Wednesday Words – Porteros (A Puppet Piece)
By Grant Baciocco
Along time ago, when this land was young, there lived a god named Porteros. Porteros was the god of music. It was he who was responsible for all the music that filtered throughout the land. All the music the people of the land danced to, sang along with and tapped their feet to as they lived out their lives.
Every evening, at dusk, Porteros would go to the highest hill in all the land. There he would sit and, as the moon rose in front of him, he take his guitar from its case and he would play. The notes coming from his guitar would spread swiftly across the land and fill the heads of the musicians of the land who would, in the morning, wake and put these new songs to paper and play them for the enjoyment of the others. Porteros would play until the moon began to set and when it was completely gone, he would pack up his guitar and leave the hilltop for another day.
Porteros loved this job very much. He understood the job’s importance to the land, how the music fueled the people who lived there. But after so many years of doing so, the boredom had begun to eat away at him. It was a lonely job. Just Porteros and his guitar for those many long hours. On the night that this story takes place, Porteros had decided that it would be his last night. He wanted a break and, even though he knew the land needed music, he simply could not continue this nightly task any longer.
So, to the top of the tallest hill he trudged one last time. He sat and , as the moon rose big and full, began to play. When the moon had completely risen above the hilltop in front of him, there was movement on the hilltop that caught his eye. He looked up from his guitar and there, standing in front of the moon, in perfect silhouette, was a woman. He couldn’t see any of her features but he could tell that she had long flowing hair that tussled in the warm evening wind. She also wore a long, white, flowing dress that danced in the same. Porteros was puzzled. He’d never seen anyone on the hill before, but being a god he was not frightened and he kept playing.
Soon, he realized that his guitar was being joined in song. A soft, sweet voice had begun to accompany his strumming. It was almost imperceptible at first, there were no words, just quiet humming along with the notes he played. As he continued playing, continued, it grew stronger. He realized this mysterious woman was singing along with his guitar.
As they continued, him playing, her singing, she began to sing words. Words that filled Porteros’ music with feelings he’d never experienced before. Words that touched him deep in his heart. Filled him with joy, sadness, fear, pain, wonder, trust, kindness, envy, friendship, happiness and more. All the possible emotions one could feel.
Their combined music spread out over the land and found the inhabitants that dwelled there. It made lovers find each other in the night. It soothed small babies back to sleep. It filled children’s heads with wonder and, in their dreams, made them invincible. Thieves about to commit acts of crime were deterred. It made those on the precipice of passing, calm and no longer frightened. The music made from his guitar and her voice combining was changing the land from what it was.
They played for hours. She never getting any closer than she was when she appeared. Usually, as the night wore on, his fingers ached, but tonight they longed to continue to play. Indeed, they wanted to play forever. But, as if by habit, when the last of the moon disappeared behind the hill, he strummed his final chord as she voiced her final note.
He looked up at her and she was gone. Faded into the night.
Porteros scoured the hilltop for any sign of this mysterious singer, but there was not a one.
The next night, Porteros went to the hilltop again, even though he had said he would no longer do so. He played again and looked for this woman, but she did not appear. He played louder to try and rouse her. He played softly to try and coax her. But still, she did not appear. His muse, it seems, was gone.
After that he returned to the hilltop every night playing, just for her, and he does still to this day. Hoping one day she’ll return to him and they can make music as they did before. His songs sound a little sadder than they did before. But he’s sure that if he returns here every night and plays with all his heart, one night, she will return and join him.
A week or so ago I saw a great puppet piece that was based on an old Chinese legend. It was really great and it sort of stuck in my head a little. A few nights ago when I sat down to write my daily 500 words, I decided that I wanted to write a legend in that style. Not based on anything, just a made up legend in a similar fashion. That night, I wrote the story above.
The next night I threw it all out and started over from scratch and expanded on the story. The result is the above piece. Once it was done I realized I had written out a puppet piece, much like the one that inspired it. So, adding to my list of goals (I guess this would be a mid-year goal) I’m going to find a way to workshop this piece as a puppet piece and then find somewhere to perform it. I really want to do this. A lot, a lot.
Below is a rough sketch I did last night. Somewhat what my idea for Porteros is. Would love to find a way to have Porteros actually play the guitar. For the girl, I’m thinking a live actress and the music would all be done live. Need to stew on it a bit more.
Anyway, hope you enjoyed it and stay tuned.