I was feeling nostalgic so this happened. I copied and pasted directly from the OpenOffice document, so sorry that the formatting is a bit odd.
No. This was the final straw. I could not allow this to continue. I had ripped the banjo to shreds and incinerated the bagpipes, but my dad was relentless. Like some kind of musical ****roach, he kept coming back no matter how many times I stomped on him. Look, I know I should be supportive of my dad's artistic endeavors, and maybe comparing him to a ****roach is a little too much, but if I ever have to endure that level of earsplitting horror again, I might actually find myself on a one-way trip to the loony bin. He can take up drawing, writing, knitting or whatever for all I care (Probably not acting, though. Or dancing. Definitely no dancing.), but this “music” has to stop, no matter what.
I'm not entirely sure how long my spastic twitching fit lasted. It had probably only been about a minute or so, but it felt like hours. My dad eventually stepped in and snapped me out of it.
“Marco, are you okay? You scared me half to death! Maybe we should get you to a doctor.”
Oh, I needed a doctor alright, but not the same kind of doctor he had in mind.
And then I did it again. I don't know what manner of unholy gods had taken hold of me at that moment, but the words that came out of my mouth next could not possibly have been my own. I've never been a Controller, but this couldn't be too far off.
I answered, “I'm okay, dad. I think I'm just still traumatized after the break-in. That burglar was terrifying!” Okay, that came out fine, right? So far, so good.
But then, as if suddenly possessed, I continued: “I'm sure I'd feel better after hearing a song on your new accordion!”
WHY!!!!!!!?????? WHY DID I SAY THAT??? Had the past few days not been enough already? What kind of delirious, masochistic freak of nature would ever subject themselves to such mind-altering horror after witnessing the atrocities I had? Apparently, it was me. I was that delirious, masochistic freak of nature and I was about to pay for it dearly.
My dad seemed surprised at first and paused just long enough for me to realize what I had done. Knowing it was too late and there was no turning back, all I could do was stand in place, appalled. After a couple seconds, I saw his eyes light up. I felt bad for maybe a nanosecond before I was suddenly devoured by soul-crushing anxiety. I fearfully awaited the fresh hell I had wrought upon myself.
Happily unaware of my rapidly deteriorating mental state, he chirped, “Well...alright, son. If that's what you really want, I'd love to give this baby a whirl for you!”
No. No. Nononononononononon ono. But there was nothing I could do.
“I've been working hard on this piece all day and I think I've just about nailed it. I'm getting pretty darn good if I do say so myself. Well, here goes!”
Maddening cacophony du jour was titled “Good Ol' Boys on the Prairie”. Needless to say, there was nothing “good” about it. I guess I shouldn't blame the music. I mean, I could at least tolerate some old grandpa song with some guy in his seventies wailing about the “good old days”, but my dad could make a Beethoven symphony sound like a stroll through the Yeerk pool. I might call it a gift if it weren't so god-awful. Maybe one day I could get him to play at a meeting of The Sharing. That would put everyone off the visser's creepy cult.
Anyway, my dad began playing. I braced myself as much as I could but it was hopeless. At first, it wasn't as bad as the others and I started to think that maybe, miraculously, dear old dad had actually gained some musical ability. Against my will, I even started to tap my foot along to the tune. It was catchy.
I fell right into the trap. The first several bars had lulled me out of my anxiety and thrown me off-guard. I should have known it couldn't last. When my dad got to the chorus, all hell broke loose. If I didn't know better, I'd have sworn I felt my brain itself snap like it was made of bone. The accordion shrieked and whined, and my dad howled like a grieving werewolf. This was the opposite of going deaf. All prior semblance of music had disappeared and instead there was only a violent maelstrom of sound, growing louder and more intense with each passing second.
Eventually, the noise started to fade. I thought at first that the “song”, if it can be called that at all, was ending but I realized instead that I was just fading out. I thought maybe my broken mind was trying to spare my last fragments of precious sanity, but I couldn't have been farther from the truth. As my hearing faded, my vision seemed to become sharper. I stared at the accordion, that diabolical contraption that was putting me through this. That was a mistake.
I'm going to go out on a limb and assume most people have never just sat and stared at an accordion for any length of time. Because, seriously, who would do that? Well, it's not a very attractive instrument, let me tell you. The wheezing, oscillating diaphragm reminded me of the Iskoort, the psycho space-salesmen from Legoland we had met on one of the Ellimist's intergalactic joyrides. The moment I had the thought, the scene changed. My dad disappeared and I wasn't in the garage anymore. Instead, I was suddenly back on the Iskoort homeworld and Guide had taken the place of my dad. By now, the shrieking accordion had finally faded from my hearing. Completely bewildered, I looked around. My dad was gone, the other Animorphs weren't around, and there were no other Iskoort in sight. I was alone with Guide. “Wha...? How? Wh-where?” I stammered, barely able to speak. What was going on!? I mean, at least that auditory nightmare was over, but this was completely insane! I wondered if the Ellimist was somehow behind this. Did the Iskoort need us again?
Then Guide spoke: <Welcome to my nightmare theater! I'm so glad you decided to stop by! The Guild of Superstition and Magic is absolutely thrilled to be putting on this show for you today! I see you've already paid the entry fee of one human sanity. Splendid! Let's get started then.>
Guide started to...bounce. That's the only way I can describe it. The upper half of the Iskoort's body began to move rapidly up and down as the diaphragm quivered and wheezed. The wheezing grew louder and louder, the bouncing more and more frantic as the disgusting organ twitched. Eventually the wheezing reached an unbearable volume until it changed altogether.
The cacophony was back.
At this point, Guide's entire body was flailing and shaking as the noise grew louder and louder still. My head erupted with pain as Guide began to laugh. And laugh. And laugh.
The Iskoort city vanished. I was back in the garage. Guide's insane laughter had warped into my own horrified scream as the real world came back into focus. I faintly heard psycho-dog yapping from somewhere else in the house. I looked over at my dad. The accordion was back in its case where it couldn't hurt anyone. It was over. Oh my God, it was finally over. Fortunately, I think my dad was too entranced in his own brand of flailing, screeching insanity to have noticed my breakdown.
Despite all that I had just gone through and the fact that my dad's accordion playing had legitimately induced psychosis, I still couldn't bring myself to tell the brutal truth.
“Oh man, dad, that was great! Your best yet! You're really getting good.” His face lit up and I felt a slight twinge of guilt.
“Well then, I've got good news,” he began, “because the festival starts tomorrow morning. Oh man, I really can't wait to whip this bad boy out at the open mic session. It's going to be a real blast.”
Oh crap, the festival. I then remembered why I'd been in such a hurry to destroy the banjo and bagpipes in the first place. There was a big annual festival happening tomorrow and my dad had been utterly obsessed with performing at it ever since he had brought home the banjo. There was no way I could allow him to subject half the city to what I had just been through. He had to be stopped at all costs. Rachel especially would never let me live that down. Neither would Jake or Cassie, or anyone, really. Ax already thought normal music was awful so God only knows what he'd think of my dad's accordion playing.
Maybe he'd actually like it, I thought. It wasn't very comforting.
Dad definitely wouldn't be as careless with the accordion as he had been with the bagpipes. He'd go lock that thing up as soon as he left the garage. There would be no way I could get to it in time. I don't even think my gorilla morph would be able to crack that safe. I would have to somehow dispose of the accordion while he was in transit to the festival. I'm not sure he'd trust me to carry the thing for him before he went on (as if I'd even want to touch it), so I'd have to employ Nora's services. She hated his screeching, yodeling Gong Shows almost as much as I did, so I was sure she'd be happy to assist.
Feeling better, I encouraged him some more. “Yeah, that'll be great,” I said, putting on the happiest voice I could muster, “everyone will love that. It's going to be a real treat. Maybe you should put the accordion down for the rest of the day though to rest your chops.”
“Good idea. I want to be at my best for the performance. I'll go put this baby in the safe right now. I'd like to see a burglar get in there.”
I agreed and silently thanked all the gods I could think of that the day's horrors were finally over with.
Nora got home late. There wasn't much time left to plan so I decided to act immediately. She could wind down later. I recapped the day's events, leaving out the specific details of my hallucination. I proposed my plan to intercept dad and sneakily neutralize the accordion.
“Hmm, that doesn't leave us with very much time or very many opportunities. You know he's going to be watching that thing like a hawk. I'm not even sure he'll let me carry it. Especially not after the, uh, 'burglary' incident.”
So Nora knew I had been the one who destroyed the bagpipes. No surprise, really. It's not like it was a very convincing story. She was on my side though, so I knew she wasn't going to say anything. Besides, that would completely ruin any chance either of us had of snatching the accordion.
“Well, what's your idea then? It's not like we have any hope of cracking that bank vault he's got the thing locked up in. I honestly wouldn't be surprised if he's had tripwires installed or something.”
She paused for a little while. “Maybe we should just let him have his fun.” Okay, not going well. She continued: “He really wants to do this performance. Maybe he just needs to get it out of his system and he'll be done with the whole thing. Or maybe when he sees the city's reaction, he'll realize he's been making a fool of himself this entire time. If we destroy that accordion, you know he's just going to come back” like a ****roach “with something even worse and torture us with that. God only knows how much I'd like the man to give it a rest and if one last hurrah is what it takes, then so be it. Besides, I don't think the family budget can take another spontaneous instrument purchase.”
Well, crap. That wasn't how I envisioned this conversation going. I've known my dad a lot longer than Nora has and I knew that if we let him play at that festival, it would only motivate him further. How could she think unleashing him on the masses could possibly be a good idea? No. If this was to stop, we needed to make one final push. If she wouldn't help me, I was going to need to take things a step further.
I heard my dad calling from another room, “Hey, aren't you two going to let me into your secret club?”
I answered, “Nora's just helping me with some math homework, Dad. Hey, I think I'm going to head over to Jake's after I'm done. Is that cool?”
“That's fine. And you can call her 'mom', you know.”
Yeah, refusing to help me prevent this coming disaster wasn't getting her any closer to 'mom' status. She had been losing points steadily ever since she brought that stupid poodle into the house. I swear, sometimes that thing was almost as bad as these accursed instruments. Then there was the whole might-be-a-Controller thing. That wasn't really helping either. I could tell she had already made up her mind, so I acted like I agreed (hesitantly) and left the room.
I went into my own room and put on my morphing suit. I'd be going to the woods behind Cassie's barn tonight instead of Jake's house. I needed a word with Tobias and the Ax-man. Nora's “hawk” comment had given me an idea.