Chad and his Magic Tuba
It was the year 1942, and Chad was sitting in his room in a small house in Wyoming practicing his tuba as he did every night. He was almost to the end of his eight movement concerto when his infamous second valve stuck again. Chad then jiggled the valve and oiled it until finally it came free.
“Chaaaaad,” his mother called, “there’s someone on the phone for you!”
Begrudgedly Chad answered, “Okay, Mom. Be right there.”
When Chad took the phone from his mother, he was shocked at what happened next.
“This is Chad Stephens, yes? Good,” said the burly sounding man. “I’m calling to inform you that you have been selected to work a special project with the FBI. Should you choose to accept your call, come down to the local FBI office with bags packed for a week away from home. This is all I can tell you at this moment. I urge you to accept this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. You have one hour. I hope to see you soon.”
Chad shakily hung up the phone.
“What was that all about?” asked his mother.
“That was the FBI. They want me to come work a case for them for a whole week, but they didn’t tell me what it was. I only have an hour to get down to the FBI office.” Chad muttered cautiously.
“WHAT?!? No way. You are not going to do this. I forbid you. This is a scam! You can’t possibly go through with this!” shouted his mother angrily.
“I think I want to do it, Mom. This could be my chance to finally do something with my life!” said Chad.
“No. Absolutely not,” said his mother.
“I’m almost an adult, Mom. I can do whatever I want!” shouted Chad as he stormed up to his room to start packing. As Chad began throwing clothes into a suitcase and packing up his tuba, he kept thinking to himself, “Why me? Why pick some nerdy loser from Wyoming to work for the FBI? What makes me so special?” Chad was determined to find out. Once all his bags were packed, Chad went downstairs to explain to his mother that he must accept his call. His mother reluctantly agreed.
“Just promise me you’ll come home safe, OK?” sniffled his Mom.
“Of course,” said Chad, “I promise.” Chad then picked up his tuba and suitcase and got into his car.
When Chad made it to the FBI office, he unloaded his things and went inside. The officer at the front desk asked for Chad’s information and he gave them everything. The officer then took him out back where a small plane sat with a large man in the cockpit. The officer told Chad to get in the plane.
“I don’t get an explanation first? You expect me to get in a plane with some guy I’ve never met with absolutely no information on where I am going or what I will do there?!” screamed Chad.
“Yes,” said the officer as he shoved Chad and his things into the plane. “See you in a week.”
Chad then started to become very nervous. Where were they going? Was this really just a trick? The plane was speeding down the runway now. As the tiny plane lifted into the air, Chad felt the tears start welling up in his eyes. There was no going back now. Chad then forced himself to get some sleep. Who knows what he might encounter when they land.
When Chad woke up, the plane was back on the ground and slowing to a stop. He tried to look out the window, but all he could see was darkness.
“Where are we?” he asked the pilot, but got no response. The pilot then got out of the plane and opened Chad’s door and got his tuba and suitcase out.
“Follow me,” said the mysterious pilot. Chad did as he was told and got out of the plane. The pilot got out a large flashlight and started walking. Chad followed close behind. All he could see was snow in the beam of the flashlight and darkness all around. Chad began to shiver in the freezing cold. Eventually they made their way to a small shack almost engulfed in a snow drift. The pilot opened the door and hastily threw Chad’s things down.
As the beefy pilot turned to leave he said, “Vladimir will be here in the morning to explain.”
Chad then sat atop his tuba case and cried. He couldn't see a thing, and had no clue where he was. Eventually, Chad cried himself out and fell asleep on the cold hard ground.
Chad woke up the next morning in a panic. He looked around the unfamiliar place and noticed that there was a bed in the corner, a small kitchen on one wall, a toilet in the other corner, a small dresser, and a desk on the other wall. There was also a Russian flag hanging from the ceiling. “I must be in Siberia” Chad thought.
He hazily got up and began remembering the events of the day before. He then unpacked his things into the tiny dresser and placed his tuba against the wall. Suddenly there was a knock on the door. Chad cautiously moved towards the door and opened it. Behind the door stood a tall, thin man with grotesque facial features.
“I am Vladimir,” said the frightening man in a thick Russian accent, “I am here to brief you of your mission.” Vladimir pushed his way inside and slammed the door. “This is how it shall work. I am your boss. You listen to me and everything I say. Your mission while you are here is to find a cure for SMD (Stalin Mutation Disease). You are the 795th teenager called to work on this project. All those before you have failed, and therefore been punished by being injected with the disease and forced to stay in Russia for the rest of their lives. I suggest you work your hardest to cure the disease if you ever want to go home to your pathetic life at home. Here are some blood samples and a packet of information on the disease. I’ll be back tomorrow to check on your progress.” Vladimir then left the shack, slamming the door behind him.
Chad got to work immediately. He had to find a cure and get back home to his mother. Chad read the entire packet twice to be sure he knew everything there was to know out the disease. Basically the disease was giving people super strength and agility, but also made them increasingly stupid. He understood then why it was so important to cure this disease. A bunch of super strong idiots running about would be disastrous.
Chad looked through the contents of the desk to see what he was working with. All he could find was some broken mirrors, a couple lenses, a notebook, some string, and one pen. He knew that in order to find out the chemical makeup of the disease he would need to observe the blood samples under a microscope. He took the broken mirror parts and lenses and tied them together in a fashion that he thought would replicate a microscope. When he tried his makeshift scope, he found that there were some serious design flaws. After a couple hours of tweaking, Chad finally had a semi-working microscope. He then began observing the blood samples. He located the bacteria that were causing the disease, but for hours he tried to find anything else that could lead him to a scientific conclusion.
Suddenly, there was another knock. Chad opened the door to find a large girl behind the door this time.
“Hi! I’m Helga!” exclaimed the girl,”I work at a lumberyard just down the snowtrail a few miles. I heard that they brought another teenager out here and decided to come down and check it out. I’m guessing that teenager must be you!”
“Ummm… Yeah. That’s me. I’m Chad. Would you… uh… like to come inside?” Chad asked nervously. Helga was nothing like the girls back at home. She was huge, tall and muscular. She was different, but in a good way. It was love at first sight.
“So what do they have you doing out here anyway?” asked Helga.
“I was called to try to find a cure for SMD. Here’s the packet on it. It’ll tell you everything,” said Chad.
“Oh cool!” said Helga, ”I am kind of a science buff myself. I would love to read this!”
“Go ahead. I have been looking at these blood samples for too long. I need to take my mind off of it so I’ll just play you my tuba for background music as you read,” said Chad. As Chad got out his tuba, he thought about how perfect Helga was for him. She liked science! Surely after he plays his tuba for her they will fall in love.
After Chad plays his tuba for a while, his second valve gets stuck again. Helga is almost done reading, so he decides to just put it away rather than messing with it. Helga silently takes note about the bad second valve.
“Wow! This disease is very interesting. Can I see what you’ve done so far?” asked Helga as she finished reading..
“Sure!” said Chad, “Here is my microscope where I’ve located the SMD bacteria. You can take a look if you want.”
“OKay,” said Helga. After taking a long look through the makeshift microscope, Helga asked, “Where is it?”
“What do you mean where is it?” asked Chad as he shoved Helga away. He made some minor adjustments but could not find the bacteria.
“What if you already found the cure?” suggested Helga.
“I haven’t even developed anything yet,” said Chad.
“Well… you did play your tuba,” mentioned Helga.
“That’s it! My tuba! It’s the cure! We did it!” exclaimed Chad.
“Hooray!” said Helga, “I wish I could stay longer but I have to get back to work. I’ll see you tomorrow!”
“Okay! Goodbye,” said Chad as he watched the goddess leave. Chad had to stop daydreaming about Helga now though. He needed to do some more tests. Chad got one other blood test out and set it under the microscope. There was no SMD to be found. Chad concluded that his tuba playing must be the cure. He decided he would explain this to Vladimir tomorrow when he comes to check in. Chad then began to feel very nervous. Vladimir will never believe him. He then decided that he should get some sleep instead of worrying about tomorrow. It’ll all work out.
When Chad woke up, he was in a panic once again. He looked around his surroundings until he finally remembered again. He then began frantically cleaning his little shack. Vladimir should be there any minute. Just as Chad was stacking the packet of information by his microscope, there was a loud knock on the door. Chad rushed over and opened it for Vladimir.
“Alright what do you have so far? Make this quick I have better things to be doing,” snarled Vladimir. Chad truly hated him.
“I have the cure!” shouted Chad, already feeling aggravated.
“What?” asked Vladimir.
“I found the cure yesterday. I was practicing my tuba and afterwards, the bacteria disappeared in all the blood samples!” said Chad.
“That’s preposterous.” sneered Vladimir.
“No I swear! It’s the truth!” screamed Chad, getting flustered now.
“Okay, okay. Fine. I’ll arrange for you to perform a solo concert tomorrow in front of every SMD patient we have on one condition. If it works, you get to go home early. If it doesn’t work, you get injected immediately following, and put in with all the other teenagers that have failed. Be ready to go tomorrow around this time,” said Vladimir.
“Deal,” said Chad as Vladimir got up and left the shack.
Chad sat on his bed in shock. He was going to cure SMD! Something no one else has ever been able to do. But if it failed, Chad would never get to go back to Wyoming. Chad then decided to check the other blood samples just to be sure that the disease was gone and stayed that way overnight. After a couple hours, Chad checked through every blood sample and each had no sign of SMD.
Helga then burst through the door saying, “Chad! I just heard the news! You’re going to play a concert for all those with SMD and cure them! This is so exciting,” squealed Helga. She was jumping up and down and almost went right through the ceiling of the small shack.
“I know very exciting,” said Chad quietly.
“What’s wrong?” asked Helga.
“It’s just that I’m really nervous. If it doesn’t work, I never get to leave this place and I’m given the disease,” said Chad.
“Oh I’m sure you’ll be fine. I have faith in your tuba playing abilities!” said Helga in an effort to cheer him up.
“Thank you, Helga,” Chad said as he went in for a hug.
“Well I have to go back to work again, but I’ll see you at the concert tomorrow! Good luck!” said Helga cheerfully as she left and skipped down to the lumber yard.
For the rest of the day, Chad paced around the shack and thought of everything that could go wrong tomorrow. He thought about maybe practicing, but didn’t want to make his lips tired. Eventually, Chad gave up on pacing and fell asleep.
When Chad woke early the next morning, he started getting ready right away. He put his tuba up next to the door to make sure he didn’t forget it, and then found the nicest clothes he had brought out of the small dresser. Today was the day he would make something out of himself.
Vladimir knocked on the door just as Chad had sat down to wait. He sprang up and opened the door immediately.
“Let’s go,” said Vladimir. Chad picked up his tuba and followed Vladimir through the snowy wasteland. They soon came upon a helicopter and got in. Vladimir then flew them over to a large concert hall. When they got off, Chad grabbed his tuba and lugged it inside.
“Don’t screw up,” said Vladimir as he left Chad to prepare himself. Chad began to take out his tuba and put it together. He got out his music and decided which ones he wanted to play. After all this was done, he started to warm up. As he hit his concert F to tune, Chad remembered the stuck second valve that he never fixed. He frantically began fiddling with it. Nothing was going to work. It was all over.
Suddenly, Helga appeared backstage.
“Chad! I made you something!” said Helga in an excited whisper, “I hope you like it.” Helga then revealed her gift. Chad almost passed out he was so happy. Helga had handcrafted a tuba valve with their initials inscribed on the key.
“Helga! how did you know I needed this?” asked Chad as he began replacing the stuck valve with the new one.
“I saw it stick when you were playing a couple days ago. I’ve been working on it ever since,” said Helga.
“Thank you so much!” exclaimed Chad as he hugged Helga once again. Helga left backstage just as the announcer began. Chad started to get very nervous very fast. He had never performed a solo in front of this many people, and his life was depending on it.
Chad shakily took the stage, and put his music on the provided music stand. Chad looked over the crowd of SMD patients all suffering from super strength and mental degradation. He couldn’t do this. No way. His hands were shaking more than his knees and he could barely keep a hold of the tuba.
Then he saw Helga. Helga gave him a seductive wink that made all Chad’s nerves disappear.
With his new found confidence, he picked up his tuba and began to play. He played through every piece he had perfectly, and when he took his bow and looked into the crowd, he discovered that they were all healed. Each and every one of them was no longer suffering. They all gave Chad a standing ovation and thunderous applause.
The Russian dictator then came on stage and gave Chad a small bottle of ancient Russian vodka as a thank you. “Mom will loves this,” thought Chad. Chad accepts the Vodka and the leaves the stage to pack up his tuba and newly received vodka.
He was finally going home.
Just as Chad is about to leave for home, he finds Helga.
“Helga! I want you to come with me. We can go back to Wyoming together and never have to leave each other, “said Chad.
“I would love that more than anything!” exclaimed Helga. The two lovebirds then boarded the plane for the long flight home.
When they got back to Wyoming, Chad drove himself and Helga back to his house. When they got there, Chad’s mother ran out the door and greeted him.
“I thought you weren’t supposed to be back for another four days!” exclaimed his mother.
“They let me go early because I solved the case. I told you I would come home safe!” said Chad. His mom then hugged him tightly. Chad introduced Helga and began telling her about everything that happened in Russia as they all walked into the small Wyoming home together.