I enter the lair of the MRI wizard and slide back onto the table. His assistant assembles the face guard over me and instructs me to lie still. With a low hum the table rolls into the dreaded machine.
"This first round is only 30 seconds." The wizard's disembodied voice bounces around the metal cylinder of the machine.
I brace myself for the tapping to begin. To my surprise I'm instantly transported to the Writer's Land of Imagination. Twenty five tiny centipedes stand poised on a snare drum, each facing a numbered lane.
Behind the snare drum stands a silver Micro Phone, waiting to announce the race.
"And they're off. Number 14 has rounded the first bend and is heading for the finish line. What an exciting short race that was. Number 14 is the winner, number 22 a close second and number 5 third."
I blink as a large green elephant comes onto the scene bearing a large bongo drum. It nods and wags its large feathery ears at me.
"Three minutes this time." The wizard's voice whispers through the machine.
The twenty five centipedes shiver with anticipation.
"Ladies and ...oh just Ladies... Race number two has begun with centi number 25 making a strong start and leading the pack. Number 17 is running well with number 7 keeping pace. Oh..oh look...here comes number 3.. look at that centipede go...catching up to 7, passing 17 and halfway up 25. This race might be won by a whisker...wait for it..YES. Number 3 has done it."
Silence. I'm back in the machine. Are we done?
"There will be two three minute segments, followed by a two six minute segments and ending with a seven minute segment."
Whoosh. I'm sitting in a cavernous stadium. Long silken banners hang from...clouds? A flat red rock stage is in front of me.
The tiny centipedes have been replaced by a dozen tree tappers, twenty large centipedes, a screeching snopsis (it looks suspiciously like Lucy's lavender one) and the green elephant has been joined by a purple pachyderm.
A rotund rhino steps onto the stage, his red sequined tuxedo wrapped tightly around his middle. He holds his baton high. "We will begin the symphony with a screech in g minor. Take it away gentle folk."
The snopsis begins a low screech and raising it's lavender snout in the air runs the scale of g minor. The green elephant joins in with a slow, somber womping on the bongos, the purple pachyderm pulls out a blue bass drum (don't ask) and the tree tappers rolled out their log drums. The cacophany of sound is tremedous and I can't help but laugh, quietly of course, at the vision before me. The elephants ears flap in time with the drum beats and the centipedes begin to run circles around the snare drum. Their tiny feet tap out an impossible rythmn while the pachyderm thumps, thumps and thumps on his blue bass drum.
And then it's over. The MRI wizard comes into the room, the table rolls out of the machine and the assistant removes the face guard.
The Wizard shakes my hand. "Well done. You didn't move a muscle. Most people can't stand the noise."
I smile. "Well, the company helped."
He looks puzzled.
"Never mind. It's a long story."
Susan J Donetti
Lives in Northern California with her husband, two dogs, three cats and one horse.