Kylie Unlikely

Coelocanth The Coelocanth was not himself lately.

The irony of his situation was not lost on him; closer to the sea than he had been for years but looking down on it from above. Six hundred years on this earth. Six hundred years and what was this feeling? Nostalgia? Vertigo?

Was vertigo even a concept that a fish, however old, was supposed to feel? He had spent so long with the humans now that maybe this was what troubled him. How to reconnect with his inner fish. But again, how to connect with any concept of being a fish when you are six hundred years old, telepathic and not supposed to exist any more.

Vertigo. Yes. A perfectly rational fear of heights. By definition; a sea fish anywhere above sea level is going to learn pretty quickly about this concept.

Kylie Unlikely is listless. The wind howls outside of the water tower and it is a dark and moonless night. The Caelocanth glides next to her in his tank, watching her through his slightly cloudy eyes. Spread in front of the tank are copies of Angler's Weekly, an effort Kylie made to make him comfortable in their new home. There are soft bubbles from the tank, but she can sense her friend is not at ease.

Kylie reaches for her TV remote; scans through the channels and settles on a music documentary:

“Die Spießer”, a documentary on the German synthesizer brothers from the late 1960's.

Rolf Spießer and Heinz Spießer are on a low stage in front of an audience of about four hundred students. The footage is in black and white and this is some sort of student gathering place and everyone here is studious in not showing any emotion or any hint of having a good time. The room is full of cigarette smoke.

Rolf and his brother Heinz are in black polo necks and both are making some interminable droning noise from some indistinct boxes in front of them. They occasionally frown at their contraptions and adjust dials from time to time.

The music pauses. There is a ripple of barely interested applause.

“Danke.” Says Rolf.

Heinz looks towards his brother and nods.

They start a new song. A bandsaw like drone fills the room. Rolf hits the panel of his instrument with a regular beat and notices that his brother jerks spasmodically to the beat. The audience are now interested and are up on their feet. The music gathers in intensity, Heinz's hands jerk erratically and his eyes are rolled upwards – there are beads of sweat forming on his forehead.

Rolf has disconnected an earth wire to Heinz's instrument panel. It is a petty revenge for years of sibling rivalry. The voltage passes through his brother's body in time to his frantic beating of his fists on his own instrument panel.

The audience are in ecstasy, they mimic the movements of the frenetic Heinz.

Heinz collapses to the stage, a thin wisp of smoke rises from his hair. His eyes rolled back, a trickle of drool from the corner of his mouth.

Rolf realises at this moment that he has invented a new form of dance music. In a zoom shot; close up, he stares manically out at what he has created.

The camera pans around the hall and just for a moment, a reflection can be seen in a large fish tank and two sad, cloudy eyes of a large fish.

Kylie Unlikely switches off her television.

She communes telepathically in that moment with the Caelocanth; who shrugs his pectoral fins and drifts off to the far side of the tank, and says:

“Poor Heinz. His brother was such a bully.”

Ah, mused Kylie: The Spießer brothers.. Geniuses both, but hell to work with. It was all so long ago now too.

Several albums ago in fact.

Besides, it was late and time for sleep. She switches off the living room lights, leaving just the eerie green glow of the Caelocanth's saline tank. The hum of the pump, the trickle of bubbles.

“Goodnight, Caelocanth.”

“Goodnight Miss Unlikely, sleep well.”

Bryn Neon fidgeted in his studio chair, shuffling a pack of pornographic playing cards as he was wont to do in moments of deep thought.

Damn these cards.

They had cost him a fortune many times over, not least with the Spießer brothers, that Unlikely woman and the incident with the Caelocanth. He loved and hated that damn fish. Best years of his career and some stupid gamble and then; gone. A stupid and foolish bet, but was there any other type of bet?

Neon looked up at the studio clock. Things were not going so well. Perhaps it was time to break open the “Oh, Bleak Strategy!” cards. Always a risky move. The last time he had broken them out, Frigid Ludo nearly split up.

The card had said: “Pretend the drummer is invisible”. They carried this instruction on for a week until the poor man broke down and set light to his residential studio chalet. The album sold well though, although the drummer was since arrested trying to smash the singer's car windows with the bassist's face.

Neon flicked a switch on his studio console to speak to today's useful idiot in the vocal booth: Fat Billy Roberts.

“O.K. Billy, let's try this now.”

Billy Roberts was bored, stoned, drunk, and an unhappy man.

Billy had it all and didn't want it anymore. A career in a boy band, a mansion, expensive cars and a drug habit. Billy was the Golden Goose who could only lay golden eggs.

Today's session was for Billy's fifth album. The previous four had gone multiple platinum and almost the entire music industry waited with bated breath for this album. He could do no wrong.

Except Billy very much wanted to do wrong. He wanted out. He wanted sabotage, failure, anonymity; and mostly he just wanted to stay indoors with his model trains and take drugs.

This is why Bryn Neon, the most expensive and unlikely

.. No, don't think of her..

That's not going to help.

The most unlikely producer, for a mainstream pop star that is..

Bryn Neon was hired by Billy to make a record that would get him fired from this Faustian record contract.

“Ok Billy. Ready?”

Billy took a huge gulp of his soft drink whilst he was chewing on a mouthful of soft mints.

Billy belched; richly and sonorously into the expensive studio microphone. Bryn Neon, having picked an “Oh, Bleak Strategy!” card from the deck that morning did as they instructed:

All of your effects units: At once.

Nearly ten minutes of looped belch. Stretched, chorused, flanged, echoed, reverbed, bit crushed warped, distorted.... He had to admit, this was interesting stuff.

Billy Roberts by now was already unconscious in the vocal booth, drool dripping from the side of his open mouth and the floor strewn with countless sweet wrappers.

To Bryn Neon, it was just another job, one admittedly that kept him in pornographic playing cards for life.

To Billy Roberts it was a catastrophe.

The record was released to initially confused reviews.

Slowly but surely; it was hailed as an avant-garde masterpiece: The damn record sold more copies than all of his previous boy-band records and his solo career put together. He was the toast of the music industry again and was hailed as a tortured genius. Everyone wanted a piece of Billy Roberts and that extraordinary sounding record. He was more depressed than ever and rich beyond his wildest comprehension.

Everywhere he went, people asked him how he achieved that sound.

Kylie Unlikely awakens early:

The storm outside has passed and there is a fresh smell of ozone and seaweed in the air. Fingered shafts of light flicker through dust motes in the upper room of the water tower and there are lucid green and yellow reflections on the ceiling of the ripples from the Caleocath's tank.

She wraps herself, naked in a white sheet and squints through the window to the sea wall outside.

Although so early, she could see a small figure of a man. A very small figure of a man. A very small figure of a man, dressed as a bumblebee, making his way along the sea wall.

The short man pauses his walk, taps at a small canvas satchel at his side, and reaches inside. He sets himself on the edge of the concrete sea wall, small legs dangling and swinging. He pulls out a small triangular snack; a parcel of rice wrapped in black nori and chews with enthusiasm whilst gazing out at the distance. A horizon marked by the monolith of the Mulberry Harbour, an abandoned war relic submerged a mile away in the low tidal mud.

Kylie looks on from the tower, still half asleep and clutching the sheet around herself. A thought takes shape; she recognises this man. But why?

The diminutive figure of Trash Kawasaki finishes his rice parcel, rubs his hands together, taps his bag as if to reassure he has remembered something.

Inexplicably, he feels a sensation of being watched. He turns to look upwards towards the large Victorian water tower behind him but the sun from the reflecting glass windows makes him squint and shield his eyes. Just for a moment he could imagine the figure of a tall woman in a white sheet, darting backwards from the upper window.

He tucks his long black ponytail into the back of his black and yellow jumper; brushes crumbs of rice from his long thin drooping moustache. From the canvas satchel he retrieves a combination of scarf and bonnet, black and yellow, to match his jumper. The bonnet is fitted with small black antennae.

The solitary bee, he decides, on this fine October day, has important work to do. He was a good three miles from his destination. The Sentinels would be here soon. He had warned them but they were insistent.

Trash Kawasaki sets off. The sea front is again still and empty.

From the large tank in the top of the water tower, there are bubbles from the Caelocanth. The trouble with telepathy was that at some point, Kylie Unlikely would register the recognition of what he had picked up outside: A small Japanese man. A small Japanese man dressed as a bumblebee. Namely; Trash Kawasaki.

He could mask this thought from her for now, as Kylie Unlikely was showering; the morning music a gentle ambient remix of an old classic and favourite of hers – “Burp” by Billy Roberts.