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The Final Note

by John Thiel

There came a time when Jean Lestern Ligotti lost all cognizance of reality, having imbibed fully of the century in which he lived, and he spaced out and commenced an astral trip that took him one thousand years into his future. He came back into his earthly senses naked and lying on a flat plain of unknown substance, which extended into a distance of geometric edifices.

Perception that he was entering the future had been part of his trip, so he knew when he was now at. As he rose to his feet his entire attitude bespoke objection to his nakedness, and he was immediately swathed in form-fitting raiment of immaculate design.

His appearance had not been unobserved. The people of the time had been studying such possibilities over many centuries, and indeed had a receptivity which helped make his trip possible. Thus he took to the new century easily, and the new century took to him the same.

He had been born in the year two thousand. His entrance into this future time had been motivated by jazz music, which had spaced him and put him into the far-out. He'd studied it from its origins after someone had turned him on to it and been through all the phases of the development of jazz into the 21st century. Now that he had settled down into a new and far-off century, he wondered what jazz would have become in all that time, for it was scarcely likely to perish, no matter how much time was involved.

His one problem with what he heard was that over that thousand years there had been further progressions that he had missed and, when a jazzman tried to reach him with what he was playing, Ligotti couldn't see what he was saying. Further experiences with the future music left him behind.

The sounds he started hearing were like moving walls of music, lacking the formulation and tightness of jazz conceived in more limited environments. He supposed he could catch on. But in these overwhelming crescendos that had incorporated all the earlier jazz, the basic jazz was atrocious, sounding like ancients pounding rocks together.

The progress of jazz had apparently picked up some busts and made them part of their progressive music. There was repetitious playing of scales, scores played backwards, all of this retained as tradition. When he complained of this, he was told “Only one hundred years ago, jazz became everything and, if anything were left out, it wouldn't be shining and complete. The music doesn't get there if anything is left out.”

Crappy intrusions of various tunes into the playing of others, interdimensional riffs, a basic rat sass, harmonies being worked with in flight, rejections and interventions and revisions in progress, this is what Jean was listening to, and he wasn't certain he could adapt. He had expected to bop and syncopate; instead, he was hearing what he regarded as a bad sound. So he used what he had and thought up the Final Sound, and had everybody working on this one, and thought he had something he could relate to. He could, too, and became a part of the wave of jazz into the unknown.

Copyright © 2018 by John Thiel

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