It is related, O auspicious King, that there was a new band in Baghdad, during the reign of the Khalifah Harun al-Rashid, that made strange music and whose name was the Secret Chiefs 3. They were fierce warriors and proved victorious in the battle of Hitt’n, which prevented Christian invaders from usurping the royalty of Jerusalem. The Secret Chiefs 3 were showered in gold for their triumph by their King Salh al-D’n. With their new fortune, they took Christian slaves for their wives and sailed far across the sea to the magical perilous kingdom of San Francisco.
There they met up with the grand-wazir Zorn who instructed them in his mysterious way of sound and music. The Sultan introduced them to the amirs Ennio Morricone and Carl Stalling who also shared their wondrous wealth of knowledge to these worthy students.
One day, with the music of Zorn and Morricone in his head Sheikh Spruance, the leader of the Chiefs 3 went to market to buy a flax. While haggling with the flax dealer, who was a Babylonian craftier than the Devil, he was drawn by an enchanting sound, music of such exquisite beauty as he had never heard before. He peered around the flax dealer's stand to see a street musician, with dark mysterious eyes playing the Hammond organ. An enormous sparkling ruby shone on his turban. She’kh Spruance went over to the Hammond player and dropped many d’nars into his bowl.
"As All‡h lives! Your music is his praise! What is your name and story?" The She’kh asked the dusky Indian man with hypnotic eyes.
"My name is Korla Pandit.* I have been trained since my birth in the spiritual, mysterious ways of the organ. From my youth to my adulthood I performed in the palace of Princess Nur Al-Nih‡r who was very much in love with me and desired my hand in marriage. One day I met a man of extravagant gaiety and obliging wit who was a fisherman by trade and a hash’sh-eater by occupation. He convinced me to take an enormous dose of that hilarious herb before I was to play for the Princess. As a result my head, which had never experienced this hashish, began spinning and my normally nimble hands clumsily destroyed Princes Nur Al-Nihir's favorite piece ("Moonlight on the Fountain"); and, ah, horror, I let out a fine, terrible, resounding fart!
"Furious, the Princess stripped me of my possessions (all but my organ which she could no longer bear to see) and banished me from her palace forever. So now I sit, as All‡h has forsaken me, and play for the kindness of strangers."
"That is a wondrous story indeed. But your fortune has changed. I will have you employed by the amir Ennio Morricone if you teach me and my Secret Chiefs 3 everything you know."
And it was done. Of his three teachers Sheikh Spruance said, "Light upon light, All‡h draws to himself whom he pleases." With his new knowledge he composed "First Grand Constitution and Bylaws," their first album. Praise All‡h! The album is as beautiful as a silver bird singing among twilight branches. The songs, about his early days in Baghdad, were given such illustrious titles as, "Assassins Blade," Celestial Ship of the Corsairs," "pointed and weighty arguments," "Drunk at the Gates." Yet the final song is of such beauty, O auspicious King, It must be explained in full detail.
At this point Shahraz‡d saw the approach of morning and discreetly fell silent.
* Concerning Korla Pandit: A great many ordinary people in the drab, conformist 50's were desperate for the Exotic - some kind of escape. Hence the Beats, Flamenco, Calypso, Yma Sumac, and . . . . Korla Pandit. (That's Alrok Tidnip spelled backwards - nudge, nudge, wink, wink.)
He was an Indian organist with gimlet, lemur-like brown eyes; kind of charcoal-smudged like Proust's. He would look straight into the T.V. cameras as he played exotic snake charmer belly dancer music -- hypnotizing Kama-Sutra sexual fantasies directly into the minds of hordes of willing, bored, Lolita's mom-type housewives. He sure as hell creeped the living bejesus out of little me every Sunday morning.
A huge ruby glistened on his Turban. Though it was black and white T.V., we all knew how very, very red that ruby was . . .
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