Chapter 50. Rocco’n roll

“Greeonk! Brrrunn!” Unfamiliar, and very strange, sounds were released in all directions,
as if ripping into pitch-black, dense air.
“Gaugggveen, gjon, gjon, zunzun tattata.”
Planet id uneasily released more puffs of white smoke. Strange lines appeared on it, almost like its blood vessels were coming to the surface.
Down on Earth, confusion reined as well. People were stunned by the violent discords Rocco was playing. What on earth was he trying to do? Instead of missiles, he was setting off sound. And Planet id loved that sound and positively gobbled it up.
For some on the Earth, it was hard to see who was winning, and when Rocco faced Planet id with a guitar in his hand, the whole world gasped in surprise. Then people began cheering him enthusiastically. The globe united in cheering loudly enough to reach Rocco out in space.
“Gakyoooon donzudonzutoooon. Cucurandon dochicccchitdechiii!”
There that shiny golden guitar sang freely as if to give voice to Rocco’s feelings of increasing exaltation. The melody that poured out was complex, complex beyond belief.
Before taking off in the Arrow to confront Planet id, Rocco had shut himself in a recording studio for three whole months, to compose music for Planet id. That task complete, he wanted to meet someone: rock legend Bok Dylon.
Bok Dylon, a giant in the world of rock music, had begun performing back in the twentieth century. Well past his hundredth birthday, he continued to travel around the world on what he called his “Final Tour No. 36.” Back when he was 85, feeling his health was failing, he had decided to retire after one final worldwide tour. The tickets sold out immediately, everywhere; with each performance, his health improved. That tour led to the birth of his megahit, Re Protested.
Bok Dylon had become an idol for people in their eighties and had kept on with his world tours for twenty-seven more years. No one else still played rock music. He was, people said, the last of his kind.
Of course, most of his fans were in their eighties. Having spent their youth listening to his music, they had a nostalgic attachment to rock. They would tell you that when rock’n’roll first appeared, it caused a huge uproar. The intensity of the amplified electric guitar sound went straight to the hearts of young people. But not everyone got it. A new kind of music, or just plain noise? The arguments were heated indeed.
Young people expressed their anger, their screams, their rebellious spirits through that amplified sound. Families, schools, and society at large called it music for juvenile delinquents. Then, as the twenty-first century neared, rock music lost steam. It had almost vanished, to become an obsolete musical form.
Rocco, however, wanted to see Bok Dylon, who had devoted his life to rock music, because Rocco himself had chosen rock for his critical composition. Respecting the great history of rock, he was trying hard to find the next kind of music, a musical form that would go beyond rock.
Bok Dylon, now 112 years old, was as hot and passionate as a rock singer should be. Rocco asked him to listen to his compositions.So Rocco picked a tune he was confident about and played. Even Bok Dylon looked stunned.
“That’s rock, isn’t it? I was rocking, wasn’t I?”
Bok Dylon beamed and rested his hand on Rokko’s shoulder.
“You sure did.” Pointing at Rocco’s chest, he added, “Whether it’s rock or not comes from here.”
“Here?”
“Yes! Rock is a way of life,” Dylon said as he turned to leave. From the back he looked very cool.
A way of life. Rocco liked that expression.
As Rocco played, Planet id gradually began to react. He’d begun with the violent sounds that he knew Planet id would love and then gradually wove in blues melodies that are much easier on the ears. When Rocco started to play a clear rhythm, Planet id began swaying in rhythm, too. “It worked!” he silently rejoiced, playing with a strong touch. Planet id, completely in tune with Rocco’s performance, seemed to enjoy it fully and followed every note.
Back on the ground, Rocco’s performance was being explained and analyzed.
It went beyond rock.
No precedents in rock.
The history of pop music has changed.
As they became more familiar with its unpredictable tune, the listeners became more wound up. “We’ve never heard rock like this before!” Then someone shouted, “It’s Rocco’n’roll.” “Yeah! Rocco’n’roll!”
Satchina, listening intently, had made a discovery. With a twinkle in her eye, she said, “It’s prime numbers. No doubt about it. See, the next bar is the 17th.” Strong sound entered their ears.
“See? The melody changes, intensifies, at every bar that’s a prime number. Brilliant! It may a bit hard for us on Earth to take, but a tune based on prime numbers should sound very good to Planet id, who was brought up in outer space. Well done, Rocco! It’s a great idea. It’s truly Rocco’n’roll.”
The stars in the sky swayed in unison, right and left, to the new rhythm. The distant stars illuminated Rocco and Planet id with sharp beams of light. Rocco felt like he was on a stage lit by suspension lights that changed in tune with the music. The session came to the edge of perfection, as if it had been rehearsed many times. The new rhythms that Rocco created lifted the spirits of Planet id.
“It’s similar to the sound of a collision, but somehow different. I feel cold and empty when I collide into planets, but calm and warm here, being showered with sound.”
Rocco knew it all. His sound changed.
“Kween, kyuu, kyuunn.”
The strumming is no longer violent, the discords are gone, but Planet id was still intoxicated by Rocco’s music.
Rocco, at the end of the performance of a lifetime, began to feel faint. He could hardly breathe. It felt as if his body was no longer his own.
“I can’t stand it any longer.”
Gathering the last of his strength, he unhooked the white rope that tied him to the Arrow. Jumping around as though newly freed, the rope fell back into the spacecraft. At the same time, the Arrow slowly started to move. Rocco, having used up the last of his energy, drifted to the northeast, away from the Arrow. Soon, the star in the east that emits a faint light in the morning glow absorbed him.
The Arrow crashed into the sun. Vanishing without a trace in the intense solar heat, its nuclear weapons vaporized harmlessly.

Epilogue

Seventy years have passed since that moment.
The constellation Rocco, the 151th of its kind, shines brilliantly as it joins the other stars in watching over Earth.

The first rooster of the morning crowed as if to break through the tension. All the creatures here in Morangogne, who had been watching over the old lady, holding their breath, burst into song as well. All the villagers, young and old, were out as well to observe this signal event.
Finally, the sky began to lighten. The round head of the sun, looking drowsy, began to emerge, as though studying this small, sorrowful village.

The old lady, overwhelmed with sadness, looks up at Rocco and weeps with with the last of her strength.
Cock-a-doodle-doo.

The old lady didn’t seem to notice the murmuring trees or the refreshing breeze from the hill. She walked back down, her steps weighted with grief, as she wept bitterly.
Here and there she stopped to kneel, as if to pray.

“Everyone’s left me. I’m all alone now! Even Luna has left me. Luna, my dear Luna . . .”
The white cat she clutched so tightly did not come back to life, however hard she was shaken. But she looked happy, her life complete.
A small, newly born star in the north, dashed toward the constellation Rocco, and stopped at its shoulder as if to snuggle up.

The sun saw it all and began rising slowly. The tension was gone. At that moment, everything in Morangogne was dyed a rich champagne gold with a luster that will glow forever.

The end.