Howard Druckman Presents … The formidable, the fabulous, the far out, the frantic CHEEZE & CRACKERS (applause!!)
SHADOWY MEN: SPACE CASES
Captain's Log, Star Date 21:16:13 - Spock was off listening to Philip Glass again, McCoy was digging the Monroe Brothers, Chekov was doin' the underground bop to the Ganelin Trio, Sulu was headbanging at a Loudness gig, and Scott had 100 Pipers on the box. An average Sunday afternoon on the Enterprise
Suddenly, a strange craft shaped like a cheese pizza whirled into view. We scanned for life forms, but all we could make out were three laughing silhouettes with their hair standing on end. Without warning, we encountered the biggest, fastest, hardest, loudest TWAANNNNNGGGG!! anybody's ever heard! (We all grabbed the nearest furniture while the cameras shook for effect.) Then it happened again: TWAANNNNNGGGG!!
We were being assaulted with Surf Guitar music. But it wasn't just surf guitar music, that's the thing! It was like an updated Ventures and Dick Dale that had somehow found the lyricism of Tom Verlaine, the sonic boom of Arto Lindsay, the subtle humor of The Feelies. After an attack of several minutes, the beings shouted something at us. I couldn't make it out entirely, but it sounded like 'Theme From T.V.!'
"What do you make of it, Bones?"
"It's rockin' music, Jim!" he rasped.
"That last twang skipped the flay rod on the treadle. Cap'n, the dilithium crystals are overheatin' and we hust haven't got the power."
"Can you fix it?"
"Aye. It's take all we've got, but I'll give 'er a try."
"A style of popular music marked by a heavily accented beat and a simple, repetitious phrase structure. What Dr. McCoy crudely referred to as 'rockin' music.' This particular style is further marked by the melodic twanging of a trebly, reverbed electric guitar. A variation known as … "
"Surf music. Yes I know. But this had more on the ball than that. Analysis?"
"According to my calculations, Captain, judging from the music and the silhouettes, I'd say we're dealing with Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet."
We checked the ship's computer. The trio were indeed the Shadowy Men, formerly invovled in the Crash Kills Five incident. Their music; loud, angular. Answer to the names Don, Reid, Brian. Except for the twang, a peaceful people. Unless you call them revivalists - in which case they attempt to vaporize you.
One unique factor: They were masters of Humorous Event. Before each twang attack, they'd inevitably do something ludicrous. Once, on Kam Er unn Hous, they brought out Bugs Bunny's singing frog. Another time, on Reeva Lee, they set up a mock planetarium "laser" show with smoke bombs, flashlights and sparklers. Apparently, they'd been all over Canada back in the 1980s on Earth.
I tried to contact their ship, and reached the three laughing, stubby silhouettes. "We come in peace," I said. "We enjoyed the sound of your twang, but don't do it again because out ship will melt. I'm Captain James T. Kirk on the USS Enterprise, and I'd like to invite you aboard for some beer."
"On our way!" they shouted as one.
When they beamed up, they took on human form - apparently the stubby shadows are a convenient protective coloration they developed from a sloppy poster graphic. Don was large, brush-cut, subdued, and drummed hard enough to roast a Bafflian Skeedoba at 500 ft. Reid was a short, effervescent fellow with curly locks, whose oversized bass was more melodic than bluntly supportive. Brian was the ace guitarist, and sported a sardonic grin and a slight paunch. All three were comedians - not a straight man in the bunch.
I understand you entered the Calgary Song Contest in 1985," I ventured.
Suddenly the three creatures leapt up on the lounge table and sang out in a horrible baritone to the tune of "Bonanza:"
"It's a friendly town, it's a friendly town, Cal-ga-ry! A friendly town, a friendly town, a friendly town indeed! Lots of friends, lots of friends, lots of friends indeed! We got friends, we got friends, we go all you need! It's a friendly town, it's a friendly town, Cal-ga-ry! A friendly town, a friendly town, a friendly town indeed! EEEEeeeeeAAAAOW! Woooh! WOOH! Yip Yip Yip!!! YEEEAARRGH!"
"Anyway, we still haven't heard if we've won," said Reid.
"How do you come up with songs to fit the twang?," I inquired.
"We say, let's write a song about being in bed at midnight when you were 8 years old, and you're looking at your closet and seeing snakes."
Don: "Bugs Bunny is our biggest influence."
Reid: "I don't know how many times we've been in key situations and asked ourselves, 'What would Bugs do?'"
Don: "We write a whole bunch of riffs that we don't know where we stole them from. Then we join them together by riffs that we know where we've stolen them from."
It wasn't listed on the ship's computer, but it turned out the Shadowy Men have a lethal hatred of singers.
Don: "We had a singer but he quit two days into rehearsals. Who needs 'em? Grrr!"
Reid: "If you have a singer, the music becomes background music."
Don: "Musically, we're like a rock 'n' roll tractor, plowin' our field."
Brian: "We started doing this to kill time on weekend afternoons. We heard tapes of it and were were holding our ribs for days, 'cause it was so funny. We just kinda kept on going."
We talked about how Don plays though Helix' old drum kit, which he won in a MuchMusic contest by helping a friend answer Helix trivia questions. Brian thanked the entire world for ignoring the Shadowy Men on CASBY night - apparently some bizarre ritual of intense boredom. Reid asked that I make it known in the galaxy that the Men are available for babysitting.
We went down to the transporter room and they beamed back to their cheese-pizza craft. (Or is it Kraft?) They said they do the Twang Attack fairly regularly on Kam Er unn Hous, Reeva Lee, and other planets. I promised myself I'd catch the twang again - at a safe distance from the Enterprise and settled back into my Captain's chair on the bridge.
"Rockin' music Jim," growled McCoy, still frothing.
"Indeed," said Spock as he arched his eyebrow heavenward, to complete his ironically incredulous expression.
I smiled my usual episode-closing grin. "Set a course for Planet Nurv, Mr. Checkov," I said. "Ahead warp factor seven."