Smashing Music
Troy Keller
M andy chose rock music. A hard decision, but one she was willing to make for herself. If you wanted to be strong, you had to pay for it, a simple matter of trading pleasure for power. She brought the rubber mallet down strong onto the faces of the smirking musicians. "It's nothing," she said into the phone, into the ear of her beautiful sister Janet from Arizona. "I'm just killing bugs. You know. Fleas in the carpet." Janet said it sounded like music being smashed. A perceptive girl. "No, just fleas." She hefted the mallet. John Waite was next. How she loved the British.
Janet grew fierce over the line. If Mandy was up to what Janet thought she was up to, she was going to have something to say about it. But Mandy did not worry. Janet was too far away to keep her from smashing music. She dropped the phone and pounded heavily, sometimes right close to the receiver. Janet's voice squeaked like angry crickets. She was having her say all right, obviously jealous of Mandy's success. Mandy paused her swinging and sat quietly amongst tidy mounds of plastic and cardboard packaging. Janet's voice had quieted. "Mandy?" it said. "Mandy?" Mandy hung up the receiver. She stood and viewed the disarray beneath her. She flexed an arm and poked at the muscles. She was strong, so strong.

First published: August 1997