Turn Up the Chicken and Lower the Ham

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
After many years composing and producing music for advertising companies, our author looks back on one of the more degrading sessions he had with clients.

Submitted: December 07, 2016

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Submitted: December 07, 2016



Turn Up the Chicken and Lower the Ham

By M.J. Sage

Behind me, from within a cloud of yellow smoke came that voice again. A gravelly wet slide through a throat ravaged by cigarettes and martinis. “Mike?” God, what now? “Mike?” I turned around in my chair slowly, staring through the carcinogenic fog that floated like a cloud of LA death mist over the couch.  I didn’t say anything at first, I just raised my eyebrows which meant “Yes, I’m listening to you but I’m an artist and I’m really concentrating so hurry up.” I also folded my hands in my lap, to suggest a small amount of irritation, while conveying also the feeling that I was definitely interested in what they had to say. 

“Mike, we love what you’re doing, but…”

There was always a “but” in these working music sessions. I looked at this producer creature that was speaking. overweight, blonde, British, with matching brown leather everything. Processed hair and raccoon eyes. A plump saggy stomach poked out over her pants and her breasts were so tightly squeezed into her top they looked like they were melted and poured in.  I didn’t know tits could have wrinkles?

“Do me a favor darling, can you play it once through from the top on the small speakers?”

Fuck you, why don’t you whistle it through your genetically compromised small, green, moldy teeth.

“OK, here we go,” I said, expertly hitting play and spinning in the chair to face the TV at the same time.  They all leaned in, but I leaned back, taking in the whole scene and using the moment to light a cigarette and make my own smog bubble. I watched and listened as the incredibly and quite unbelievably good looking staff at Boston Market sliced and diced through food while doing their best Stomp impression. I wondered to myself what Boston Market actually tasted like and decided it was most likely KFC without the crunchy and….

I need a vodka, I hope that cute girl who won the immigration lottery is at BOA tonight or maybe I should call my girlfriend, she turns 21 soon and fucks like a champ, this studio is really orange and ugly and my boss wears white jeans or maybe I should go to BB&B and buy new dinner plates and throw out the dirty ones in the sink, maybe….

“It’s really good, just do one thing for me darling,” the turd-brown beast rumbled.

“Of course, whatever you need,” I said.  And then it happened.


I suddenly felt adrift in the cosmos, a singularity with no past or future. A 24 year old man-boy rift in the space time continuum composed entirely of inert matter. Atoms and molecules that not only had frozen, but that had also died in mid-flight, releasing all their promise and unrealized talents into a dead black void.  What does the hollow, empty carcass of what was moments ago a composer say to the most soul crushing statement ever uttered in his young adult life?


I looked at the audio on my screen and was horrified to realize that I had actually labeled my rhythmic knife slicing “HAM” and my cutting board slapping sounds “CHICKEN.” I moved the mouse around the screen diligently and said “ready?”

They all leaned forward. I hit play and stared into my new found abyss. The United Colors of Benetton restaurant workers on the TV did their thing.

 “Perfect darling!” The beast squeeled.

I hadn’t changed a thing.

© Copyright 2019 M.J. Sage. All rights reserved.

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