a real soundtrack for an imaginary spy film

Episode Twenty-Five - 1 R.P.M. (A Revolution Revelation)

Copyright © 2002 - 2005 Arthur Jarvinen

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Mustaccio is in a Marxist bookstore in the University District of Minneapolis - recently established by Itchy Brothers, the former bass player for Scab and the Boogers, who quit the band right in the middle of their first tour in order to pursue his new-found true calling of promoting the revolution – which place he has been directed to in order to receive instructions pertaining to his next "clean-up" assignment. Although just how he is to receive said information or in what medium it may reside is, as per usual, a mystery, typical of his employer's methods.

Not at all sure whom or for what he should be looking, Mustaccio casually wanders about the store hoping for a clue while feigning interest in various books so as not to appear conspicuous. He notices a fellow over in the reading area who glances up ever so briefly from his book, as if in a moment of reflection on a thought, not quite catching Mustaccio's eye before returning his gaze to the pages before him. For a moment Mustaccio almost thinks he recognizes the man, but can't quite place him. "Probably not" he decides as he continues wandering among the stacks.

Mustaccio hasn't noticed the music coming over the house playback system, but suddenly the volume jumps a couple of notches and the song immediately grabs his undivided attention. After listening a bit, he figures this must be it. "What's that playing?" he inquires of Itchy somewhat excitedly but in a hushed tone, glancing about him to make sure he is not being observed.

"Man, don't you recognize Sgt. Pekker, the greatest band in the Tri-State area?" Itchy answers disbelievingly. That's 1 R.P.M., the B side of the longest single in pop music history, Hey Vern, but that one's just sentimental Jean-Paul crap, whereas this critically examines revolutionary politics from the standpoint of aesthetic/linguis…" "I want it!" Mustaccio interrupts.


"I want to buy that tape. That very one."

"Man, I just put that compilation together. Took me hours." But his reluctance vanishes as quickly as the appearing of a wad of greenbacks on the counter.

"Sold! to the man in the black suit."

"I'll need the tape player too."

"Oh, man…Sold!"

Back in his hotel room Mustaccio auditions the song over and over again, dozens of times, until he not only has all the lyrics memorized but could probably even play the guitar parts. "There must be a message in here, there has to be", and then suddenly it hits him. Quickly he flips the tape over and plays it backwards. "The piano solo sounds pretty cool this way" he observes tangentially as he anticipates the coming verses.

But try as he might, after a dozen more listenings he just can't find anything that sounds even remotely like anything other than gibberish. But then, as the tape starts up one more time, right at the edge of what is really the studio fade out and barely audible unless you're listening very attentively, he suddenly hears a low voice saying, as plain as day, "I'm very tall".

"Gotcha!" Mustaccio exclaims triumphantly.


 Back at the bookstore, Claude finishes the last page and closes the used copy of Revolution In the Head, the Beatles' Records And the Sixties, by the late Ian MacDonald, and goes over to the counter for a refill of the herbal tea of the day.

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