. None of her workmates helped. The chauffeur closed Cor’s window from the front controls and drove away.

Whatever he could do, his mind soon denied it, dragged down by helpless memories. “Don’t worry, it happens all the time”, the chauffeur would say as they returned.

One hour later he opened the hotel door, tumbled in with sedation, and woke up Pieter. In the dark he mumbled, “I’ll talk”, weeping.


“Now, to the left… from the beautiful shores of Syrena… From hit band Raw Destruct – Cor! A big round of applause for our guest!”

The crowd roared, shaken by rock fans of both countries. Cor smiled serenely, with a small bow. He believed what Pieter had told him in the morning, that he had been a new person for the last three days. He slept better nights; his face looked fuller on the mirror. He practiced fiercely, as if hammering iron: it was time.

He had the luck of the draw – his American opposite would get the first solo while he played rhythm, and then vice-versa. Last leads always made the greater impression.

They started with a ragtime waltz, a ballad of love. Cor gave it unexpected pauses – the American read them all, often introducing the next set of chords or letting a soft, sharp bend of Soul ring in the void. When it was time, the American’s transitional crescendo came after a solo that climbed, climbed – then fell into a march, embodying distorted power chords.

It was a Miles Davis sort of jazz-rock stomp, its rhythm constant, hardly stopping. In the American’s rhythm there was something different, some poison. Cor heard it swiftly, understanding it as a permission for release.

Hard attacks announced the Typhoon’s arrival, building tension. The opponent understood, inducing bass and drums to build a crest. Cor played a growing web of aggressive notes that grew faster, but still wove an intriguing melody. It was intertwined with his mind; it became the expression of his automatic unconscious, now a river unbound.

His mind showed him pictures of home, of an orphanage, of violence, like beasts. Of his guitar outpouring on Syrena’s stages, Pieter like a father, street trash like him: a hint of what he could be if only, if only, if only he didn’t return every time. He could only hear himself tell Pieter that night: beasts, beasts

As he lost control, his web became a wall, and the wall became a sea, layers of conjoined notes and dissonance that threatened his opponent. But the American escalated and escalated, straining to match it, adding a progression that eventually reached its conclusion.

Cor didn’t. When he came to himself, it was too late to fix the mismatch. The rhythm had become smaller and slower, while he kept layering speed and weight. The American had won, his overall synchronization superior to any other vantage Cor could have.

As Cor stepped offstage, however, his feeling was one of learning. He couldn’t wait to hug Pieter and say I’m OK, old man – it’s just a lone mistake, ready to go home and learn.

Dec 31, 2011



Dec 31, 2011


throwing in the towel this week, toxxing next time, gg, gl etc.

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