Pfft-Click-Shhhh-Boing
By: James Rumpel

They say if you put a monkey in a room with a typewriter for long enough it will eventually reproduce the works of Shakespeare. I always thought that theory was rather stupid. That is until I became the monkey.

The funny thing is, I am not a very creative guy. I don't read much beyond a few blogs or sports stories on the internet. I'm not a big fan of music and my singing voice should, probably, be registered as a weapon of mass destruction. I'm still haunted by the time a nun told me to stop singing in church because I was throwing everyone else off.

So, it is a complete statistical miracle that I, of all the billions of people to ever live, was the person who found a sequence of sounds that is irresistible to any human. I came upon the combination by accident. I did not set out to find a magical series of sounds. I don't think anyone has ever been crazy enough to try that. Though, if people were aware that such a thing existed and if they knew the potential power, I'm certain many would have spent lifetimes trying.

Everything started about a month ago. I tend to be a fidgety person. I always have to be doing something. Sometimes I tap my feet or rub my fingers together. Other times I make weird sounds with my mouth: slurps, clicks, whistles, and all sorts of other noises. I try not to make them loud enough for anyone to hear, but sometimes I get strange looks from people sitting near me on a bus or in a restaurant.

Somewhere along the line, I put a group of sounds together that I found myself constantly repeating. I had created a personal earworm. I now know that it was much more than that, but at the time, I just thought I had a weird conglomeration of noises stuck in my head.

I was at the IHOP, treating myself to breakfast, when I absent–mindedly made the series of sounds loud enough for my waitress to hear. She was a pretty young girl. She looked to be around twenty–years–old: about five years younger than me. The moment she heard the series of sounds she stopped what she was doing and gasped.

"That was amazing," she told me, a huge smile on her thick red lips. She immediately sat down next to me in the booth. "Do it again," she demanded.

I'm usually pretty nervous around girls, especially pretty ones. I scooted away from her a little and fulfilled her request. The set of ten or so noises had become very easy for me to produce.

She closed her eyes and gasped once again. "Oh, that sounds so cool. I could listen to that all day. Do it again." She inched closer to me and put her hand on my shoulder.

"Ok." I played my special tune one more time.

"Teach me to do it, please." She managed to lean even closer against me. I found myself pressed against the wall, unable to slither any further away.

I did my best to teach her the sequence of sounds. However, when she attempted to recreate the noises, it did not have the same effect.

She sighed and pouted. "I guess my voice just doesn't make it sound the same. I'll just have to rely on you to make it for me. I would do anything to get to hear it again." She placed her lips close to my ear. I could smell an enchanting mixture of honeysuckle, deodorant, and maple syrup as she added, "and I mean, anything."

Boy, that second stack of blueberry pancakes really hit the spot.

***

Later that afternoon, I found out how much power I now possessed. I had taken my 2012 Ford Fiesta in for an oil change at the local dealership. I finding it more difficult to keep myself from making the noises. I could resist long enough to carry on a short conversation but at all other times I was uttering the sounds quietly to myself. I was sitting in the lounge, waiting for them to finish my car when I made the sounds more loudly than I had intended. One of the salesmen overheard me and instantly stopped what he was doing. Of course, he requested that I make the noises for him.

While I was driving my new Mustang home, I realized that I could find many ways to use the sounds to my advantage. The manager of the dealership had not been in favor of the deal the salesman had offered me: a straight–up trade of my vehicle for the expensive sports car. However, after hearing the noises a couple of times, he was eager to approve the trade.

When I got home, I decided that I needed to do some experimenting before I put the powerful mixture of sounds to other profitable uses. The IHOP waitress, Susan, had written her phone number on the receipt five or six times. She was extremely disappointed to learn that the effects of the sounds did not transmit over the phone; they had to be performed by me, in person. She was not disappointed when I invited her to my apartment for further experimentation.

After a surprisingly short time, the doorbell sounded and there was Susan, holding a large stack of pancakes and a bouquet of flowers. She wore a tight–fitting cocktail dress and more make–up than I thought was possible.

"Make the sound for me, please," she said the moment I opened the door. "It's been so long since I heard it."

"I have something better," I announced. "I have made a recording of the sounds. You can listen to it anytime you want." I led her to my computer and hit the play button. I couldn't tell what was different, but both I and Susan instantly realized that they did not have the same effect.

"That sounds terrible," she shouted. "Make the noises, now," Susan was becoming visibly angry.

I had no choice but to make the sounds for her.

Instantly, her stern expression was replaced with sheer joy. "Oh, thank you. Do it again,"

"Sure," I replied, "as long as you help me with one more experiment."

"Anything you want. Just make the sounds."

I had hooked up a microphone to my stereo speakers. If I had to make the noises live, I wanted to know if I could amplify them in order to perform for large audiences. I imagined myself putting on a show before a sold–out Yankee Stadium.

Susan frowned and shook her head when I broadcast my talent through the speakers. I tried different volume settings, but none of the trials produced the desired result.

I, again, noticed Susan starting to get angry, though I don't know how I was able to see her cheeks redden underneath the thick layer of make–up. I quickly set aside the microphone and made the sounds for her.

I now knew that I had to perform the sound without the benefit of any technology. I could not record or transmit the noises. The question was, how could I use this to the best advantage?

I grabbed a pad of paper and a pen and sat down in my recliner. I was going to have to do some brainstorming. I had barely started to think of ideas when Susan plopped herself down in my lap.

"You know, I could listen to you make that sound all night. If you know what I mean."

I made the noises for her one more time, in hopes of getting her to leave me alone, but she insisted on sitting on me and constantly touching me. Finally, I gave in and said that I would make the noises for her five times if she promised to leave and let me be alone for the rest of the night. Reluctantly, she agreed as long as I said she could come back the next day.

***

By the next morning, I had narrowed my list of possible uses to about a half dozen. I was fairly certain that I was the only person who could effectively produce the sound. My vocal cords seemed to match the necessary tone while no one else could. Both the car dealership manager and the salesman had tried repeatedly to imitate my noises and the effect but could not. I believed I was the only one who could master the powerful sound combination.

The top item on my list was to open a booth at the State Fair and charge people ten dollars to hear my sounds. I knew that I could have come up with other, less honest, uses of my skill, but I felt guilty about taking advantage of the car dealers. I did not want to use my super power for evil.

Another possibility was to rent myself out to high school dances. I could walk around the dance floor making the noises for all the students. I would be as popular as any disc jockey or live band. I also considered just standing on a street corner with an open guitar case and making the sounds for passersby.

My thoughts were interrupted by a knocking on the door. I assumed that it was Susan and ignored the pounding. The door flew inward with a crashing sound. Two black–suited, sunglass–wearing men burst into the room. They both carried firearms which they directed at me.

"Don't move," one of them shouted.

Out of instinct and self–preservation, I made my noises.

Both of the large men smiled, but not the type of smile I was expecting. These were self–satisfied smiles.

"That's not going to work on us," said the second man as he pointed to large earplugs in his ears. "Now sit down."

I did as he said.

"We received word of some unusual behavior by a couple of employees at the local car dealership. Our agency deals with the kind of thing. We talked to them and a waitress you've been influencing and determined that you have to be dealt with."

"I don't use my power for bad. I just want to make people happy," I would have continued my plea but both men looked at me with confused expressions. Their earplugs made it impossible for them to hear me.

One of the agents continued. "We watch for this kind of thing all over the country. It doesn't happen very often, but when it does, we deal with it accordingly."

As he spoke, his partner approached me and stuck a needle in my arm. Everything went black.

***

When I woke, I was sitting in my recliner. I looked at my clock and determined that I had been out for nearly four hours. I was drowsy and wanted to go back to sleep but a constant knocking on my newly repaired door made that impossible. I shakily went to the door and opened it.

Susan stood before me, dressed in a halter–top and shorts. "Make the noises, please."

I realized that I also wanted to hear the sounds so I did as she asked. Something was wrong. The mixture of noises did not elicit any reaction from me or my female guest.

"No, make the sounds that I like," Susan insisted.

I tried again but to no avail. "I can't," I said. "Something is wrong." It was then that I noticed a soreness in my throat. I ran to the bathroom and examined my neck in the mirror. I found two barely noticeable scars near my voice box.

"I'm sorry," I called to Susan as I returned to the living room. "I can try to come up with some other collection of . . ." I stopped short when I noticed that Susan had already left.

***

My life hasn't returned to normal. I ended up trading my car back to the dealership. I don't go to IHOP anymore; it is too embarrassing to see Susan there. The biggest change, however, is that since that day I haven't been able to stop trying to recreate the series of sounds or find a new pattern of noises that has the same effect. People are starting to treat me different. They act like there is something wrong with me. Maybe there is.

That's why I turned myself into your hospital. I'm hoping you can find some way to help me.

***

The doctor set aside the sheet of paper and looked up at his associate.

"He wrote this account for you?"

"Yes, that's his story."

"I guess, we aren't dealing with a case of adult–onset Tourette Syndrome. It appears to be some sort of psychosis. Contact the psychiatric ward and arrange for the patient to be sent there for further testing."

"I'll get right on it," announced the associate as he left the room.

The doctor shook his head. This had turned out to be a very unusual and sad case. He returned the paper to the file and reached toward another stack of reports. His hand froze when he realized that he was in the middle of making a series of strange slurps, clicks, whistles, and other noises.

END

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