Half an hour later Vaughn and I were flying away from the Parks and Recreation Department. The city had two ways to get at the speakers in Riverside Park—inside the park or through the system that allowed someone to address the entire downtown.
We wanted to pump our own music into the park, but we didn’t want to go there to set it up. Thus, our visit to Parks and Recreation.
We flew up to three hundred feet. I could see the Black River, News 10’s helicopter, Riverside Park, and all the people. Shouting and singing carried across the distance along with a hint of a drumbeat.
It was a gorgeous afternoon. Not a cloud appeared in the sky. Turning west, I could see sailboats, speedboats, waterskiers, and jetskis even though it was Monday. Sunlight glinted on the dunes, the waves, and the churning wakes.
Past Grand Lake, the dark waters of Lake Michigan held sailboats, and motorized yachts.
I turned away and told Vaughn, “I guess it’s time to ruin everyone’s day.”
“Yeah, I’m not the only one. I didn’t know all the songs you put on that playlist, but I’m pretty sure the songs I did recognize are banned under the Geneva Conventions. I mean, Rebecca Black’s Friday? Barry Manilow’s uh… anything at all?”
A cloud gathered over Grand Lake. It was thin line and wispy around the edges.
“Blame Ghost. She said the playlist had to be songs that were never cool, stuff that was too commercial, or too bad. I googled ‘worst songs ever’ and decided to take what came up.”
“Yeah, well, that’s exactly what you got.”
The cloud widened, becoming thicker, and a little darker. A few smaller clouds formed near it.
“How far are you going to go? It was supposed to be a little bit of rain, right?”
Vaughn nodded, his ponytail blowing around in the wind that kept him up. “Don’t worry about it, this is nothing like that tornado I did against the Cabal. Evil Beatnik’s people will just get wet, you know?”
That was the idea. I hoped they wouldn’t get out of control. I’d never seen Vaughn’s stuff get out of control, but this was weather, and he was making it act differently than normal. That had to have side effects somewhere—maybe not for us though. Hopefully.
I checked the readout in my helmet. It showed 12:35pm. “We’d better get moving. The sound system should have turned on by now. Are they ready?”
“They’re on the move,” Vaughn said.
They were moving slowly across the lake toward the city and the river. Behind them, more clouds formed over Lake Michigan.
A slow rain fell, splashing when it hit the lake.
We flew along with the clouds, letting them lead. As we grew closer to the park, I could hear music, but Bongo Boy’s drums were drowned out by the sound of an overly autotuned voice singing, “Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday…”
That didn’t stop me from feeling the drums’ beat. I felt the call, the urge to go down and party in the park, but it didn’t last.
I didn’t see her, but I knew what happened. Precisely at 12:36pm, Bongo Boy’s drums were pulled out of his hands, and shattered on the ground.
The urge to join in stopped. I still felt something, but nowhere near as strong. I felt like I could handle it for a little while.
Over the communicator, Jaclyn said, “Drums down. Everyone move in. And congratulations Rocket, you’ve found the best anti-hipster music out there. I don’t want to find out what’s next.”