The Big Instrument

“Bong!” There are footsteps. Then again. “Bong!” More footsteps. “Bong!”

No, it’s not a bell-ringer practising his repertoire. It’s a farmer walking along his row of water tanks.

“Bong!” Footsteps. “Thunk!”

The last tank in the row is half full. It’s barely enough to supply the house, let alone the livestock and the crop. The farmer’s sent his kids off to the city. His wife’s three-hundred kilometres away bulking up the bank balance with an office job until the next rain.

The farmer does his bit. He pulls his weight. He acts responsibly. Mother nature doesn’t care about all that though. All that matters is that there’s no water in the tanks. He sells the livestock. He turns the crops back into the soil. There’s no point being on the farm any more. There’s not really any point keeping water in the tanks any more either. It’s been sponge baths up until now, so the farmer throws caution to the wind and has his first proper shower in a long time.

The fresh, cool water clears the farmer’s mind. It’s clear enough to foster a fancy idea.

The farmer hops out to the twelve tanks and shifts the water between them. He sets his camera on a tripod and he hits the wall of the first tank. “Dong!” It’s a middle C. He moves all the water from the first tank to the next tank and adds a little extra from a third tank.

“Dong!” It’s a semitone higher in pitch. He tunes each tank in sequence and collects some video footage of each. Soon he’s got all twelve tones of the chromatic scale. No, they’re not all simultaneously tuned – there’s not enough water for that – but with the magic of editing, he can now play any song known to western music.

Using his enormous corrugated tin instrument, the farmer turns out a rendition of Mozart. It’s Mozart’s “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, K 525 Allegro.” It’s a song that not everyone knows by name, but EVERYONE knows by ear. The social media hit-count is evidence of that! Before he knows it, the farmer’s plight is the topic of conversation all over the media. Water trucks are coming his way and the country is talking climate change once more.

By the weekend, the farmer is considering buying more livestock, replanting seed and moving his family back home. The farmer is filled with glee. His dreams are back on track. His family can depend on him once more, but for how long?

Unfortunately, the nation is no longer concerned with the plight of its farmers. There’s a new viral cat in the media spotlight. It looks like it’s playing the accordion! It’s so cute!

Are we still talking about a farmer? Oh, who cares. This cat is way more interesting…

T

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