Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Great Norwegian Oom Pa Pa Ordeal

Bronson's Bar in Windsor, Ontario was situated in one of the most unlikely locations -- at the edge of the city, kitty-corner to the sewage treatment plant, and across an ancient access road from the Ford Motor factory.

One might guess its clientele was exclusively drawn from the neighboring plants, but no one from either place went near the bar. Bronson's was a biker bar, serenaded by the discordant machinations inside of Fords and accented by the stench of the city's composite shit wafting over from the "water reclamation center." Bronson's was like the Vatican Consulate -- a tiny nation unto itself. The bikers roared drunkenly up and down the pot-holed access road, hooting and hollering. They enjoyed uninterrupted fistfights and fornication in the parking lot.

All was as it should be, until the night the usual industrial lullaby outside was pierced by a low, throbbing sound: Oom Pa Pa, Oom Pa Pa. It grew louder and closer as the Waylon Jennings song on the juke inside ground to a growly halt.

A moment later, the front door of the bar was kicked open and a dozen burly, bearded men dressed in lederhosen carrying accordions barreled in with sharp laughs and thunderous, startling atonal blasts from their accordions. The bikers' beer and protests died in their throats. They could handle and dispatch with almost any intrusion, be it a rival gang, police, wayward college kids or some lost, random tough. But this Norwegian Accordion Gang not only had size and numbers in its favor, it had discordant, disconcerting sound on their side, as well.

The accordion gang filed in and stationed itself in the corner, eclipsing the silent, stunned jukebox, and crowded around the pool table where all play ceased. Their audience of bikers looked on, dumbfounded, distraught, bewildered and somehow disappointed -- the likelihood of familiar, fun ass-kicking suddenly seemed dim.

Oom Pa Pa, Oom Pa Pa said the Norwegian Accordion Gang.

The hands of the bikers flew up to their ears.

Oom Pa Pa, Oom Pa Pa, boomed the grinning lederhosen legion.

The bikers fled. The Norwegian Accordion Gang stayed until dawn, jamming, drinking beer. The police were not called. When the owner ventured back into the place the next afternoon to survey the damage, all he found was a pile of money on the bar, which paid -- to the penny -- for the beer that had been consumed.

* * *

John Walsh on America's Most Wanted two Saturdays later: "Help us get these accordion-playing creeps off the street and into an institution where they belong. This is the first time we've featured people who haven't yet broken the law. But if there was a law protecting good taste, these scuzzballs would've broken it over and over."

* * *

The Georgia Peach Festival in Shoot-Yer-Mama, Georgia was in full swing -- banjos were being flailed, en masse, the peach pie eating contest had just begun, Miss Georgia Peach had been crowned; most dress overalls were distended with full, contented corn-dog-eating-beer-swilling patrons; Confederate flags waved in the breeze.

In the corners and byways where the banjo music didn't reach, there were guffaws a-plenty and hearty knee-slapping-fun.

And then:

Oom Pa Pa, Oom Pa Pa . . .

Faint at first. Only dogs raised and quizzically tilted their heads.

Oom Pa Pa, Oom Pa Pa . . .

The guffaws grew less hearty. The leader in the peach pie eating contest faltered, mid-gorge.

Oom Pa Pa, Oom Pa Pa . . .

Into the fairground walked the Norwegian Accordion Gang, all green lederhosen and waxed mustachioed, grinning like evangelists.

The banjo music stopped. The pie eating contestants turned their pie-gored faces away from their demolished meals. The dirigible airships in overalls paused mid-corn-dog and mid-beer-gulp, to gape and cringe.

Oom Pa Pa, Oom Pa Pa came the tsunami of sound.

As the Norwegian Accordion Gang gathered around the Ferris wheel, the ride-masters abandoned their controls. Vendors fled their tents. Patrons scurried, waddled and wheeled into the food tents.

* * *

John Walsh on America's Most Wanted two Saturdays later: "Nothing burns me up more than people using bad music to spoil patriotic Americans' good time! Let's get these Oom Pa Pa goons off the street tonight. All it will take is your phone call!"

* * *

Street corner in Compton, California, 2 a.m.. A rap battle was in progress among two dozen youths. Some of them had prerecorded backing beats, some went acapella, some had their friends provide backing.

When the first stirrings of Oom Pa Pa, Oom Pa Pa a few of the bystanders thought some low-rider from the barrio was in the neighborhood.

Oom Pa Pa, Oom Pa Pa . . .

The rap battle halted.

"What in hell -- ?" someone began to ask as the Norwegian Accordion Gang rounded a corner and approached.

Oom Pa Pa, Oom Pa Pa . . .

Those among the bystanders who had weapons, drew them. Those who did not, got ready to run. The approach of a group of people unknown to the neighborhood at this time of night did not usually herald fun or warm feelings toward the brotherhood of man.

Oom Pa Pa, Oom Pa Pa . . .

As the accordionists passed beneath one of the few working street lights, the rap battlers and audience caught their first clear glimpse of them. Various exhalations of questions rose from their midst.

"They makin' that sound with car parts?" one voice asked.

Oom Pa Pa, Oom Pa Pa . . .

"They squeezin' small animals in those boxes?" said another.

Oom Pa Pa, Oom Pa Pa . . .

"Look like pump-action something-or-others!"

The first of the group to get a good glimpse of the accordions fled.

"Them's some kinda machine guns!"

The others didn't need anything more than that to follow.

Oom Pa Pa, Oom Pa Pa . . .

The Norwegian Accordion Gang assembled on the corner where the rap battle had just been going on, and serenaded the neighborhood.

* * *

John Walsh on America's Most Wanted two Saturdays later: "Word is, we're finally rid of those atonal sickos have hit the road. They're on their way to Mexico, and good riddance to bad rubbish. We've never gone after a group who hadn't yet broken the law, but this group of accordion-ear-assaulters were clearly up to no good! We'll keep an eye out for them, and definitely an ear. Let's not have a repeat of their spontaneous musical terrorism. Write your legislator today so we can get some laws on the books to deal with these clowns in case they choose to come back!"

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