La Prose: A Microphone

A microphone is I.
I am a microphone.
Since childhood, this question has been stuck in my head: people stand in front of the microphone, and speak, and speak, but what does the microphone think in the meantime?
The question followed me everywhere. I dreamt that the day would come when I would let the world know the answer to this mysterious question: what a mic thinks when people speak into it. Deep inside me I was preparing myself to this future. I read a lot. I studied the construction of the microphone. I asked people what they felt, when standing in front of the mic. Nearly everyone said they were nervous.
My metamorphosis occurred practically unnoticed, almost by accident. Simply, I got so used to the thought of becoming a microphone that I finally became one. And on a day when I was first taken onto the stage I was nervous, too.
When they first plugged me in, it was terrible. I screamed, terrified, picturing how I was going to die due to a short circuit. But the electrician was well experienced in such matters:
– Why is this thing jarring so loud? – he asked. – Turn the volume off.
I was rupturing in silence.
The brightest memory of the five years of my service has become a New Year’s concert. I still recall some moments of it, with either sadness or disgust, but always in hope that nothing LIKE THIS will ever happen again. It was then that I for the first time realised what it was like – to be a mic.
They were adorning me for a long time, wound me in tinsel and put a silver cap on my head. I could barely see through it, besides it was not my size and squeezed my head too tight. I resisted them putting it on, I jarred all I could, soon I felt very hot, but who would care? Who would listen to a microphone? I resolved to waiting.
They took me onto the big stage and put me in the middle, but close to the edge. Being a cultured person, I, as you may understand, found it strange standing with my back to the audience. This is why for some time I tried to turn around, especially when an artist would let me. There are some artists, as you know, who cannot deal with the transferrable technical objects. These objects constantly rotate in their hands. But even when I did turn I could still barely see. These people who cannot deal with those objects try to disguise such inability behind all sorts of abrupt gestures and jerks, so, as soon as I managed to turn my left side to the audience, I was immediately forced to make a U-turn. As a result, my vertigo started, and in those circumstances I could no longer observe the audience.
Later a girl came on stage. She was small, but she wanted to sing in me, although there was another mic nearby, and who would stop her singing in it? And then they bended me, almost in half, and now I was facing the audience not with my back but with the part below it. Just imagine what a cultured person should feel when they turned him back to people and bended in half? I tried to protest, I rattled, but the audience laughed, and someone tapped me on the head, and once again I humbly stood, and the English words resonated from my head.
When the event reached its height, a man appeared on stage, grabbed me, straightened me, lifted me up in the air, and ran with me on stage for some time. I don’t remember what he sang, because I had too bad a vertigo and a headache, besides he was violently shaking me, carried me in one hand, pressed his mouth tightly to my head, and finally fell to my feet, exhausted. I looked down on his shaved nape and naked sweaty back, after which I fainted and fell on the man, and he screamed, and I was promptly taken away from the stage.
This was not the only concert. I am constantly being given to those who bend me in half, or shove me to the audience, with my head down, so the raging crowd could scream their hails and praise to their idol. My God! Every time I am frightened that this person drops me, and the crowd will be stomping me, stomping, stomping, – how horrific, even to think about it! For if they can stomp a person without looking, why make a difference for a microphone… People! They do not even know that once I also used to be a person, but I have got no blood left now, and, if they begin to stomp me, I will only rattle and grate my teeth in pain. How can they not understand that things have soul, too, and this rattling comes from its screams, and not from a plug put into a wrong socket? If I get broken, I will be thrown out…
This is what I think about these days, when I am a mic, and people use me to sing and speak. I pay no attention to words and verses. I only think, almost beg: please, be careful!

April 2002

© Julia Shuvalova
English translation © Julia Shuvalova 2008


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