Thursday 13 September – Day 9 of 30
Steve woke up this morning feeling just fine after only a few hours sleep. Last night’s Deathday party was still going strong when he left at 3 a.m. Hosted by, honoring, and starring Johnny Cash, the party was a celebration of The Man in Black’s 9th anniversary on The Cloud. He didn’t have to send out invitations or put up flyers. He told a few friends, who told their friends, and then the word was out. There wasn’t an empty seat in The Circle.
John Lennon sat with Steve in the front row of the tiers. Steve considered John his best friend on The Cloud and John considered Steve his best fan. Early on Steve had been irritated that he was just a fan to John. Didn’t John care that he, Steve, had personally gotten The Beatles onto iTunes and wasn’t that a good thing for Yoko and their son Sean?
After almost a year, however, Steve thought it was probably another lesson in humility for him.
At one point Johnny called John up to the stage to sit in on a number. They played through fifteen minutes of cheers and applause and then kept on playing for another fifteen minutes.
Great party! But now Steve had to get up and report to work. When he arrived on the seventh floor of the iTower he found a special project waiting for him.
The librarian explained.
“About an hour ago one of the Alternate Reality folks got up here without an escort—they’re supposed to be escorted at all times—and for some reason he panicked and tried to run out and managed to pull down an entire bookshelf and it happened to be the chamber music and the scores got all mixed up and some of the parts fell out and that’s your job today. Put them back in order and up on the shelves.”
“Follow me,” she ordered, and led the way to where the scores marked 785.7, Chamber Music, should be, but were not.
Steve thought it would be peon work until he saw the huge jumble of scores on the floor and looked at the long list of classification numbers. That’s when he realized that, of course, chamber music included practically all the instrumental music between the solo piece and the orchestra. Duets, trios, quartets, quintets, all the way up to nonets, for various combinations of strings, winds, brass.
Here was a good one: 785.785 Octets for Strings and Winds, with or without Piano.
Fortunately the individual parts were also numbered so he could match them up to the scores. He had to check each score and count the parts to make sure he had found them all. Pretty soon he figured out that a bassoon was a fagot in German and oboe was hautbois in French.
Steve had hoped for a boring day at work sticking labels on books so he could plan his own Deathday party. Instead, one part of his brain was processing classification numbers, another part was translating foreign languages, a chunk of it was fantasizing what had set off the Alternate Reality guy who had gone crazy up here, and he was also wondering just who used these music scores. He hadn’t heard about any chamber music concerts.
He finished the job in record time and as he was leaving he heard the librarian whisper to her colleague, ”He’s a keeper! The fastest shelver we’ve ever had!”
Oh, great, Steve thought to himself. He would be an iTower slave for the rest of his time on The Cloud. He had to find a way out of that dilemma.
(to be continued tomorrow)