August/September 2005


Quark is reclusive.

Shut away from that mad troupe of goats in lab coats, obsessed with finding those obsessed with falling significantly short of finding the perfect beat. They stalk about with steel cleavers and echoing hooves, marching in strange soldier patterns, and clop-clop-clopping on sidewalks, in subways, on stairwells, in supermarkets. They’ve heard that Quark has dedicated himself to composing the perfect pop song; just as well…the goats demand perfection.

The great goat Gestapo.

By this point, Quark sits in a supremely paranoid state, fingering at an A-chord, on his acoustic guitar, slightly off key, wondering what the perfect progression should be, the perfect hook, the perfect vocal.

He knew the goats in lab coats were coming. The horror sounds of the hooves were cutting through the distance between them, clop-clop-clopping. He strummed, directionless, riding the repetition of the A. He had to, at the very least, solidify the skeleton of the song before the goats zeroed in on his location.

Even now, the clop-clop-clopping was swelling in sound, closer still. And while the march of the goats gained ground, making their way, Quark was lost in the A, not even examining a strumming pattern anymore, just recklessly pick-pick-picking…

And then the cleaver struck the door.

GoatI(do): “Hmm…no structure.”
GoatII(re): “Yes, hmm, yes…there is no definitive rhythm.”
GoatIII(mi): “His fretting technique is poor.”
GoatIV(fa): “I find his lack of dexterity disturbing. Should he be cleaved?”
GoatIII(mi): “Yes, yes…he is diatonic; torturous”
GoatII(re): “His dissonance is crippling our aural perception…he should be cleaved.”
GoatI(do): “Enter…take only his hands.”

The goats, growing ever impatient with Quark’s incessant randomness, cleaved the apartment door into splinters, entered, and descended upon him, critiquing him as they hacked.

Caught against the floor, bound by simultaneous hoof-holds on either arm, Quark helplessly watched as the slick steel of each cleaver flashed in the dim light of the apartment before they simultaneously dropped. Then, the pressing of flesh; the disconnection and snap and crunch of sinew, ligament, and bone; the dull chip-thud of the cleaver resting into the tile floor. Once the echoes of the impacts subsided…

GoatIV(fa): “He even lacks musicality in his screaming.”

Upon departure, the goats could only admire Quark’s perseverance. As they stepped across his body, making their way toward the apartment door, he was using his wrist-nubs to stoically trace quarter notes into the pool of gore that had developed on the tile.

The goats commanded Quark to keep rhythmically silent from this point forward and took his hands as trophies.