The crowd was full of bloodthirsty rottweillers. They barked and growled at me, creating a shrill, booming, deafening wall of sound. My teammates in battling this horde confidently prepared their weapons, well-prepared, skilled, and experienced. Nervously, I took my post, a mortified amateur. My chances of survival were bleak. The war would take place shortly before Christmas.
The buzz of the wild crowd was now an overwhelming amoeba, swallowing me whole and spitting me back out again. My knees were shaking. Breaths came in raspy, shallow spasms. Frigid air began to envelop me, my body jerking this way and that to combat the cold. I wanted to stop fighting, succumb to the the cold, surrender myself to the rottweillers, but our leader was ready to begin the battle.
Then the deafening silence.
The hypothermic cold made my lungs shrivel, my sweater and santa hat pointless against the oncoming gale. the piano keys were frozen solid- I couldn’t press down on them and my fingers kept slipping and sliding. Every chord I hit was off-tune, and a panicky desperation was growing inside me. In less than 20 bars I would have to take a lengthy solo.
10 Bars left- my nervousness and the frigid temperature began to wear down into a blurry haze. I was unaware of anything other than my fingers and the thawing block of ice that was the piano.
5 Bars left- Tiny sparks now flickered inside the haze. I was focused and couldn’t hit a bum chord.
2 Bars left- I played the chorus, my popsicle fingers now agile and warm. I flew up and down the keyboard, exercising my entire arsenal of licks and riffs.
Decresendo. The band died down. It was me vs a hundred bloodthirsty hounds.
I began my battle against inexperience and expectations. The sparks were now full-on flames which instilled a newfound courage inside me. I tried new licks and ornaments, throwing everything I knew into those 20 bars.
An eerie void consumed the audience.
The rottweillers turned into sheep.
I finished the solo.
Thunderous clapping ensued, the sheep as loud as the hounds.
I emerged from the rubble of battle unwounded, and was recognized for the fight I put up. Mr. Trovato told the audience that I had no experience in Jazz before the concert, and how I had only three weeks to put together an improvised solo.