originally published in Shady Side Review vol. II

Like Sands-Sands-luh-luh-like sands

The bass kicks in with a steady beat, so low it sends waves and ripples through the wooden dance floor. You don’t dance, you don’t stand. Easy choice to make. It’s not long before a snare comes in on tenor, bouncing a simple melody, building the anticipation. An explosion was coming. We could all feel it.

Like Sands-sands-like sands Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaagh!

It’s a woman’s scream. Bloodcurdling and deafening as it’s pumped from a wall of speakers and rains down on the dancers. No sooner is the terror past then the real hooks arrive on cue. A chorus of chirps, beeps, trumpets, flutes, didgeridoos and synthesized versions of instruments that may never have a physical equivalent. I was clinging tightly to the cheap plastic cup holding my swishing beer. It was a different swaying gold that had captured my attention. A blonde in tight jeans was bobbing and shaking to the melodious din.

I was dancing.
She was dancing.
We were not dancing together.

But Doctor-d-doctor Amnesia! Duh-d-doctor-but-but doctor Amnesia!

The sampled dialogue was repeated again and again as the cacophony of sound beneath it waned and settled in on a simpler, softer pattern. Joining the status quo were new voices in the harmony; all breathless, all female, all moaning a thousand poorly faked orgasms and sighs of satisfaction. She and I turned out of sync and my beer fell on our moving legs.

It wasn’t me! It was my evil twin!

The explosion was coming soon. The music dropped to a whisper. The same bass and tenor from the beginning kept feet moving and melody alive. It built softly, almost invisibly. The crowd smiled with a lover’s anticipation. Soon.

Like Sands

“Sorry!” Even now she had to scream to be heard. She moved in closer. I turned to greet her body with mine. Our beer stained legs began to rub together.

I was dancing.
She was dancing.
We moved as one.

Like Sands through the Hourglass-ow-ow-hourglass

As the music grew, new and old elements found their way into the crescendo. Melodies few of us could identify but all of us recognized, were woven together as the volume increased and heads began to bob up and down with more force, patiently waiting for the coming moment of release. A feeling of nostalgia swept the floor as everyone involuntarily found themselves flashing back a few years to sick days from school curled-up on our mothers’ couches.

“What’s your name?!” she asked.

Luh-luh-luh-luh-like Sands

“Paul! You?!”

Sands through the-through the-through-Sands through the


Sands through the hour-sands through the hour

It was coming. The volume was at its peak. The crowd could not be asked to simply bounce in place any longer. All of us could feel the explosion coming, could feel the beat inside of us. We knew the exact moment it would arrive. Soon.

Suh-Sand-Like sands through the hourglass

“Who are you here with,” she shouted.

“Some friends. You?!”

“My friend Kay comes here a lot!” She pointed across the dance floor to a girl with short brunette hair grinding the air with her back towards us.

Like sands through the

This was it. The big moment. A scream rang from the crowd. Several kids jumped, shook, and threw their arms in the air to the climactic downbeat.

The downbeat that never came.

The DJ withheld our climax with a few seconds of additional silence, reasserting himself and reminding us that we are the minstrels here. He started the core melody again before the people could start moaning their disappointment, and like a dog with a dirty nose the crowd fell back into place before they could even process the betrayal they had suffered.

“Wait, you’re friends with Kay?!”

The music faded back once again to the bass and snare. Falling faster than it was built.

“Wait, you’re that Paul?!”

Fading, fading until it reached nothingness. Nothing, but the voice.

Like sands through the hourglass…so are the days of our lives…

I liked the next song better.

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