Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Bell Whisperer (Edit)

His name was Alex or Alec or something, and he had red hair and freckles and he was a bell whisperer. I heard it from a friend, or my brother, perhaps, or someone in his section was in my SAT class or had a sister that went to my synagogue. You've heard it before too, little stories about how there was this crazy kid who was sick at the bells.

The bells were the ones you forgot when you were listing all the instruments in the marching band, even though they're bright and clear and you can hear them from the stands, which is to say you hear the music they're playing and you can probably identify which instrument is playing it, but you call them xylophones even though xylophones are actually made of wood and these are bells and bells are metal. Alex might have called them xylophones too, because even though he was the bell whisperer he was still a high school kid who rarely cared to distinguish between pitched percussion. I think there was a kid in his section who got angry when you called them xylophones, but the point of this story is more about the bell whisperer, and he didn't care what you called them.

He didn't know how to read music - this is my favorite part - he could just hear songs and know how to play them and he aced his music theory exam without even taking the course and he was called the bell whisperer because he heard the bells talk and he knew what was wrong with them and because during his freshman year he saved someone's life during a parade using a bell set and also he could fix them regardless of the problem. Whether a note was coming loose or a bracket was falling off and the bells were about to fall and the harness was about to crack he knew beforehand and he took the set and walked it back to the band room and fixed it and was back on the field before the number was done, and if he didn't have a screwdriver he couldn't fix the bells because even though he was a bell whisperer he couldn't just fix things that were broken without a screwdriver, so when he didn't have a screwdriver he would just march with the broken set and tell it not to break and it wouldn't, and the kid who got annoyed when you called the bells the xylophones just shook his head and laughed and said something about how good the bell whisperer was at what he did.

He had a black hat that had some acronym on it and no one knew what the acronym stood for and he had red hair that was really more orange and he had freckles all over the place and because of that you called him a ginger kid, but he didn't mind so much. He called himself a ginger kid, but this is less about how he was called a ginger kid and more about how he was called the bell whisperer, and the reason he was called the bell whisperer was because he could fix anything that was wrong with the bells and one year he saved someone's life during a parade because he knew the bells were about to get damaged and damaged bad and so he told his section leaders to put the bells up and they looked at him weird but he told them something was about to happen and so they did.

His name was Alex or Alec, one or the other, and he was the bell whisperer and also a ginger kid, and he had friends that were ginger kids and he was the funniest person you ever knew, or maybe the funniest person I ever knew, or maybe just the funniest person anyone in the whole world ever knew, and he was called a ginger kid because he had freckles and orange hair but he was called the bell whisperer because he knew when the bells were going to break and because he knew in ninth grade when the bells were going to break and so he told everyone to put their bells up and the police officer who showed his gun to that kid got fired like the nine millimeter pistol that should have been in its holster and the newspapers said it missed, but they were wrong, it hit the quiet sophomore girl with the pretty hair but she was fine because for some reason her bells were up even though the band was supposed to be playing and the bullet dinged the e flat that was right in front of her heart and bounced off.

He had freckles on his arms and a black hat and his name was Alex, as far as I can recall, or as far as you can recall, and he was the bell whisperer, which is good work if you can get it.