This week we want you to take a song, any song you like, any song that inspires you, and transform that song into a story. Sometimes songs will already have a story, sometimes they will only hint at one, sometimes the story will be your own memory of hearing the song, and your job is to write that story down. Interpret the song of your choice and turn it into prose. Explore where the lyrics take you, where the melody tells its tale, be it fiction or memory, and share it with your fellow lightning bugs.
Truth time: I did this once already. Sort of. My first entry, (badly) titled "Samson's Third Battle", was in fact originally inspired by "Name of the Game" by The Crystal Method. The original interpretation of that song kind of went in an odd direction (dead end), so I let the draft sit and mellow for a while. In the mean time, I listened to the song a few more times, not always trying to revise the piece but open to inspiration, at least. Eventually, an alternate story line emerged in my mind. I wrote. It worked better. I shared the result.
The process, from the initial spark of inspiration to the final click of "publish post", took maybe three months.
This time, I have one week. I'm going to have to be more careful about actively digging plot holes, to say the least.
Song selection wasn't easy. There are a few songs kicking around my brain that kind of inspire certain plot lines, but for the most part they represent plot points for a larger work that I'm working on; I don't really know how it all fits together yet, so I'm letting them continue to stew in the recesses of my brain. It's a process, and it works for me.
So I needed something new, that is (a) inspiring but (b) hasn't inspired me yet. Spent a lot of time with my iPod since I found out about the prompt topic. Turns out you can't just ask for inspiration and expect to get it right away. Stingy ass muses.
Long story short, the song that finally asserted itself in my psyche with a story is a classical piece, composed by Edvard Grieg for the play Peer Gynt - titled, "I Dovregubbens hall" or "In the Hall of the Mountain King."
Also, though I've never been to the London Heathrow Airport and thus can't say whether it fits my setting, I am indeed very worried about the baggage-retrieval system at this airport, so maybe I get double credit for including two songs, eh?
For your convenience, I shall provide the music in the event that you are unfamiliar with the works of composer Edvard Grieg. Seriously, there are people who don't even recognize his name! I know this for a fact because I myself was such a person until looking it up on Wikipedia just now - but wow what a really cool name for a composer to have, right? Too late for me to take it as a pen name, I'm already committed, but I'm sure I'll recycle it for a character name at some point.
The doors opened and I walked into the baggage claim. About a dozen carousels in two rows filled the room; I checked the huge wall display to figure out which was mine. Number 6, it seemed; the flight was just taxiing in, so I was right on time.
The Number 6 carousel was in the middle of the second row, opposite the entry from the terminal. It was shut down for the moment, but once the baggage crew started unloading the plane's cargo it would probably start up noisily; as I walked to it from the directory display I was briefly deafened by the other machines. I didn't stop at 6, but stood a little closer to 8, which was on, and faced vaguely toward the terminal exit. There was no telling just when our guest would be arriving, after all.
I heard some footsteps over the general din in the room. A familiar-looking person in heavy boots walked by me and stood waiting for a bag at Carousel 8, but I didn't try to grab his attention. A man with a green fedora walked in from the terminal and took a position next to 6, as if he'd been the first person off the plane and had run all the way to the baggage claim. For all I knew, that was exactly the case.
A horrible but muffled grinding noise came from somewhere under the floor. With many screams of protest and pleas for oil Baggage Carousel #6 lurched to something like life, so I stepped a bit closer to it and waited for my bag like any normal person would. A few people were coming in from outside, as I had, to await visitors and returning travelers while the general trickle of traffic from the terminal was slowly swelling into a tide. Some of the new arrivals were coming to stand near me, others somewhere nearby. I saw a few faces I recognized, some that I even knew well. All of us were somewhere close to Baggage Carousel #6.
An attractive woman with red hair entered from the terminal and stood directly to my right. She was wearing an enameled pin with a red carnation design and talking on a red flip-style cell phone.
"Yes, we've just arrived. He should be here in a few minutes, are you ready to pick us up?"
While she listened for a reply, I stuck my hands into my coat pockets.
"Great, thanks Mom. Pork roast for dinner?"
Another pause; I kept myself from fidgeting.
"Allrighty. Oh, here he is, I see him now."
Bags were just beginning to pop out of the conveyor belt from wherever they came from below the floor. The first bag was an unremarkable black with the sort of heavy frame you normally see on camping backpacks. I pulled it off and set it next to me, pulling out the extension handle and hitting a hidden catch underneath it. The carnation woman put her phone away and took the next bag. We both continued to face the carousel as if waiting for more bags.
Our guest arrived. Six-two and around two-twenty, with about five hundred extra pounds of protection in the form of a matched pair of body guards, keeping a casual distance. I stared nonchalantly at the conveyor exit and didn't do anything as he stood to our right.
The carnation woman's other bag was coming up; it had a pin exactly like the one she was wearing. I calmly brushed a hair off my coat, letting another identical pin escape my palm and attach to magnets I'd placed in the lining.
At that very moment, a fight broke out near the exit doors. Without preamble, two men suddenly started swinging fists and shouting, making a lot of noise. I feigned interest long enough for our guests to glance in that direction; in the few moments they were distracted, I detached the two heavy collapsible batons from my luggage and swung at the necks of the two heavies.
I struck one on the back of the skull, and he went down immediately. The other managed to protect himself on reflex and pulled the baton out from my grip. Meanwhile, the carnation woman had done something with our guest, and more than a dozen on-lookers were suddenly wearing red enameled carnation pins and surrounding the five of us. One of them, with the green fedora, took down the standing heavy with a hard cosh to the back of the head. It didn't seem like enough to me, but I guess I had rung his bell a bit with my first blow. Just to be safe, I kicked him in the head once.
Another pair of guards, apparently disguised, was trying to break through the perimeter, but the other red carnation people were taking care of it. In the interest of fairness I kicked the other heavy on the head as well. Then I walked over to the red carnation woman, who had our guest pinned on his stomach and was already cinching zip-ties around his wrists in what looked to be an uncomfortable position.
Something huge punched me in the back, making my stumble and smack my head on the floor; my head was ringing, and I only vaguely realized I'd been shot after picking myself up off the floor. The perimeter group had already taken the gunman into custody with great violence and enthusiasm. I saved my enthusiasm for my low-profile kevlar vest.
"Son of a bitch," I said, shaking my head. "I don't think I'll walk right for a week."
"You'll live," the woman said, now leaning our guest over the carousel wall (against clearly worded warnings that you should not sit or lean on the carousel) while she searched his pockets. "Go help."
I turned to find that a few more of the on-lookers were trying to get involved. We wouldn't know for sure if they were working for our guest or not until we had captured and interrogated all of them, so I bent down to take my second baton from the limp hand of the bodyguard and tossed it to the heavy-boots guy.
"Boots," I said to him, "you take that side, start rounding up trouble-makers and get them held down until we can tie them."
Boots nodded and trotted over to take care of his area. I turned and did likewise. Other than our surprise gunman, few of the new opposition were armed with anything substantial. A couple guys with big metal sticks were enough to secure the situation fairly quickly. I laid in with my stick and humanely disabled one man who had taken on an individual red-carnation lady and was in danger of breaking through to our guest; I broke his kneecap instead. Another guy on our team, in a gray jacket, got his nose solidly broken on an assailant's fist. I returned the favor, with interest.
Abruptly, the violence was mostly over. I checked the situation around us. Five additional targets in custody, of which we might keep two or three, no more serious injuries to or team that I could see. Apparently, I had been the only one shot today, which was great for everyone but me.
"Great," I said, "round 'em up and stack them on a luggage cart or something. Our shuttle should be here already, someone go clear the path." I pointed at a random carnation-bearer, who ran off to obey. "Waffle House in two hours, all of you be there."
With that, the team cleared the area around Baggage Carousel #6 in short order, even mopping up the bits of blood and vomit with bags of sawdust or something. Nobody bothered trying the luggage cart, unfortunately; We ended up walking or dragging most of the captives out in the usual fashion.
Behind us, Baggage Carousel #6 churned on, and a few of the braver passengers on the flight inched forward to pull their bags from the overloaded machine.