“This is absolute bullshit!” A sharp, shrewd voice echoes around the empty concert hall. “Did you see all those flowers, and for what? All those sweating bags of meat do is sit there and enjoy our beautiful melodies!”
“Maybe you should calm down, Violin!” A deep slow voice comes from the corner.
“Calm down? I think you’re too calm, lard-arse! Or do you enjoy being pawed at all night by those idiots?” The Double Bass in the corner shrugs its enormous shoulders as the Violin jumps up onto a chair.
“I’m so sick of this! Maybe my sisters and I will simply let our bows slip a little so that every one of our owners pokes out the eye of the meat-bag next to them! Maybe our cousins will even join in my plan?”
“I don’t know,” comes a softer voice from the Viola section. “Maybe our owners really love us, and we shouldn’t hurt them?”
The Violin whips around and shrieks: “Love us? No wonder people think you’re our retarded cousin!”
A booming voice that seems to come out of nowhere interrupts the violin’s tirade: “What’s all this yelling?” The Violin falls silent for a moment and jumps off the chair. When no answer comes, the booming voice asks again: “Why are you yelling at the others, Violin?”
“Well,” the Violin splutters, “we were just discussing how we’re sick of our owners taking all the credit for our hard work.”
“And you thought you’d lead the revolution?” the booming voice asks. “A violent one, by the sound of it…” answers the Harp.
“Shut up Hippy!” snarls the Violin before answering the question: “I only meant to maim those puppets a little, so that we would be able to claim some credit. You must be sick and tired of it as well? We all follow you blindly for hours, and yet you’re whipped out of sight the moment the applause starts.”
At the front of the collection of instruments, the Baton jumps up and says in his booming voice: “I am not whipped out of sight!”
“I heard,” said the Violin so soft it almost seems an idle thought, “that there are already conductors that don’t even use a baton, they simply wave their hands around.”
“How dare you!” bellows the Baton and his voice echoes around the concert hall.
“Perhaps Violin is right!” pipes a metallic voice from the back. “I have more reason than most to be angry with my owner. Sitting on their laps for hours, their hands shoved up our keisters!”
“We all understand your frustration, Horn,” answers the Double Bass in its deep voice. “But I have to agree, how else would you hold a horn?”
As the Horn lets off a resounding sigh, the harp mumbles: “All forms of love are allowed in the orchestra, in my book.”
“Shut up Hippy!” snaps the Violin as the Horn yells at the Double Bass: “How would you like it if I shoved that pin so far up your ass that it was lost somewhere in your body?”
“Enough!” booms the Baton. “As long as I lead this orchestra. There will be order and democracy.”
“Then lead!” yells the Violin.
“We should vote!” yells the Horn.
“Then let’s see what the others think,” answers the Baton jumping down from the podium and making its way around the front of the orchestra. “My dear Piano, what are your thoughts on this matter?”
“Don’t look at me!” comes a pitchy, almost pubescent voice from the shining black grand piano. “I haven’t been cleaned yet. There are finger-prints all over my perfect white teeth!”
“Poor Piano,” the Baton says soothingly. “Perhaps we should wait until the lights are off to discuss this?”
“Lights off?” comes a panicky voice from the middle of the assembly. “I’ve spent all night getting my eye holes covered with fingers. I can’t take any more darkness!”
“So you agree with me, Clarinet?” shouts the violin. “Perhaps you would feel better if you poke the eyes of your owner out?”
“Calm down, Violin!” orders the Baton.
“No! The Violin is right!” interrupts the Clarinet. “I would feel much better if they understood the terrible hatred of the darkness they inflict on me! And I’m sure Piano would be much happier without those fingers dirtying her every day!”
“No more eyes, and no more fingers!” the Violin adds in glee. “That sounds like a punishment well deserved.”
“Stop it Violin!” barks the Baton. “So that’s two votes for the revolution.” He continues in a calm authoritarian voice.
“Three!” pipes up the Piano.
“My apologies,” the Baton adds, “Three votes in favour.”
“What about you, cousin?” Violin asks, nudging the Viola.
“I guess I agree with you.”
“That’s four then!” shouts the Violin at the Baton.
“Hold on a second,” the measured tenor of the Baton interrupts. “Is that truly how you feel Viola?”
The Viola looks from the Violin to the Baton, shrugs and nods.
“Four!” shouts the Violin as a battle cry.
“Tuba, my enormous friend,” says the Baton as he moves to the back of the orchestra. “Surely you don’t have a complaint towards you owner?”
“I have always felt a little left out,” the tuba huffs. “I never feel I belong here, as I once did in the marching band.”
“I’m sorry you feel that way,” Baton adds in a grave tone. “We have always seen you as one of us.”
“Yes we have!” adds the Horn. “You always make us feel small and yet we’re glad to call you our friend.”
“But,” the Horn adds in an undertone. “You must be tired of your owner complaining about ‘holding you up’, about the fact that you are difficult to carry or about your inability to fit in a smaller case?”
“Don’t mention his weight!” warns the Baton. But the Tuba had already started crying.
“I hate it!” he sobs. “Those people always complaining about my size; they point and laugh. I’ll never be able to be in the hands of a child and so they seem to fear me.”
“My dear friend,” but before the Baton could finish the sentence the Violin interrupts.
“Shut up, Violin!” the Baton mutters.
“No!” the Tuba adds, regaining control, “I vote yes!”
“Then what more is there to discuss, oh fearless leader?” asks the Violin jumping up again. “With the Horn, that makes six. Adding the rest of the brass section, whom I’m sure, will agree with their twisted cousin. Makes eight votes in favour, that’s a majority. Although why we bother, when my section is the largest and should carry the definitive vote on all matters…”
“That’s enough, Violin! Every section of instruments gets an equal vote,” sighs the Baton.
“There are only four sections and two extras in this orchestra!” The Violin spits back. “String, brass, woodwind, percussion plus the Piano and the Hippy!”
“Hey!” interrupts the Harp, but the Violin seems not to want to permit interruptions as she continues.
“So let’s just hear from the sections! The strings all agree, what about the woodwinds?”
“Wait a minute!” the low voice of the Double Bass cries out: “We have not agreed.”
“Oh yes we have!” snaps the Violin. “You agreed you were tired of the idiots pawing you!”
“I guess we did…” The Double Bass nods. “Just as long as we don’t have to go through too much trouble.”
“Fine,” the Violin says before facing the woodwind section. “Will you agree with your friend, the Clarinet, and stand up to our oppressors?”
The Oboes, Saxophones and Bassoons simply nod as the Flutes look around very nervously for a second. When they see the consensus around them, they too, agree.
“Then it all seems to be up to the percussion,” states the Baton gravely. “How do you feel about this?”
A set of various clanks, forming one singular voice answers: “We have long felt abused by our owners. They won’t take us home, and prefer a drum-kit. They beat us senseless and stuff us in a closet when they’re done. They stretch our hide and bang our tubes without a care in the world.”
“You know it’s very creepy when you all speak in one voice, right?” interrupts the Double Bass.
“Shut up, lard-arse!” snaps the Violin before turning back to the percussion section: “So you agree with us?”
“Revolution!” bangs the Gong.
“Aha!” yells the Violin enthusiastically. “A consensus!”
“Actually…” come the dulcet tones of the Harp.
“Shut up, Hippy!” screams the Violin.
“No, let her speak!” adds the Baton. The Harp bows at the Baton before continuing: “I have no problem with my owner. They treat us with love and care, rub our strings with patchouli oil every night and always tickle us in a way that allows us to make our beautiful music. We see no reason to rebel against them.”
“Fine!” snarls the Violin. “Even if the Hippy does not agree, we still have a majority! As soon as they come back we take them out!”
The Baton makes his way back to the podium and climbs back on. With a great sigh he says: “The Violin is right, we have a majority.”
“Death to the meat bags!” yells the Violin in triumph and others take up the call.
“Hang on!” the Baton yells over the noise and they all fall silent. “This has to be well planned. We can’t just jump out at our owners when they come back.”
“Why not?” asks the Horn.
“They must not be allowed to run, or even suspect what we are up to.” Adds the Baton in an exasperated voice, as if he is explaining that one and one equals two.
“Then we must simply show no mercy!” screams the Violin. “We must use our owners complacency against them!”
“And how do you intent to do that?” Asks the Clarinet.
“Yeah,” adds the Double Bass, “sounds like a lot of work.”
“Simple,” the Violin hisses. “In the case of the Violins and the Violas, we just dodge the bows. Our owners will plunge them straight through the eye sockets of their neighbour and plant them firmly in their brains: Instant death. Only the first on every row will survive, but will have to live with the guilt, nice torturous life for them. The Double Bass’ strings are so tightly wound, just let one loose and it will cleave your owners in two. In the case of the Piano: close the lid and take those dirty fingers! The Horns will let the tuba distract as they bury themselves into the orifice your owners have violated so many times. The flutes make sure to take those filthy lips that slobber over them. I think we all get the picture?”
A triumphant roar surges through the orchestra but it is silenced by the harp’s call for attention.
“Why don’t you just shut up, Hippy?” snaps the Violin.
“Because,” answers the Harp defiantly. “Some of us don’t need to kill our owners. “You all seem to have very specific grievances, except for the Violin, who seems to simply want fame. Not all of you need to kill: the Piano just wants to be rid of the fingers. The Horns just wants the owners to feel what an involuntary colonoscopy feels like. And then there is me, I don’t want my owner to suffer.”
“So leave!” shouts the Violin.
“I won’t!” the Harp shouts back. “I will ask all of you just one thing: If you won’t see reason and abandon this plan, bring it into practice in your own space. Wait for your owners to take you home, or when you’re alone with them. Then you can do to them as you see fit. That’s my argument.”
“No one cares for your peace-loving nonsense, Hippy!” yells the Violin, as all the others seem to shift uncomfortably.
“Actually,” the Baton mumbles. “The Harp has a good point.”
“What?” the Violin says, looking at the Baton with fury.
“Hear me out,” the Baton eases. “Even if you don’t agree with the severity of punishment the Harp described, there is a tactical advantage to waiting until we’re alone with our owners. Nothing leading the maiming or murder back to us!”
“Good point!” shouts the Clarinet.
“And we can do it in the comfort of our own home!” adds the Double Bass.
“But…” splutters the Violin. She looks around and reads the agreement on all the faces. “Fine!” she huffs. “As long as the next applause is mine.”
Everyone nods and starts retreating into their case.
“I’m so happy you all took me seriously, I’m also hoping you might think better of this when you’re all better rested and back home,” says the Harp, smiling.
“Oh shut up, you insufferable Hippy!” growls the Violin as she closes her case.