The Birth of Rock and Roll

Half a century ago, a tremendous event shook the land of Musicia to its very core. It signalled the rapid approach of a time in which all the laws of the land would be rewritten,1 and the ramifications would spread to all surrounding lands, even to our very own. This wonderful occasion was a birth, that of twins.2 But the story begins not at the moment of that birth, but months before...

Coretta Blue, the goddess of poverty and loneliness,3 was gazing up into the vast fields of night. She was quite tired of her station in the hierarchy of immortals, and wished some other could take her place so that she and her husband Ellroy could finally be happy and comfortable. Suddenly, one of the stars high above gave off a bright flash of light--Coretta squinted to protect her one good eye.4 But she smiled as she did, for she realized it was a sign.5 The light was a deep, deep azure, which could only mean it was a sign to her, and the star hung directly over the Hall of Records.

Now this was the palatial edifice which was home to not only the scrolls detailing every event that ever took place in the land of Musicia, but the god who determined what nearly all of those events would be--the king of all gods, Populus. He was so named because his power came directly from the people, and they loved their king. His nickname, “Pop”, reflected the fact that both the minor gods of Musicia and the mortals they ruled over thought of him as their father.6

So Coretta Blue left the wooden porch of her creaky shack and ascended the highest mountain in all of Musicia,7 to meet her destiny with the king. The climb took her all night, and she became certain of the words she would use when she finally encountered him. She readied her harshest, saddest tone of voice, prepared to sieze a better life or die trying.

But when she reached the palace gates, he was waiting for her there, and her anger faded, though her sorrow remained. In his eyes was written the inevitability of the way it must be; the crystal firmness of the roles we all must play, and the necessity of it. She silently realized she could never make her selfish plea, for she did love all the hungry, needy mortals who made sacrifices to her in the hopes that their lives would improve. She knew then that to leave them would be to doom them.

But she saw something else in his eyes as well: a deep lustful longing.8 He explained afterward that Queen Jazzmine had become more and more distant to him, and that he did not see a true future for the two of them. (“It’s funny,” he said, studying her face as they lay on the grass in the cool light of dawn, “The two of you actually look quite similar. But I know you’re nothing alike.”) But there were no words of warning beforehand; he approached her, tore her dress in two, and made love of such violence to her that she thought his heart would burst. Though it was sudden, and shocking, it was also surprisingly compassionate, in a way, and she enjoyed it through the pain. She had long ago learned to find a little pleasure in abuse, for often her life offered nothing else.

She snuck home, naked, and managed to conceal where she’d been from Ellroy, who was a late riser. He did beat her for losing the dress, as it was one of his favorites, but afterward she was able to resume her duties with a new vigor, hardly feeling the bruises.

When Coretta’s belly began to swell, Ellroy had no reason at first to be suspicious, but he visited the oracle at Delta9 to discover the sex of the child. The old woman through which the oracle spoke did not tell him what he wished to know, but she informed him that if his wife gave birth, the fruit of her loins would grow to be much stronger than he one day, and be responsible for his slow, agonizing death.10 The reason for this, she revealed, was that the offspring was not his.11

Ellroy threw Coretta out into the freezing winter night, exactly nine months from the date on which Coretta had seen the star. Then he spread the word throughout the land that the child was not his own, and no one would allow Coretta refuge or a warm place to bear her child.12 So she squatted by the rocky banks of the river Poe and endured the pains of labor alone, and she found that the children inside her were two, not one. She named the boy Rock, to reflect the earth, and the girl Roll, to reflect the flowing water. Thus was their unique birthplace to be forever remembered. But the strain of the double birth proved too great for Coretta, and she died there, in the numbing cold.

The cries of the babies did not go unheard, however.

The great messenger god13 Telly Vision, as he soared over the land on mighty silver wings, saved the lives of the twins. He was so named because it was his job to tell all gods of new information with a mighty far-reaching voice, and his sight (as well as his hearing) was hypersensitive, so that he might be the first to learn of the news. He quickly told all in the land of the plight of the newborns, and how their mother had perished, and each citizen regretted denying Coretta shelter, perhaps even Ellroy.

And King Populus decreed that the babies should be given to his keeping, and that they would become official heirs to his throne, for it was common knowledge by now that Queen Jazzmine could bear no children. So they were raised there, in the Royal Hall of Records, with the eyes of the entire land upon them, wondering if they were worthy of the regal status that had been unfittingly (or so they thought) bestowed on them.

As the twins grew up hard and fast from infants to teenagers, as they learned that the laws would be different for them than they would have been for anyone else in the land,14 Telly continued to spread word of their latest adventures to all. Many decried their very adoption, mostly those who had been witness to the old regime for decades and decades, for they feared the drastic change that their rule would one day bring, and they tried to force the king to name a new heir. But he refused, because the twins were greatly loved by those citizens who he considered to be the most important, for they held the future in their hands: the children.

Rock and Roll were energetic, brash, unapologetic, and above all, loud. They did absolutely everything together. The Queen did not understand them and spent as much time as she could far away from them, but even she could not deny that their breathless dynamism carried a certain fascinating and dangerous charisma. They were also prodigiously brilliant,15 and when on their seventh birthday, they politely demanded the throne of their father,16 he could not deny it. Rock and Roll became the new King and Queen of Pop’s domain, and they were loved fiercely, as they loved each other. The land was transformed.

They still rule to this day, although some say their time is close to an end. They never hesitated to hand the reins of rulership over to a friend, or to a child of theirs,17 or to the child of a friend and a child of theirs--Rock and Roll were credited with liberating sex from its many chains, but others have been instituted in their place--in order to learn more about how to better rule. Some say this was what brought them down, the eager willingness to allow others to perform their duties and be loved in their stead, but others claim it was exactly what made them so great. And the royal family is so jumbled and crowded these days that not even they know who will rule the future.

1. Hesiod, Theogony, lines 490-2
2. Homeric hymn to Apollon (3.), lines 14, 15
3. Hesiod, Theogony, line 593
4. Hesiod, Theogony, lines 141, 142
5. The Gospel According to Matthew, Chapter 2, Verse 2
6. Hesiod, Theogony, lines 48-50
7. Hesiod, Theogony, lines 390, 391
8. Homeric hymn to Hermes (4.) lines 6-8
9. Homer, The Odyssey, Book viii, lines 79, 80
10. Hesiod, Theogony, lines 462-4
11. The Gospel According to Matthew, Chapter 1, Verse 18
12. The Gospel According to Luke, Chapter 2, Verse 7
13. Homeric hymn to Hermes (4.), line 3
14. Homeric hymn to Hermes (4.), lines 569-76
15. Homeric hymn to Hermes (4.), lines 17-19
16. The Gospel According to Luke, Chapter 2, Verses 46-9
17. Hesiod, Theogony, lines 923-5

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