The Fourth Assault
Writer: Czi Lim
Published: Fri, 25 Nov 2011
KRRRAANNNGGG! JANNNNG JANNNNG JANNNNG!
“Everybody in the whole cell block
Was dancing to the jailhouse ro–”
He managed to blast these precious few lines through the school’s sound system before Puan Juni and Sir broke pass the flimsy barricade of chairs and plastic tables, eyes wild and arms akimbo.
“Oi! You again! For the last time, Azi, you’re going to be in big trouble!”
“Aww, I’m doing everyone a favour! Who wants to listen to chamber music during lunch break?
“Shut it down!”
THAT day was a great success for Aziz. Normally, he would be halted by the Audio Club members at the entrance of the audio room. This time, only two bratty bespectacled juniors stood guard. Azi took 30 seconds to send them flying.
However, his regular invasion of the school’s airwaves had invited the wrath of several teachers, who condemned his insolent disregard for school tradition and, to his mortification, his taste (or the absence of it) in music.
Come on, who would object to the King of Rock?! A little INXS wouldn’t hurt anyone. Jeez, even Joan Jett and the Blackhearts would trump any of the mournful tones dribbling out of the loudspeakers. People would think the school was run by tone-deafs and the eternally depressed.
“Aziz! That was awesome! Haha!”
“Yeah, can you play Hotel California by the Eagles next?”
“Red ears again Aziz! Puan Juni pulled hard today, huh?”
Aziz growled, “You guys, always the requests, but when I make the real invasion, not even your shadows were there to help!”
“Sorry la, Ziz, you know Kam and I have librarian duties. Have to go immediately after lunch. No time at all.”
“Yeah right, as though you have duties every day of the week. Bull!”
Kam and Nain. His best buddies since primary school. Like Aziz, they shared a taste for classic, alternative or hard rock, however one would like to categorise it.
It all started the day Nain’s father uncovered a mountain of vinyl records back at his grandparents’ house in Kelantan. When the dusty turntable was also restored to its former glory, the three of them holed up in Nain’s room and spent a glorious night discovering gems like Bo Diddley, Patti Smith, Simon & Garfunkel, and his personal favourite, The Police.
Since then, they never looked back. Aziz got hit the hardest; he would spend every spare sen of his allowance hunting down second-hand 50s to late 80s records in obscure music shops.
Soon, he became convinced that he should spread the wisdom. Down with stuffy art music, he’d say. It was high time his peers in school received Enlightenment.
“So what are you planning to play next? Some AC/DC? Yes, I’m baaaaack! Back in black!”
“It doesn’t matter what we play next. We have a problem: the teachers are getting serious… I might not be able to even walk past the school audio room after today. Did you see how Puan Juni came after me like a tiger? Terror!”
“Really? I want to help, but my dad… one notice from the school, I’m toast.” Typical of Kam, who would hesitate to touch trouble with a 30-foot pole. “But didn’t Sir once comment that there is no explicit rule saying you can’t – ah – commandeer our airwaves? Maybe you can reason with her.”
“Nah, you know her. Shoot before asking questions. We need a plan.”
Suddenly, Nain erupted into giggles: “I’ve got it – try asking Suzanne!”
Aziz paled. Suzanne, the prettiest girl in school and, alas, also the president of the school’s Audio Club. Last week, she’d issued a bounty on Aziz’s head. Their enmity over his constant attack of their sacred club room was fast approaching legendary status.
It didn’t help that Aziz had developed a crush on her.
He resisted the urge to punch Nain. “Are you nuts? I’m not going near that–”
All of them froze. Speak of the devil. Suzanne Ong. A vision of swinging braids and swishing skirts. Aziz could barely squeeze out an automatic apology when she pushed a tape into his hands.
It was a Queen single. Bohemian Rhapsody.
“Err, this certainly has objectionable contents.”
“Shut up! Didn’t you say you need help?” Oddly, Aziz was not the only one who was blushing. Suzanne was beetroot red from neck up.
“Sir wants you to play this next.”
“He secretly supports your antics. Not all of us swoon over lunchtime’s music programmes. Although as the president of the club you persistently break into, I hope you would consider an alternative route, like talking to the principal for instance.”
With that, she stormed out. Aziz’s head was spinning. Beside him, Kam and Nain were shaking with silent laughter.
“Be Bop A Lula, what a lady huh, Ziz?”