The Punk Duck Machine


1) In the fifth grade, Jesse and Xander discovered a way to permanently, and legally, skip gym: music class. The school allowed gym and music to be held at the same time, and any student who was musically inclined could fill out a nice pink form and get immediate, total absolution from dodgeball and running laps. Awesome. All you had to do was pick an instrument. And since Jesse's parents could afford it and Xander's (well, Xander) could not, Jesse got a brand new, gleaming chick magnet-- a guitar-- and Xander was stuck with whatever they had in the spare closet.

2) The oboe was long and oddly shaped, not really a flute, sort of like a sax without the, uh, sax. It was old, too. No one had cleaned it since at least the eighties. But when he picked it up and tried a note-- any note, he wasn't choosy-- the sound that came was loud and strong and kind of like a duck serenade. Jesse thought it was weird-sounding until he figured out how to play the familiar hook from “London Calling”. That's when he started calling it his “Punk Duck Machine”. Or PDM, for short.

3) Xander didn't really care about the oboe for a really long time. Jesse thought it was funny, and sometimes he would ask Xander if he could learn something-or-other so that he could hear the way it sounded coming out of the PDM. And Xander invariably would, playing out the first notes he could pick out before dropping the thing on Jesse's bed, giggling along with him. Everything sounded better through it, or more hilarious as the case may be. He never played it at home, always left it at Jesse's, and was always thankful that Jesse never asked why.

4) The day Jesse kissed him, he was trying to play something... something stupid, something by the Beatles, he couldn't remember what. But it didn't really matter, because the song was never there. He managed one note before Jesse laid a hand on his shoulder and made him turn his head, and there it was. Not his first kiss, but the first kiss to ever wake him up, turn him on, make him feel like he never wanted to stop. He remembers dropping the oboe to the blanket on the floor. Not much else, except the hand in his pants.

5) Spike found his oboe one day, stuffed in his closet, and after a night of slaying, running, and getting himself covered in goop, it was possibly the most hilarious thing he'd ever seen. God, all of a sudden, memories hit him like a brick to the back of the head. He took it out of its case and found it in need of a clean, but he grinned and dropped into bed, closing his eyes and playing the first notes of “London Calling”. Quirking an eyebrow, Spike stared for a while. Then dropped to the bed beside him.

The End